Having a digital camera, whether you have a plan to make a career out of photography or you are simply a hobbyist, is obviously important. But before buying a digital camera, there will be a lot of things to take note of. Camera accessories are one but an important feature is photo software. Many are available in the market while you can also download some in the internet. Also, digital cameras cost more out of the box than regular cameras, but offer the convenience of immediate viewing, multiple image storage, computer connectivity – and there’s no film to develop. Compare additional features you might want: interchangeable lenses, steady-shot, burst mode, auto exposure, automatic white balance, voice memo, variable shutter speeds, manual focus and self-timer.
Some of today’s film purists look at digital photography as an unnecessary evil. Is it an unfair advantage that the digital photographer can take a photograph, upload it to their computer, do a little image editing, then have a finished product ready to present to a client (or a personal framed print, suitable for hanging), all in a matter of a couple of hours or less? This is called capitalizing on available technology, and if you’re still one of those that haven’t embraced the tools that are available today, then shame on you! In no way does this mean that film photographers should ditch their 35mm cameras and darkrooms. Much of the work performed in the darkroom is similar to what we do today in Photoshop. We cloned in trees that didn’t exist, removed power lines that distracted from the shot, enhanced colors that were bland, and if we couldn’t do it in the darkroom it was sent to the lab’s airbrush specialist. This person who was definitely an artist and highly skilled in what she did, also took ordinary images and made them extraordinary. One of her specialties was taking old photos that had been bent, folded, and manipulated, and airbrushed everything back to perfection. Digital photography and image processing is not a whole lot different from how things were done 25 years ago.
Normally our eyes compensate for lighting conditions with different color temperatures. A digital camera needs to find a reference point which represents white. It will then calculate all the other colors based on this white point. For instance, if a halogen light illuminates a white wall, the wall will have a yellow cast, while in fact it should be white. So if the camera knows the wall is supposed to be white, it will then compensate all the other colors in the scene accordingly. Most digital cameras feature automatic white balance whereby the camera looks at the overall color of the image and calculates the best-fit white balance. However these systems are often fooled especially if the scene is dominated by one color, say green, or if there is no natural white present in the scene. Most digital cameras also allow you to choose a white balance manually, typically sunlight, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent etc. Prosumer and SLR digital cameras allow you to define your own white balance reference. Before making the actual shot, you can focus at an area in the scene which should be white or neutral gray, or at a white or gray target card. The camera will then use this reference when making the actual shot.
Quality sports shots are somewhat difficult to come by. Most people have limited access to events to photograph them. The further away you are from the event, the harder it becomes to capture the event in a pleasing manner. You may need a flash with a high output for photographing indoor events.The new modern flash systems produce great results. Some sporting events like gymnastics and others are no-flash events. It is best to talk to an event official before using your flash.
In computing, JPEG is a commonly used method of compression for photographic images. The name JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that created the standard. JPEG itself specifies how an image is compressed into a stream of bytes and decompressed back into an image and the file format used to contain that stream. The compression method is usually lossy compression, meaning that some visual quality is lost in the process, although there are variations on the standard baseline JPEG which are lossless. There is also an interlaced “progressive” format, in which data is compressed in multiple passes of progressively higher detail. This is ideal for large images that will be displayed whilst downloading over a slow connection, allowing a reasonable preview before all the data has been retrieved. However, progressive JPEGs are not as widely supported.
If you use a flash in a dark environment, you often get a red eye effect. This is because the light of the flash is reflecting from the retina, which is covered with tiny blood vessels. The more open the pupils are, the more red eye effect you get in your photos. Red eye is more pronounced in people with light eye color. It is also more pronounced in people with blond or light-red hair and in children. Many cameras have a built-in red-eye reduction pre-flash that helps reduce the incidence of red eye. Red-eye reduction works by having the flash shine a light into the eyes of the subject prior to taking the picture. This causes the pupil to contract. However, you have to make sure the subject is looking at the camera. If not, this technique won’t work. Also be wary of using red-eye reduction feature when not necessary, because it may cause your subject to blink.
How do you begin to take good photos? The first thing to remember is this: It’s the photographer that takes great photos, not the camera. Think about that for a minute. It’s true isn’t it? I’ve seen some people take great photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera, while some take lousy shots with the most expensive SLR. Always look for beautiful natural light. The best natural light usually occurs right before, after, and during sunrise and sunset. Be deliberate and creative. Think about what would make a good background, what would make for good colors. When you set out on a picture-taking spree, shoot 10 to 25 pictures so that you can be sure of getting a good shot. Vary the distance, setting, poses, or even the times of day.
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