May 11 2007

It’s Not the Camera

Published by at 5:58 am under Tips and Ideas

Maybe you find yourself thinking this thought: The better the camera I own, the better the photos I take. Trust me, this is not true.

Even a reasonably good ‘point-and-shoot’ digital camera can take awesome photos. Furthermore, you can take lousy shots with the most expensive digital SLR models, like the Canon Digital Rebel. It suffices to say that it is not the camera that solely makes great and even picture-perfect images. The man or woman behind the camera can squeeze or miss a big one out of the gadget that he or she has.

The following presents a ten-point aid that will enable you to take photos like a pro using your digital camera. Practice on these tips so you can maximize the expense of your gadget.

1. Those Tones Should Warm Up

Change your white balance setting from auto to cloudy when shooting sunny landscapes and outdoor portraits. This increases the yellow and red tones, thus resulting in warmer and richer pictures.

2. Use a Polarizer Filter

If your camera accepts one, get a polarizing filter. A polarizer will always come in handy when taking those general outdoor shots. Polarized shots have more saturated and richer colors because unwanted reflections and glare are minimized or even removed.

3. Shining Outdoor Portraits

One of the most useful and amazing features of digital cameras is having the flash on or using a fill flash mode. This feature allows you to take control when to use the flash. It simply goes on whenever you want it available. This helps in capturing great outdoor photographs.

The camera exposes for the background first then adds enough flash to illuminate the subject when you are using the flash on option. Wedding photographers have been using this technique for many years to create professional looking portraits where everything in the composition is simply excellent.

To come up with a more relaxed photograph, try putting the subject under the shade and use the flash to add illumination.

You can also practice on using rim lighting where the sun illuminates the hair of the subject from the side or the back.

However, you should not stand that far away when using the fill flash since most built-in models have a range of 10 feet or even less.

4. Macro Mode Frenzy

I am quite sure that you would want to look at the fine details of your surroundings but would not be willing to crouch down and lie on the ground with your belly.

In that case, you just have to look for the macro made or close up symbol, usually a flower icon, and get as close to an object as possible. Once the confirmation light signals you to shoot, just press the shutter down to record the portrait.

However, using the close up mode results in a shallow depth of field so you must concentrate on the part of the subject that you want to emphasize and let the rest go soft.

5. Chaos of the Horizon Line

There are still photographers who become disoriented when lining up their shots. In other words, once they look at their camera’s monitor, images that are erect seem to be a little tilted or bowed inward.

The most appropriate way to take care of this matter is to take your best shot at a straight picture, then take another picture after repositioning the camera. Afterwards, you can delete the others once you feel you captured a perfectly aligned image.

Also, just practice level framing of your shots until you become acquainted with the process.

6. Massive Media Card

You have to have an extra memory card or two, especially when you want more moments to preserve. If you only have one memory card, and something goes wrong with it, your camera’s day is over. I own 8 cards now. I started with 256 MB models and my most recent purchase was a 2 GB one. In total, I can take over 1,200 photos in my highest jpg mode. So if I am at a church picnic and they are having various sports contests for the children, I can shoot away and not worry about how many I am taking. (actually, my 2 batteries run out before my memory cards do!!)

7. Shoot High Resolution All the Time

It is advisable to set your camera at its highest resolution settings. You never know when you will get that once in a lifetime photo that you want to print as an 11×14 to be framed for the living room wall. (read point # 6 again)

8. Tolerate that Tripod

Tripods are unnecessarily bulky¬Ě for some and so they are often left at home.

I own 2 tripods. A better quality one (that is also bigger and heavier) and a smaller lighter one that I leav in the car. That way I never forget it. You could also buy one of the many mini tripods that will even fit in a larger backpack. There is even one with flexible legs that are meant to be wrapped around objects.

9. The Fun with a Self Timer

Another under-used feature on almost every digital camera is the self timer. This function can be used to save the photographer from missing the picture, by delaying the firing of the shutter up to 10 seconds.

Another use for self timers is to avoid accidentally jarring the camera when you are interested in making long exposures of items at night. Sometimes even the pressing of the shutter by your hand can nudge the camera a tiny bit, and if the exposure is not short enough, the photo will show that tiny movement by way of a blur.

10. Slow Motion

Normally, you will use an exposure of one second or a bit longer to create the flowing effect of water. In this case, you have to look for waterfalls or streams that are under the shade.

One trick is to use a polarizer or your sunglasses to darken the scene and create a longer exposure. More so, this technique can also eliminate distractions from your portrait.

For a really good photographer, which implies using creativity and ingenuity, viewers often get curious and ask, What sort of camera model do you have there?

Would it be more humbling for them to hear that you are using a normal aim and shoot model?

Or you can simply say, Model ME.

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