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Photography Mastery

Digital photography is quickly becoming the preferred way to take pictures.

If you are in the market for a new camera, consider the following advantages of digital over traditional film photography.

In the long run, digital is less expensive. All photos recorded are on a memory device within the camera and then downloaded straight to your computer.

You skip the need to keep buying rolls of film and paying for developing. You can send unlimited copies of the same picture to friends and relatives without spending a penny extra.

You see your pictures quicker. Most digital cameras allow you to view your photos immediately. There is no waiting and worrying about whether or not that “perfect shot” turned out.

You can take a picture of that new baby and immediately download it to your computer to share your good news with friends and relatives. There’s no need for anxious grandparents to wait for days or even weeks for a picture.

Most digital cameras have built-in editing features. Cropping and re-centering the picture to make it look its best can be done easily. You no longer have to worry about a stray hand distracting from the main subject of your photo. Sharpening can be done immediately to bring out the details.  Within minutes you can have a print-perfect photo.

You avoid the frustration of running out of film and having to find a store that is open in the middle of an important event or on vacation. 

Depending on the size of your memory card and the setting of file size and quality, which you often control, you can store a couple of hundred pictures on one tiny card. That is the equivalent of nine or ten rolls of film. 

These are just a few of the advantages of digital photography. It is definitely worth considering as you search for your next new camera.

Contents

The History Of Digital Photography

Photography has gone a long way from the early attempts at capturing images using the camera obscura to today’s digital photography.

However, photography’s development has never been as fast as the development is seen today in the digital age.

Digital photography began with the concept of digitizing images for the use of astronauts when having missions on planets.

A company called Texas Instruments also designed a filmless analog camera in 1972, but it was never produced.

However, the first digital camera was built by Steven Sasson of Kodak three years later. Unlike the compact cameras of today, Sasson’s creation was a bulky eight-pound camera that took 23 seconds to capture an image to a cassette and another 23 seconds to play it back on a television screen. The first image had a resolution of 0.01 megapixels but it was a start.

There were other attempts at building digital cameras, but it was only in the late 1980s when the first true digital camera was created. The Fuji DS-1P was built in 1988 but it was never mass-marketed.

The 1990s saw the rise of commercially available digital cameras. They were, however, pricey at first and had very low image resolutions. But later developments led to more consumer-friendly prices and better resolutions.

Today, digital photography has crossed over to different gadgets aside from the digital camera. Most cellular phones and PDAs now have cameras built into them. Some even have resolutions as big as 5 megapixels.

But unlike professional digital cameras, phone cameras can only save pictures in a compressed JPG format.

All About Photography

Photography is the art of reproducing pictures of people, objects or places in their exact likeness. These images can be transferred to any photosensitive material. Photography includes taking and printing pictures.

The backbone of photography is the camera, the instrument or device that works on the principle of optics. The camera and photographic techniques have undergone phenomenal changes since the time the first camera was made.

The earlier model did not contain the film; instead, it had a small light-shield box with a lens and translucent screen on either side. The image that traveled through the lens was stored on the screen. Known as ‘camera obscura,’ it was no more than a sketching device for artists.

Then the scientists discovered the quality of silver nitrate that changes its color when exposed to light. This was the beginning of photogram, a method of making permanent images.

They would place objects on the paper dipped in silver nitrate and expose it to the sunlight. After some time, the area covered under the object stayed white while the rest of the space turned black. However, the image formed was temporary, so the method did not last long.

Over the centuries, the principles, the method and the material used in photography went through many changes. After experimenting with various methods like Daguerre and calotype process, finally collodion, or the wet plate technique was universally accepted.

Modern photography has given a totally new meaning to the entire perception of life and privacy. Photography has made it possible to capture and preserve special moments, in private and in public life.

History became more authentic with pictures, and photographs served as evidence in many cases. People made their family tree in their albums. Suddenly life was so much more fun and meaningful.

With the tremendous technological advances in the art of photography, it is no more just fun and frolic but has acquired the dimensions of a full-fledged profession.

Photography has many branches and types, such as:

  • Aerial photography is the art of taking photographs from the air.
  • Art photography is devoted to beautiful pictures for the sake of beauty only.
  • Studio or advertising photography is dedicated to the promotion of products and institutions.
  • Photojournalism takes pictures of events to support the news story and to create awareness among the people.
  • Outdoor and travel photography is focused on taking pictures of landscapes and natural places.
  • Sports photography records images of sporting events and games that take place in the world.
  • Some types of photography like the macro and scientific and macro or close up photography are restricted to specific fields and are not widely known.

The charm of photography lies as much in the end product as in the process of taking pictures. Looking at an album is like taking a trip down memory lane; it makes us feel highly nostalgic and emotional.

Chapter 1: Tips To Help You Master Digital Photography

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Have you already mastered the art of taking photos without ‘red-eye’ syndrome? Are there some pictures that you know you should have turned out a lot better than they did? It happens to all of us – even the expert photographers.

Here are five tips to help you move from beginner to Master of Digital Photography, whether you’re using your cell phone or a point-and-shoot camera to snapshots.

Compose Carefully

One of the most basic digital photography tips is to pay attention to what’s in the frame of the viewfinder. Fill the frame. Nothing but blue sky, for instance, behind a single subject throws off the proportions of the photo and decreases interest.

You can also turn the camera sideways to see if a vertical photo might have more impact than a horizontal shot of the same subject.

You can also try positioning your subject off to the side, rather than in the center of the photograph.

Take Great Close up Photos

Your digital camera has a “macro mode” – think of it as a super magnifying glass. An extreme close up of something like flower petals can bring out textures that you never knew existed and will add excitement to your photos. Play with this feature, you will find dozens of ways to use it to enhance your pictures.

