I’m excited about this one as I have been working on it for awhile and it is finally done and ready for release. If you are not familiar with ecourses, they are lessons on a particular topic ( in this case digital photography) that you get periodically by email.
My new Digital Photography Ecourse consists of 12 lessons and takes you from the beginning to the end of basic digital photography. By the end of the course, you will know your way around your camera and how to take stunning photographs.
The learning platform I use is a little different in that I not only use text in the lesson, but also visuals aids such as charts, graphs and videos. This accommodates a wider group of people being we all learn in different ways and by using different means.
In each lesson there is also an assignment, so you have an opportunity to put into practice what you just learned in the lesson. And my ecourse also includes 30 minutes each month of personal one-on-one coaching and/or photo critiquing, depending on the lesson.
I can only take up to 200 subscribers, so if you are interested in taking this course, I would sign up now as I expect it to sell out quickly. The cost is $9.95 per month, but you can test-drive the first lesson for 50% off – $4.98. My gift to you for signing up for this course. If you find it is not for you , you can cancel at any time.
Most digital cameras offer both digital and optical zoom. These two features often confuse the average camera buyer, until you know how each of them works and how you can use them in your digital photography.
Optical zoom works much like the zoom lens on a 35 mm film camera. It changes the focal length of your camera’s lens and makes the subject seem bigger in your viewfinder or LCD backscreen. The optical zoom feature keeps the quality of the digital image picture by enlarging it before the image is captured on a media storage card.
On the other hand, digital zoom works entirely differently. It simply takes the picture, crops it and then enlarges the part that is left, which is usually from the center part and out as far as it can go, but still a significant part of the image is cropped out. Because the image is enlarged in the camera after it is taken the pixels end up farther apart which degrades the image somewhat.
What this means in terms of output if you are using digital zoom, you may have to have a larger amount of space around your subject and your subject placed closer to the center of the scene. Just know that with pure digital zoom, your images will not be in sharp focus as details are lost in the image processing process. If your camera has the option to turn off digital zoom, in most cases it is best to do so to preserve the clarity and sharpnessof your images.
There are a couple of things you can do if you want a closer view of a subject but want the quality of your picture to still be good. One is to try moving closer to your subject. Sometimes moving only a foot or two will do the trick. If your camera has optical zoom, you can zoom in as tight as you can. Another trick is to set your image resolution to the highest setting, so that even if you crop your digital image, the resulting image will still be clear.
Still digital zoom has its place. If the destiny of your images are posted on the Internet or sent as email atttachments and not printed, then your images can be of a lesser quality (72ppi) and still appear acceptable when viewed on a computer monitor. However, if your goal is printing the images, then your images must be at least 240ppi (and 300ppi is better). In this case, seek a camera that has a greater optical zoom – a larger range from the shortest to the longest lens focal length – and turn off the digital zoom. Your pictures will be better in the end, even if they are not as close up.
- a focus point,
- a subject,
- a background and,
We normally see a focus point of one type of another in every photograph, unless camera shake was at work, but is it the focus point the photographer intended? The easy way to ensure you focus on your subject is to hold your focus on your subject, push the shutter button halfway down. With the shutter button still halfway down recompose so your subject is placed using the Rule of thirds and finish pressing the shutter button. By pushing the shutter button half-way down, it locks the focus on your subject.
Each digital photograph has to have a subject, but often, either the subject is so small in the photo that it is hard to identify or there are too many other competing elements to know which one is actually supposed to be the subject. The answer of course is to either zoom in or place your camera closer to your subject so it is easily recognizable. If your subject happens to be a person and they are looking or pointing at something, make sure they are looking towards the center of the framed scene and not out of it.
In landscape digital photography, many times the background may in fact be the subject. In this case, make sure your “subject ” takes up at least the lower 2/3rds of the frame with the area above the horizon occupying the upper 1/3rd. If your subject is something in the sky, then give it the 2/3rds of the space and the area below the horizon the remaining 1/3rd.
In many photographs, lighting makes or breaks a photograph. If you intend your subject to be a silhouette, then make sure your lighting is coming in from behind your subject. For a softer lighting that accents color and texture, have your lighting come in from either side. Sometimes you will end up being at a beautiful place only during the middle of the day – during the harsh direct overhead light. If the light happens to be diffused by some thin overhead clouds, then you lucked out as this shadowless lighting is some of the best you can get. If no clouds are present, then use a polarizing filter and work with it the best you can.
If you think about these four elements while composing a shot and before pressing the shutter button, you will see your photography improve. Once you have these four elements down pat, then move on to more advanced techniques.
Today’s cameras make taking pictures a lot easier than the one’s of yesterday. There is always room for improvement, however. Use the following tips to help make your photos go from acceptable to great:
1. Always be aware of the background. You don’t want to find trees growing out of people’s heads or a passing vehicle to draw attention from your subject. Sometimes moving your subject or your camera just a couple steps to either side or up and down can make all the difference.
