Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Taking Good Digital Pictures and Editing Them Effectively

Leslie Fisher's #1 tip for digital photography:  Read the manual!

Top issues we run into
* Not close enough:  Fill the frame with the subject.  Take a photo, get closer, take another, get close, repeat.  Look around the edges of your photo before you click.

* Macro mode:  Allows you to get close to your image (1-3 feet).  Best to use a tripod to keep camera steady.  Or prop your camera on something steady. 

* Not in focus:  When you look at the screen it appears to be in focus but it's not.  Your camera has a maginifying glass you can click to make sure it's in focus.  Look for your focus point and make sure it's on the subject.  Press the shutter button halfway down to set the focus.

* Camera shake: Usually it's lighting.  If it's too low the camera needs espose te picture longer to take the image.  Your shaking hands get in the way of the camera and it makes the image look very blurry  What can you do?  Put your camera on a tripod or other stable object and set a timer.  Have you seen the night mode camera setting before?  Night mode will tell the camera the lighting is low.  It will make the photo darker, but not blurry.  That is better.

* Boring photos:  Tell the story better.  Wander around the scene for a different angle/view.

* Boring Composition: The Law of Thirds.  A nifty little technique to make sure your basic images are frames in a pleasing manner.  When looking through your viewfinder, Imagine 3 vertical and horizontal lines intersecting.  Position your subject in one of those intersections.  This will establish a good flow for the picture.
Look for "lines" in your photo that will help draw attention to the subject.  Have fun with open spaces.  Maybe place the subject only in the corner of the picture to show an amazing view.  Shoot high/shoot low, move your body.   Don't shoot posed shots, make them laugh, make them jump. 

* Missing the Action shot:  What kind of SD memory card do you have?  Some of the cards are really slow and can affect the speed with which you capture the shot.  Lexar Professional card or Sandisk extreme 3 or 4 are great cards to have. You can also put the camera in sports mode, running man icon on camera.  This will take the photo as fast as possible.  The drawback is the faster the shot, the less light brought into the camera.  Be prepared for underexposed images (you can fix those in Photoshop)

* Ignoring the background:  Make sure you're aware of what's in the background.  It can ruin what's in the foreground. 

* Too Much Flash:  When the flash fires we have no sense of the environment around you.  Try to work the scene, get a tripod, night mode. Use your flash during the day, because the sun will cause you to have shadows on the subject's face.

* Why Not Vertical?:  Don't forget to turn the camera vertically to capture the scene better.

* Digital Zoom:  Just say no!  Instead of zooming digitally, set your camera to the largest image size possible.  You should always have to set to the largest size posssible. 

* More DPI, Better Quality?:  Yes and no,  If you were a billboard printer, then I would worry more about the high level DPI picture.  Most of today's inkjets and laser jets do not have a high DPI picture to give you a great print.  Most pros recommend printing your images at 160 dpi  The less dots per inch the larger your picture can be printed!  You need to know what the image is being taken at, look in your settings. 

* Settings in the Camera: Allows you to set the picture in portrait mode so you can focus on the subject and put a soft focus in the background. 

* Editing Photos in Photoshop (or whatever editing software you have):  NEVER edit the original, save a copy and edit that.  Color correction: white balance.  You can change it in your camera settings or the color editing area of your software.

1 comment:

Mrs. Metzger and Mrs. Morris said...

Thanks for this no-nonsense post. It makes me want to take even more pictures!