October 2010: Know How To Make Sharp Images
Every photograph is the result of the unity of a number of key factors. Exposure (the proper amount of light), white balance (correct color tones), and composition (placement of objects) are three of these factors. Another often neglected, but integral component of the formation of a photograph is sharpness. Sharpness in a photograph means that the stationary objects in the photograph have a clearly defined edge. However, sharpness also takes into account any movement in the scene. Running water is a good example of this. In a photograph containing running water, [read more]
October 2010: Best Cameras for New Parents
New parents have a lot to think about. Which camera they are going to purchase is not necessarily one of them. Do them a favor by doing the thinking for them. Go a step further and buy that new camera they have no idea they really need. [read more]
Knowing how to affect the exposure on your photographs can make the difference between a great shot and a shot of some unrecognizable white blob with no borders or color. And just like any other aspect of photography, there are many elements coming into play when dealing with exposure. Aperture, shutter speeds, metering and light sources all have to be considered when adjusting exposure. Once you figure out which combinations work best for different situations, you will be able to reference those combinations you have mentally preset instead of fiddling with your camera wasting precious tim [read more]
October 2010: Watermarking and Copyrighting Your Photographs
There is a danger factor in publishing your images online. Whether you are being published professionally or just putting pictures up on your personal blog, there is always the chance of theft or copyright infringement. Take it from me: it is a huge violation of privacy, trust and feels like a dirty prank is being pulled on you by the internet itself. It's a great way to ruin the day. But you are in luck, faithful Steve's Digicams reader. There are ways to prevent copyright infringement and dissuade jerk [read more]
October 2010: Photo Retouching: Where Do We Draw the Line?
"That the camera cannot lie is true only in the sense that the images it captures must have existed in one form or another at some particular time. But it is not always clear if those images have been manipulated in some way to alter or to stage an event which never happened. We are familiar with historical photos that have been retouched to include or exclude political figures. We are less familiar with the potential of new technologies for falsifying images, particularly those that appear in newspapers and magazines." -Paul Martin Lester, 1988 [read more]
Portrait photography is not the easiest of techniques but certainly a patient person could eventually get the technique down. Sometimes, what you lack in natural talent can be made up for with learned skill. Portraiture takes skill and finesse, but it also takes an understanding of composition, light, the camera, the relationships and framing. It is almost as if portraiture is the meeting place for all photographic techniques. For a lot of photographers just starting out, portrait photography is the last kind of photography they tackle. [read more]
October 2010: Traveling with Your Digital Camera
The most important thing to bring on a vacation is your camera (in reality, it's probably money). The most important accessory when traveling with your camera is the gear it is packed in. The gear that it is packed in should be suitable to transport small bombs (for Mother Earth's sake, please do NOT pack bombs on an airplane). Your camera is no good if it does not arrive safely. On top of ensuring your camera arrives intact, you have to consider all the stuff tha [read more]
September 2010: Getting Started with Macro Photography
Before we begin on our journey into the study of macro photography, let's go over a few things:You are capable of macro photography. This is one skill anyone can possess, from amateurs to professionals.Spare equipment is not necessary, but will certainly help. Built in macro modes will do just fine for casual photography.Knowing what macro photography is and how it works will help you take a much better picture. This applies to all techniques.It does not take a professional photographer to get a good macro shot (just to reiterate number one).Ok, good start. Now, let's get cooking.Macro [read more]
September 2010: Easy Travel Photography
Photography is a fickle game. Often times, we overstep and reach too far for a final shot that is literally right in front of our eyes. This is especially true when taking pictures in foreign lands. Pictures are the way we prove to our family and friends that we were actually there. It is one thing to say you have been to Stonehenge but it is an entirely different thing to show a picture of Stonehenge straddled by a major English highway (who the hell knew that was the case?). And while any one person on vacation in France can say they have been to the Eiffel Tower, it is your picture that will show that it was blue one year and not the standard gold (which by the way was the case in 2008; France was the h [read more]
September 2010: So You Want to Take Portraits?