Buy a Tripod

Digital cameras are prone to blurry photographs if your hands shake even a little bit. Several companies manufacture light, portable, inexpensive versions. Digital photography tips like this can save you hours of frustration and preserve otherwise perfect shots.

Get Active

Take your shot from the top of a teeter-totter, off the side of the boat, or standing on your head. Thinking outside the box can really pay off in unexpected ways. You will truly get once in a lifetime shot by adding a bit of creativity to your thinking.

Take a Class

Are you still hungry for digital photography tips? There’s nothing like practice to improve your photography – except practice plus experience gained by learning from a pro. You can find photography classes online, at your local recreation centers, and community colleges.

Becoming an expert at digital photography takes time; you won’t become a professional photographer in your first week. Just keep trying new methods each time you use your camera, and before long, your friends and family will be admiring your newfound skills.

Tips In Better Photography

Taking a good photo isn’t as hard as you may think. You don’t need the most expensive camera or years of experience, just 10 simple tips.

Enjoy!

Tip 1 – Use All Your Available Space

Don’t be afraid to use all the space in your photo. If you want to take a picture of something, it’s ok for it to take up the whole shot with no or very little background showing. Keep distractions out of your shot

Tip 2 – Study Forms

This is a vital aspect of photography. Understanding forms in your photos. Don’t see an object, see its shape and its form and find the best angle to photograph it from. The form is all around us and I highly suggest you read as many books on it as possible.

Tip 3 – Motion In Your Photos

Never have motion in your photos if you are photographing a still object. If there is something moving while you are trying to photograph a stationery object, your photo won’t turn out anywhere near as well. Also never put a horizon line in the center of your frame.

Tip 4 – Learn To Use Contrasts Between Colors

Some of the best photos have shades of white, gray and black. You can take great shots with just one color on your subject, but the contrasts between colors in a shot is what makes you a great photographer.

Tip 5 – Get Closer To Your Subject

This is one of the biggest mistakes most photographers make, not getting close enough to their subject. Get up and personal and close the distance gap. You can always reshape and resize a good shot but you can’t continue to blowup a distant object.

Tip 6 – Shutter Lag

Shooting action shots with digital cameras can be tricky due to shutter lags. What this means is, when you press the button to take the photo, it can take up to a second for the shutter to take a photo, by that time what you were photographing would have moved or changed somehow.

This means you have to compensate for shutter lag by predicting what your subject is going to do and taking the photo just before it takes the action you want. More expensive digital cameras don’t have this problem.

Tip 7 – Pan

If you are taking an action shot and your shutter speed is slow, pan with the object. Follow through with the subject, from start to finish and one of those shots will be a winner. You have more chance of getting a good shot if you take more than one photo.

Tip 8 – Continuous Shots

To pan, as I suggested above you will need a camera that does continuous shots and doesn’t need to stop and process after every shot.

Tip 9 – How To Take Fantastic Night Time Shots

Nighttime shots can be spectacular, almost magical…. if done right! If not, they can look horrible. Really horrible. Without adequate lighting, even good cameras can turn out crappy photos if the photographer doesn’t know what he or she is doing.

Tip 10 – Study Your Manual

If your digital camera has a special night time mode, read the manual and follow their instructions on how to use it properly.

Chapter 2: Starting a Photography Business

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The very first thing to do if you want to make money from your photographs is to learn how to create great images.

In the world of fashion photography – sharpness sells. The subject of how to make a great image is too complex for this chapter however, the following points are important:

  • Have a good camera with manual controls.
  • Know how to use it and use it well.
  • Have a good eye for detail, composition and color.
  • Always be ready to grab an opportunity when it presents itself.

If you happen to be driving through amazing Canadian roads and come across a deer (or a bunch of them), get your camera! Watch for sunsets, moonrise, cloud formations and tree shapes. Keep a sharp eye on your pets for weird and funny poses.

Visit flower shops and exhibitions. Flower pictures are many photographers’ bread and butter and they can be easily photographed. Greeting card markets love photos of flowers, gardens, sunsets, skyscrapers and cute photos of animals. Wildlife and nature are great for calendars and geographic magazines as well as educational fields.

Diversity and quality are the biggest aspects of photography. The wider the range of topics you cover, the more likely you will get a sale. Anyone can make a good living from stock photos.

Freelance photographer Dmitri Markine sells just as many photos taken from his own backyard as from exotic and far away locations. If you love traveling, put your holidays to work for you. Travel guides, brochures and websites could be possible markets for your photos. Take photographs everywhere you go!

So, what to do with that fantastic shot? The edges are sharp as a razor, while the clarity would bring joy to many publishers; the main thing to aim for with an image is to sell it to multiple markets. This is taken care of if you submit to a stock agency.

They sell to large corporations as well as small businesses. It’s a perfect way to gain some exposure and see what’s out there. You don’t have to be responsible for selling your own stuff, but to have more sales, it’s always good to try to sell the photos yourself (websites, galleries, etc.)

It is important for any photographer to keep a portfolio of his work to show. You never know when you’ll meet a prospective buyer who wants to look at your work. No one will not be impressed if you have to dig through a dusty desk to scrape them together or use email to send them to clients.

Have a printed portfolio as well as a web-based portfolio.  When you do get a sale, don’t charge a large amount just because the picture only took a few minutes of your time. You’ve spent years learning your craft. You spend a considerable amount on equipment, advertising and education and your photos are worth a decent figure.

If you really know what you are talking about and can take a fantastic shot, think of submitting it to a publication or a magazine, along with all the details of the precise equipment you used and a step-by-step guide of your procedure.

