Saturday, December 20, 2008

10 Simple Digital Photography Techniques

10 Simple Digital Photography Techniques

Digital photography has revolutionized picture taking, no more old school film and driving to the drug store and waiting for film to develop. Digital cameras allow the photographer the luxury of concentrating on taking pictures and simply delete away those that are not up to standards.

Prior to looking at effective digital photography techniques, it is important to understand the difference between the old school film cameras and the new digital technology. Same as the old school film SLR (single reflex lens) cameras, digital SLR or DSLR (digital single reflex lens) camera use lenses and mirror. But instead of a film that records the image, a DSLR camera uses light sensor chips and digital memory. In other words, a DSLR camera is the computerized version of the traditional SLR camera.

Using these simple and effective digital photography techniques can aid those taking photographs with a DSLR cameras in capturing the best images using the new art of digital photography.

10 Digital Photography Techniques

1. Probably the greatest feature of digital cameras is the fabulous LCD screen that allows for real time preview of pictures as you take them. One of the best and most practical digital photography techniques is to make sure to utilize the LCD to its fullest potential by previewing each each picture and making sure it is perfect, if it's not just click delete it and re shoot.

2. Try to get a digital camera with image stabilization. If you don't have that feature then here is a digital photography technique to get clearer pictures without any blur. Hold your hand steady when taking pictures to prevent it from shaking and moving. Also, it is better to hold your eye up to the optical viewfinder when taking pictures, rather than the electronic viewfinder. This helps you to see exactly what your capturing and also helps to keep the camera steady when taking pictures.

3. Flash seems to be a challenge for most beginner photographers. Most flash technology can only light up a up a subject within an average of 10 to 15 feet. Make sure to move in closer, or add more light to the subject area.

4. Because digital cameras can take slightly longer to focus than film cameras, a good digital photography tip to avoid blurry and out-of-focus shots is to half-depress the shutter button until the camera has had time to lock the focus, and then completely press the button to take the actual shot.

5. The law of optics remains the same whether using new digital photography technology or an old camera. For instance, if the sun is behind an image, the picture will be silhouette. If light is in front of the image, the picture will appear squint.

6. Another digital photography technique is when using a polarizer, be sure that the source of light is perpendicular to the object. If you do not have polarizing filter capability then a good digital photography technique is to use a quality pair of sunglasses. Place the sunglasses as close to the camera lens as possible, then check their position in the LCD viewfinder to make sure you don't have the the sunglasses rims in the picture.

7. Instead of film, digital photography uses memory cards to save shots. A good digital photography technique that can prevent lots of regret is to always have back up memory with you. There is nothing worse than missing that great shot because there is no more storage available in your camera.

8. A good digital photography technique for shooting bright landscapes and outdoor portraits is to change your white balance setting from auto to cloudy, this will yield brighter and clearer shots. This will give a warming filter on your camera and increases the reds and yellows resulting in richer and brighter pictures.

9. Zoom in to emphasize a certain asset or characteristic of the subject being captured. Avoid getting too large of a focus shot, evaluate what you want to capture and focus in on that image, avoiding backgrounds like buildings and landscape, this will give you clearer and better pictures of the object you want.

10. Practice is probably the best tip. The best digital photography technique is to practice using your camera. Get to know it and all the controls and what they do. Take lots of pictures and analyze what works best with your camera and soon you will be an expert with your own list of digital photography techniques.

Digital cameras have really simplified photography and made picture taking so much more mobile and convenient. And employing some of these digital photography techniques will deliver the best pictures of life's memories.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Taking Funny Pet Pictures

One of the great joys of having a pet is the laughter that they bring to us. Whether we are laughing at them or with them they never hold a grudge. It seems they are almost always trying to entertain us. What pet owner doesn't have a picture of their beloved friend in some crazy situation or pose, stuck on their refrigerator door? And what better way to save those precious moments than with a great photo?

