Using Depth of Field to Take Good Pictures

One of the best digital photography tips involves something know as depth of field, or bokeh. This is where part of the photograph is in sharp focus while the rest of the image is out of focus, or blurry. This technique adds lots of interest to a photograph by separating the main subject from the photograph and drawing the viewer’s attention right to the area of the main subject. The blurred background does not compete for the viewer’s attention.

You can do a couple of things to create an image with satisfying depth of field. One way to accomplish good depth of field is to separate the main subject far enough from the background so that the background is not in focus. For instance, if you are photographing a person, just have them move toward you and away from the distracting background.

Another technique is to use a telephoto lens with a wide open aperture. This sounds a little techy, but it is not really very complicated. Here’s how it works. Use your telephoto lens set to a higher number, such as 100mm or 200mm, and set your aperture to a lower number, such as f2.8 or f4.0. The lower the number, the less depth there is in the focus. In some cases, there is only a depth of focus of an inch or two. As the f-stop rises, so does the focus depth. So, if you take a photo with your aperture set to, say f9.0, you will get much more detail in the background because there is a “deeper” focus range. Continue reading “Using Depth of Field to Take Good Pictures”

Tokina 11-16mm Lens Review

Tokina’s 11-16mm f2.8 ultra wide lens is an unknown quantity to many people. The small range of lenses that Tokina produce leads many to dismiss the manufacturer as a sub standard third party manufacturer in the same league as Sigma or Tamron. Well that is plain wrong – Tokina make exceptional lenses,, the build quality of which is up there (if not better than) most of the Nikon or Canon lenses.

The 11-16 is a true ultra wide angle lens. Even when mounted on a cropped sensor dslr such as the Canon Rebel XSi the view is really wide, so much so that it can take some getting used to. Simply pointing at the horizon for run of the mill landscape shots tends to yield boring images. Instead to get the most from the wideness you need to either get low to the ground or ensure you have strong elements in the forefront of the frame in order to lead the viewers eye right through your composition. Once you get the hang of this you will be blown away by the results. Continue reading “Tokina 11-16mm Lens Review”

The Magic Lens – Canon 50mm F1.8 Lens Review

First off I would like to say that this is one of the most under rated lenses in the whole market. In this article I will try and inform you why I have formed this opinion.

Many people feel slightly underwhelmed with the results they get when they start shooting with their first digital slr camera. Their are two main mistakes that people make when moving from compact cameras to SLRs. The first is that they use the automatic or preset modes within the camera while shooting. In my eyes this is like buying a Ferarri and never getting out of first gear. To unleash the power of a SLR camera you need to start learning about how to use some of the semi manual or manual modes.

The second mistake is that people fail to appreciate how important lenses are on a camera. In the world of compact digital cameras marketing efforts seem to be based about the number of mega pixels a camera boasts. Large numbers of pixels will only give you a large image, not necessarily a sharp one. The lens on any camera is the most important part and the one that truly defines the image quality the camera produces. One downside is that most great lenses cost many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Continue reading “The Magic Lens – Canon 50mm F1.8 Lens Review”

Digital Photography Tips – 5 Tips to Avoid Flash Blowout

Have you ever tried to take pictures in a poorly lit room with your point and shoot camera? How was it? Doesn’t your subject turn out to be completely blown out by the flash? It was horrible to see that your subjects are engulfed by the bright light. So, below are 5 tips to help you avoid this common flash blowout.

1. Stepping back

Various digital photography tips told you to get close to your subjects so that you can fill up your frame. However, the closer you get to your subjects with flash, the brighter they will get.

So, it is wise that you take some steps further from your subjects and zoom into them when you need to flash on your subjects. This can help you to fill your frame and reduce the blowout.

2. Bounce the flash

As any point and shoot camera user already knew, you can’t control the direction of the flash (DSLR flash unit can be twisted and bounce the light to other direction). However, you are not cursed to stick with this situation forever. You can change your fate with some effort.

You can use a small white card and place it at an angle in front of the flash so that the light can be directed to the ceiling or wall. One thing about this digital photography tip is that you want to be careful with the material you use to direct the flash. This is because different color can impact the light from your flash. So, you will see a different picture when you bounce the flash with a red card instead of white. Continue reading “Digital Photography Tips – 5 Tips to Avoid Flash Blowout”

Digital and Optical Camera Zoom – What’s the Difference?

If you are new to photography, figuring out what zoom power you need and differentiating between the different types of zoom can be quite overwhelming. A number of new terms referring to zooming have been introduced lately in the marketing language of camera manufacturers, which only increases confusion. This article is aimed to bring a little more light into the problem and help you take a good decision when making the purchase.

Most mid-priced digital cameras have an incorporated 3x/4x lens. These numbers refer to optical and digital zoom. Most cameras have both optical and digital zoom, with the exception of a few low-priced ones, which tend to make dull and fuzzy photos. A digital camera’s zoom function is quite similar to the one of a film camera and does the same thing, namely bringing the subject closer. Anyway, in digital cameras here are two types of zoom, an optical and a digital one. Optical zoom is the one similar to the zoom of a traditional camera.