A bit of a challenge perhaps, but worth the effort. There are many other markets to consider too; all kinds of magazines, newspapers, travel guides and books.

So, grab your camera and don’t stop shooting! Photography is an art and the more you practice the better you will become. No famous photographers became like that overnight. We all spent sleepless nights perfecting our craft.

Stock Photos That Sell

If you want to make money with stock photography, you’ll have to follow some basic guidelines, no matter if you shoot for a microstock site or a traditional stock photography agency.

Shoot Photos That Sell

That’s by far the most important point. Would you pay for an image of your neighbors’ mother-in-law? Or of his dog? Of course not! No one would, perhaps not even your neighbor himself.

Likewise, professional photo buyers don’t care for those kinds of images. What they are looking for are photos that illustrate concepts, like career, relationship or retirement. Business related photos generally sell very well.

Photos of handshakes sell well because shaking hands is a universal, widely understood idea that can be used to illustrate negotiations, contracts, treaties and even things like breaking-up or divorce.

Travel photography can sell well if it can be used to illustrate concepts. For example, a photo of the Houses of Parliament in London can be used to illustrate democracy or governmental topics.

Avoid Legal Pitfalls

Most stock photography agencies have strict rules regarding images of people (if the people in the photo are recognizable), property (if the image of the property can lead to its owner, e.g. a license plate on a car), and trademarked logos or items anywhere in the image.

If in doubt, don’t submit such images. If you want to sell images with recognizable people in them, all agencies will require you to provide so-called “model releases”. A model release is a document with which the photographed person permits you to sell the image without the need of compensation.

Obtaining a signed model release from ordinary people is next to impossible, so you might be better off to either weed those images out or hire professional models.

Keywording Is The Key To Success, Literally

No matter how good your photos are, they won’t sell if no one can find them. All stock sites let you tag or keyword your images. A good approach to keywording is to answer six simple questions for each image: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

For example, let’s suppose you have a bunch of nice healthcare-related images, shot in a hospital. Answering “Who?” you might find “doctor”, “nurse”, or “patient”. Answer “What” to come up with “lancet” or “stethoscope”.

Answering “Where” yields “hospital,” “waiting room” or “theatre,” while “When” gives “morning,” “afternoon” or any other time of day or year. Ask yourself “Why” to evoke concepts like “sickness,” “comfort” or “patience.” Finally, “How” can refer to the photographic technique involved: It could be “black and white” or “monochrome,” it might be “blurred” et cetera.

Keep The Noise Down

Always keep in mind that the end-user of your image may want to print it out eventually. The larger the print size the more noticeable noise will be.

Noise is induced by your digital camera’s sensor and is something digital photographers have to live with, much like traditional photographers had to live with film grain. Generally speaking, the smaller (area wise) the sensor size and the higher the ISO sensitivity the higher the noise will be.

Ways To Earn Money With Digital Cameras and Photo Printers

When it comes to the internet and the advancements of modern technology, the revenue-generating options are truly unlimited. One way that many people are finding great success as entrepreneurs is through the use of their digital cameras and photo printers.

Whether you use your digital knowledge to enter photo contests using images taken with your digital camera or choose to start an online auction business, the use of both camera and photo printer is essential.

With entrepreneurship in mind, the following five tips may help to get you started on the road to success using nothing more than your digital camera and photo printer.

  1. Start an eBay business and use your digital camera to take pictures for inclusion in your auctions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much money will it be worth for your auction? After all, would you buy something without seeing it?
  2. Become an amateur photographer using your digital camera and print out the images using a realistic photo printer, which can use either black or color ink.
  3. Create personalized calendars by taking a photo with your digital camera, incorporating it into a calendar creation program and print them out using a photo printer. These are extremely popular at craft shows and flea markets.
  4. Take photos using your digital camera and incorporate them into a program that manipulates photos. You can even take two photos and merge them together. For instance, take a photo of two sunflowers and another of your two best friends.

    Download the images from your digital camera onto the computer and manipulate them so that the faces of your two best friends are inside of the sunflowers. Print this photo using your photo printer and use it as an example of your new digital imagery business. These, too, are extremely popular at craft shows.
  5. Using nothing more than a digital camera and quality photo printer, you can work in the publishing industry. Several years ago, a national magazine cover featuring a well-known celebrity was created with nothing more than a personal photo printer.

The magazine office was unable to make an e-mailed image work, so they enlisted the help of a writer who enlarged the photo and printed it out using a color photo printer. The print was then mailed to the magazine’s office, who then used the image as their full-color cover picture.

When purchasing any type of electronics, including digital cameras and photo printers, always pay close attention to the warranty and make sure that you are buying a quality name in technology.

Depending on your intended use, you may want to select a digital camera with a high pixel count and a photo printer capable of producing high DPI (dots per inch) images. Both will allow for better quality and more realistic photo creations.

Chapter 3: How To Be A Great Photographer

Take one camera (digital or analog) and film as needed. Put film into the camera (if necessary).

Snap shutter. Before snapping the shutter, point camera at a subject that will give the viewer a meaningful aesthetic experience.

For someone who has no idea of what a camera is, learning how to carry out the first part of the prescription should take anywhere from a week to a month. However, the second part will take from a few years to forever. It’s this part that I want to discuss.

There are several approaches to developing as a photographer:

Study Web Pages That Have Tips For Better Photographs

These will often help to tighten up your pictures. If you want to get a few ideas in a few minutes, this is the place to look.

Get Your Photographs Critiqued At An Appropriate Website

This is a good way to learn how others respond to your pictures. But be careful. Not all criticism is equal. Some of your evaluators may be experienced, professionals and other beginners.

If you are going to rely on this method, it is important that you learn enough to evaluate the evaluators.