I photograph pets professionally, intentionally trying to create humorous images…but often it is the in-between moments that end up with those priceless expressions. Those un-expected antics…that bring an involuntary smile to me and have me showing everyone around the back of my camera saying "Hey! Check this one out…what a crack-up!". Right now I live with two cats…one of them just can't resist any box. Put a box down and a moment later, out of nowhere…Pitsy is in the box! It doesn't matter what size box either…I have seen her in boxes that she can barely fit in…that she can't even get all of her paws down in…but hey…if it's a box then she's going to claim it!

Our other cat, Plucky, has his favorite place to be…on the lap of any one using a computer (luckily I am writing this at work or it would be much slower going and by the end I would be covered in cat fur)! No computer…he isn't interested…but sit down in front of a computer anywhere in the house…and you instantly have one very large feline purring contentedly between you and that keyboard. Every pet is an endless source of amusement, fun and laughter!

A few tips for good Pet Photography:

1. Get down on their level…it makes your picture feel much more intimate and brings up the level of interest by using a perspective that we are not used to having.

2. Avoid direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is harsh and may "blow out" the details and leave the shadows too dark with no detail. Open shade is good…if indoors try shooting them next to a large window that has indirect light coming in.

3. Make sure your pet's eyes are in focus. If their eyes are sharp in most cases we can forgive a shallow depth of field the results in out of focus extremities.

4. Get close…and pay attention to the rest of the frame. We too often tend to our pet's face in the center of the frame and have a lot of wasted space above him or her. Take a moment to look around the viewfinder and place your pet in an interesting composition…without distractions in the background.

5. Patience! The number one ingredient for great pet photography is patience. A little patience, combined with perseverance is a great combination for success in getting those great shots of your best friend.

Capturing those awesome shots of your pet, and sharing them with your friends…and yes…putting them into that refrigerator gallery…what could be better?

About the Author

Find those hot stock photos, crazy funny pictures, and beautiful fine art prints: Funny Animal and Pet Pictures Lifestyle, people, animal, and concept stock photos. Free SEO for photographers Free Professional SEO Expert SEO for your website.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So You Want to Buy a New Digital Camera?

The world of digital photography is ever-growing. There are seriously hundreds of digital cam marks and types. Which kind should you pick? Which one is the smartest decision for you? We have various advice for purchasing a new digi cam that'll make picking out the correct one simple.

The first decision in choosing your new camera is deciding what you want to use it for. Are you going to be capturing still shots, sports shots, or dark shots? Take these into consideration since you need various features for each one. The kind of pics you want to take is the most essential factor to consider. If you're going to be taking darker images, you want to go with a camera that has ISO features. The more ISO equivalents the cam boasts, the more options you'll have for taking photos in various kinds of lighting. A cam with the ISO equivalents 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 will give you all of the options you'll require.

If you're looking to print your pictures you'll want to look for a camera with modest resolution. Mega-pixels are mega-essential! The larger the amount of mega-pixels, the greater the res of the pictures. Printing pictures that have a low res results in distorted and unprofessional looking photos. Make sure the printer you'll use supports the resolution of the digital camera.

The size of the camera is another factor to think about. Take into account where exactly you will be taking the camera. If you plan to use your camera frequently and carry it with you a lot of the time, you may want to think about purchasing a compact camera that will fit into your purse or shirt pocket. Consider the weight of the camera if you plan on carrying it hiking or climbing. Cameras come in all weights and sizes so finding one that accommodates your requirements won't be challenging.

Lastly, think about who will be utilizing the camera. If you are buying the cam for an avid photographer you might want to think about lenses and tripod options. If you're purchasing the digital camera for a adolescent you might think about something light and durable, while still stylish and trendy. A traveler might be interested in more memory space for pictures, while a mom of young children may be more interested with a camera that has rechargeable batteries so she will never miss a picture perfect moment.

About the Author

Written by Alberto Maeses. Come to my website for top info on MP3 players plus MP3 players

Saturday, December 6, 2008

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY - Obtaining a Good Photograph

We use our eyes to view things in our environment. However, through time, man has devised ways on how to preserve the things normally seen and thus treasured, whether these are beautiful or not, and one of which is by using cameras.

