Photography has become an increasingly popular hobby in recent years. With advances in technology, today’s digital cameras make it possible to quickly and easily take good photos. Many people however are stuck in “automatic” mode (or rather their cameras are). Armed with a little knowledge about your digital camera (and some practice) your photos can go from good to outstanding. Following are some tips to help you get started.
White balance is what determines the color temperature of your photo. Think in terms of warm and cool. Most photos taken with a digital camera will have a cool feel to them or in other words will have somewhat of a blue tint to them. This is generally the result you get when your white balance setting is set to auto. Photos with a warmer feel however, look more natural and thus are more pleasing to the eye. To achieve this affect locate the white balance adjustment on your digital camera. Most cameras will have several different settings for white balance. You want to choose the “cloudy” setting. This will add more red and yellow hues to your photo and in effect warms the tone of the shot.
A polarizing filter is a great tool for adding a little extra “pop” to your photos. Polarizing filters actually serve two purposes; they reduce glare and unwanted reflections and they brighten up the colors in your photos. A polarizing filter is especially helpful when shooting outdoors. It will enhance landscapes with beautiful vibrant colors. Polarizing filters just screw right on to your cameras lens and you can find them in many sizes to fit most digital cameras. However, if you have a camera which doesn’t accept filters (some of the smaller point & shoot ones do not) there is a trick you can use. Sunglasses will create the same basic effect. Just hold a pair of sunglasses as close as possible to the lens (make sure the glasses are not seen in the shot) and snap the photo.
Flash can add a lot of depth to your photos if used properly. When shooting in “auto” mode your camera will determine when to use flash. If your setting is bright enough, the flash will not be used. This is a great convenience if you’re just taking quick snapshots but if you want to add more life to your photos switch your flash to “flash on” or “fill flash”. This will allow your camera to use existing light for its exposure and will add flash to fill in dark shadows giving a softer feel to your photos. When shooting outdoors try to use the sun to light your subject from the side (never have your subject face the sun) and use the flash to fill in the shadows on the front of your subject. Check your camera’s manual to determine the maximum distance that your flash will operate at.
Your digital camera probably has a setting called “macro” or “close up”. This mode is best used in creative photography to achieve great detail in close up shots. What this mode does in essence is allow you to focus at a much closer distance to your subject than in your camera’s normal mode. For example, if your camera in its normal mode has trouble focusing on subjects closer than 2 feet, you can switch to macro mode and you may be able to focus as close as 6 or 8 inches. This can make for a very dramatic shot. Be careful when using macro however because macro mode gives you a very shallow depth of field leaving a lot of your photo out of focus. Just experiment a little and you’ll be taking great close up shots in no time.
These are just some basic tips and tricks to spark some creativity in your photography. Always experiment with your camera to find new and creative ways to express yourself. That’s the great thing about digital photography you can experiment to no end without shelling out big bucks for film and processing. Happy shooting!
About the Author
Ryan Gibson is a freelance photographer and graphic artist. To learn more tips and techniques to enhance your digital photography visit http://www.digitalphotographyport.com
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