Study The Work Of Acknowledged Great Artists

By taking this route you can learn what elements contribute to a fine photograph. This takes time and study. Don’t simply look at a few photos but read art criticism to find out what professional educators think and why.

One drawback here is that you won’t be able to see how your work measures up. If you plan to take this route and also join a critique website, you will be in a position to know which criticism to ignore and which to pay attention to.

Join A Photography Club

Clubs often have lectures, workshops, and juried shows. This can be a good hands-on learning experience.

Take A Class (Online Or In Person)

There are all sorts of classes. If you choose one that has assignments and feedback, you can be guided through the fundamentals of an experienced photographer.

Get A Coach

At this point, I have to say a few words about the difference between a competent photographer and a person who uses photography as an art form. The competent photographer will be able to produce pleasing postcard- or calendar-quality pictures that look like postcard and calendar pictures.

The artist will be able to take photographs that represent his or her vision of the world. If you are after the former and not the latter, you should choose among methods 1 through 6. A good coach should help you develop your unique way of seeing.

Go To An Art School

This, for people who have the time and the money, is by far the best. I studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. Here’s how it worked. I went to a photography class for two or three times a week.

At every class meeting, each student pinned 20-30 photographs to the wall and, under the supervision of an accomplished professional, we criticized our own and one another’s work.

We also took photography history classes as well as courses in other fields of art. Mine were film, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. There were frequent guest lecturers. We never learned any rules. In fact, rules were never mentioned.

But through a combination of years of exposure to all types of art, classical through contemporary, and having to produce 50-60 new photographs every week, we eventually learned what art was about.

There are many ways to improve your photography. Before you make your choice, you should decide on your goal. If you have little time and just want to tidy up your pictures a bit, read the tips pages.

On the other extreme, if your goal is to be an artist, there is nothing close to attending art school. Most people fall between these extremes.

Taking Professional Quality Pictures

By now I’m sure you’ve used Either a digital or film camera. You’ve taken pictures and had them developed and just weren’t satisfied with the Quality. You don’t need to be a professional or have a really expensive camera to take good photos.

Here are some tips that can help you take your photos from 0-100 in no time:

  • Master your camera (Focus, Flash, Red-Eye, Shooting Modes, etc.)
  • Take more pictures (especially with Digital).
  • Mix up your photos (portrait/Landscape).
  • Center your image around your target.
  • Never shoot into a source of light.
  • Try to use non-distracting backgrounds
  • Get Close – Zoom with your feet, not with a. button.
  • Take advantage of shadows and reflections.
  • Try different angles.
  • Pay attention to vertical/horizontal lines.
  • Shoot at the highest resolution available.
  • Use appropriate film for shooting scenarios.
  • Pay a little extra to have photos developed at a quality shop.

These are several tips that you can use to take higher quality pictures. It’s important to take time to learn how your camera works, and to test different shooting scenario’s (light, etc.)

Try some or all of the above tips and I’m sure you will be satisfied with the quality of your photos.

Chapter 4: The Art of Organic Photography

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Photography is a hobby for many but a passion for a few. In our day to day lives, most of us simply enjoy taking pictures, uploading them to the web, sharing them and preserving them for generations to come.

Photos are our way of looking back and cherishing those special moments in our lives – those special moments captured never to return.

Being successful in taking pictures and making them seem real is an art on its own – a separate art from the typical point-and-shoot snapshots – and it is only certain people who can capture the moment and make the picture speak more than a thousand words.

It is not only children who like to have their photographs were taken but also adults, as it gives them a chance to capture a moment and treasure it forever. Looking at soft, warm pictures, full of emotions, always melts one’s heart and it is a feeling which can forever be preserved and treasured whether offline or online in galleries such as Flickr or PhotoBucket. In and around San Francisco Bay Area, in places like Palo Alto, Berkeley and Oakland are homes to many families from very diverse ethnicities and cultures, who enjoy having their portraits taken – both adults and children alike.

Talking about renowned photographers, we must make a mention of Anat Reisman Kedem (also known as Anat Kedem), who is one such lady for whom photography is a passion and a way of life.

She lives in Foster City, near San Mateo, San Carlos, Belmont, and Burlingame in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, USA – and specializes in taking pictures of babies, toddlers, children (kids), pregnancy, maternity and families.

She has been recognized many times for her skills – and has a track record of shooting quality pictures, unique photos in natural lighting and surroundings in places such as Menlo Park and Sunnyvale, home to Silicon Valley companies, such as Intel, Cisco, SanDisk and Adobe – as well as the Great America park and the Round Table Pizza chain of restaurants.

Hillsborough, Atherton, Los Altos are beautiful small towns and home to generations of families living together. Natural settings as such can really make photos stand out – whether everyday photos or holiday season photos for Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays where family pictures are a joy to share.

Anat Reisman Kedem summarizes it best when she says: “I believe in taking pictures in a soft, natural ambiance and lighting, creating an atmosphere which adds depth and dimension to my photos.

To that end, I generally try to photograph either in the late hours of the afternoon or in the early morning hours when the sunlight romances the lens. While photographing, I will seek the alternative angle, that special look, an honest expression, or a captivating smile.

Pre-orchestrated or directed poses are practically out of the question. I simply don’t believe in doing things this way.”

Located at the tip of the Bay Area is Los Gatos, which borders with San Jose, San Carlos and Santa Clara. This town has many small and large families, with a setting that serves as a real-time, amazing backdrop and opportunity for taking photographs that showcase the town and its lovely residents. The suburban town of San Mateo is part of the Bay Area and has many country styles houses that form the perfect setting for that cozy photograph.

