Sunday, December 28, 2008

Digital Photography Tips - How to Take Winter Photos

Rilo and snow by Aaron Michael Brown

Merry Christmas!

Many people may not have the chance to witness the white snow Christmas in winter like in the Europe or Canada especially for those living in South East Asia. The tropical weather is totally different from them. Decio Fernandes will like to share his experience here

Many people that have just started taking photographs have no knowledge that, when taking pictures of snow, the properties in their cameras are set to counterbalance the abundance in light that is reflected in the snow. Because of that, snow is captured as gray or blue instead of white. Fortunately, there are two solutions for this simple problem that frequently happen in the winter. You can change the setting to "beach" or "snow" mode and the camera will self-adapt to the bright light and fix the issue. The other solution is to manually manipulate the camera to recognize the snow as it should, while observing the effects through the LCD screen.

At the same time it is not easy photographing snow because of all the bright light, once you realize what you can do to overcome that problem, you are instantly blessed with breathtaking and exclusive images that you cannot obtain in any other season. There is usually such a striking difference in colors that make winter pictures unique and extremely attractive.

Whenever taking photos outside, photographers are usually confronted by some difficulties. One of them is when the picture ends up being too dark because the camera tries to compensate for the intensity of light. In this case, most people use the flash to help with the lighting. You can also choose the "action" mode to make sure that any moving subject is captured precisely.

There is such a wide variety of photographs that can be seen in winter photography. All the contrast and textures of nature are simply infinite.

Take your photos to the next level! To learn more tips visit Digital Photography Tips

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Equip Yourself With the Finest Photography Equipment

Martin Milewski

As a hobby photography has universal appeal and most people almost always have indulged in it. Occasions are not complete without photographs being taken to capture the essence of the event and make it more memorable. Pictures provide a record of what happened, when it happened and sometimes how it happened. You can always look back in time when you look at pictures taken long ago and they make for a historical and pictorial record of times past. Nowadays almost everybody has a camera, whether it is a modern digital one or an old-fashioned film camera. Many people have more than one, especially since mobile phones not come equipped with cameras. Photography equipment is not anymore the perquisite of the rich alone, it is now highly affordable and you get so much variety of photography equipment that you are spoilt for choice.

In case you are really taken up by photography and your skills are well honed, you may decide to buy more specialized photography equipment which will help you in your artistic endeavors.

What Photography Equipment You Require

Apart from your camera, which should be good, other photography equipment can also be purchased. The camera itself should have a good lens. You might want to buy something which is inexpensive, and there are many in the low-price range, or you may want to go in for a high end product. High end photography equipment is expensive, but you may want to buy it if you want to become a skilled photographer. If you are keen on taking photographs and making photography your hobby, do not hesitate to buy good quality photography equipment. Cameras can last a lifetime and also provide timeless memories. If your basic photography equipment is good, you know that you will find it difficult to go wrong when you take picture.

If You Want More Than A Camera When You Purchase Photography Equipment

Perhaps you want to buy everything you may need altogether. Apart from the camera, you can go in for good light equipment. Among the photography equipment which will be useful to you apart from a good light system, would be a tripod for still shots – it will steady and center the camera. A camera bag is another piece of photography equipment which will protect your precious camera from scratches and breakages. While these peripherals may not be essential, your picture taking abilities will definitely be enhanced if you use these items. Your basic picture quality will be higher than if you use a cheap camera with no peripherals.

From Where Can You Buy Your Photography Equipment?

Fortunately, photography equipment can now be purchased from almost anywhere, from your supermarket or an electronic shop or a special photography shop. You will probably be able to purchase most of your photography equipment at one go. But before venturing out to buy, arm yourself with the knowledge as to what you want, what are the good brands available and how much you want to spend. You can always check out reviews and get advice from friends and colleagues as to what you should buy before you buy it. Article Source:
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Can an advanced digital camera reach your expectations?

Photo by:Home Photography
By Manas C

Digital photography can be maximized to its full potential once you have the perfect camera, the proper color and the perfect lighting. Even if you have with you the latest model of digital camera, your photos will not turn out great if you are not making use of the right strategies in getting them right

Experts in digital photography have come to realize that the digital camera is only one of the things you need to have great pictures. There are also other factors to consider so that you will not be disappointed by the result. One of them is the digital photography lighting.