The images that are captured by cameras can make our eyes see things that have happened before. Moreover, it enables the heart to wish for beautiful things to happen in the future.

These days, the biggest sellers in the camera market are the so-called digital SLR cameras. These are the modern gadgets that can trigger our creativity and seats of emotion.

Though relatively new, most people choose digital SLRs because it can be easily manipulated. However, having these cameras does not completely guarantee that the every captured image is great and perfect.

Following are some point by point guidelines that should be considered to maximize the expense of your digital cameras:

1. Simplicity

Zoom in to capture the part you want to emphasize. Thus, irrelevant objects or areas can be taken away or just allow them to soften.

2. Rule of thirds

When capturing a moving object, it is advisable to capture them moving into the imaginary tic-tac-toe frame from one of the two sides.

3. Shapes and lines

Capture a straight line at an angle by moving five to ten feet away to the side to capture at an angle.

4. Vantage point

To add significance or emphasis to an object, take a picture at a lower vantage point. Increasing the height away from the object can reduce its significance. 5. Balance

Pick out the dominant objects and arrange them so that they complement each other. However, unbalanced or asymmetrical objects are often more visually stimulating than balanced objects.

6. Framing

You can use the frames of your windows to capture an outdoor scene. You can also use doors and walls of a building to capture a person a walking person.

7. Indoor photographs

You can use natural lighting when you are taking candid shots so that the subjects will not be bothered by the flash coming out of the camera.

8. Camera adjustments

The aperture allows light to enter. You must learn how to adjust this properly and appropriately so that images will not appear as either very bright or very dim.

Lowering the shutter speed allows the image to be more exposed to light. You must learn the proper length of exposure so that images will not appear as blurry. 9. ISO speeds

Digital cameras have ISO speeds ranging from 100 to 800. The higher the ISO, the higher the camera's sensitivity to light's exposure. Be sure to master using this element along with the camera's aperture and shutter speeds. 10. Lens/Filters

There are digital cameras that allow additional lenses to be attached to the main lens, or the lenses can be completely interchangeable. Lenses can be categorized as follows:

a. macro lens - allows you to get closer to objects like insects and flowers

b. wide-angle lens - used for capturing landmarks, and large and wide sceneries

c. telephoto lens - allows longer zooms that let you get close to objects that are rather unsafe

Filters, on the other hand are used to:

a. soften the effect of the image b. provide blurring on the edges for portraits that have sensitive moods c. add light flares for the image to be more dramatic d. to reduce glare so that pictures appear more saturated, crisp, and vivid.

However, if you still want to improve on the images that you have taken, the following list of software can allow touch-ups:

• Adobe Photoshop • Apple's iPhoto • Corel Paint Shop Pro • Google Picasa • LView

Once you have understood and mastered the important points on digital photography and capturing pictures, you will soon realize that the keys in getting great pictures are: "Even a simple aim and shoot camera" and "Creative ME."

About the Author
by kamaljit bassi

lover of SLR ! please prove me wrong

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How To Shoot in Really Low Light

When you see an excited child looking out that big bay window, there is nothing more fulfilling than catching that expression as the morning sunlight reflects off the snow and onto the child’s face, but you will want to capture that look naturally without using a flash. What are the secret tips to capturing that shot in low light?

1. Use a tripod, or at least a monopod, if you have one, but it may not be handy. I keep my camera resting on my monopod ever since that big Buck came into my yard in the early morning a couple of weeks ago.

2. Use a fast lens. By this, I mean a lens with a very large aperture such as my Canon 50mm, F/1.8. A F/1.4 would even be better. Also, for the price of an F/1.4 you can buy a 100mm F/2.0 that makes a really nice telephoto when using a small sensor SLR that magnifies your 100mm to a 160 focal length. The faster lenses are absolutely necessary to avoid blur.

