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Taking Great Digital Photos

1 Take care to Focus and Expose on the Subject of the Image

Imagine you are taking a picture of your girl friend against the background of an interesting harbour. Your girl friend is six feet away while the harbour is around 50 feet away. You position your girl friend carefully – she is important to you – at one side of the picture with an interesting view of the harbour in the distance. Now do you want to focus on the harbour – or your girl friend? Position the square or circle at the centre of the viewfinder over the spot that you want to focus on and correctly expose – take a slight pressure on the shutter release – and keep that pressure while you move the camera to frame the image you want to take – then, and only then, push the shutter release fully down and take the photo. If you want to have everything in focus – then see 7 Depth of Field.

2 Carefully Compose Your Shot

Before taking the picture take a careful last look through the viewfinder. Check the composition, and particularly that heads nd feet are included, and that all faces are visible in anything other the smallest of groups. With the camera taking care of focus and exposure – you have the time to concentrate on getting the composition perfect. Photographic amputation of limbs is unforgivable!

3 Set the Colour Balance Correctly on the Camera

Digital cameras have controls that allow the operator to set the nature of the lighting illuminating the subject. In general they will default to daylight, since shots are likely to be taken outdoors. On this setting, pictures taken indoors under artificial tungsten lighting will look yellow – they will have a yellow cast. Pictures taken under strip lighting will look green. Setting the camera appropriately will produce consistent balanced photographs. Look in the camera manual to see how to set the control – it is very easy. Flash guns produce a light, which is very similar in colour ‘temperature’ to that of daylight.

4 Don’t Expect Too Much from the On Camera Flash

The on camera flash is designed for convenience when shooting a small group of people. It will not illuminate a hall. When
watching public events on the television it is somewhat surprising to see members of the audience in the Albert hall take a pocket camera out and shoot a picture with their flash. This is unlikely to be successful. Better to turn the sensitivity of the camera up – say to 800ASA – the ‘film speed’, or sensitivity. This might produce a better result. Do not confuse sensitivity of the camera with shutter speed. They are different. An on camera flash will illuminate only a short distance – as a guide pick up your cat firmly with two hands by the tail and swing it around at arms length – that is the sort of distance the flash will illuminate!