Known for the Coyote Point Park, its golf courses and beach – as well as its proximity to the San Francisco Airport (SFO), the ideal Mediterranean climate here paves the way for a calm and comfortable life.

Sausalito and Tiburon in Marin Country, as well as Redwood Shores, Foster City, Alameda and Santa Cruz also provide waterfront scenic backdrops like nowhere else – a perfect setting for perfect photos.

A person can not only enjoy the visuals but also learn more about a person through photographs. And in this way Anat has gone to prove that it is not necessary to have studio lighting, layers of makeup, or a designer dress for a person to look great and resonate warmth – be yourself and let your personality and natural aura shine through the photos, taken in a natural setting with no “artificial preservatives” of any kind.

In a sense, it’s organic photography. And it’s a talent only a few photographers possess

The Hidden Art of Digital Photography

Computers and cellular phones, mobility and microchips – these are the trademarks of the world today. We live in a world continually changed by technology.

Even the arts have continually changed due to technology. Think of it: from charcoal drawings to painting to photography to digital photography, we have come a long way in the visual arts. We have used various methods in capturing life and freezing time.

New technology is continually being developed to make art easier and more fun. However, you should know that the art of digital photography is not as simple as aim and shoot.

The art of digital photography needs skill in order to pull off properly. Although some people may reason out that digital photography art can always be edited, many people do not really know how much work editing can be.

Oh sure, we can say that technology has reached a level wherein a person needs to do practically nothing in order to achieve a great photograph, but of course, you need to know how to use the tools properly in order to do that.

The art of digital photography, in order to be truly mastered, needs three T’s: Time, talent and tactical placement of equipment. No, that’s not right.

You need time, talent and treasure. Just what does this mean?

Time – one cannot be an instant expert in digital photography. You need to take the time to learn all about it. Even though you are some sort of protégé who has the talents of a genius, you actually need the training to hone that talent.

Remember that for all its power, a steamroller cannot be used to do the work of a hammer. There is wisdom in harnessing power properly.

Taking the time to train yourself in the art of digital photography is something akin to sharpening a knife using a grindstone or forging a fine katana (that’s the Japanese samurai sword) by heating it and folding it over a thousand times -it may be painful, but it is necessary to produce the best.

Talent – of course, you need a bit of inherent talent in order to be truly great at the art of digital photography. You need to have an eye for the subjects that would make a great photograph. Otherwise, you will only end up being mediocre in a field that requires greatness.

Of course, proper training can actually enhance your inherent talent and help you sharpen your skills in the art of digital photography.

Treasure – as said before, you will need the proper tools in order to be successful in the art of digital photography. This means that you will need to invest a lot of cash.

Although there are a lot of digital art photography equipment that can be bought at inexpensive prices, the best equipment needs some serious pocket digging.

This, of course, tests your courage because there’s nothing scarier to a man than having to pull out his wallet in the name of an untested interest.

Once you have invested money in the art of digital photography, there’s no turning back.

The art of digital photography may seem like it requires a lot. However, in order to be truly successful in something you need love and love always requires sacrifice. You should keep that in mind.

Chapter 5: Black And White Digital Photography

There are several ways to achieve black and white digital photography.

With black and white digital photography, you are bringing the end-user back into a period of time when life seemed a lot simpler. Many digital cameras come equipped with a function to take these types of photos.

If your digital camera does not support this function, you can still change your photographs into black and white with software programs.

You’ll want your black and white digital photography to look its best when you are finished. A technique that can help you get the best image out of your digital photograph is through image manipulation.

You may find it better to convert your eight-bit color images (which are usually jpegs) into 16-bit colors first. This is important because an 8-bit RGB can be the same as a 10-bit grayscale.

You can find information all over the Internet to help you with your black and white digital photography. These resources can be found in everything from websites to magazines.

Colored pictures can look truly beautiful as a black and white display. You will usually have to convert your graphics because although there are options with digital cameras, there are no true black and white digital cameras.

Correct The Colorcasts

An important part of black and white digital photography is correcting the colorcasts. These are caused by bad lighting, but you can use software such as PhotoShop Elements to make the relevant changes by using their editing applications.

The Imaging Factory is also software that can help you to easily convert and fix lighting areas in your graphics to get the best look with your black and white digital photography.

If you want to turn your graphics into black and white digital photography, you can step into a completely new dimension in photography. You can do an endless array of projects right from your own computer.

The Classic Look Of A Black And White Photo

How stacked is your photo album? Are you keeping it updated as the years go by? Remember, you won’t ever get them back. It’s probably time to start preserving those special times.

When I flip open an old photo album and glance through the variety of black and white photos from my parents’ childhood, I am simply amazed.

For some reason, it’s hard to remember our parents were children once too. We only know them as the adults they have become. I want my children to be able to do the same thing with me one day.

So far, my wife and I have accumulated around a dozen photo albums. We have two or three of them made up of black and white photos.

Some people actually prefer black and white photos since they tend to hide imperfections a little better. However, nowadays digital cameras are so widespread and simple. So many photos are taken and downloaded to our laptops. This is much less expensive if you don’t print them out.

Do you take a lot of pictures? Well, if the answer is no, then you should start. Pictures are the keys to great memories. I noticed that I did not start taking oodles of photos until I had my first child. Suddenly, I wanted to preserve every single pose. Some of my favorites are black and white photos.

These old-school pictures have a certain presence all their own. It’s almost like they show a deeper emotion. There’s something to be said about the lack of color. It allows us to see beyond the mere cosmetic factor. This is why my wife and I love to shoot plenty of black and white photos of our children and family.

In this modern world of color, it’s rather hard to come by classic black and white photos anymore. If you’ve not dabbled in this area of photography, I suggest that you at least give it a shot.

