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Mastering the Basics of Digital Photography

Mastering the Basics of Digital Photography

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Digital photography can be a great hobby or a lucrative profession. Some people take pictures mainly to capture memories of family and friends while others are avid shooters of sunsets and landscapes. Whatever your reasons for taking pictures, knowing a little about digital photography can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.

Reading the Manual

For the most part, no one likes pouring over a long manual to learn what their electronics can do. People often just attempt to learn through practice and figure things out on their own. With your digital camera, you could be overlooking a lot of features that come with it and some of these settings will make quite a difference in how your pictures turn out. You don’t need to adjust every setting manually, but for times when you’re in extreme lighting conditions or unusual weather it can be handy to know which setting will correct the inconveniences of your environment.

Experiment and Play

A lot of new digital camera users are afraid to change any settings on their camera in fear that they won’t be able to change things back. Again, reading your manual can give you the knowledge to restore settings. When a photo doesn’t look exactly how you’d like it to, take the same picture over and over with every different setting you can think of. With time and practice, you’ll know what each setting can do and you’ll barely have to think when it comes to deciding which mode to use for every situation.

Using different lighting, angles, and composition can also have quite an effect on your photo’s outcome. Trying different things with backlighting, object placement, and subject centering could turn your plain old photo into something incredibly pleasing to the eye with highlighting and shadowing you wouldn’t have expected.

Editing Software

Your digital photography self education shouldn’t stop at your camera. Once you get your photos uploaded to your computer, use the software provided to fix any little flaws, colour issues, or unwanted noise. Experimenting with these settings will introduce you to new effects and editing techniques you may have never thought of trying before.

Digital photography has a unique advantage over film by allowing you to view your photo immediately and delete what you don’t like. This makes experimenting with settings and lighting much easier because you can see right away what kind of effect you’ll be getting. With time, practice, and familiarity with your camera, deciding which settings or angle to use will become more and more natural and you’re increasing skills will be reflected in your work.

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Earning an Income with Digital Photography

Digital photography can be a great hobby but there are plenty of ways to make money from it as well. If you love taking pictures and you’re always snapping off photos anyways, why not try earning a little extra income from it? Not only can it be nice to have some extra money coming in, it can be incredibly rewarding to know someone is willing to pay for the photos you’ve put so much effort into taking.

Stock Photos

Selling your images online can be an easy way to put your digital photography efforts out there. You may not make much per photo, but if you’re taking tons of pictures anyways, uploading them to a micro stock website and selling larger quantities could bring in quite a bit of money over time. You may even choose to set up your own stock photo website and sell them individually or with a certain number of images per pack.

Personal Photographer

Putting up local ads or getting your name out there by word of mouth could open you up to custom jobs. Taking candid shots for weddings and birthdays or shooting display photos for hair salons, bakeries, or other businesses can be a fun way to make some extra money while practicing your digital photography skills and developing them further.

Selling to the Media

Being in the right place at the right time can put you in the position to get some great shots. By attending local events and taking pictures of whatever you can, you may get some shots you can sell to newspapers or magazines. While these types of media will generally have their own photographer on hand, they’re almost always willing to pay for freelance photos if you’ve taken shots they can use.

Selling Locally

Creating cards, calendars, or postcards with your photos and selling them at local art or coffee shops can be another good way to establish yourself as a serious photographer. Experiment with different angles, lighting, and composition and you may find yourself producing incredibly artful prints that people are willing and eager to buy. Keep shooting everything you can and when you discover the techniques that work best for you, put them out into the public however you can so people can see the work you’re capable of.

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Digital Photography vs. Film Photography

Film photography once ruled the world of picture taking, but with the advances in digital photography, it no longer dominates the corner on quality photos. Digital photography used to be a much more expensive hobby if you wanted to get any decent level of quality from your pictures, but digital cameras have gotten more advanced and have dropped significantly in price in recent years.

Film vs. Memory Card

One of the most convenient aspects of digital photography is the lack of need for rolls of film. Digital photos don’t require film with different speeds in order to get different results. Most digital settings are automatic, and to change your shutter speed or white balance, you only need to change a setting on your camera. Memory cards also have the unique ability to be loaded up with a ton of shots and replaced by another tiny memory card when full. This prevents the need to carry many rolls of film that are susceptible to light or heat damage during transport.

Developing Your Photos

When film was the standard medium of photography, darkroom and photo labs were required to print your pictures. Digital photography has given us the ability to print professional quality photos right from our own printers. Of course, a printer of decent quality with the proper ink and paper is still required in order to see high quality results. While most of the editing is done in the darkroom when using film, all editing for digital photos can be done with photo editing software on your computer.

Instant Results

Digital cameras have removed the need to wait to view the shots you’ve taken by allowing us to reviews pictures on the camera’s LCD screen. Instead of filling a roll of film up with mediocre photos, the image file from on your memory card can be deleted immediately and be retaken with a digital camera. And if a print is not actually required, the photos you take can be shared instantly through e-mail and uploading.

Some photographers still prefer the traditional methods of film photography, but digital photography has come a long way in eliminating the need for darkrooms, chemicals, light sensitive paper, and film. Developing your own photos has become common place and in many cases, printing a picture isn’t even required in order to view and share it. It used to be that film provided the higher quality results, but with advances in digital sensors and lenses, the choice between digital and film is now a matter of personal preference and convenience.

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Digital Photography Lessons: How to Choose the Right Class or Workshop

Getting started with digital photography can be confusing when you have little or no experience with your equipment, lighting techniques, or editing and printing practices. Even if you do have some experience under your belt, a digital photography class can be a great way to improve your skills or look at your hobby from a new perspective. Many different types of classes are available and choosing the right one will depend on what you’re looking to learn and improve on.

