Saturday, November 3, 2012

Digital Photography Tutorials - Camera Exposure - Part 1

Camera exposure basically determines the extent of darkness of lightness of an image when it is captured. While that might seem like a very important factor (which it is), the same can be controlled by the right setting of 3 elements, also known as the exposure triangle. These are the shutter speed, ISO speed and aperture. Once you have these three rights, you are sure to click the perfect picture. This digital photography tutorial is going to explain how you can do that.

To give a more simple explanation of the camera's exposure, think of it as a bucket in which you have to collect rain water. When there is a very high rate of waterfall, three factors are important for the task at hand - the quantity of water you want to collect, the time duration it is left exposed to the rain, and the width of the bucket. The right mix of these ensures that you don't collect too little (and underexposed photograph) or too much (overexposed). There are many factors that would determine how you mix and match these components. For instance, if the rain is falling at a faster pace, leaving the bucket out even for a short while can do the job. This is in direct relation to the fact that the light, just like the rain, is not under your control, and you need to make suitable adjustments depending on the situation at hand.

Here's a brief of what each aspect of this triangle does:

Aperture is responsible for the area over which light enters the camera.

ISO speed is responsible for the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light.

Shutter speed is responsible for duration of exposure.

Here, while you might think that it's a relatively easier job to get the right exposure, what this digital photography tutorial aims to highlight is that you would almost certainly have to choose between which aspect you want to focus on. Think of it as a trade-off - shutter speed impacts motion blur, ISO speed impacts image noise, and aperture impacts depth of field. Changing the setting of one is sure to have an impact on the other. Choose wisely.

John Hussain is a renowned digital photographer. He has travelled across 3 continents on photography assignments, and is currently a prominent authority on digital photography. For More Information Visit digital photography tutorial.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Shooting in RAW: Why You Should If You Have a DSLR

When you first get a DSLR, you may hear and wonder what shooting in raw is all about? When you take a photo using a camera, it usually saves it in a JPEG format. This is a good file format for saving space but the trade-off is that you lose some quality.

The RAW format is almost like a "digital negative". While it takes up more space on your memory card, you are able to retain more detail in the photo as well as alter things like exposure and white balance after you've taken the photo. It also bypasses any of the camera's built in processing so you're left with an image that is a much closer representation to the actual scene in terms of light, colour and shadow!

Some of the most beneficial things about shooting in RAW are:

    Post processing: after shooting your photo when you come to edit it on the computer you can change settings that you might have gotten wrong or not quite right. Did you under-expose the picture? Not a problem, you can ramp up the exposure with a RAW file. Got the wrong white balance setting or maybe the image has a colour tint you're not quite happy with. You can edit these and much more with a RAW file afterwards

    Quality: when you shoot in RAW you are letting the camera take the best quality photos, and not worrying about how much space it might take up. This lets the camera take a photo without having to perform any lossy compression and means you'll have more details in the photo when you are zoomed in 100%. It also lends itself better to sharpening which is something you might perform on your image.

    Workflow: the workflow for RAW files is a lot better than editing with a JPG. There are many more options to non-destructively edit your image, and because of all the additional info the file has about when the photo was taken it gives you the photographer a lot more scope for post processing.

Hopefully these points are reason enough for you to turn your DSLR's image format to RAW and give it a go! You might be surprised at the larger file sizes but when you've spent a day shooting in RAW and sit down to edit your photos; it will be so much easier to get your photos looking the way you want!

I'm a photographer and DSLR enthusiast, I also run

Tips For Taking Great Travel Photos

The fantasy of traveling to exotic places and visiting far-away lands are images that are only viewable in our imaginations. If we are lucky enough to travel to any of these places and experience the majestic beauty each one them has. Having physical images to share and have as a reminder of each location would allow you to relive the vacation each time you looked at them. Every location has it's own local flavor and unique look and the difficult part is capturing that feel in the photos your take. You are trying to capture all that you see, smell, and hear in your photographs. It's easy to capture what you see in a photograph. However, trying to capture a smell or a sound so you'll remember them long after you leave is a unique challenge. Travel and photographer go together like hot dogs and baseball. Your journey starts the minute you arrive at your destination.

Before you leave on your vacation you should go to your local park and a playground and practice on people in the park. If you see a group of kid playing on the swings pretend you are taking a picture of an exotic landscape. You'll find that if you practice in a setting that you are comfortable with. You'll be more prepared for the real thing.