Get some great black and white photos of your family and loved ones. If you would like a preview of some extraordinary black and white photos, you can always surf the web and find a spectrum to choose from.

The quality is not lost in black and white photos, it’s merely the color. After dealing with both sides of the coin, I don’t think I will ever prefer color pictures over black and white photos.

Chapter 6: Digital Photography Tips

Few families would consider leaving home for a vacation these days without reliable, high-quality digital imaging equipment-whether it’s a camera or a camcorder.

Here are some tips from the experts at Canon to help you make the most of the memorable vacation moments:

Always Be Prepared: Don’t forget to bring backup camera batteries or memory cards so you’ll never miss a shot.

Creativity Is Key: Sunsets and mountain ranges are always great backdrops for family pictures. By using your surroundings in interesting ways, you’ll be able to create images featuring an array of natural colors and light while showcasing your happy family.

Share The Fun: Take turns and let others control the lens for a while. A camcorder such as the Canon Camcorder is so easy to use that anyone in the family can take great video. The camcorder records direct to the hard drive and takes high-resolution, digital photos.

Strike A Pose – No: Candid shots of family members can capture their personalities much better than carefully orchestrated photographs.

Don’t Be Afraid: Take your PowerShot Digital camera with you on a scuba diving adventure. The camera has a 16:9 widescreen mode for full screen viewing on widescreen TVs and computer monitors and is the right size for taking along on any deep-sea adventure.

Use the underwater camera case to protect the camera and snap pictures in the surf.

Hello From Abroad: Print and send photos before you even get home: The SELPHY photo printer is small enough to pack in your suitcase and lets you print pictures in under a minute. And the paper used for printing photos doubles as a postcard! How’s that for multitasking?

Pack Lightly: Hybrid digital products such as the PowerShot lets you capture still photographs and high-quality video. The camera has an optical zoom lens, image stabilization technology for steady shots, a “movie snap” feature that lets you take still images while shooting movies, a widescreen mode for full-screen viewing and still leaves plenty of room for any souvenirs you might want to bring home.

Hybrid digital products can take photo stills and shoot movies without taking up too much space in your luggage.

Tips For Better Digital Photos

Whether you consider yourself an amateur photographer or you just want to create better family photos, there are many things you can do to get better photos. Here are some easy tips to use the next time you head out with your digital camera.

Even a beginner can take professional-looking photos – suitable for framing.

Be Prepared

Keep all your photography equipment ready for use. Collect everything you’ll need in one place. A camera bag is ideal because it keeps all your stuff together and lets you carry it all with you.

Everything in its place. A good camera bag will let you organize a miniature tripod, extra batteries, memory cards, etc. – even a plastic bag or waterproof housing to protect your camera in wet weather.

Hold Your Camera Steady

Blurry photos are almost always the result of camera movement. Just your own unsteadiness, causes your camera to shake enough to blur your pictures.

So steady yourself and your camera before you take the shot.

Plant your feet firmly on the ground and tuck your elbows in close to your sides. Instead of using the LCD viewer, steady your camera against your forehead and frame the shot using your camera’s viewfinder.

You can also steady your upper body by leaning against a wall or a tree. Or totally eliminate any camera movement by using a tripod.

Once you’re all set, gently press the shutter release in one motion. Pressing the shutter release too hard could jerk the camera downward.

Get Closer

One difference in “snapshots” and really great photos is the composition of the shot. Unless you’re shooting an outdoor landscape, you can improve most photos just by getting closer to your subject.

Depending on the situation, you can physically move closer to your subject, or use the zoom feature on your camera for the same effect. Try to get within a few feet of your subject so you eliminate most of the background. You’ll like the results.

Take More Pictures

Even professionals take loads of shots of the same subject – to get just a few that they will use. With a digital camera, you can delete the images you don’t like, and only print the winners – so don’t hesitate to take several shots of the same subject. Change the angle of the shot. Get a little closer. Adjust the lighting.

Why not fill the entire memory card with pictures of your kid at the pool, or your daughter in her cap and gown? The more pictures you take, the better the odds that you’ll get a few shots that will really thrill you.

Vary The Lighting

Using natural light will give better skin tones when photographing people, so try not to use the flash if you don’t have to. Outdoor daylight shots are easy, but you’ll have to be a little more creative when shooting indoors.

Try using the light coming in from a window for warmer tones than you would get using the flash.

Experiment with natural lighting. You can get stronger shadows by moving your subject closer to a window and turning your subject can create more dramatic shadows.

Eliminate Red-Eye

Red-eye is the result of light passing through your subject’s eye and reflecting back. You’ll get it more often when using your flash, just because the light from the flash isn’t as diffused as natural light. So, the first tip for eliminating red-eye is simply to avoid using your flash when you don’t absolutely have to.

Another way to reduce redeye is to have your subject look anywhere but at the camera. This reduces red-eye because any reflection isn’t directed back at your camera lens.

If you have to use the flash, some digital cameras have a built-in feature to automatically remove red-eye. Use it.

Go for Candid

Instead of posing two (or more) people looking directly at the camera, get a shot of them interacting with one another. Even two people having a conversation is more interesting than having them stand next to each other facing the camera.

Some of the best professional portraits have the subject captured deep in thought, with their attention focused inward, rather than on the camera lens.

It makes a more interesting shot. Your portrait will look more natural – less posed.

Create a Scene

Putting your subject in the center of a photo is just boring. You’ll get a much more pleasing result if you place your subject off-center when you frame the shot.

This is a truly professional technique. Place your subject so that they occupy 1/3 to 1/2 of the total composition, but NOT at the exact center of the frame. Capture an interesting background object in the rest of the frame.

