Path: The Design & Publishing Center _/_ &FOTOgraphic_/_ Doug's Coffee Break
||a message from Doug Clifford
Three steps to improve your
One of the more frequent questions in the Ace Camera Index and here in &FOTOgraphic is "how can I improve my digital photos?"
Aside from common sense, I'll pass along three things to always be conscious of when going to grab that shot.
1. Remember you are capturing pixels
__ From a digital perspective, the scene your camera sees will always be rendered to a finite number of individual pixels. Various objects or subjects in your photo will occupy a given set of pixels in the overall scan. I say scan here because basically that's what you're doing -- scanning the scene.
__ So, when you compose your shot, think about the subject and how important it is to the environment in which it appears. For instance, if you're taking a shot of your pet specifically to show your pet, then perhaps the background and surrounding scenery are not important enough to steal valuable pixels from your pet's image. Move in closer.
__ If, on the other hand, your goal is to portray your pet in an action scene, then perhaps a bit of the surrounding environment becomes very important in conveying the message of the photo.
__ If your pet occupies only a 100 x 100 pixel patch within a 640 x 480 pixel image, the pet will not only convey less importance in the composition, it will have less pixels describing detail, color and texture.
2. Shoot a lot, Edit a lot
__ No one ever made that award winning photograph on the first snap. Truly good photographs are rarely shot in the first or even second exposure. Some professional photographers will shoot several dozen exposures just to get the one they're looking for. Other times the award winner turns out to be some of the 'extras' shot and not the main pose at all.
__ When you're shooting for a specific goal, shoot a lot. Change angles. Change distance or zoom. Spend some time, and watch as the light and conditions change. If you fill your memory card, delete duplicates or the less exciting images to make room for more. Better yet, carry a spare.
__ There's no worse feeling than to return to the office or studio only to realize you could have gotten a much better shot had you kept shooting.
3. Keep Shooting
__ Practice, practice, practice. Nothing will ever take the place of experience -- both in the operation of your equipment, and in the training of your analytical eye. You need to know exactly how to operate the camera, and exactly when the conditions are right.
__ It goes without saying that you need to read and study your camera manual. If the camera offers 8 different resolution settings make yourself 8 sheets of paper and mark one resolution setting on each sheet. Set your camera up on a tripod and shoot a non-changing scene with each resolution setting while holding your setting paper in the scene. Later you'll be glad because you'll actually stamp each exposure with the setting. Professionals will do this when confronted with a difficult subject. They'll shoot, evaluate and shoot again.
__ Practice, practice, practice. Keep notes on which exposure settings and resolution settings seemed to work best in a given situation. Make sure you can understand the notes later. Print the photos you labeled with the settings and then make comments of which produced the best results for that kind of setting. Go back and do the same for your studio setting. The act of recording those experiences will help you remember and provide reference help later.
Have a wonderful time capturing the scenes and images of the winter season in your part of the world. If you make some shots you're proud of, send them in and share them with the rest of us. If you have problems, drop us a line and let's see if we can make your digital photography a little bit better.
So long for now
(Doug Clifford is the webmaster for the ACE Camera & Photography Directory, an annotated world wide directory of photo commerce web sites. ACE Increases Traffic To Photographic Commerce Web Sites Worldwide! )(Doug Clifford is the webmaster for the ACE Camera & Photography Directory, an annotated world wide directory of photo commerce web sites. ACE Increases Traffic To Photographic Commerce Web Sites Worldwide!
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