I'm going to make a startling statement. You are NOT a portrait photographer because you own a camera. Being able to pick up a lens does not put you in business. I see this mentality too often. It seems portrait photographers are "a dime a dozen" nowadays. Everyone is doing it, and anybody can get started. Yet of all the forms of photography out there - wildlife, landscape, travel, astrophotography, sports photography, etc. - taking portraits (and by extension, weddings) is the [read more]
September 2010: Infant Photography: So Easy a Baby Could Do It
To any parent, grandparent, godparent, doting friend or photographer for hire considering taking pictures of children, hear me now: babies are the easiest, most rewarding, most fun and most hilarious subjects you will ever lay your lens on.Photographing babies is always a good time, unless of course your particular baby is "learning how to exercise their lungs" that day (mom speak for "my child is crying louder than a howler monkey right now and I'm going to give you an excuse in the hopes you will forgive me"). Regardless of your baby's mood, photographing them can be relatively easy, fun and successful. A camera, a subtle flash and a healthy knowledge of your camera's settings will keep the job [read more]
September 2010: Taking Pictures at the Zoo
No vacation is complete without spending an entire afternoon toddling around the nearest zoo, no matter its size, prestige or jail-like qualities. The family is wrangled, the stroller fleet is assembled, the water bottles are filled, the sunscreen is applied and the patience is tested. A zoo can provide a great mix of entertainment for the whole family, inspiring young minds to care and older visitors to donate. Educational and exciting, zoos are also a fantastic place to bring a camera along. With no time limit to the day, a photographer can spend as much or as little time examining ea [read more]
August 2010: Horizontal or Vertical Format?
The composition of a photograph is exactly what the word "composition" itself implies. It is the way the objects in an image are "composed", or we could say, "arranged". Composition is, for the most part, subjective to the photographer's eye. The fact is that there are many ways to arrange the same scene. Think of a well-known photograph. Ansel Adam's "Snake River" photograph comes to my mind. Many people of all different skill levels have returned to that location and created t [read more]
August 2010: Point of Focus and Depth of Field
When a photographer uses the term "point of focus", he is referring to that object in a photograph at which he wants to draw the most attention. "Focus" itself refers to the amount of the image that is sharp. Both the point of focus and the amount of focus affect the resulting image. In short, altering each one changes the look of the final photograph. [read more]
July 2010: Learning Light
Photography is the process of visually capturing light. Therefore, light is the key element to every photograph. Having an understanding of light is essential to becoming a photographer. Relying on your camera's automatic settings will at some point become a hindrance because these settings can be misleading. The camera does not always make the correct choice. Instead, you, the photographer, have to be able to recognize the light and know how it will affect your final product. T [read more]
May 2010: How Does Your Camera Work?
The familiar nursery rhyme goes:Mary, Mary, quite contrary,How does your garden grow?With silver bells, and cockle shells,And pretty maids all in a row.Now, in a historical context, no one knows who Mary really was, nor does gardening have much to do with photography, but take into your thoughts the idea of the initial question. Ask yourself, "How does my camera work?" Knowing what your camera is doing when it's set on Auto will greatly help you take it out of Auto when you need to the most. Auto is great for some situations, and I use it occasionally myself, but you will always come up against a moment [read more]
April 2010: The Rules of Photography
With every sport, there are a set of rules. Someone who excels at tennis, or baseball, or skiing only came to that point of achievement through knowing the rules and following them. In a similar manner, there are also rules in the field of photography. Certain rules are subjective to the scene and the subject matter and others are more concrete. The two biggest photography rules involve exposure and composition. Photography is all about capturing light. Therefore, "good" exposur [read more]
March 2010: Becoming A Great Photographer
Photography is people's lives touching the environment that surrounds them. It is making connections. Photographs bridge the gap between cultures, landscapes, and generations. Through photographs, we gain the ability to remember, and that is a powerful thing.What then makes someone into a truly great photographer? Is it their equipment, their repertoire of images, their vast travels? These are only by-products of the craft. You acquire the equipment and the experience because you are a photographer. "Greatness" is obtained through the character of the photographer. "Great" photographers are every-day, ordinary people.Humility [read more]
March 2010: What Is Photography?
Photographs are amazing. Through photographs, we preserve history - our child's first steps, a decaying landscape, or rare and endangered animals. We use photographs to recall the first steps on the moon, the inauguration of a new president, the lifting of a flag on a far-away hill during war. Mothers laboriously decorate large scrapbooks just to protect their precious memories. Photographs evoke the essence of places we have not been, we perhaps will not return to, and should never forget. With a photograph, I can bring someone from his or her spot on the globe to mine. They can stand with me in the midst of a pine forest or walk in hushed silen [read more]
March 2010: Overexposing Your Images
Generally speaking, when you're taking a photo you want to expose it correctly so that it's neither too light, nor too dark. You don't want an overabundance of shadow but at the same time you want enough to provide contrast and depth.However, just like almost any other rule of thumb in photography, this can be bent or broken for the sake of creativity. Sometimes I find myself purposely overexposing my images because it can create a wonderful soft look. Other times it can make a photo even more striking.This black and white photo is overexposed to the point that it completely blows out the background but by converting it to black and white it makes a gorgeous high-contrast photo th [read more]