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How to Take Great Outdoor Portraits

How to Take Great Outdoor Portraits

How would you like to take great outdoor portraits? First set of questions; do you know the difference between proper exposure, white balance and sharp focus? If you don’t than it would be a good idea to look it up because these elements are vital if you want to take great outdoor portraits. According to an article on digital photography, it suggested that you never pick all of the focus points and always focus on the subjects eye. Another tip that you should follow when shooting outdoor portraits is to always shoot wide open which means that you may have to invest in a faster lens. Never shoot a portrait with less than 50mm and always shoot in RAW. In another article, it suggested that when shooting outdoor portraits that you throw the background out of focus. By using a large aperture and your camera’s portrait mode you can achieve this desired effect. If you have to, you can always get this effect after you take the photo by using a photo editing program such as Photoshop. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of lightning in your outdoor portraits. Lighting is what brings your portraits to life so be sure that you know how to use it correctly.

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Making The Best Pictures With Digital Photography Cameras

Making The Best Pictures With Digital Photography Cameras

A lot of people think that a good picture is all because of excellent equipment. Although we can never downplay the role of the most modern and up-to-date tools when it comes to photography, these gadgets do not solely determine how good a photo ends up. A more important factor in creating a great picture is the photographer himself. It is the photographer who guides the camera in the specific direction and the photographer who pushes the button for the camera to capture the scene. Hence, most of the job can be traced back to the photographer.

There is presently a growing affinity to Single Lens Reflex cameras. Even though they are generally more expensive than the simpler point and shoot models, people are vying for the SLR and all its add-ons because of the thinking that they are going to be able to make breathtaking shots with such equipment. The truth is there are actually some advantages that come with digital photography cameras that one cannot enjoy with the SLR. One of which is the ability to delete a photo should one consider it to be not presentable enough. This makes it easier to start anew with a scene and make use of better angles and other factors to maximize the full photographical potential of the scene.

In addition to that advantage, a point and shoot camera is really easy to handle. As the term itself says, all the user needs to do is to point and shoot. However, not all pictures are going to be good if one just points and shoots anywhere. This is where the photographer’s knowledge and talent photography into use.

First and foremost, there is the knowledge about the camera itself. One cannot just go out, buy a camera and miraculously create stunning digital photos out of any random scenes. There is a need to know the camera’s ins and outs, its tools and capacities, its good points and bad ones. This way, one can fully utilize what the camera is able to do and steer clear of the possible downfalls it might create in one’s photos.

Digital photography cameras come with a handful of features a user can use to heighten the overall quality of the photo as well as its appeal to its viewer. For one, there is the flash. Although there is always the automatic flash to safely go with, making use of the flash feature can actually create goodness for digital photos. The flash feature is best turned on when photos are taken outside for the subject’s illumination and off when the shots are done indoors.

Another asset of the common point and shoot camera is the macro mode feature, which is the perfect tool for close-up shots. It is, however, recommended to take time in focusing the camera properly before pressing the capture button. Some people have noticed the ISO settings of digital cameras but fail to utilize them. This tool is actually for light sensitivity control. Low settings are best for still object shots while settings of 400 and up are recommended for shots of moving objects.

These are just basic tips when working with digital photography cameras []. These are highlighted to help individuals realize what they can do with their simple digital cameras. Aside from the easy riddance of bad shots, a point and shoot camera has its potential that make them a better option than the expensive models that abound in the market nowadays.

Digital Photography Cameras

Digital Photography Cameras

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When it comes to digital photography cameras, there are so many out there, when shopping for one, where do you begin? Though old models faze out and new ones take their place, most every digital camera has the same standard features. Of course you’ll want to choose a camera that fits in your budget and is appropriate for your level of expertise and picture taking needs.

Digital cameras are categorized on the following criteria:

Pixels- Each image is composed of a grid of tiny square units known as pixels. Some cameras express pixel values in two numbers: total pixel count and effective pixels. Total pixel count resembles the number of pixels of the sensor size and effective pixels amount is the number of pixels remaining after the edges have been trimmed.

Megapixels (MP) – One megapixel equals one million pixels. The larger the number of pixels each image has, the more the picture can be enlarged without losing sharpness quality. Hence, cameras with higher than 5 MP are ideal for commercial purposes.

Optical vs Digital Zoom- Most cameras offer both types of zoom lenses. In an optical zoom lens the focal length and magnification increases as the zoom expands. In a digital zoom lens an image is cropped down to a smaller area within the picture while magnifying its appearance. As the magnification increases, the image loses quality and becomes blurry. This can be corrected with image editing software.