The great thing about travel photography you don't have to be a professional to capture great pictures. Today there are so many good quality cameras that are on par with many professional quality cameras that won't cost you more than a few hundred dollars. This is why almost anyone can show how they see the world through their camera. Practice and more practice is what you need to familiarize yourself with your camera. Don't wait until you are enjoying your vacation to try and figure out how to use your camera. This will lead you to extreme frustration as well as not being able to use your camera the correct way. Creating great vacation photos just takes a little planning on your part.

Any good photographer will tell you that you need to plan ahead for a shoot. The same applies to taking pictures while you are traveling. You need to carefully plan out where you are going and what you types of pictures you would like to capture. Taking a few notes down of what the weather is going to be like and when the sunrise and sunset are going to be. You don't have to spend half of your trip planning things out and figuring out your itinerary. It's just a good idea to have in mind general information written down that will save you time once you out exploring your travel destination.

Always have your camera on you when you are out exploring. Make sure you have your camera ready at all times. You may find yourself missing out on a great opportunity if you don't have your camera ready to go. Focus on your framing and make sure you are trying to get more than just your subject in the photo. Make sure you get close to your subject. You don't want to take pictures of your family far a distance so far away that they look like little dots in the picture. You want a clean close up that shows the surrounding areas around your subject. If you find yourself trying to take a picture of a large building or object you'll want to stand back far away from the object. This will allow you to get the majority of what you are shooting within the picture you are taking.

Lighting is an important part of any picture you are taking. This can be an issue in locations such as a beach or on the open ocean for example. I try to follow the rule of getting up early and staying up late on all of my vacations. It's just too difficult to plan your whole vacation around dusk and dawn. You can however try and visit locations that you are interested in during the early morning or late evening hours. I always have enjoyed sun setting shots as they always seem to add a spectacular element to my pictures. So, you'll find the taking your photos at dusk add the extra little element of shadowing in your shots.

Make sure you are prepared for various reactions when taking pictures of total strangers. I've always been of the opinion that you should ask for permission if you are going to take a close up of a person. They may tell you no you can't take a picture of me and that's something you that you are probably going to hear a lot. Most cultures abroad don't have the issues with having their picture taken that most Americans do. Do your homework before you leave on your travels and make sure you know the local customs.

Europeans for example don't seem to have as much of a problem and most won't even pay you any attention. In other cultures taking a picture of someone is like taking their soul. You should always check local policies on what you can shot and what you can't shoot in countries like China and Russia. You may find yourself in a lot of trouble if you are caught taking pictures of buildings or people that are forbidden to have pictures taken.

When you are trying to put together a timeline of your photos to try and tell the story of your vacation. Try and piece together the important places as your center piece. Use the details that took along the way to each location to fill in the locations along the route. Think of telling your journey like you would put together a slide show of the places you saw. Taking shots of simple and what some would consider mundane shots that remind you something special that you encountered on your trip. This way you'll be able to go back and revisit your travels just as you took them on your trip.

We are all travel photographers no matter where we go. With inexpensive digital cameras and memory that's very inexpensive these days. It's easier than ever to document your travels. You don't have to worry about rolls and rolls of film and having them developed. You can looks at your photos while you are shooting them to make sure you are capturing all that you want. Your travels are sometimes short and only last at times for no more than a few days. The pictures you take last a lifetime are the memories you have of your travels.

The Toughest Digital Cameras Of 2012

In the past, many people who own cameras wished for tougher units that can stand drops, bumps and can be submerged in deep water. This wish has been granted and so we now have digital cameras that are tougher than ever.

And how tough can they get? The waterproof ones can be submerged in water as deep as 33 feet. The sturdy ones can withstand drops from a height of five feet without getting any damage and other units can still work well even in a freezing temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Powershot D20

Canon's Powershot D20 camera is not only waterproof but it's also shock-proof and freeze-proof. It has a 5x optical zoom lens, a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor that contribute to low-noise and quality images. This unit also has image stabilization which allows users to better capture still photos and videos.

This Powershot model is ideal for use outdoors because of its wind-reduction technology. This particular feature reduces noise caused by the wind. Other features include a three-inch LCD, a built-in GPS and an underwater macro mode that helps in capturing close-up shots.

Coolpix AW100

Nikon's Coolpix AW100 sports a great design with a tough exterior, GPS and gestural control. It is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof and is lightweight. Other cool features are a 5x optical zoom, full HD movie capability, Expeed C2 image processor and 16-megapixel sensor with ISO sensitivity.

Available in bright metallic orange, the color has a purpose and it's meant to keep the camera visible when used in murky deep waters, during winter storms or when placed in dark bags.

