20 Beginner Tips For Taking Digital Photography

Digital cameras are one of the greatest inventions of modern times. We are so fortunate to have this modern convenience called Digital Photography. To be able to capture a precious moment or beautiful scene at the click of a button, is something we should not take for granted.

Many beginners find digital photography rather challenging and rightly so. Today, more and more digital cameras are being created and it seems like the more digital cameras they make, the more difficult they become to use.

I own a Canon Powershot S3 IS. I purchased this digital camera about a year ago and I still haven't utilized all of the awesome little features this camera has to offer. Now you may not want or even need a camera with this many features. It really depends on the type of pictures you plan
on taking.

Regardless of the camera you own or are planning to own, you should have a well rounded knowledge of digital photography. I hope the following 20 tips for taking digital photography will prove to be useful in your quest for taking better photographs.

  1. Know your camera. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not taking time to learn about the features of your camera. Don't be lazy. Read your instruction manual.
  2. When shooting sunny outdoor shots, try adjusting your white balance setting from auto to cloudy. The auto setting will make your shots appear too cold. When you change it to cloudy, it will increase the warmth of your pictures.
  3. If you are looking for superior image quality, the ability to use a variety of lenses and print large high quality photos, then considering upgrading to a Digital SLR Camera.
  4. Use your flash outdoors. Sometimes, even on a sunny day outdoors, there is still a need for a flash. If the sun is directly over head or behind your subject, this can cause dark shadows to appear on the face. The flash will help lighten the subjects face.
  5. Sometimes simply turning your camera and taking vertical shots can make a world of difference. Experiment more with vertical picture taking.
  6. Do not put your subjects directly in the center of your shot. Move your subject off center to inject more life into your photos.
  7. Learn how to hold your digital camera. One of the most common problems beginners face is the shaking of the camera because they are not holding it properly. Of course, the best way to avoid shaking the camera is to use a tripod. If you don't have a tripod, then you should be holding your camera with two hands. Put one hand on the right hand side of your camera where you actually snap the photo and the other hand will support the weight of your camera. Depending on the camera, your left hand will either be positioned on the bottom or around your lens.
  8. Learn about the "Rule of Thirds". This is a well known principle of photographic composition that every beginner should become familiar with. Do a search online and you will find many tutorials on this subject.
  9. Look at other photographers work. Just spending time studying the work of other photographers can provide loads of inspiration.
  10. Join online photography communities. Get active and ask questions.
  11. Do not compare your photography to anyone else.
  12. Do not copy the work of other photographers.
  13. Do not leave your batteries in your camera if you don't plan on using your camera for long periods of time. Some batteries run the risk of leaking and this can damage your camera.
  14. Subscribe to a good photography magazine. Purchase books on photography.
  15. Find experienced photographers to go out on shoots with.
  16. Post your photographs in online forums. Learn to accept criticism.
  17. Try taking your pictures in RAW format. RAW is a powerful option available in today's digital cameras where no in-camera processing takes place. This allows you to do all processing using your favorite image editing software.
  18. Don't buy the most expensive photography equipment right away. Practice and learn about photography first using cheaper equipment. After you have been taking pictures for some time, you will then know what kind of equipment you will need.
  19. Invest in a tripod. Some of us have very shaky hands. If you can't stop the shakes, then get a tripod. It will make a world of difference.
  20. If you are not able to carry your equipment with you everywhere, make sure you have a note pad handy. This way if you find a nice shot, you can write it down and visit that location at a later date.
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Photography - Understanding Digital Image Formats

Images produced by digital cameras now rival the quality of our finest photographic film stocks. But the nature of a digital image shares almost nothing in common with the analog image captured in a film emulsion.
An image captured in film is an incredibly complex physical object that has a life of its own, and can be interpreted directly by inspection with the human eye. A digital image, on the other hand, is an electronic representation of a scene - a sequence of numbers specifying red, green, and blue light intensities that requires some form of software to render it into a visual form that can be displayed on a suitable imaging device, like a photo-printer.

When an image is captured digitally, it is done with a mosaic of light-sensitive electronic pixels. These pixels are actually independent square-shaped photodiodes which are arranged in the form of a large tiled surface. Well, large from the point of view of a single pixel, since if we were to enlarge the pixel to the size of a kitchen floor tile, then the area covered by the entire image sensor would be about the same as that of a football stadium.

A typical medium-resolution digital camera might have about 4000 electronic pixels arrayed along one edge of its image sensor, and about 2500 along the other, making for around 10 million pixels overall. The image sensor in this case would be said to have a 10 megapixel resolution.
Now, when an image is recorded electronically, what each pixel on the sensor measures is the amount of energy the light imparts to it during the photographic exposure. Or in simpler terms, the brightness of the light. This large array of numbers is known as the RAW format of the image. It is, in effect, the digital equivalent of the film negative (or positive in the case of slide film), since it carries ALL the information associated with the exposure.

