Posts tagged digital photography
The field of child photography is challenging but also both enjoyable and profitable – if you like children. Don’t bother pretending, if you really don’t. You may fool a parent – but not the little one.
Tips to help are: The techniques used in most other fields of photography do not always apply in child photography. The phrase “hold it” or “freeze” carry very little weight with children. They typically do as they please a More >
Photographing food is probably one of the most challenging kinds of photography out there. It is considered difficult by most professional food photographers because there is a time constraint in the whole photo shoot.
And since the marketability of the food itself depends primarily on how it is seen in print, food photographers should be well trained and skilled in order to come up with satisfying results. More >
When you are using a camera, the media you are recording the image to is fixed in the amount of light required to create the image. This is referred to as the ISO, or speed, and is represented by a number such as ISO 400, 200, etc. The exposure to the light is controlled by the shutter speed and the aperture f/stop. This is a simple explanation of the f/stop mechanism.
First one must understand that the shutter speed and f/stop directly affect each other. The slower the shutter speed, the longer the exposure to the light. So, in order to prevent flooding, or overexposure, of the medium, the amount of the light must be reduced. This is done using the aperture, or f/stop, by decreasing the amount of area of the lens that is open to the light. The inverse is also true, if you wanted to take a photo of an athlete in motion but wanted very clear, crisp photos, you could use a very fast shutter speed, and a very wide aperture.
Now you know what it’s used for, here’s what the f/stop numbers mean. The numbers printed on your camera lens can range anywhere from f/1.0 to f/128, but this isn’t all of them, by any means. This number represents the ratio between the focal length of the lens, and the diameter of the aperture opening. For example, a 50mm lens with a 25mm aperture is a f/2 lens, and a 100mm lens with the same 25mm aperture setting is a f/4. Most every lens manufactured today has several f/stop adjustments available to the photographer, but the values printed on the barrels may be a rounded off, for simplicity.
For this example, keep the above in mind. If a person wanted to fill a container with water, but the container had a small hole at the entrance, the flow of the water must be reduced. This will require more time to fill the container, but if the opening is larger, the flow can be increased, thus allowing for faster filling. So, if the shutter speed is slow, i.e. 1/8, the f/stop number must be increased to allow less light in, to prevent overexposure. The opposite is true if the shutter speed is perhaps 1/125th the f/stop number should decrease, to allow more light in. This means that if the bottom number i=on the shutter speed gets bigger, the f/stop number should get smaller.
One last thing that should be mentioned is that the wider the aperture rating on a lens, the more expensive, and bulky they tend to be. there are lenses on the market, both new, and used, with maximum apertures of f/1.2, and as low as f/.95, but the costs of lenses like these can be prohibitive. That coupled with the fact that the f/.95 lens requires the use of a tri-pod, make these almost exclusively professional equipment.
When buying a new digital camera, most people start out with the best intentions of becoming a truly creative photographer. One look at that thick, complex technical manual, and they switch the camera to auto…and that’s where it stays. As a result, most of us settle for snapshot photography when our cameras are capable of so much more.
Does this sound like you? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Camera manuals reflect the technical power of modern cameras, but they are intimidating to any beginner who just wants to take a decent photo.
Digital cameras are like most computer programs; you may find you can get by with about ten percent of the available functions. So don’t get tied up in knots trying to understand everything. Just learn what you need to know, and learn it well, and you will be well on the way to being a better photographer.
Here are a few tips that may just take the complexity out of photography for you.
Tip #1. Stick with the basics. In the days of film, good photographers used SLR cameras with two main settings; aperture and shutter speed. These were the ingredients of all great photography. Today, cameras come with hundreds of features, but guess which ones you really need to understand? That’s right, aperture and shutter speed.
If you can understand these two settings, you are halfway to becoming a better photographer. Your manual (I never said you could throw it away) will tell you which buttons to press on your camera. However, to really understand what these settings are all about, don’t rely on the manual. There is plenty of information out there; workshops, websites, books and ebooks can help.
Practice has never been easier than it is today. Most cameras have semi-automatic settings, called ‘aperture priority’ and ’shutter priority,’ that allow you to operate one setting while the camera takes care of the other. This is a great way to practice a skill without fear of getting too many failed exposures.
Tip #2. Learn from your mistakes. If you just delete every photo you are not happy with, you are missing a golden opportunity to learn from your own experience. Photos you consider ‘rejects’ actually contain useful information – you really can learn from your mistakes!
Let’s say you are experimenting with aperture. Try photographing a scene three times, with three different aperture settings, for three slightly different results. Instead of keeping your favourite and deleting the others immediately, you could transfer them to your computer and take the time to examine them properly. You can see how each setting changed the look of the picture, and which setting worked best for that subject. Now you can learn from your own results, not from some theory in a book.
Did you know that if you right-click your mouse over a photograph on your computer and select ‘properties’ you will find a lot of information embedded in the file? You don’t have to keep a note of the aperture/shutter speed information; your photo does it for you!
Of course in the long term you don’t want to keep every single photo you take, but you might want to keep a folder of ‘learning photos’ to refer to later, with maybe two versions of each subject you experiment with. To make it even easier, rename the pictures with relevant titles, for example: Wildflowers/Small Aperture, Wildflowers/Wide Aperture; Waterfall/Fast Shutter, Waterfall/Slow Shutter.
Tip #3. Learn The Art As Well As The Technique. Every problem in photography cannot be solved by the camera. Experienced photographers know that good lighting and creative composition is often more important than up-market technology. In fact, most photos fail not because of bad technique, but because they were taken at the wrong time of day, or the photographer did not put enough thought into the composition. Yet daily I meet people who think that all their problems would be solved by a better camera, or some mysterious technique they are yet to learn.
Remember what I said in Tip #1; aperture and shutter speed are the fundamental skills, and with a little practice, they are not hard to learn. Master them and you are halfway there. The key to becoming a really good photographer is a balance of technical knowledge and artistic skill. Practice both, and soon your friends will be coming to you for photography tips!