3. Use a higher ISO. Moving your camera’s ISO to 200, 400 or 800 will give you an additional 1 to 3 stops of light. Most of the newer SLRs can handle an 800 ISO with no noticeable “noise”. The more expensive the camera, then usually the larger the sensor, and the lower the noise.

4. Use manual focus. Although the smaller prime (fixed) lenses are easier to focus, you will get a better shot if you manual focus due to the smaller depth of field necessary with a wide open lens.

5. Use spot metering – This goes hand-in-hand with point number 4. Focus on the child’s face or other particular point of interest.

The next time we have a snow fall in Atlanta I will try to capture an example with my dog Pierre since I have no children, LOL!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photographing a Beauty Headshot

One of my favorite set-ups is my version of a beauty headshot. I have described the basic set-up that used a 30" X 40" softbox as the main light and narrower softboxes for hair lights in previous books. I decided to change it up a little for those of you with a "starter" studio kit. This particular series will also look at using Photoshop to fine tune the image to create the vision that you want. Most starter strobe kits come with several strobe heads and a medium sized umbrella. This stunning image of Brandy was created with three strobe heads. 30-degree grids were placed on two of them for the hair lights. Grids are honeycomb devices that fit into a parabolic reflector and narrow the beam of light to a specified radius. The umbrella is a somewhat harsher light source than the softbox, so the effect of this lighting scheme will be even more dramatic than when a softbox is the main light.

Note: Please visit or follow the link in my bio below and select school>free lessons links on my website to see the images associated with this lesson.

A "simple" start up strobe kit is all you need to create spectacular beauty headshots. The gear needed to create this beautiful image of Brandy consisted of three strobes, an umbrella and a silver card-and a little help from Photoshop.

A beauty headshot is generally produced for commercial reasons-the point of the image is often to sell cosmetics or hair products. The lighting is clean and shadowless-the contours of your model's face are created by the make-up. However, I often use black flags along either side of my model. The flags serve two purposes: they act as a shield to block light from the hair lights from entering my lens and creating flare and they also act as a negative fill. The black absorbs some of the light from the main light and reflector and actually helps to create a subtle shadow around your model's face. The flags were in place for all of the images in this series. Be careful with the placement of your flags-especially when using a narrow gridspot for a hair light-you do not want to block the light from hitting her hair.

We begin the series with just the main light in place. Brandy is seated in front of an old drafting table with the table edge just below chest high. A strobe is hooked up to an umbrella with a black backing [to keep light from going through the umbrella]. The umbrella was positioned directly in front of Brandy; placed above the camera level and angled so the pole of the umbrella pointed right at her face. The exposure was set for f 11. The umbrella does a nice job by itself, but there are too many shadows under Brandy's nose and chin for this image to work as a beauty shot.

We placed a California SunBounce silver reflector on the table and angled it up towards Brandy. Clamps were used to hold the reflector in place. This simple change in the lighting set-up produces a dramatically different result. The front lighting is now complete.

The addition and careful placement of a reflector produces the light that makes this one of my favorite techniques. You do not need to use a fancy store bought reflector-any silver card will work. I like the combination of the harsher umbrella and the silver card for this look.

The image begins to come together with the addition of the first hair light. I mentioned that I usually use narrower softboxes for hair lights in the past, but this time I chose a spot light with a 30-degree grid. The spot light has a greater degree of contrast than the Stripdomes so I set it to the same exposure as the main light. I'll bump up the exposure of the hair light with larger light sources.

The addition of a hair light begins to separate Brandy from the backdrop and begins to add emphasis to her thick black hair.

The second hair light was also a spotlight with a 30 degree grid and completes the lighting portion of the photograph.

The second hair light shows the effect of using the spotlight better than the first and almost finishes the image. Minor retouching was done to the image using the heal and clone tools to remove stray hairs, etc.