Memory – Removable memory modules come in several forms and storage capacities. The Compact Flash (CF) is used in most digital cameras and come in storage capacities of 1-2 gigabytes. All other cards including Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia, Smart Media, XD, and Sony memory sticks are smaller in physical size and more commonly used in digicams than CF’s are. There is no major advantage in choosing one type over another, but each digital photography camera uses only one type.

When purchasing a camera, it is best to find one that suits your picture taking needs. Hence, if you’re a novice who takes pictures only on holidays or vacations, a camera with manual adjustments or more than 5 MP would be overkill. If you’re a professional photographer whom takes pictures for commercial use, a high-end DSLR camera may be perfect for you.

Camera Lens Types and Selection Tips

Camera Lens Types and Selection Tips

A lens is what your camera uses to focus on a scene. Lenses can be cheap or expensive and big or small. If you have been researching what kind of lens you will need for what you are going to use your camera for I’m sure you have already discovered that there is a huge variety of lenses available for just about any situation possible. There are wide-angle, midrange, zoom, telephoto, and fixed lenses. So what does it all mean?

The cost and quality of camera lenses is based on a wide variety of things. It is first of all based on the size and focal length capabilities of a lens. For example, a 28-128 mm. lens will be cheaper than a 100-400 mm. lens. But what can make a lens very expensive is its aperture capabilities. A lens that can achieve a wider aperture will be more expensive (all other things constant). There are also many other things that are taken into account with price but the zoom and aperture capabilities are the main things.

Types and Focal Lengths

Wide-Angle Lens – Wide angle lenses are most commonly defined as lenses with focal lengths that are less than 50 mm. A wide angle lens is most commonly used for landscape photography. Most photographers buy them because they can focus on a very wide range from side to side. Sometimes they are necessary for portraits as well though. I have found myself in many situations where the only way that I could fit everyone into the frame was with a wide-angle lens. When I use my wide-angle lens I almost always make the aperture very narrow so I have a very large depth of field. Wide-angle lenses are good at focusing on everything rather than one small part of a scene. I personally use my fixed 24mm. wide-angle lens almost more than my standard telephoto.

Standard Telephoto Lens – This is the typical short range zoom lens that usually is sold included with new digital slr cameras. They usually have a range of around 28-85 mm. and are compact in size. This is a very well-rounded lens and can be used for just about every situation possible which is the very reason it usually comes included with new cameras. It can be sufficient for landscapes and portrait photography as well as spur of the moment photos like sports or movements.

Medium Telephoto Lens – This is most commonly defined as a lens that has a midrange telephoto capability. This is usually somewhere between 80 and 150 mm. This is the perfect type of lens for portrait photography. The focal length of this type of lens is kind to the face and makes the nose appear to be more flush with the rest of the face. Closer range lenses make the nose appear closer to the camera than the rest of the face therefore accentuating it and making it appear larger than it really is. Although this lens is perfect for portrait photography, it is also great for sports photos and other subject oriented pictures.

Long Range Telephoto Lens – This is most commonly defined as a lens that has a long range telephoto capability which is usually considered greater than 150 mm. This type of lens can be very powerful and very expensive. Photographers buy these lenses for many different reasons. If you watch sports events you can usually see photographers on the sidelines with huge telephoto lenses that are capable of zooming to the far side of a football field. These lenses can be used for nature photography in capturing dangerous animals without getting too close. The paparazzi also uses these types of lenses on occasion to get photos of celebrities from behind boundaries or fences. The long range zoom creates a whole new world of opportunities for photographers.

Prime or Fixed Lenses Compared to Zoom Lenses

Why would a photographer buy a fixed focal length lens when he could get 100 different focal lengths with a zoom lens? There are in fact many good reasons to choose fixed lenses over zoom lenses. The reason I bought a fixed wide-angle lens instead of a zoom wide angle is because fixed lens are faster and they show more depth. The differences between the two kinds are usually very subtle, but it does make quite a difference. Since the zoom lenses change focal lengths as they shift they tend to flatten the depth of field and change the perspective. With a fixed lens, there aren’t any moving parts and therefore better performance on their one focal length.

More Uncommon Specialized Lenses

Macro Lens – This type of lens is built specifically to be able to focus on something while being extremely close to it. This lens is commonly used to get very close to intricate objects such as flowers or bugs. I have used my macro lens to take photos of water drops, faces, eyes, and hair. The possibilities are endless and I have used mine to create some amazing close-up colorful photos.