2. Use available light. If your digital camera has an option to turn the flash off and it’s light enough outside to read a book, then use the available light and turn the flash off. In general, camera flashes are too harsh for human skin and make all of us look pale. Indoors, where there isn’t enough daylight, place your subject by a window and use your fill flash feature.
3. Aim your camera slightly down at the person’s face. Also don’t shoot just face on to the person, try a little to the side, a three quarter view, so that you see more of their face. Remember camera higher looking down and a three quarter view, it will slim your subject.
4. Remember your focus. Get closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and there will be no doubt as to what the picture is saying.
6. Never put your subject dead center. Instead, put your subject just slightly off center; not a lot-just a little. When you’re shooting groups of people, find the imaginary center line of your group and put that line just a bit off center in your view through your lens or screen.
Following these tips won’t turn you into an award-winning photographer today, but you will be on your way to better, more powerful photographs that others will comment on for years to come.
Before you press that shutter button, check your composition again and ask yourself if you have applied these seven steps (or at least the applicable one) for this photo.. A few simple adjustments can make the difference between an off-hand “snapshot” and a true photograph. Regardless of how you will use your photograph, these seven tips will improve every photo you take:
1. Subject Positioning
In most photographs, you want to avoid positioning your subject in the middle of the photo – called “bulls-eying”. Instead, to make your photos more interesting, use the rule of thirds:
2. Move Closer to Your Subject
Most new photographers do not get close enough to their subject. A simple technique for improving your photos is to get closer to your subject.
3. Crop Your Photo
Try as hard as you might, you won’t always get that perfect photo. Improve your photo by applying the rule of thirds either by cropping in-camera or with an image-editing software once you have your photo uploaded to your computer.
4. Choose Better Photo Backgrounds
Your photo’s background should remain in the background and not distract from your subject. Make sure it stays unobtrusive by:
5. Pick the Proper Orientation
Cameras produce rectangular images. So, this gives you two distinct orientations to work with—vertical or horizontal.
With some subjects, it is not readily apparent which orientation would work best. In those cases, shoot a photo in each orientation and then judge which looks best.
6. Use Point of View
Most new photographers shoot their photos from the standing eye-level position. Break out of that habit by:
7. Frame Your Subject
Framing draws the viewer’s eye to the main subject. Once you start looking, items to use as frames are everywhere. For example:
You can also use a frame to hide distracting elements in a photo that you can’t get rid of.
By applying these seven items to your photos, you will amaze viewers with your photographic abilities and resulting photographs.
Framing is a digital photography technique where you to use an object to draw the viewer’s eyes through the frame and to your subject; it is a way of focusing attention on your subject. Framing a photogenic scene entails using something, natural or manmade, to partially or fully surround your subject or at least come in from one side and the top. When first using framing, photographers make the mistake of not getting close enough to the subject. The subject has to almost fill the window created by the frame.
Natural framing could be overhanging tree branches, a gap between two boulders, a natural arch, etc. Manmade framing might be a doorway, arch, open window, bridge or a gap between buildings. By using framing in a digital photography image, you are restricting the field of view more than if you were not using a frame; framing restricts the number of elements in a scene, thereby drawing the viewer’s eye right to the subject.
For a flower shooting, try a different style of framing; capture flower images from their height. To do this, focus on the subject flower and select a small f-stop number for a very narrow depth-of-field. Position your camera so that there are flowers directly in front of and to the sides of the camera. Focus on your subject flower and shoot. The foreground flowers will be blurs of color while the subject will be in focus.
These out-of-focus flowers serve as a framing device thereby drawing the eyes to the focused subject. Remember, the human eye always goes to what is in focus. This digital photography technique works well with young children sitting in a field of flowers.
Framing can also hide unwanted details in a scene such as powerlines, waste receptacles or anything attracting attention away from your main subject. By observing and trying different viewpoints, sometimes you can locate a frame that gets rid of these unwanted elements.
With framing, the direction of light is very important. If you are shooting with the sun to your back, in other words front lighting, the light will illuminate both the frame and subject. If the sun is from either side or coming from the back of the subject – back lighting, then your subject will be illuminated, but the frame will be a silhouette. Generally, it is better to spot meter your subject so it will be properly exposed and let the exposure of the frame fall where it may.
Framing adds a sense of scale to a subject. By using something for a frame that most people can associate with as far as how big that object is, the size of the subject or how far away the subject is from the camera becomes apparent. Without an object of a known size to relate to, the size or distance of the subject is harder to determine.
Framing is just another tool in your digital photography toolbox. Learning how to use it will make the art of creating vibrant, exciting photographs enjoyable.