As it happens, you cannot simply interpret these RAW image records in a color-by-the-numbers type fashion. If you were to assign the color and brightness of each pixel to a corresponding printed pixel on a piece of photographic paper, or on a computer screen, you would not see a pleasing representation of the scene that was photographed.
The reason for this is that the way our eyes respond to color brightness is different than the way electronic pixels respond to it. Our eyes are less responsive to large changes in brightness than are electronic pixels. The RAW numbers need to be processed in a way that compensates for this difference.
What this means is that a lot of number crunching needs to be performed to get the best result from our RAW image before it is printed in any form. This might be done inside the camera if you want to immediately see a preview of the result on your camera's LCD screen. Or it might be done using complex image processing software on your PC, once you have downloaded the image. Until then, the RAW image needs to be stored for later use.

Unfortunately, in the race to conquer the digital photography landscape, digital camera manufacturers adopted a first-to-build is first-to-dominate philosophy and created their own proprietary versions of the RAW image format. A Canon RAW image, therefore, is formatted differently than a Nikon RAW image for the exact same image. Due to the proliferation of RAW formats, image processing software now has to cope with hundreds of competing RAW image formats. In practice this is just not possible, so your imaging processing software (if it comes from a vendor other than your camera manufacturer) is likely to support only the major RAW formats, like for example Nikon's NEF format, Canon's CR2 format, and Fuji's RAF format.
This situation is likely to improve in time, however. Adobe has entered the digital imaging fray by publishing an open standard for a RAW image format that it calls Digital Negative, or DNG. Slowly, camera manufacturers, like Hasselblad, Leica, Ricoh, and Samsung are building DNG support into their cameras, and with luck the larger players in the field will follow suit.

What this means, assuming that a standard such as DNG is adopted, is that when a photographer captures an image, stores it in RAW format, and then forgets about it for 10 years, they won't discover, when they get around to retrieving it again, that their image format has been obsoleted and there is no longer any software that can render the file into a viewable and printable image. For large corporations with millions of archived images to preserve, this kind of problem represents a logistic nightmare, and it is very costly to stay on top it.
In the long run, a standardized RAW format will ensure archival integrity of images, reduce headaches for unwary photographers the world over, and save them both time and money. DNG support is currently available in Adobe software packages such as Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements, and will likely migrate to third party image software packages as the standard is embraced. Adobe also offers a free Digital Negative Converter from its site which allows forward-thinking photographers to convert their existing RAW image format files into a DNG version as well.

As has been mentioned, software is needed to convert a RAW format image into one that can be displayed and printed. This is analogous to the "development" process for negative film. The most common image display format is JPEG (which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group). The JPEG format is one that can support a great deal of compression, so that the final viewable image is substantially smaller in size (number of bytes) than the RAW image file. This means it can be sent on to others easily, via email for example. The JPEG format is also an industry standard image format, so the file can be opened and read by all commercial image processing software and a large number of open source image software packages.
Another standard image format is TIFF. However, TIFF file sizes are generally much larger than those for the equivalent JPEG image, so they are used mostly by professionals who need to produce large print reproductions with high resolution. In fact, the DNG standard is based on a version of TIFF.

Various image processing algorithms are applied to RAW images to convert them into printable form. This includes performing white balancing, which is the means by which an unwanted overall color cast is removed from the image. When a color cast is present, a photographed all-white object will render with an off-white component that subtracts from image fidelity. The RAW image stored by your digital camera will likely have a record of the white balancing correction used when the image was created, but you are free to adjust this when editing the image derived from the RAW format.

It is important to appreciate that when you are trying to the create the best possible printable image, you need to start with the original RAW image file. Once a printable version has been created, such as a JPEG version, the applied image processing algorithms have "tossed out" a great deal of image information that was deemed unnecessary. These lossy operations are irreversible, and they limit your remaining options for tinkering with the image should you decide that the result is not quite what you are after. The solution is to return to the RAW format file and start over.

Because the differences in file sizes are so great, if you are not concerned with collecting RAW image files and processing them for the perfect image at a later date, you should consider allowing your camera to create JPEG images as the default, and ignore the RAW format altogether. This will improve the responsiveness of your camera, because you do not have to store the large RAW images to your memory card. If, for example, you are photographing a sports event, your frame-rate when shooting in the continuous mode will be greatly improved. Also, you will be able to record a much higher number of images to your memory card before it fills up.

