Digital Photography Tips

When it comes to Digital Photography, we've been there, done that, now serving 204 tips in 15 categories ranging from Black and White Digital Photography to Professional Digital Photography.

Add Interest to Your Vacation Photos

Have you ever sat through an endless slideshow (traditional or digital) from someone's vacation? Chances are, if you did, you were bored. Wouldn't you like to be the one person in your crowd whose vacation pictures are met with anticipation instead of yawns? Here are a couple of quick tips for getting there:

1) Don't shoot what everyone else shoots. Everyone snaps a picture of Old Faithful from the benches. Find a different perspective to create interest. For example, catch the look on your kids' faces when they see Old Faithful for the first time.

2) Have the people in your pictures doing something interesting. A shot of Aunt Martha standing next to a gondola is great for her memory book. But take a second shot to share - such as Aunt Martha acting as gondolier, while the actual gondolier sits back and "enjoys the ride."

3) Edit, edit, edit. Sharing 20 or 30 shots of your vacation is nice. Sharing 200 or 300 is torture. Share only your very best or most interesting shots. Not only will your friends appreciate it, they'll think you're a great photographer. ("She only got 25 pictures, but they were all great. I wish I could shoot like that.")

With just a little forethought - and a little editing - your family and friends will always look forward to sharing your vacatoin photos.


Do Your Contest Homework

Some people seem to have a knack for winning photo contests. And I can tell you one reason why.

They do their homework.

If you're thinking of entering a photo contest, look at the winners from past years. Often you'll see that the same style of photos win year after year - especially when the judges remain the same.

By doing your homework, you'll have a better idea if you have a photo that will catch the judges' eyes... and thus increase your chances of winning.


The Secret of Selective Focus

There he was, right in front of me. The King of Trees - or something like that. Bedecked in foliage with his face and hands painted to match, he cut an impressive figure. But how could I get the shot?

You see, I was at a Renaissance Faire, and this character had the most impressive costume I'd seen yet. But the background included cars and people in modern dress. They'd spoil the mood of my shot.

Fortunately, I understand selective focus... and the shot was saved. The King came out in sharp focus, while the distracting background elements were a pleasant blur.

How can you do the same? It's easy.

First, get comfortable using your camera's manual settings. Then you can use a wide aperture to narrow your depth of field. This little trick lets you decide how much of what's in front of your lens will be sharp. (This is one reason higher-end digital SLR's have a depth-of-field preview button.)

Second, you can use a telephoto setting or long lens. The longer the focal length setting of your lens, the narrower the depth of field. When you're at a greater distance from your subject, "pulling them closer" with your zoom will result in a narrower depth of field.

Either way, the narrower depth of field will allow you to blur elements that might distract from your image.


Is Micro Four-Thirds for You?

You want quality photos... crisp images with high resolution. You know the tiny image sensors on compact point-and-shoot cameras won't do the job for you. But digital SLRs are just so bulky.

You may have heard there's a compromise out there: micro four-thirds. These cameras offer higher quality than compact point-and-shoots, but not the bulk of a digital SLR.

And they do offer interchangable lenses and many of the other features of a DSLR.

Is a micro four-thirds camera the one for you?

Maybe. But micro four-thirds isn't just a DSLR without the mirror. You see, the sensor in a micro four-thirds camera is still a fair amount smaller than the sensor in even a low-end digital SLR. And that low-end DSLR probably costs quite a bit less.

Another consideration is your choice of lenses. This system offers far fewer dedicated lenses. (Olympus offers a lens adapter... but then you have another expensive piece of equipment.)

If you're looking for a bump up in quality, you'll get it with a micro four-thirds camera. But they can't match most digtal SLRs.


Get More Out of Low Light Situations

You're on vacation. You've just paid $20 or $25 to get into a historic building. And there's the sign: "No Flash Photography!"

What do you do? It's not quite cave-like, but it's certainly too dark for hand-held shots without flash.

Well, if your digital camera also shoots video, you may still be in luck. You see, digital video typically requires much less light than still pictures. So you can still capture memories of those important stops - even if you can't use flash.

Yes, digital video is also lower resolution. But a few minutes of even VGA-quality video is better than no memories at all.


Will the iPad Change Photo Viewing?

In a word, "Yes." The introduction of Appl's iPad will clearly change the way we share photos. Here's why:

Digital photo frames are a hot item. They allow you to display hundreds of your favorite photos in an undending slideshow. Now picture a good-sized digital photo frame that's easy to carry and has a 10-hour battery.

Kiss sharing photos via your phone or digital camera's tiny screen good-bye.

Memory is another issue. iPads come with up to 64 GB of memory. Most people can fit their entire photo library on that. in other words, you can share more than ever before. (Whether or not you should is an entirely different question.)

Finally, there's the "app store thing." The iPad can run virtually every app - including photo editing software - in Apple's App Store. And those apps are cheap.

So photo editing on the iPad wil be both easy and cheap. Photoshop Mobile may not be super... but it does enough to clean up a lot of small problems.

I'd say we're entering a whole new age of photo viewing.

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Carma Spence-Pothitt