Anybody can practice these techniques. They’re easy and you’ll get better, more professional photos.

Chapter 7: Great Landscape Photography

Buyers and collectors have accepted photography as art for some time, but only if it’s of significant artistic merit.

Great landscape photography sells because the buyer is searching for escapism and the need to dream. As a species, we have always been linked to and drawn to the landscape. Do you have a love for the countryside and an understanding of the landscape?

When you’re out in the great outdoors, away from the bustle, what do you see …

  • Sunlight filtering through trees and dancing on the landscape?
  • Snow on the mountains and a gushing river in full flow?
  • Coastal cliffs with the shimmering sea lapping onto the shore?
  • A brooding sky casting a spell over the windswept moors.
  • The warm glow of the sun setting at the close of day.
  • Or mists and changing patterns of wind, clouds and magical light?

Do you see the beauty and feel the connection?

To produce a great photo landscape, you need to understand the countryside and how light affects it. You need to have a passion for the land and experience an intimate connection with nature.

The best way of doing this is to explore an area on foot and become part of the landscape before taking any photos.

On your walk look for:

  • Light (shadows and highlights)
  • Shapes (round and angular)
  • Color (harmony and discord)
  • Texture (rough and smooth)
  • Composition (strong and weak)
  • Tones (light and dark)
  • Patterns (even and odd)
  • Mystery (? and ? )

So, the next time you’re out with your camera looking for that open vista of rolling hills and mountains, also observe the intimate details in the landscape and maybe just photograph a small section of the bigger picture.

Your personality and your vision must come through in every photo you take; it’s up to you to capture the essence of the landscape in front of you.

If your photograph works, the person viewing your image will feel they can step into your picture and experience the emotion of being there. A great landscape photograph is a great escape.

Great Portraits In The Great Outdoors

If you have ever photographed your weekend outing, family reunion, or a special vacation getaway with your friends or family, you know that outdoor photography can present some very special challenges. This is true even for the most seasoned photographer. Direct sunlight can be harsh.

Unwanted objects can interfere with your composition. Proper color rendering can be problematic. And many times, good old Mother Nature is just not feeling cooperative.

Perhaps, there’s not much that can be done about Mother Nature, but with some practice and patience, you can overcome many of the other challenges you face as an outdoor portrait photographer.

Along my journey as a photographer I’ve learned some outdoor techniques that may benefit those who choose to follow:

Keep It Simple

The subtle pattern and color of an adobe wall, the simple repeating pattern and muted tones of planks on a fishing pier, or the uniform color of a patch of bluebonnets, snapdragons, or yellow primrose can serve as wonderful backdrops for your outdoor portraits.

When you are composing your portrait, you want your subject to be the focal point that all eyes are drawn to. Busy patterns, large areas of excessively vibrant colors (especially a mixture of different colors), or over imposing forms in your foreground or background that are not treated properly, can really distract from her if you are not careful.

Control The Depth Of Field (the range of distances from your camera that are in focus)

The edge of a forest or mountains in the distance may render beautifully as a backdrop for your subject with proper control over the depth of field. If you have an SLR camera, you can adjust your depth of field to bring the background more or less out of focus relative to your subject.

This serves as eye control for the observer of your portrait. The eye is naturally drawn to what is brightest and most sharply focused. If your subject is sharply focused relative to the background, she will be accentuated as the focal point of your portrait. Controlling the depth of field is accomplished by adjusting your aperture setting (the size of your lens opening, expressed in f-stops).

The smaller the f-stop the larger the opening of your lens, and the smaller the depth of field will be. For instance, when you see a photograph in a nature magazine of a beautiful butterfly in a patch of flowers, and the butterfly is in razor-sharp focus but the flowers are gently blurred; this was accomplished by the photographer using a narrow depth of field (small f-stop setting).

For bright light situations, this may be difficult to achieve. For any given intensity of light, as you open up the aperture (lower the f-stop) you must increase the shutter speed (thereby decreasing exposure time) to avoid overexposure.

Increasing the shutter speed generally reduces the resolution in the image. Experiment to find the combination of aperture setting and shutter speed that gives the result you desire.

Be Mindful Of Distracting Objects Behind Your Subject

What is plainly a bush, a mailbox, or a birdhouse to your eye, can appear like an extra appendage growing out of the top of your subject’s head in your two-dimensional portrait.

You may get some interesting effects this way but generally, they will not make a good impression on your subject. Take the time to find an interesting angle that eliminates distracting objects from the background.

Control The Light Is Generally Undesirable (“Down Light” e.g. Harsh Midday Light)

Due to the shadow patterns it creates, it can bring out the worst in your subject … can anyone say, “Raccoon eyes”? “Lateral light” (e.g. early morning and late afternoon light) is much more desirable. Lateral light can be controlled and directed to create beautiful shadow patterns across the face of your subject. There is a saying with many photographers who shoot outdoors, “the first tree in the forest is best” for a background.

The reason is, the canopy of the first tree controls the harsh downlight, but being on the edge of the forest, you still have lateral light to work with. The same idea holds true for porches or the edge of any other type of overhang.

Professional photographers sometimes use shade cloth and reflectors to block downlight while directing available lateral light to enhance their subject and achieve their desired effect.

Correct The Color

Before the digital age, corrective filters or special films were mostly used for color correction in outdoor portraits. With digital cameras, the color can be corrected using your white balance setting (expressed as the color temperature in degrees Kelvin).

Most digital cameras today do a pretty good job of automatically adjusting the white balance for outdoor exposures.

Keeping your composition simple, controlling the depth of field, and eliminating objects that may distract from your subject, all help to accentuate your subject as the focal point of your portrait. Controlling the available natural light and correcting the white balance of your photographs can reveal and enhance the true beauty of your subject.