On the other hand, if you will be photographing something of importance, do consider the implications of not using the RAW format to record your images. You might regret it later.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_J_Carter
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Photographs Everywhere, But Is It Really Art?

I once heard a lady say to a photographer that she would have bought his work if it had been a painting. She liked the image, but for whatever reason didn't consider the medium suitable for her “it's just a photo”.
I am sure that some share her thoughts, whilst others would be quite happy either way, but a growing number of people do recognise photography as an Art form. And collect it.
“There are three fundamental components of what we call art. First, is the artist; second, is the medium; and third is the artwork. All three, clearly are interrelated.' --- Tad Beckman ---

Defining Photographic Art

It is true many people do regard photography as merely a reproductive medium, and the photographer as simply the technician. And if this were just about your holiday snaps then it would be a valid point.
So let's start with my definition of photographic art. I say my definition because there is no stock answer it means different things to different people.
For me it's about creating a beautiful image that is an interpretation of the scene that I saw in my mind captured on film, rather than just a recording of what is already there.
It's about the photographer being the choreographer of the various components; the composition is critical, as is the lighting, weather conditions and the colours at play.
It's not just about pressing the shutter release, although timing is everything. Patience comes into play too, as you wait for all the components to be perfect all at the same time.
Some things you can control, but the weather well that constantly throws out surprises that can add that hint of drama to a picture or send you home disappointed.
It's these uncertainties that add the challenge, and this results in creativity as you respond to the situation. Other photographers will have their own criteria, but we all are producing very personal pieces of work that we feel passionate about and that are a representation of our interpretation of the world.

A Photograph - More Than Just A Sheet Of Paper With An Image On It?

Oh yes! Typically a photographer will capture an image that pleases their eye. They will create something that is close to their heart, and therefore give a little of themselves in the image.
Effectively they are allowing you to see how they perceive the world to be, one moment at a time. Add into the fact that many photographers print their own work (once they have an order!), and sign it then you could say you are buying a piece of history - or designer art!
In other words you are not buying a mass produced print, and naturally the price reflects this. You are buying into the reputation of that photographer and you will expect to pay more. When someone is starting out and building reputation then you are investing in the potential of that person.
You won't pay as much, but you'll be backing your own instinct and demonstrating your belief in that person's talent. Contemporary photography is affordable art.

Subject Matter - Does It Matter?
Personally I don't believe it does, and I mean this in the sense that people will be drawn to your work because they have seen something of yours and liked your style, and typically that means they like your choice of subject matter too.
My preference is for landscapes and increasingly flowers, whilst other photographers prefer sport, people or a more abstract approach to name but a few.
I think the key to preserving artistic integrity is to shoot for your own personal satisfaction, although naturally as your reputation builds you will develop an understanding of what collectors want, but for me I always have to love the image myself to want to share it with the world. Anything less and it stays in the drawer!
I still experiment, and search for new subject matter, but my photographic style is what it is. It just keeps evolving.

A New Language
Understanding the language of the image is something quite individual to the viewer, it does not explain itself in the same way to each person. It is subjective. And although some may view photography as easy, believing that there own point and shoot cameras can produce similar results to a master photographer are confusing the issue.
After all most of us have made paintings at some time in our lives, and may still own paint brushes, but wouldn't necessarily look at a painting by a master and not consider it to be art would we?
It is the heart and hand of the author behind the brush, camera or pen that executes the creative vision not the tools used.

Copyright © 2004, Sue Kennedy
About the author: Sue Kennedy, LRPS & LBIPP Sue Kennedy is an UK based photographer specialising in outdoor photography and works on commission for companies & individuals as well as shooting for picture libraries. To purchase from Sue’s current print and card selection visit her Website: http://www.blueeyesphoto.com
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Travel and Scenic Photography 101


When you're driving through the mountains somewhere, and you notice a car parked half off the road and some guy leaning to the left to avoid a branch with his Rebel 2000 camera in the act of focusing, you've met me. I do this because, to me, a trip isn't fulfilling unless I've preserved that beauty for posterity. I'd like to share some of the techniques that make scenic photography such a wonderful artform - simple, yet elegant.
First off, equipment. As much as the cheapo disposable camera beckons, get real. These cameras have fisheye lenses which I call "spam" lenses. They cram everything in, with equal blurriness and boringness. Good photos are sharp, unless you use blur for artistic effect. Sharp comes from an adjustable lens. It can be a fixed lens or a zoom, but it must focus specially for each picture. Fixed lenses are limiting for scenic pictures, where to frame the shot you may need to move long distances. Imagine using a fixed lens on the Washington Monument, when you're half a block away! Zooms get my vote, even though they often don't have as wide an aperture, which limits their capabilities in low light situations.

