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Thursday, May 1, 2008

11 tips for the beginner!!

1. Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away.

It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point and shoot. See these examples on Flickr. The more photos you take, the more you’ll know about what kind of camera to get when it’s time to upgrade.

2. Consider a tripod.

On the other hand, an inexpensive tripod is worth getting, especially if you have shaky hands like mine. When I got a tripod, my satisfaction with my shots skyrocketed. For even more stability, use your camera’s timer function with a tripod (read our introduction to tripods).

3. Keep your camera with you all the time.

Photo ops often come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple - just a small camera bag and a tripod - you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take “notes” on scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.

4. Make a list of shots you’d like to get.

For those times you can’t carry your camera around, keep a small notebook to jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Make sure to note any important details, like the lighting, so you can come back at the same time of day or when the weather’s right. If you don’t want to carry a notebook, send yourself an email using your cell phone with

5. Don’t overlook mundane subjects for photography.

You might not see anything interesting to photograph in your living room or your backyard, but try looking at familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. You might catch an interesting trick of the light or find some unexpected wildflowers in your yard. Often a simple subject makes the best shot.

6. Enjoy the learning process.

The best part of having a hobby like photography is never running out of things to learn. Inspiration is all around you. Look at everything with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.

7. Take advantage of free resources to learn.

Browse through Flickr or websites like the Digital Photography School Forum for inspiration and tips. Also, your local library probably has a wealth of books on all types of photography. If you’re interested in learning about post-processing, give free software like the GIMP a try.

8. Experiment with your camera’s settings.

Your point and shoot may be more flexible and powerful than you know. Read the manual for help deciphering all those little symbols. As you explore, try shooting your subjects with multiple settings to learn what effects you like. When you’re looking at your photos on a computer, you can check the EXIF data (usually in the file’s properties) to recall the settings you used.

9. Learn the basic rules.

The amount of information about photography online can be overwhelming. Start with a few articles on composition. Be open to what more experienced photographers have to say about technique. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

10. Take photos regularly.

Try to photograph something every day. If you can’t do that, make sure you take time to practice regularly, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned. An excellent way to motivate yourself is by doing the weekly assignments in the DPS Forum.

11. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If you’re using a digital camera, the cost of errors is free. Go crazy - you might end up with something you like. You’ll certainly learn a lot in the process.

Tips for Beginners!!

  • Choose a subject or message of your photo

    . If there is no clear real subject, nothing of graphical interest and no mood to convey, it is probably not an interesting photo.
  • Remove things that don’t add to the photo

    . Especially if they detract from the central message. Don’t only know what to include, but also what to exclude. Find a simple background and look for balance.
    In this example the hand of the woman below and the colorful yellow and blue shirts are distracting elements. Waiting until the hand is gone and standing a few steps more to the left, so the people in the back are out of the frame, would both improve the photo.
  • Don’t be afraid to zoom in or get very close

    . The most common mistake is that photos are taken from too far away and that there is just too much environment that doesn’t add to the message. Filling the image with the subject underlines what the intended subject is, and removes cluttered background. It achieves simplicity.
  • Don’t automatically center your subjects

    . Beginning photographers massively center their main subjects on their photos. This is not illogical because the photographer aims at the subject with the camera viewer. If you rather place the subject outside the center it will often result in a more dynamic composition. Experiment with that.
    A popular guideline is the rule of thirds. Imagine the frame divided into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, like a tic-tac-toe board. Then place the subject on or near one of the lines or intersections. This is called the rule of thirds, or the ‘golden mean’. However don’t follow this rule slavishly.
    Remember that the eyes are most important for people and animals. When zooming in and the head fills the image, the rule of thirds applies to the position of the eyes.
  • Be sure to hold your camera level

    . It will break the strength of your photo if the horizon appears with an apparent angle.
    Sometimes photo opportunities appear in a split second, and you have just no time to control the angle of your camera. When at home your photo appears to be tilted, no problem. With imaging tools it’s easy to level the photo afterwards. However this gives a small loss in image quality. So practise your reflex to hold your camera level in the first place.
  • Eyes are exceptionally important

    . They tell the story. When photographing people and animals everything else can be hidden or cropped out: the mouth, the nose, the hair. But the eyes must be visible.
    In addition, the eyes have to be tack sharp. Unsharpness of the eyes will hurt the attraction to the eyes, and with that the quality of the photo. If the eyes are not sharp, the photo doesn’t look sharp.
  • Watch the distance with flash

    . Don’t bother using flash over 30 feet away. Most non professional flashes just completely don’t function at this distance or greater. Flash works best with nearby subjects. When taking a scenery of a bridge at some distance, flash won’t help. Instead of flash, use longer exposure times and a tripod or, if necessary, a higher iso setting.
    When photographing multiple people with flash, be aware that persons that are close will be illuminated by the flash much more than persons further away. So if you want all of them as prominent, have all at the same close distance from your camera.
  • As a rule make use the full range of luminosity

    : from completely dark (black) to completely white. This makes photos dynamic and vivid.
    On the other side don’t over expose with digital camera’s. The information of over exposed parts of the image will be lost definitively and can’t even be recovered by imaging tools. Under exposing is also unfortunate. Image tools can light up the darks and make the tonal visible, however with some or even considerable noise.
    Directly after taking a photograph, reading the histogram can be helpful. If the histogram is pegged against the right end, the photo is over exposed. When pegged against the left hand, it is under exposed.
    But adjusting the settings of the camera to capture the whole full range of luminosity without over or under exposing can be quite a struggle. Just be sure not to overexpose. Adjusting levels afterwards with an imaging tool will be the rescue.
  • Make a selection of your photos

    . Don’t put all your photos, complete with all the flawed versions of the same scene, in your (online) photo album. The bad ones harm the attention that the best ones deserve. Make a critical selection of your photos, keep the very best. This will enhance your the overall quality of the album enormously.
  • The tree growing out of the subject’s shoulder or head

    is a classic photographic syndrome.
    As you position yourself for the photo look out for power poles, lamp posts and other objects behind the subject that can ruin your photo. When it happens, reposition yourself or the subject.
    Also avoid objects in the background that visually merge with the subject because they have the same color. Let the subject be free-standing.

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Tips for great Pictures!!

Look your subject in the eye

Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person's eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.

Use a plain background

A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.

Use flash outdoors

Bright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on. You may have a choice of fill-flash mode or full-flash mode. If the person is within five feet, use the fill-flash mode; beyond five feet, the full-power mode may be required. With a digital camera, use the picture display panel to review the results.
The flash will brighten up people's faces and make them stand out. Also take a picture without the flash, because the soft light of overcast days sometimes gives quite pleasing results by itself.

Auto focus problems

Sometimes the object for focus is too small compared to its background, for example you are trying to focus onto a single thin and tiny leaf, the camera may not be able to auto-focus on it. So place fist or any other object nearby the leaf and allow the camera to auto-focus at that position. Thereafter remove the object and click your shot!! I took snapped those red-ants on the orchids in a similar way.