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How to get the best results with your digital photos?

by / Tuesday, 21 April 2015 / Published in Photography

That is an often asked question!

It starts with the source and that is YOU, the picture taker. Not with the camera.

A cheap camera with a good photographer will produce photos that are much better than the ones from an expensive camera operated by a photographer who has no idea……

Expensive cameras come with abundant technology and features, but best of all, they come with expensive glass.

Glass is the material used for the production of the lens and the better that quality is, the better, crisper, sharper the images will be.

But it isn’t just the glass. Of course not.

Composition of the image is a major factor and more important than anything else is……. Light……

Too dark and a photo will look drab and shows little detail, too light and colors will fade and backgrounds disappear.

That brings me to the most overrated feature on any camera these days:  The AUTO setting…….

Simply said: the vast majority of people let their camera do all it needs to do in the AUTO setting, because common sentiment states that “the machine will do the work for me”.

That means that if the camera light sensor spots enough light in the room that it doesn’t fire the flash. But the camera does not know that you have placed your subjects in front of a window. Result?  A great looking window with people in front of it with dark, sometimes even unrecognizable faces.

As soon as you place your subject in front of a window, you must engage the flash on the top of your camera. Even the cheapest of pocket size cameras have settings that allow you to engage the flash if so required.

The same scenario will play out outdoors on a sunny day when subjects are placed with the sun brightly lit in their background. The AUTO setting will concentrate on the abundance of sunlight and will leave the subject’s faces deeply in the dark. So in a case like this, also engage the flash and light up the faces of your subjects. Images taken in snow are notorious for this same problem as are pictures taken on a tropical beach.

Use the flash when taking pictures of people as your main subject. It won’t hurt your image one iota, on the contrary, it will improve your overall vacation photos by a factor of 2 or 3……

Flash use is “mandatory” when shooting pictures of people, inside or out……

Do a little reading of the user guide that came with your camera and learn about fairly simple features as ISO settings.

The ISO number is the sensitivity level to light. The brighter the light outdoors (beach, sunny snowy mountain) the smaller number that setting should be.

Super bright days or situations: You could experiment with a selection ISO 50 (beach, snow etc)

Sunny days with great daylight, select ISO 100 and do a bit of experimenting with the ISO 200 or 400 settings during days of overcast or rain clouds.

More sophisticated cameras go as far as ISO 800, 1600 or even 3200 for images in very dark circumstances, such as weddings in dark churches where flash light would be a distraction.

Please keep in mind that the larger an ISO number is, the more grainy (or noisy) your prints will be. That is not really a problem with 200 or 400 but beyond 400 that could play a role in quality, especially when enlargements are printed.

ISO 100 is the most common setting for day to day shooting, but if you want to see your work to be “perfect” rather than “middle-of-the-road”

give these various ISO’s a try and notice that you feel much better about your skills as a photographer when the results come in, on prints or in your latest photo book.

A last but certainly not least: Digital photography gives you the opportunity to instantly see on the LCD screen how the image came out. Not good?

Change the settings, or the position, or the angle or move your subjects and shoot again…..and again…..until you got the perfect shot!

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