Practically speaking, an SLR is the absolute best. They are lightweight, and can be used with top quality lenses. Film SLRs tend to be less expensive, but have the limitations of film, meaning you have to get it developed and so forth. Digital SLRs are VERY expensive, so for the budget conscious either go with a film SLR or a high quality basic digital camera. With digital, resolution is also a critical factor, so look at the specs before you buy.
OK, we've got the camera, emotions are running high, and that's great, but not too great! Sometimes I find a spot that is so wonderful, I start shooting like a madman, only to be disappointed by the pictures. What happened? Emotions. When you experience a place, there are sounds, aromas and breezes as well as the visuals of the spot. Needless to say, you can't photograph all of these elements, only the visual. When overwhelmed by the spectacle of a scenic hotspot, we are often overwhelmed by all of these elements.
So what to do? Look through your camera. The viewfinder does not lie (usually). Try to see what you are looking at as the finished picture. Most people perfunctorily take pictures, hoping that somehow the shot will come out great. If you wonder how the pictures came out when you are on the way to the drug store to get them, you're doing something wrong. At the moment you click the pic, you should know exactly what you will get. (Of course with digital, that's not a trick!).

Now, I was a tad dishonest in saying that you can't capture all of the elements of a scene. You can hint at them. For starters, motion. Yes, even in a still picture, there is motion. Something happened before, during and after your picture. In a mountain vista scene, you may find something that hints at motion, whether it be a branch of a tree that has been swaying in the breeze, or a river flowing through the valley below. These add a sense of motion.

Then there's the "rule of thirds." When you place the main object of the picture smack-dab in the middle, it is static and boring. Place it one third of the way from either side, and you IMPLY motion. Put the horizon in a landscape photo a third of the way up or down, not across the middle.
Remember, when a person looks at a picture, their eyes move. You want to frame your photo to help that movement. If you can find some lines in the scene, such as a skyline, cloud formation, path through the forest, etcetera, use it interestingly, and with the rule of thirds to draw your viewer's eyes into the picture.
Avoid "summit syndrome." You get to the top of Mount Washington and shoot the majestic vista. Great. The pictures come out ... boring! How? No PERSPECTIVE. Big vistas will be flat unless you have an object in the foreground, such as a rock or a tree, to give them perspective. Then the eye really grasps how big this scene is. People enjoying the view is a real winner, because the viewer may identify with their emotions, giving the image real impact.

Cheese! Yes, you do have to take the family photos. It's obligatory. But when you do, make sure that they show the LOCATION of the photo. Otherwise, you might as well do it on your driveway. Frame the scene in context, with landmarks as part of the picture. Find a way to tell as story in the picture, such as little Sara climbing up the rocks by the waterfall.

Finally, any element in the picture that hints at more senses than just the visual will make it remarkable. Actor headshots for example, tell a story about the subject. You can almost hear them saying their next lines. If you photograph a garden, the viewer may experience the aroma of the flowers. A tourist street with an accordion player on the corner may have your amazed friends whistling "Dixie."
In summation, picture taking on travel is recording the experience in a satisfying way. Use motion, perspective, sensory, storytelling and so forth, to bring your photos to life. Oh, and needless to say, make your job easy and go to great places! See you at the overlook!

Article Source : http://EzineArticles.com
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How to shoot sports action

For the photo shoot is a very difficult sport to be able to capture the goodmoments that only happen in a split second. If you've mastered thisphotographic technique it will be very helpful if you want to take other types of photography such as; fotojurnalisme, wedding candid, street photographyand so forth.

There are several ways that might be a little help you :

     1.  Use the right lens.

Inevitably you have to use a telephoto lens photography to be able to practice this technique with ease. Because you probably do not shootsports action from a close range. For beginners, we can use 80-200mmlens or with a longer lens.
     2.  Use a monopod.
Monopod usage could be more practical and mobile follow the action than the Tripod to be a little inconvenient, impractical and eating places. Amonopod to reduce camera shake and reduce the heavy burden of the camera.
     3.  Fill your frame.
Fulfill your photo frame with pictures that attract attention and action by themoments that are not easily forgotten.
     4.  Capture the emotion object.
In the photograph the action and sports are very interesting if we couldcapture the expressions and emotions object when in the act.
     5.  The right moment.
The ball was kicked in a soccer game, the motor is in the attractionmotorcycle jumping, sharp action smash in badminton matches aremoments immortalized on the right for each sport so that it can producedramatic photographs.
     6.  Use a shutter speed.
You can be creative with a high shutter speed when you want to freeze the motion of your favorite sports action or use a slow shutter speed todramatize the patterns of movement as slow-motion blur.
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