Hands On Experience

Taking a digital photography class will give you the opportunity to learn in the classroom and put your knowledge into practice with field trips and photo shoots. While you can get a lot of information from learning at home or online, a class can be helpful when interacting with other photographers and practicing techniques within different lighting conditions with the assistance of a professional instructor.

Understanding Your Equipment

Buying a new digital camera and reading through the manual might give you a good idea of what you’re doing with your equipment, but a digital photography class can be a great way to be shown what all your functions are for and how to use them properly. You’ll have the opportunity to learn the in’s and out’s of your camera and some classes will provide tips and tricks regarding minor repairs you may need to perform.

Learning At Home or Online

Online classes and digital photography books or manuals may lack the valuable hands on element, but they can be a great way to fill in the gaps you have in your current knowledge base or help to supplement what you’re learning in your photography class. Online digital photography classes can be extremely helpful as they will often provide a forum to discuss your work with other photography enthusiasts. You will often have access to online galleries to share your photos and receive constructive feedback from your peers while allowing you to see the work they’ve produced as well.

Even if you already have a general idea of what digital photography is all about and you know how to use your camera, a photography class can give you a lot more insight on picture composition and may introduce you to new shooting techniques. Classes are available for photographers of many different skill levels, so whether you’re brand new to digital photography or you’re a veteran looking to pick up a few new tips, taking a class can be a fun and interesting way to further your skills.

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Digital Photography: The Equipment Basics

When getting started with digital photography, there will be a few standard pieces of equipment you’ll need to purchase. If this is to be a casual hobby, or you’re just learning, you don’t need to go all out and buy everything top of the line, but getting some quality items that will last you a long time and can take great shots is very important. Start with the basics and upgrade your equipment over time as needed.

The Camera

The main thing you’ll need to get started in digital photography is a decent digital camera. They’re available with many different features and at varying price ranges, so depending on what you plan to do with your camera and what your skill level is, finding the perfect camera is a matter of understanding what each one is capable of. The cheapest, lowest quality model may not take you very far while the most expensive model could be a waste of money. Too many features could also make a certain camera more difficult or confusing to learn on.

Digital Photography Gear

A simple, standard tripod will be a great addition to your digital photography equipment. For pictures that require longer exposure or are taken in low light, a tripod will make a huge difference in the quality of your photos. Your camera itself will come with a kit lens, but you may find it necessary to purchase one or two additional zoom or macro lenses for close up and wide range shots.

Camera Bags and Cases

Your digital photography equipment is an investment so you’ll want to protect your camera and everything that goes with it. A durable camera bag is essential to provide protection to your gear while allowing you to conveniently store and transport everything. Getting a water proof camera bag will give you a little extra protection against rain and humidity. You may also find it handy to purchase a bag with extra pockets and compartments for batteries, lenses, and adapters.

All the Little Stuff

A large memory card plus a few spares will be vital when out shooting for long periods of time. The same goes for spare rechargeable batteries. Running out of room to store your photos or being stuck with no power can be a disaster when you come across a beautiful landscape or a candid moment that needs capturing. Having extras of everything will ensure you never miss an opportunity for a great shot.

Be sure to read your manuals and train yourself to use your equipment properly. Knowing your camera’s capabilities will allow you to get the most from your digital photography efforts. Purchase just the basic equipment when you’re first starting out and add more advanced equipment as you hone your skills and become more experienced in the world of digital photography.

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Digital Photography: Finding the Camera That Suits You Best

Digital Photography: Finding the Camera That Suits You Best

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Choosing the right digital camera when undertaking a new hobby or profession in digital photography will be the key element to your success and photo quality. With such a wide range of camera types and prices, it’s important to know every option that’s available to you and buy only what suits your needs.

Equipment Costs

Your digital photography budget may be limited, so determine first how much you’ll be willing and able to spend and take a portion off for the additional accessories you’ll require such as memory cards, batteries, a tripod, and a camera bag. Once you know what you have left to spend on the camera itself, determine which features you think you’ll absolutely need and which ones will be useless to you. As you progress in your digital photography skills and interest, you may decide to upgrade, but buying an inexpensive digital camera to start off with can be an excellent device to learn on.

Camera and Photo Size

Digital cameras come in all shapes and sizes and some can be big and bulky while others are incredibly compact. A tiny camera may be less cumbersome to shoot with, but keep in mind that it may not have as many added features or might not photograph with the same quality a larger one would have. Photo size is something else to consider because digital cameras with less megapixels will not be able to provide decent quality for large photos. More megapixels will allow your photo to be printed on a larger scale while retaining the proper resolution and preventing pixelation.

Additional Features

A large LCD screen can be very handy when trying to review your pictures as you take them. Especially when photographing in extreme lighting conditions, such as too sunny or too dark, a bright, large screen can allow you to see the shots you’ve taken much more clearly. When it comes to zooming, pay attention to whether the zoom feature is optical zoom or digital zoom. Optical zoom will extend the lens of your camera while digital will just magnify the image. Magnifying could result in loss of quality, so choosing an optical zoom feature whenever possible will give you better shots.

Too many features could make your camera more difficult to use and will likely increase the price of that device. Decide in advance which features you’ll require to prevent overpaying and buying things you don’t need. In time, if you become more serious with your digital photography endeavors, you may find you’ll need to upgrade and at that point you’ll likely have a more specific idea of your camera needs.

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