Digital zoom, on the other hand, simulates zooming by blowing up a selected part of the picture. It shouldn’t be mistaken with photo editing, which refers to applications used to modify the image after it’s been produced. Another common misconception about this type of zoom is that it is particularly useful for long distance photos. This cannot be farther from the truth. Optical zoom is much more important in a digital camera and it should be the one used as a criterion when comparing different models instead of digital or total zoom. Continue reading “Digital and Optical Camera Zoom – What’s the Difference?”

High Resolution Cameras – Facts & Myths

Anyone who intends to purchase a digital camera may fall for the myth of high resolution. The resolution is the number of mega pixels the camera can produce and it is said that the higher the resolution, the better your photos will turn out like. This is indeed true for certain situations, such as when pictures are printed out on larger size paper. The truth is that for plenty of camera users the advantages of a high resolution camera are close to zero.

Let’s start by understanding what a mega pixel means. Literally, it means one million pixels. A pixel is the tiniest part of a digital picture. If you have an application that you can use to zoom into an image you can really see those pixels – they look like the ‘pixellated’ effect you’ve seen on TV which hides people’s faces. Each digital image, including your PC screen, is a rectangular made of pixels: the larger it is, the more pixels it has. You can find out how many pixels your monitor has in the display settings. For example, a 1024 (horizontal) x 768 (vertical) screen has 1024×768 pixels, meaning 786,432. This means a little less than 0.8 mega pixels. So if you look at an image with a higher resolution, the rest of the pixels just don’t fit your screen and they are lost. You have to remember that you can never see more pixels than the screen can display. A 10 mega pixel image would be much resized to fit the computer screen and the remaining pixels would be lost. If your computer didn’t do that, you could only see a small section of the picture and would have to scroll up and down to see the rest. When an image is zoomed out, the number of pixels is decreased. Viewed on the computer screen, an image which only has 0.8MP and needs no zooming out has the exact same level of detail with one of 12MP which has been zoomed out. To see for yourself, open two images of small and high resolution on your computer screen and see how they look like. Continue reading “High Resolution Cameras – Facts & Myths”

10 Great Ways to Grow As a Professional Photographer

A word of caution: Some of these ideas involve taking images of groups of people. Public events generally permit photography by anyone of anyone, but if someone really does not want themselves or their loved ones to be photographed, you should exercise good judgment and diplomacy and stop photographing and/or delete the taken images. For private situations such as nursing homes and shelters, you absolutely must get consent of the leadership team and the subjects. Use these interactions to build your people skills.

1. High School Sports. There are so many sports events that go unreported. If you can get permission to shoot at the sidelines, and you have the right gear, you can get shots that will be memorable and exciting. These can be offered on a low-cost or sharing website to parents and the school or yearbook staff, and you can potentially work with the local papers as well.

2. Student Recognition Events. My kids are in National Honor Society and Scholar Athlete, as well as District Band and other events. It’s no big deal to ask for permission from the administration or advisor and take a photo of every student. Parents love getting a well-taken print, and advisors and yearbook teams love a CD. Whether you have kids in these activities or not, it’s good community exposure and seeing these kids excel reinforces your respect in the younger generation. Continue reading “10 Great Ways to Grow As a Professional Photographer”

Top 6 Tips For Beginning Photography

Welcome to the wonderfully addictive world of photography. We have a great community. As the title says, these tips are meant for those beginning photography. I hope you find them useful.

1. Basic Equipment – There is no need to spend thousands of dollars when you just begin exploring photography. There is some basic equipment that every photographer should have though.

A Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera is a must in order to go beyond the everyday point and shoot. SLRs give complete control over the aperture (iris opening in the lens), and shutter speeds. Together the aperture and shutter control the exposure of the shot.

The basic lenses are the standard, telephoto, and wide angle lenses. If you are just learning how to use an SLR then the standard lens that probably came with it is fine for learning all of the controls. I recommend eventually getting one of each of these lenses. Continue reading “Top 6 Tips For Beginning Photography”

Advantages Of RAW Over JPEG

Digital photography is a very interesting hobby. On highend digital cameras, the user has the choice to use either JPEG or RAW as a digital output image format. The decision to use JPEG or RAW for digital photography is always an ongoing debate.

Sometimes, it is better to use Jpeg rather than RAW. Usually, this is when file size is a constraint. This is when, a small file size is preferred.

Raw image files are also known as digital negatives. This is because this format fulfill the same role as film negatives in traditional chemical photography. Continue reading “Advantages Of RAW Over JPEG”

Tips for Purchasing a Digital Camera Lens

Your lens is an essential element to good photographs. It’s not just your camera. People spend thousands of dollars on a good camera and neglect the lens.

Change that around! Make sure you buy a good camera lens when purchasing a camera. Buy a good camera as well, but don’t neglect a good camera lens.

Why? Your camera is just the ‘holder’ for the photograph. The lens is what your camera sees all your shots through. A good lens is essential to clear and sharp photos.

With most compact digital cameras, you can’t change the lens. So in that case, don’t just buy a good camera, ensure it also has a good lens.

Avoid a plastic digital camera lens because it doesn’t have the clarity of a glass lens.

What model of lens?

Stick with camera lenses from well known manufacturers like Nikon, Canon and Pentax. Ensure you purchase a lens that works with your camera too. A Nikon camera lens usually won’t work well with a Canon camera. Continue reading “Tips for Purchasing a Digital Camera Lens”