Tilt Shift Lens – This type of lens is built for only a few types of situations where distortion occurs because the subject is very long or wide. Tilt movements of the lens allow you to obtain a wide depth of field even at a wide aperture and still keep the entire subject in focus. Shift movements of the lens correct the effect seen in pictures taken of tall objects such as buildings, so that the subject does not look distorted. Most people use this kind of lens for panoramic or architectural photography.


The type of lens you should get entirely depends on what kind of photos you are going to take. I like taking landscape photos so therefore I bought a fixed wide-angle lens so I could take the best possible landscape photos that I could. Just because you want to take good photos doesn’t mean you have to drop a couple thousand dollars on lenses. It is true that you tend to get what you pay for with lenses but I would recommend starting off with a few medium quality lenses and practice your basic skills before investing in a very expensive lens. And once you do get a lens that you care about make sure you get a UV filter for it so you can preserve its quality and prevent it doesn’t get scratched.

Richard Schneider is a digital photography enthusiast and founder of PictureCorrect which offers photography tips and news on all topics involving digital photography. You will also be interested in the photography network, one of the largest social networks designed exclusively for photographers.

Getting Into the World of Photography

Getting Into the World of Photography

Photography is an art that many people are into. These days, where prominent brands of digital cameras are offering myriads of notable features, more and more people are encouraged to go into photography. Aside from being fulfilled to see the beautiful shots for your own glory, photography also offers a lucrative source of income, especially to those who have an established portfolio.

Just like how any renowned photographer started, an aspiring professional camera shooter must first start from square one. Start with the basics of photography, and slowly, you will notice the improvement in your shooting skills.

To have an idea on what type of pictures you’d like to take, take time to scour some glossy magazines, as they usually have great pictures of specific subjects. The internet is also a major resource for great photos, you have the whole world to see in the worldwide web. If you now have an idea on what subject to focus on, or what photography style you’d like to imitate, you’ll somehow have a good direction as to what genre you’d like to focus on.

First of all, invest on a good digital camera. As a beginner, you don’t have to have the fancy and complicated one. Start with something that you’re comfortable with, something that’s easy to operate, something that will make you achieve your initial desired shots. The cost of the camera is a relative factor. Regardless of the cost, it is important that you are able to take advantage of all its features with ease.

A tripod is also a good tool to have whether for taking personal shots or taking complicated shots in line with your professional pursuits. Oftentimes, a steady click will give better results as compared to shots taken by a shaky hand.

Knowing your camera is like knowing a friend. The camera manufacturers these days are all in competition just to be able to claim that they have the best features, and the users are always at the winning end by being empowered by these camera attributes. Now, it’s the task of the users to maximize the ability of their cameras. It is important for you to know your camera settings. Read the manual for guidance. The manual will help you get acquainted with the settings of your camera, and in turn, will help you get great shots. The key is to practice and to experiment.

In photography, “trial and error” is inevitable. The good thing about digital cameras is that you’re not wasting film. You can always delete an ugly shot, then you can go experiment again. It would be best to always bring your camera with you wherever you go. The world offers a multitude of beautiful subjects. From the small ants to humungous buildings, great subjects are literally just around you. Being keen with your surroundings will ignite the creative juice in you, leading you to take shots of a subject in different angles applying diverse camera settings, which also leads you to learn “the good and the bad” from each shot. This way, you are practicing and experimenting, the fun way.

Getting wisdom from the pros is also not a bad idea. Like what they say. Experience is the best teacher, and there’s no better way to learn fast than by taking wisdom from the experienced photography experts themselves. If you can’t afford a photography class, you can always read photography books which are widely available. It’s really beneficial to learn different techniques in order to come up with pleasing shots. You can also turn to the internet for some quick tips.

Photography is a good area of art. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, it’s rewarding. Be patient and be serious about learning the rudiments by constantly practicing and experimenting, and you will see great results in no time. Time will come, your awesome photos will deserve the appreciation of other people.

6 Tips for Camera Stability

6 Tips for Camera Stability

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Being able to hold a camera and shoot without actually shaking is something that requires discipline, practice and patience. These six tips show other ways of achieving the desired stability – use and abuse because a firm camera is synonymous with fabulous photos.