Cyber-shot DSC-TX20

This Sony Cyber-shot model is waterproof (up to 16 feet), shockproof (up to five feet) and freezeproof. It has a 3-inch LCD with a resolution of 921,600 dots, high definition video recording capability, a built in microphone and an image that is 16.2 megapixels.

The camera also has two stabilization features - the standard Optical SteadyShot for still images and the Active SteadyShot. During movie capture, the unit is able to save 12 megapixel images without affecting the video feed.

Lumix DMC-TS4

Panasonic's Lumix can be submerged at deeper waters compared to the other brands. You can swim underwater for an hour up to 40 feet using the camera and take pictures of the wonderful sea creatures and plants as well as yourself without worry.

It has a built-in GPS, barometer and altimeter and has a full high definition video capability. Other features worth considering are its Auto, Program AE.

What's great about this unit is that it comes with a wrist strap that will never fall off your wrist. The strap has a sliding lock that you can simply press down and move closer to your wrist to secure the camera on your hand. This is available in orange, blue, silver and black.

While these camera brands have passed the toughest challenge, do keep in mind that they're not perfect. As such, they still have weaknesses just like any other type of machine.

For information on photography digital cameras please visit

Technique and Artistry of Food Photography

Food photography has a special place in the world of commercial photography because of how unintimidating it can be at first. Snapshots on mom-and-pop dinner menus and amateur food pictures on twitter have made anyone believe that they have the artistic eye for food photography. However, anyone who has studied or attempted professional level photography understands the complexity of making a dish look as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

The goal of good food photography is to sell or promote the food. This may seem like an underwhelming prospect, but that mindset betrays ignorance. Food photography is a descendant of still life painting, and opens the subject matter to the full brunt of the photographer's art. In food photography, the commercial photographer is invited to cultivate their technique, especially through the use of lighting, props, and shot selection.

The lighting in photographing food is essentially dictated by the dish being photographed. However, a rule of thumb for most shots is to use as much natural lighting as possible. Flash lighting can be a little too harsh on delicate foods; however, don't certain dishes beg to be lit in more creative ways? Fresh, crisp lighting is standard for a salad or fresh fruit dish, but other foods have different qualities. Wouldn't you want to see the glistened char of a steak or grilled dish shine from a fiery, earthy lighting? Or the clashing saturated colors of the ingredients on a pizza dish? Focus on the qualities of your subject, and emphasize those qualities to form your own lighting style.

Props in food photography are usually secondary, but can tie a shot together if utilized in the correct manner. The best way to use props is to emphasize the meal and make it more appealing. There are many different household substances which can be used as props to doctor up food shots, almost like make-up for a model. A light brushing of vegetable oil can put an appetizing sheen on any surface. Light garnishes like diced nuts, sesame seeds, or parsley can add texture and complexity to a shot, even if they have no place in final dish. Even hairspray can be used to preserve the moisture and hold of cakes and breads over long shoots. Never be afraid of utilizing a new prop or substance for the sake of a better photo.

Finally, shot selection is huge. The eye of the artists is not only concerned with HOW to shoot something, but WHAT to shoot. In some cases, the preparation of a meal could be more aesthetically appealing that the dish itself. Maybe a shot of the chef kneading and preparing the dough will sell a pizza better than an overhead portrait of the finished pie. Or maybe the cut from within a steak will add a color and contrast that will be more appealing that a grilled surface. A good food photographer will be able to find the best way to shoot each dish, as well as the best time of the meal to shoot it.

If your company is looking for a food photographer that can turn your products into art, contact Craig Lee Photo in San Francisco, CA. He is a commercial photographer in that services the Northern California area. Call him today or visit his website at http://www.craigleephoto.coma

My First Steps in the World of Digital Photography - Choosing the Right Camera

A lot has changed in recent years when it comes to digital photographs. Cameras can be found at every step, mobile phones, tablets, computers, music players, watches, etc. Many of them, however, is used to video conversation or to share your pictures. Unfortunately, you can not say about the pictures that are professional quality. A lot of people think it's enough. Well, maybe so, but these pictures are suitable only to show on the social profiles or websites and not often are suitable for printing or processing.

However, we are not enough. We want to keep an image of a family, a place, an event on a high-quality pictures, to be able to print them in the future, enlarge or edit. So what do we do? We are buying digital camera. The so-called dSLR (digital SLR). This is a camera that combines features of a digital camera with a professional SLR camera optics. And here we encounter the problem.

What camera to choose?

There are so many on the market.

Which is the best?

So let's start from the beginning, bearing in mind that this camera will be used to learn photography. It has to be something easy to use, but should also have a professional camera features.