I like the image as it is, but it didn't fit what I saw in my mind before pushing the shutter. Photoshop has long ceased to be a tool to "fix" a bad image. It is now an essential component in the photographer's creative toolbox. Some simple Photoshop enhancements will provide the shine to Brandy's hair and a "pop" to her face that I want. I captured the image in RAW so I had more options to play with. I opened the RAW image again but slide the exposure slider up to overexpose the image by 1.65 stops!

I re-processed the image to grossly overexpose the image. The red in the image is warning me the highlights are being seriously clipped! I ignored the warning and clicked OK to open the image. I selected the Move tool and held down the shift key to drag the overexposed version on top of the proper image. Holding the shift key while you drag an image from one file to another will center the dragged layer. Brandy's hair shows some beautiful highlights, but as I was warned, her skin tones are blown out.

The image looks pretty bad, but we will fix that now. The following screen capture shows the result of the next two steps. First I made a duplicate layer of the background layer and dragged it on top of the overexposed layer...and we are back to where we started from! However, it also shows the key to finishing the image: I clicked on the "add layer mask" icon at the bottom of the layers palette. You can see that it has linked a white layer mask with the properly exposed image.

The addition of the layer mask is the critical step in the final retouching of the image.

A white layer mask reveals all the data on that layer. However, choosing the paint brush tool with the layer mask activated will give you a choice of painting with white or black. In this case you want to paint with black to reveal portions of the underlying layer [because the layer mask is white]-the overexposed layer in this case. Use the opacity slider in the tool options bar to control how much of the underlying layer you want to paint in.

This screen capture shows the image after painting in the underexposed layer for her hair. It also depicts how the layer mask shows which sections of the underlying layers are allowed to show through-and the amount of that layer that is allowed to show through. The dark areas in the mask are where the overexposed layer is showing.

For this image I initially painted in the over-exposed area for her hair at 100% opacity, but this blew out the highlights more than I wanted. This now becomes a matter of personal taste, but I felt like I now drew too much attention to the highlights in Brandy's hair that were caused by the spotlight hair light.

The solution was easy: I simply switched the paint color to white, lowered the brush opacity to 50% and painted out the highlights! Note: if you hit the back slash key you can see the mask in the image which makes it easy to see where you want to paint or to modify the mask. Also the left and right square bracket keys will decrease and increase the size of your brush respectively.

The image is almost finished...but not quite!

The image is just about complete...but I still wanted more of a "pop" to Brandy's face. We've got an over-exposed version of the image at our disposal, so let's play with it a little. I chose the brush tool at a low 10% opacity and increased the size of the brush to fit just inside the contours of her face.

A combination of lighting and Photoshop tools were used to create was has become one of my favorite images.

Mahalo Brandy!

Originally Published in Professional Photographer Magazine.

Stephen Dantzig is a nationally renowned lighting expert and author of Lighting Techniques for Fashion and Glamour Photography for Film and Digital Photographers, Mastering Lighting Techniques for Outdoor and Location Digital Portrait Photography and Softbox Lighting Techniques for Professional Photographers (Amherst Media). His fourth book, Back to Basics, has been accepted for publication. He has written more than fifty articles and lessons on photographic lighting and ethics. He is a frequent contributor to RANGEFINDER Magazine and his lessons have appeared in Professional Photographer Magazine, PC Photo Magazine, Studio Photography and Design, ProPhoto West,,, the Photoflex Web Photo School. His work has appeared on more than 22 magazine covers including local, regional and national markets. Some of his published works have appeared in the Amherst Media's Portrait Photographer's Handbook, Group Portrait Photography Handbook, The Best of Portraiture, The Best of Photographic Lighting (First and Second Editions), Lighting and Posing Techniques for Photographing Women, Professional Portrait Lighting Techniques and Images from Master Photographers, and Rangefinder's Professional Photography This Week Magazine (Hawaii), Pleasant Hawaii Magazine, Doll Reader, Metropolitan Home, Studio City Lifestyles Magazine, Santa Clarita Valley Living, and The Los Angeles Times. Stephen is a twenty-one time Award of Merit recipient from the Professional Photographers of Los Angeles County and has received two Awards of Merit from The Professional Photographers of Hawaii. His specialties include fashion, beauty and corporate photography. Stephen also holds a Doctor of Psychology degree from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. He now works, teaches and resides in Honolulu, HI. View his work and purchase signed copies of his books at Reprints of this article are permitted as long as this resource box is attached. All text and associated images are copyright: Stephen A. Dantzig.