  1. Tripod: The best friend of any photographer. There isn’t actually a more stable method than taking pictures using a good tripod.
  2. Smooth surface: for those who do not have a tripod, you can easily improvise to land the machine on a flat surface – a table, wall or stack of books – for (albeit with some limitations) achieve virtually the same effect.
  3. Remote control: for those with hands trembling constantly, the best tip is, without doubt, the use of a remote control to activate the camera, because sometimes the actual movement of pressing the trigger can be enough to shake the picture. For an optimal effect, use it in conjunction with a tripod or any flat surface.
  4. Sit back: to get a little extra support, lean back against a wall, door or tree to shoot with greater stability.
  5. Use the body: the body itself can be used to ensure a bigger and better balance in time to shoot – separate your feet, using your shoulders width as a reference; sit down and rest an elbow on one knee to form a natural tripod ( Always keep your elbows in), lie on the floor face down, form a fist with one hand and land on the camera; a crouched position, supporting an elbow on one knee and “wedge” the camera between a pulse and shoulder.
  6. Breathe in and out: it may seem strange, but many professional photographers suggest this technique as essential – before pressing the trigger, breathe gently, but deeply, and exhale only when you shoot; you can also do the opposite. The simple movement caused by respiration can interfere negatively or positively with the act of shooting, and being aware of that can help stabilize your pose as a photographer.

Selecting a Photography Camera

Selecting a Photography Camera

Ever wondered how some magazines are able to take those amazing shots? No magic was involved in making it happen. The only thing done was getting the right equipment to shoot the subject.

The camera was first invented some time in the early 19th century. This invention was big and heavy so there was always a crew present to bring it around.

Improvements later on made this easy to carry around because of the weight and size. This also enabled people to buy it at a cheap price.

Cameras needed batteries for the flash and a roll of film so that the pictures can be developed. It took years before manufacturers were able to produce digital cameras, which is what is more popular these days.

There are more than 40 brands fighting in the photography market. This can surely give the person a headache in selecting the right camera to use. Here are some tips that will help in the deciding process.

  1. The person has to work on a certain budget. The basic model can be bought for less than $400. Those who want the advanced one that has interchangeable accessories will be spending more than a $1,000.
  2. Image resolution plays another factor in selecting a camera. The first models that came out were 3.0 or 4.0. Nowadays, there are 8.1 and higher making the images much clearer when these are seen on the LCD screen, in the computer or when it is printed on paper.
  3. The digital camera comes with a CD. Before selecting a particular brand, this has to be checked if the software is compatible with the computer at home. The person may have to upgrade it if it does not suit the requirements.
  4. The digital camera must also have a built in memory aside from the memory card. This will allow the user to shoot more than 300 pictures before it has to be uploaded in the computer. The individual can get more shots by buying a card that has more space.
  5. The digital camera must have an LCD to review the pictures after each shot that can be deleted if it is not that good. It must also have flash, a built in timer and a time and date setup display. The person can also ask the clerk for the model that records a few minutes of video.

There are a lot of photography cameras to choose from. There is no single brand that is better than the other because these function in the same manner. The individual can read some magazines to get some reviews before buying one and bringing it home.

liminate Camera Shake In Nighttime and Long Exposure Photography

liminate Camera Shake In Nighttime and Long Exposure Photography

In a previous article, I talked about how camera shake is your enemy in shooting photos at night. The reason being that camera shake introduces out of focus blurring that will mess up ANY long exposure shooting – not just at night.

The blurring may not be noticeable in smaller prints, but if you want something for the wall – you may find that shot you were so proud of isn’t any good at all!

In the first “anti-camera shake” tip I said you would need a tripod and that you should shoot with a timed shutter release or use a bulb. In this way you don’t introduce shake by depressing the shutter button.

Now for one last camera shake removal technique – most of the higher quality DSLR’s and SLR’s have a feature called the “mirror lockup”.

This is another photo tip that very few of us use, but it can make a big difference.

If you didn’t know, here is how it works… When you are looking through the viewfinder you are not looking directly through the lens. You are looking at a mirrored reflection. Actually it’s two reflections. It’s these reflections that turn over the image and let us see it the way it is… not upside down.

Light goes in through the lens, hits a mirror at 45 degrees, then bounces up into the viewfinder and off another prism surface and out into your eye.

That first 45 degree mirror is actually in front of the shutter and has to be lifted out of the way when the shutter is opened to let in light. The lifting and dropping of the mirror is that clicking sound you hear when you depress the shutter button.

That lifting motion causes camera shake. Admittedly it’s not very much, but enough to introduce blur.

When you are all set to take your tripod mounted, timed release, long exposure shot… lock up the mirror. This does exactly what it sounds like it does; it lifts the mirror, and locks it in place so there is no movement when the shot is taken.

BTW – After you lock up the mirror, give it a few seconds to let the camera settle before you shoot. There will be minor vibrations for a little while.

Don’t know if your camera has this feature? Check the manual! You shouldn’t have ANY buttons, switches or knobs on your camera that you don’t understand! They are all there for a reason.