Beyond this, make it your aim each day to unleash your creativity that you may see the world around you in fresh and unique ways. Never be content with seeing the ordinary as ordinary. Just stop and think for a moment, everything there is ordinary to someone.

Art is created by those with the ability to see beyond the ordinary, to interpret their world in an exceptional way, and to reflect their interpretation for others to see. So, experiment and don’t be afraid to try something new.

The world is abundant in forms, textures, colors, and patterns of light… all the handy work of God. Grand landscapes and magnificent manmade structures are not required for great photos in the great outdoors.

Chapter 8: Enhancing Your Digital Photos

Juice is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Just bought a new camera? And very excited to start taking photos with your new gadget?

But why does the picture not look as good as you wanted to! Fret no more.

Below for some tricks to taking more interesting and memorable photos:

Try Out Different Camera Exposure Settings

By exploring the exposure settings of your camera, you could have pictures looking more brilliant with 0.5 to 2 stops underexposed in bright surroundings, and scenes appearing clearer with some overexposure.

Just by simple tuning of the exposure level, you can create pictures that can bring out different moods from people viewing it. That’s why the quote “A Picture Says A Thousand Words” is very true indeed!

For newbies, try out bracketing (i.e. Take the same photos with different exposure levels) and take your favorite pick from them.

Bring Out Some Creative Blur In Photos

By introducing some well-planned blur in photos, you can bring across certain important features, while using the rest as a good complement, providing an overall nice touch. This can be done in 2 basic types.

The first type is a depth-of-field blur. Varying the lens aperture can create a lovely, soft background blur that brings sharp focus to the subject in the foreground.

The second type is movement blur. Done by setting the camera exposure on shutter priority, and keep it slow so as to capture interesting streaks as the subject moves in front of the camera.

Create Something Out Of Nothing

What does it mean? This exercise encourages you to take a step back and rethink how you can take wonderful pictures with things you already encountered on a daily basis.

One approach is to create your shot around the common elements around you such as lines, space and patterns. This can mean anything from the roads to the bridges, the trees, the railings, etc. You start to see more possibilities and room for creativity.

Take Unique Photos

Try to avoid taking photos from already popular places where everyone else has taken before, it will not be fresh, and the excitement is also much diminished.

Try out new extreme photography (for example underwater photography), or it could be as easy as shooting through thick glasses for that extra 3D feel or shooting reflections of objects in water or other reflective objects.

Taking Better Pictures With Your Digital Camera

Today’s cameras make taking pictures a lot easier than the ones of yesterday. There is always room for improvement, however…

Use the following tips to help make your photos go from acceptable to great:

Always Be Aware Of The Background

You don’t want to find trees growing out of people’s heads or a passing vehicle to draw attention from your subject. Sometimes moving your subject just, a couple of steps to either side can make all the difference.

Use Available Light

If your digital camera has an option to turn the flash off and it’s light enough outside to read a book, then use the available light and turn the flash off.

In general camera flashes are too harsh for human skin and make all of us look pale. Indoors, where there isn’t enough daylight, place your subject by a window and use your fill flash feature.

Aim Your Camera Slightly Down At The Person’s Face

Also don’t shoot just face on to the person, try a little to the side, a three-quarter view, so that you see more of their face. Remember the camera higher looking down and a three-quarter view, it will slim your subject.

Remember Your Focus

Get closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and there will be no doubt as to what the picture is saying.

Never Put Your Subject Dead Center

Put your just slightly off-center; not a lot just a little. When you’re shooting groups of people, find the imaginary center line of your group and put that line just a bit off-center in your view through your lens or screen.

Following these tips won’t turn you into an award-winning photographer today, but you will be on your way to better, more powerful photographs that others will comment on for years to come.

Conclusion

One time you had only to look into a little lens and press a button to take a photo, but these days cameras are more complicated.

Much advertising money is spent on telling us all just how simple and easy it is to take a photo, and it is certainly easier to load a film in the average camera now than it used to be, but you still have to know more about it.

You can’t just pick up that brownie box and ready, aim, fire. There are warning lights that tell you to change your angle or adjust your exposure, to mention just a few.

So, what is the camera of tomorrow going to be like? Will it be so complicated that only a rocket scientist will be able to operate it? Probably not, since manufacturers must get good sales for their products.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are more sales in the masses than in an elite group of rocket scientists.

So come on guys, make it simple. How about a talking camera to tell us what to do? Just imagine Great-aunt Ethel lining up her new camera to take a picture of the latest nephew. The sun slides behind a cloud and the camera growls, “Hold it, stupid!”

Ethel retrieves the camera from the grass, dusts it off and focuses again. “Beep-beep-beep! The subject is not smiling!” As the family gathers around with fans and cool drinks for Aunt Ethel, little Johnny grabs the camera and drops it into the fishpond, where it happily snaps the goldfish every time they wiggle.

The camera of tomorrow may not talk, but at a recent exhibition in New York Canon had a prototype that waits until all the subjects are smiling before taking the picture. Another can tell if you’re blinking.

These are expected to be commercial within a year. Fuji has already announced it has a digital camera far superior to most in clarity and resolution.

We think of the digital camera as possessing the most modern technology, but what if it is simply the Model T of cameras? Perhaps today’s digital cameras are the forerunners of some amazing new technology hiding around the corner, just waiting for someone with vision to invent it?

Sometime in the future, there will surely be moving 3D images that can be clicked into being on our desktops, in mid-air, or beamed to the other side of the world in less than a second. They’ll be in full color and at the click of a button, we’ll be able to hear what is being said. I can hardly wait!

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