Curious About Digital Photography

Having a digital camera, whether you have a plan to make a career out of photography or you are simply a hobbyist, is obviously important. But before buying a digital camera, there will be a lot of things to take note of. Camera accessories are one but an important feature is photo software. Many are available in the market while you can also download some in the internet. Also, digital cameras cost more out of the box than regular cameras, but offer the convenience of immediate viewing, multiple image storage, computer connectivity - and there's no film to develop. Compare additional features you might want: interchangeable lenses, steady-shot, burst mode, auto exposure, automatic white balance, voice memo, variable shutter speeds, manual focus and self-timer.

During photography's entire history, the amateur and the professional have represented distinct and often contrary approaches to photography, each battling for supremacy. Has the digital revolution tilted the field of battle irrevocably in the amateur's favour? Or has it swept this traditional rivalry into the dustbin? Can anyone say? For the 19th-century practitioner, photography was fraught with personal and technical adversity. The darkroom environment was equally challenging: space was constrained, and in smaller field tents the photographer had to kneel or lie down to work. Ventilation was poor or non-existent, and lightproofing faulty. Digital photography is starting to become accessible to the average consumer. Camera prices are falling and image quality is improving. Compared to conventional 35-mm photography, there is no film or processing costs, and results are immediately viewable so a re-shoot can be made quickly if needed. Plus there are more and more applications where digital images are more convenient and cost effective.

Normally our eyes compensate for lighting conditions with different color temperatures. A digital camera needs to find a reference point which represents white. It will then calculate all the other colors based on this white point. For instance, if a halogen light illuminates a white wall, the wall will have a yellow cast, while in fact it should be white. So if the camera knows the wall is supposed to be white, it will then compensate all the other colors in the scene accordingly. Most digital cameras feature automatic white balance whereby the camera looks at the overall color of the image and calculates the best-fit white balance. However these systems are often fooled especially if the scene is dominated by one color, say green, or if there is no natural white present in the scene. Most digital cameras also allow you to choose a white balance manually, typically sunlight, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent etc. Prosumer and SLR digital cameras allow you to define your own white balance reference. Before making the actual shot, you can focus at an area in the scene which should be white or neutral gray, or at a white or gray target card. The camera will then use this reference when making the actual shot.

Quality sports shots are somewhat difficult to come by. Most people have limited access to events to photograph them. The further away you are from the event, the harder it becomes to capture the event in a pleasing manner. You may need a flash with a high output for photographing indoor events.The new modern flash systems produce great results. Some sporting events like gymnastics and others are no-flash events. It is best to talk to an event official before using your flash.

JPEG is a format that makes changes to your photograph, such as adding lighting specifications or white balance. This is usually the best thing to save your picture as, because the results are generally satisfactory and the computer is smart about interpreting the data. However, sometimes you may want to take the raw photograph, which is the picture that has nothing added to it such as light specifications, and edit it yourself. You should do this if you are unsatisfied with the picture taken by the camera, as it is easier than trying to edit a JPEG image. In general, JPEG images are not as detailed as raw images which makes editing them difficult.

Redeye is a common occurrence in photographs. It occurs most often at night, because the pupils dilate to let in more light. When this happens, the flash of the camera reflects to the very back of the retina, creating redeye. Many cameras have settings to compensate, flashing a red light into the eye before taking the picture in order for the pupils to contract. However, if it is too dark, this setting won't make much of a difference. There are several ways to account for this, one of which is having the subject of the photograph look away from the lens. If there is still a problem, most photo editing programs have red-eye removal.

How do you begin to take good photos? The first thing to remember is this: It's the photographer that takes great photos, not the camera. Think about that for a minute. It's true isn't it? I've seen some people take great photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera, while some take lousy shots with the most expensive SLR. Always look for beautiful natural light. The best natural light usually occurs right before, after, and during sunrise and sunset. Be deliberate and creative. Think about what would make a good background, what would make for good colors. When you set out on a picture-taking spree, shoot 10 to 25 pictures so that you can be sure of getting a good shot. Vary the distance, setting, poses, or even the times of day.

By: David Peters