If you want really good long exposure photographs – use a tripod, trip the shutter with a timed exposure and lock up the mirror. Then, as long as you don’t trip over the tripod, you will have amazing night time photography

Tips for Better Digital Photography

Tips for Better Digital Photography

Digital photography is quickly replacing film photography. While there are some hobbyists and even professional photographers that still shoot film photos, the many advantages of digital photos are winning over more photographers on a daily basis. Digital photography tends to be easier and faster to shoot. In addition, it gives the photographer more options in shooting the pictures, editing the photos and even printing and ways of sharing the photos. If you’re ready to be a better digital photographer, here are some tips to get you shooting higher quality photos.

Tip #1 Be Aware of the Background

Not only do you have to be conscious of the subject you are shooting, but you also need to be aware of the objects or scenery in the background. The awareness helps you to keep trees from seemingly growing out of people’s heads or a passing vehicle that draws the attention away from your subject. Even if it means moving the subject you are shooting over a couple of steps or adjusting the angle at which you take the photo, it can make all the difference in the outcome of the picture.

Tips #2 Use Available Lighting

If your digital camera has an option to turn the flash off and there is sufficient natural lighting, then switch the flash off. In general, the flash on a camera is harsh and it reflects in the color quality of the digital photography. Camera flash can make human skin look pale or can distort colors and make subjects blurry. Indoor photographs may not provide enough light for the picture to turn out, so you may need to use the flash. In these circumstances, shoot away from windows or bright lights inside of the home or area to avoid overexposure of what you are shooting as well.

Tip #3 Shoot at a Slight Angle

Rather than take the photo straight ahead, shoot at a slight angle. Even a three-quarter angle toward a person’s face permits you to see more of the person’s features and expressions than if you shoot the photograph right in front of the subject’s face. Shooting subjects at a slight angle also has a slimming effect on the person that you are shooting and how they turn out in the photograph.

Tip #4 Focus

Not only can you use the focus feature on a digital camera, but you can also move closer or further away from what you are shooting to bring the subject into focus. When you get a little closer to your subject, the subject tends to fill more of the frame of the camera, and ultimately the photograph. This allows you to enhance the photograph and avoid taking photos with too much of a background and not enough of the subject you wanted to capture in the first place.

Tip #5 Avoid Dead Center Subjects

Never put the subject of your picture in the dead center of the frame. Instead, put the subject slightly off center; not a lot but just a little. When shooting a group of people, draw an imaginary line in the center of the group. Then, shift slightly to the left or the right of the imaginary line to take the picture.

Following these tips won’t turn you into an award-winning photographer overnight. What it will do is get you on the right path to taking better and more powerful photographs that others will comment on for years to come. Digital photography may remain your hobby or you may be able to make a little cash from selling your photographs. Either way, these tips will get you where you want to be.

Smart Photography Camera Attachment Tip

Smart Photography Camera Attachment Tip

“Steady Shots from the Comfort of Your Car”

Not everyone is John Muir, roaming the wilds with just a walking stick and a broad-brimmed hat. Some folks would rather shoot without leaving the comfort of their automobile.

Sometimes, you’re not allowed out of your car, such as when you’re visiting certain wild game preserves or protected wildlife areas. Other times, you can use your vehicle as a duck blind of sorts. Animals seem less concerned about people when they are safely strapped inside an automobile. And then there are those days when you just don’t feel like taking a hike.

Regardless of the situation, you want sharp images from your day’s outing. And the best way to keep things nice and crisp is to steady the camera during exposure. But in a car, that’s easier said than done. It’s not like you can set up your tripod on the front seat.

But what you can do is use the car itself as a stabilizer. Roll down the window about 2/3 of the way and attach a Bogen Car Window Pod (catalog #3292) with a Junior Tripod Style Head.

If $85 is a little more serious than you care to get for your front-seat shooting, take a look at Pedco’s UltraClamp (US$29.95) with UltraMount (US$10.95),If you really need to go on the cheap, try the Pillow Pod Beanbag, available for about US$6 from Porter’s Camera Store. Photo beanbags are great accessories to keep in the trunk because you can use them in so many situations. The bag conforms to the surface on which its placed, providing a steady support for your camera while protecting it from the surface itself. You can plop it over the edge of a car window, on a tree limb, or even on the ledge of a balcony, and it will help you take sharper shots.

Here’s one word of advice: be sure to keep the camera strap around your neck when you place your expensive investment on the edge of anything. One false move and both camera and beanbag might go tumbling to their doom. You’ll get over the loss of the beanbag pretty quickly. Recovering from a shattered camera might take a little longer.