Now that digital photography has pretty much taken over as the preferred method for taking photographs you should know a few things before you get started. If you don't have a camera yet please visit my Digital Camera Buying Tips Page. This will get you ready for your purchase so you get the right camera that's right for you. And look at my Printing Tips so you can print at home.
1: When you have your new camera the first thing you should do is read the camera owners manual. You should also bring your camera manual every where you take your camera. This is your photography bible. When your flying, lying on the beach or visiting family & friends, you should always familiarize yourself with your camera's settings and capabilities by reading the manual and practicing using the camera as you read. I still refer to my camera manual even after I have had the camera for 5 years, why? Because you can never remember everything about your camera's settings and capabilities. Plus trying new settings is one thing, understanding them and knowing when to use them is another.
2: Always have extra batteries with you that are fully charged. You can't take photos without power. Solar Charger might be handy if you're in a remote location.
3: Always have enough memory. Nothing worse then seeing "memory card filled". Having to delete photos without seeing them on a full screen monitor is heartbreaking.
4: Before you leave the house try to imagine what type of conditions you will experience and what settings you will need so that you are ready and prepared for the type of photograph you want to take. Will I need a tripod? Will I need extra lighting? Will I need an extra Camera?
Will I need an assistant? Will I need a zoom lens. Know what tools of the trade you will need.
5: Always look at the cameras settings before you take the photograph. You can usually see the settings on the photo viewing screen (click display) or by just looking quickly in the camera menu and seeing what your settings are for that particular shooting mode that you are in.
Camera Settings Quick Look Check List: A mental Check list before you take the photograph
Metering: Do I need correct exposure for the whole scene or just the subject? Over exposed areas lose detail. Under exposed areas also lose detail but you may recover some dark areas in Photoshop using the Highlights adjustment setting.
Exposure: Does the scene require more or less exposure? Do I need a Tripod?
Histogram: Measures amount of Shades in photo. High waveforms on the right are bright areas and high narrow spikes on right are overexposed areas and high waveforms on left are dark areas.
(Left Dark - Right Bright)
ISO: Lowest IOS gives less noise and better quality. But if I have no tripod then turn the up the ISO to minimize blurring.
Shutter Speed: Do I need to stop motion? Do I need more exposure? Do I need a Tripod?
Flash: Is a flash needed? Will a flash help? Do I need more flash or less flash? Do I need a Tripod?
Aperture: (Av) F-number: Do I need just foreground focus or just background focus or both? (Depth of Field) Small number is a wide aperture (close focus) Large number is a small aperture (far away focus)
Focus Area (left, Right ,Center): Focus area setting or push shutter half way and recompose shot.
Macro: Do I need extreme close up for more detail on a small object?
Manual Focus: Do I need to use manual focus?
Zoom: Wide Angle scene or Zoom in for more Detail or to Crop scene.
(Digital Zoom is always off unless needed)
White Balance or Color Balance: Do I have unusual lighting that requires WB change or can I use AWB (automatic white balance) and just make the color adjustments in Photoshop?
6: Know when to use the flash and how to turn it on and turn it off when needed. Take the same photograph with flash and one photo without flash. This way you will learn the difference in color and exposure that the flash produces. In low light situations and indoors sometimes force you to use the flash unless you have a tripod or the ability to keep the camera steady.
7: Pay attention to the whole scene. What angle should I be for the best light? What angle should I be to block what is in the back ground or not block what is in the background. Should I line up items in the background with items in the foreground?
8: If not sure what settings to use then put your camera in the Automatic Mode. It will take you a while to learn what settings work best for your particular camera and situation. I like to put my camera in the lowest ISO setting. 50, 64, 80 or 100. I also shoot at the highest quality and pixel depth my camera will allow.It takes more memory but you will never have a great photo that is to small for printing or enlarging. When using Av, Tv. M or P (Program Mode) I like to have each setting preset to the settings I like most. This way I know what the camera is adjusted too so I can quickly take a photo.
9: And Last...Shoot, shoot, shoot!! With digital you never waste money because it cost nothing to delete the photos you don't want. So have fun and try all the special settings and Scene Modes.
Photography Tips & Tutorials Camera Checklist
Here are some useful tips if you are still using film. First buy a Digital Camera and stop wasting time, money and resources. But if you are old school and still like film then here are some tips.
1: Know what film works best in your camera for most situations, mine is Fuji 200 Speed Film.
2: Know your camera and what settings work best for certain situations.
3: Even though morning and late afternoon sun is the best time for good light for outdoor photos, sometimes certain times in the day can give you the best light, so be aware of the angle of the Sun and don't be afraid to shoot a lot of photos at different settings and angles.
4: Most important, have your film developed at a place that you know processes high quality pictures. You can take the best picture in the world but if you have the film processed at a place that has poor quality equipment you'll miss out on a chance to have some great photos.
. Photographers Websites, Photography Schools & Photography Lessons
The differences between Photo formats JPEG - TIFF - RAW
First don't confuse an original untouched photo file with a photo taken in the RAW format.
A photograph taken in a RAW format is an uncompressed high-resolution photograph. Sometimes referred to as a Digital Negative. You need special software to view and edit photos taken in the RAW format and a considerable amount of knowledge and skill to work with these types of photos.