About the Author

Stephen Dantzig is a nationally renowned lighting expert and author of three books on lighting. His fourth book, Back to Basics, has been accepted for publication. View his work and purchase signed copies of his books at Reprints of this article are permitted as long as this resource box is attached. All text and associated images are copyright: Stephen A. Dantzig.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tips For Buying Underwater Digital Camera

Digital Photography Secrets!

Often it is not possible to capture the beauty of underwater life with normal camera, but thanks to underwater digital camera, now you can explore the marine life. An underwater camera is a special designed digital camera used for still and video photography to capture the amazing flora and fauna of marine life.

You can capture the still images of sea life or can shoot while scuba diving. Safely protected with waterproof casing, these digital cameras are designed to be fully submerged underwater and withstand any surrounding pressure. The smaller models of underwater cameras are normally ideal for up to two hundred feet to four hundred feet while the bigger digital cameras are made for deeper water regions.

As compared to film-based underwater cameras, the underwater digital cameras are much better since they don`t run out of film. Yon can also delete any bad shots or change to a lower resolution picture mode in low-light conditions. No more fuzzy backgrounds and edges as seen in film underwater cameras, with their wide-angle photography, underwater digital cameras delivers sharper images.

Available in all sizes, shapes and film format, many underwater digital cameras also come with viewfinder feature which helps in picture adjustment for photography. With some nice prints, the underground digital camera produces better images which are really helpful for amateur photographers.

However the underwater digital camera is not only meant for deep-sea divers. Many underwater digital cameras available today can also be used to take quality pictures on dry land in harsh climatic conditions like snowfall and severe rains. Adorned with multi-flash function, color correction filter and macro lens, the underwater digital camera offers superb image quality. Just like normal digital camera, this underwater digital camera also comes with 15MB of sufficient memory along with the storage, editing and manipulation software.

If you wonder which model of underwater digital camera to choose, what features to consider, then here is a briefly discussed guide on the features of some prominent underwater digital camera models.

Panasonic SDR-SW20:

This compact model is for those who want an easy-to-use and lightweight underwater digital camera. With 10x optical zoom and MPEG-2 format up to 10 Mbps, this is one of the best digital cameras available for video recording. However, with only 0.3MP 640x480 still imaging capability, the still imaging options are basically non-existent in this new model.

Pentax Optio W30:

One of the pioneers in underwater digital camera market, the current Optio W30 comes with 7MP with ISO1600 and 3x optical zoom image recording feature. Supported by both SD and SDHC, Videos in this underwater digital camera is of 640x480 in MOV QuickTime MJPEG format.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-E1:

This is the one of the best designed underwater digital cameras for up to 5feet depth of water. With 4GB card, and MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 640x480 powers, the Xacti E1 allows shooting with an approximate record time of over 5 hours. For still images, this digital camera offers a solid 5x optical zoom with a 6MP CCD at up to ISO1600 power. One special key feature of this underwater digital camera is the flip out view screen which saves you from the risk of bumping in with underwater objects while swimming around.

Olympus SW series:

At 10 Megapixels, ISO1600, and a 3.6x optical zoom feature, Olympus may also be one of the most well rounded underwater digital cameras. With an underwater depth up to 6.6 feet, this is the deepest water digital camera on the list.

Intova IC-700 7.0MP digital camera with underwater housing:

Available in an affordable price of around $300, this underwater digital camera features 7 megapixels, macro mode and an in-built flash that can reach up to five feet underwater.

About the Author

You can have access to portuguese articles about digital cameras from page Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for

Digital Photography Secrets!