Should I buy a new or used camera?

If you do not mind to have something that is used by someone else, I recommend to buy used camera, paying particular attention to the condition of the camera is. In what state are the lens, is there are no scratches on them. In what state is the sensor. Are all the camera functions are working without a problem. Scratches on the casing or torn cover does not interfere with taking good or perfect pictures, you can also very easily repair the damage or replace. However, if you want to possess a new camera and you do not wish for this money, go ahead. It's your hard earned money. However, no matter whether you are buying new or used, both will be able to perform the same quality of image. Anything more will depend on your skills. When choosing the camera head to invest in the system, not in a compact camera. The camera, which has separate lenses and separate body, has much more to offer. Due to this the camera lenses are interchangeable, you can adapt the camera depending on what image you will perform and where it will be taken. Lenses you can then use with the new body which you will buy in future.

So what camera brand to choose?

Most lenses available on the market is from Canon and Nikon. They are more accessible and their quality is very good. But you do not have to be limited to this two brands. There are many different, such as Sony, Olympus or Kodak. It may be that in your area will be more available lenses of these brands. Brand selection is also very dependent on what lenses you choose. Canon or Nikon lenses have anti-shaking system build in by which making them more expensive.

What resolution should have our new camera, and what is the resolution?

Higher resolution is a larger picture. In reality, however, big part of this resolution is rejected for noise reduction and anti-shaking system. Good results can be obtained, for cameras with resolution from 6MP (mega pixels).

Is there a need to have a big display?

Most of the pictures you will not be able to check until you see them on the big screen. Any kind of blur and flaws will not be visible on the camera screen. It is not recommended to take the camera for its display. Surely you will not be watching movies on it. Is only as a preview. But always remember to do a couple of shots of the same object, you can then choose the best picture.

More on the selecting the first camera will write in the next article. In the meantime, I want to invite you, to a page where in a fun and easy way you can learn more about new digital cameras

The Importance of Maternity Photography

Importance of Maternity and Infant Photography

Capturing you special moments while you are pregnant and during the first days of your child's life will leave you with images to be cherished for a lifetime. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider capturing these precious times.

Maternity Photography

- Being a unique photo subject. Professional photographers consider pregnant women as one of the most unique and beautiful shooting subjects. A sexy and well-contoured body is easy to find but a pregnant woman with that perfect glow and bloom is considered a challenge.

- Improving self-esteem. As psychologists have proven, several pregnant women feel insecure about their figure and over-all look during pregnancy. As their tummies get large and they accumulate additional weight, they generally feel uglier and unhappy. Maternity photography is just one of the alternatives to counteract these feelings and eventually improve self-esteem. This art stresses the fact that there is beauty in pregnancy. Most of the time, photography studios often provide the best grooming tips for their pregnant models or subjects.

- A way to remember memories. Pregnancy is just a once in a lifetime experience. And there's no better alternative of reminiscing this wonderful moment but with a professionally taken photograph. Your photo can be enjoyed and shared with your loved ones especially when your child eventually grows and ages.

- A way to celebrate the incoming member of the family. Bearing a child is always considered a blessing. And capturing maternity images is just one of the unique and simple ways to celebrate it. It will constantly be the reminder for parents especially the moms on the hardships as well as the happy moments felt while they are waiting for the baby to finally arrive.

Infant Photography

- It's the most adorable image you can have on your child. An infant or a newborn child is extremely cute, adorable, and cuddly. But this adorable look will not last long because babies grow fast. Hence, you only have a couple of months to take these beautiful pictures before they eventually become playful and naughty.

- Creating a life story out of photographs. Most people are now lucky that image and video technologies are available and accessible compared from the past. Back then, only a few families particularly the wealthy ones can afford to contract the services of a photo lab, studio, or a painter who will create a portrait of the child. Today, digital cameras are now widely available and there's no longer a reason for any family not to have a complete photo of the children from infancy, teenage, to adulthood.

- Remembering baby features that you might forget over time. If you have a newborn baby, you usually notice and get fond of certain features and details about him or her. Some examples include a dimple, cute tiny toes, lips, eyelashes, cute nose and eyes, etc. Infant photography is not only limited to a whole infant perspective, it can also be used to capture and remember these tiny details of your baby even as years pass by. An expert photographer will usually have plenty of ideas on how to perfectly showcase these cute details in the resulting images.

As you can see, there are numerous reasons that you should consider getting portraits taken during this wonderful and exciting time. A good digital camera will let you capture some good images and if you are looking for a more professional style try one of our Southern Illinois Photographers or one near you!