A photograph taken in a RAW format preserves most of the information of the captured image so that you have a greater range of adjustments that can be applied that will not decrease the quality of the photo. Like exposure, color, contrast, brightness, highlights, shadows, white balance, saturation, and so on. A photograph taken in a RAW format is 4-6 times larger in file size then the regular JPEG compressed photo. This requires more memory and more processing. Most high-end digital cameras allow the user to choose what photo format they prefer. But before you choose your preferred format it’s a good idea to know your options, like JPEG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A JPEG photo is a photo that is compressed by the cameras processor. There is little detectable loss in image quality and the photo is a much smaller file size then a RAW photo. A JPEG photo can also be edited and viewed by almost any computer. A JPEG photo will not have the range of adjustments that the RAW file will have, but if you don’t require these added features or quality then a JPEG photo will be just fine. There is one more file format to consider, a TIFF format, which stands for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF is also another lossless compression file that is larger in file size then a JPEG photo. A TIFF photograph does not have the range of adjustments that a RAW format photo does but it has much more range of color adjustments then a JPEG and can also be edited and resaved without losing image quality, which happens to most JPEG photos that are edited and resaved numerous times.
CCD (Charge Coupled Device) or CMOS (Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor)
Sensors used in digital cameras instead of film. Basically captures light & converts it into electrical signals. Also known as the Image sensor, a grid composed of microscopic light-sensitive cells.
Home Printing Tips
When printing at home remember there are some important variables to be aware of..
1: Photo Paper: Each type of paper reacts differently (glossy, matte, soft gloss) you could even have a bad batch of photo paper so don't always assume that it's the printer, software or the photo itself. Photo Paper (Amazon)
2: Printer: Printer Settings: You could even have a bad ink cartridge or the wrong color profile.
3: Software: you use to Print and Edit the photo. Photo Editing Software (amazon)
4: Scanner: Scanner settings if the photo is scanned. Scanners (amazon) Neatco
5: Photograph Colors and Monitor Colors: The Photo may also have slight color variations that you don't notice on your PC Monitor because the Monitor is not always adjusted properly or calibrated properly and may not see the certain colors correctly. If you send a color to someone else they might see a different shade of that color on their monitor compared to what you see on your monitor. And what colors you see on your monitor might not be the same colors printed.
Monitor Color Calibration Monitor Test Images How To Calibrate Your Monitor
Calibration of LCD, CRT, Projector & Notebook Monitor Displays (amazon) ColorMunki (amazon)
SMPTE Color Bars CMYK Color Model RGB Color Model
Color Depth (wiki) Color (wiki) Color Chart (wiki) Visible Spectrum (wiki) Color Therapy
Theory of Colours Refraction Complementary Colors Light Darkness and Colours (youtube)
Video About How Ink is Made (youtube) Cracking the Colour Code (youtube)
Any one of these variables has effects on the quality of your finished product. So experiment with the settings of your printer, Software and also try different paper. Most important make one change at a time and write down all your changes and findings so that you can learn what settings and paper make the best photographs. When achieved you can print out some really great photos at home and have more control over the quality and price, providing you have a nice printer of course that specializes in photo printing. Note: In Photoshop you can mouse over a color to see its color balance (under the Info tool bar) if you need to match it with a particular color.
If your color is off on your printed photo you have a few things you need to check...
1: Make sure your monitor screen colors are correct and calibrated so that you can see the colors in your photo as they are.
2: Print a color test page (under printer options or maintenance) If colors are correct save your color test page for future reference to compare to a new test page if suspecting a problem.
3: Check printer cartridge (sometimes you can get a bad cartridge, if you do, switch cartridge's to see if that's the problem. You might have to try your deep cleaning option for your printer head, (under printer maintenance) and print out a color test page to make sure each color looks OK. Make sure printer head is aligned (under printer maintenance).
4: It's better to adjust your photo in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 or in other photo editing software instead of using your printer settings to get desired effects. Printer settings should mostly be adjusted for Paper type, size (portrait or landscape), extra fine and photo.
5: If you do have a nice Photo Editing Software then you should be able to mouse over the color in question and see the color balance in the photo information tab in both RGB & CMYK. Then you can compare that color to known colors for verification.
6: For optimum results make sure your photo is close to 300dpi before printing, especially if you're resizing the photo.
7: Even though "PictBridge" (camera to printer technology) is convenient, it's is always better to see your photo full screen on a 15" Monitor before printing. This way you're sure you're printing a good photo the way you want it without wasting paper & ink.
8: Print your photos using software Quarkxpress for best results.
For some of the best printers for home see my list below.
Digital Dog Color.org Short Courses Home Printing Tips Color Knowledge
Over Night Prints Image Media Staples Fedex Kinkos Customized Postage
Vista Print Paper Source Publish your own Magazine
Custom Greeting Cards
William Arthur Pipo Press Hello Lucky Cards Direct Shutterfly Moon Pig Fedex Kinkos
Staples Crane Tiny Prints Minted Paperless Post Night Owl Paper Goods Mpix Coco Dot
Posters / Picture Gifts / Prints / Sharing of Photographs
Mpix Ritz Pix Shutter Fly Smug Mug Snapfish Zenfolio Photo Works Kodak iPrint
Metal Prints on Aluminum Nations Photo Lab Canvas People Portrait Puzzles
Picaboo My Publisher Asuka Book Mpix Graphi Studio On Demand Books
Top Flight Albums Premira Albums Kodak Gp Albums Blurb
Picture Frames Mat Shop American Frame Frame fit Frame Closeouts Puzzle Photo
Anti-Reflective invisible Glass, also known as Den Glass or Image Perfect is great for avoiding glare.
You can also use a softer gloss paper. To protect photos from Sun Damage and Fading try
UV Protective Glass that blocks damaging ultraviolet light. Art.com Art Websites
How to Frame Artwork (youTube) Matting your Photos (youTube)
Photo Scanning by Scan Cafe Scan My Photos Dig My Pics
Personal Photography / Home Printing Courses / Great Websites for Photography
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This Page last updated April 22, 2013