Have you ever seen digital photos that seem to blur and indistinguishable? There are a lot of cases like this. Even if you try and edit them using Photoshop or any other software, you cannot seem to get the desired lighting you want.

This is because you have not considered having the proper lighting when the photo was taken. You were thinking that the camera and its features will be able to do that for you. Yes it can. But they may not reach your expectations.

The secret to getting that perfect picture is to do it right the first time. By doing it right, it simply means that you need to think about how well or bad the lighting is in the process of taking the photo.

Below are some of the natural sources of digital photography lighting that will make your photos look terrific.

1. After sunrise and before sunset

It is during these times that photography is at its peak. Meaning, photos turn out great when they are shoot after sunrise and before sunset.
Why is this so?
This is because the orange color that appears in the sky during these times adds to the colors that your digital camera is capable. Most of the time, some photos appear dull and unrealistic when they are printed because of the representation of the colors when it is printed.
The color of the environment can add a sort of brightness to your photos. In addition, it will make it easy for you to edit them on your computer once you feel that you want to put in some combination in the natural setting of the picture.

2. Sunlight

Sunlight is one form of lighting that is very effective once you know how to modify your shots. Keep in mind that you are not capable of altering the brightness of the sun or the shadows that it can create on your photos.
It is up for you to choose the best position wherein you can make the most of the light that is emitted by the sun. Work them to your advantage. Try on different angles and see if they look perfect once frozen.
You can also make the most of the drop shadows that is created by the sunlight. Just make sure that they will not blur your photo. Fro minor adjustments, you can just edit the photos straight from your computer.
Shooting digital photos is not only about having the most advanced digital camera. It is also about looking for strategies and techniques that will benefit your shots. Try to shoot your photos with the perfect lighting and you will see that you do not need to edit or add some more colors in them.

About the author:
Aura Backdrops is a supplier of the highest quality muslin backdrops, photography backgrounds,digital photography backgrounds, scenic backdrops , fantasy cloth and portrait backdrops since 2004, and is dedicated to provide you with the customer service you deserve. Our high quality photography backdrops and backgrounds will give you the professional look that your studio, portrait and photography needs

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Macro, Micro and Close Up Photography - Are They All the Same?

Photo by Home Photography

Story by Shereena Vysakh

Macro simply means big, micro means small now are they both the same thing ? In fact yes the two words point to the same realm of photography. Even close up photography is the same thing. That is getting small things to fill up the whole photograph. Now the scale of working is what differentiates them.

Macro and Micro are used interchangeably for the realm of photography which aim at getting the object that is in the photograph to be the same size as the sensor. That is on a aps-c canon sensor the object would be of an area of 22.2x14.8mm. Let me get the idea a bit more clear, here we are talking about the sensor and not the photo. The sensor which is 22.2x14.8 (in our example) will be capturing a macro when the image falling on the sensor is of an area that is also 22.2mm x 14.8 mm. If you want to get an idea of what this size would be take a piece of paper draw a rectangle that is 22.2mm long and 14.8mm wide. Now cut along the rectangle to produce a paper with a hole. Now you are taking macro's when you are capturing the area of the rectangle in the whole photograph, now we are talking in terms of photograph and not the sensor.

Why the two words macro and micro?

This came out from the convention used by major brands. Nikon and some other brands use the word micro with lens that are true macro lens and Canon and many other brands use the word macro on lens that are true macro's(1:1 or more). For convenience from now on we will use the word macro.

Canon Macro 100mm F2.8

Canon Macro 100mm F2.8

Nikkor 60mm Micro

Nikkor 60mm Micro

The above images show a Macro model from Canon and a Micro model from Nikon.

So is macro only 1:1?

No, technically macro is 1:1 or more that is it can be 1:1 or 2:1 or 3:1 and so on. Usually we refer to anything above 2:1 as super macro photography.

3:1 super macro of a flower

3:1 super macro of a flower

Then what are close ups ?

Magnified photo or photos that are not 1:1 but have high magnification ratios are called close up photos. Also some photographers refer to portraits as close ups. That is not part of the discussion on this article. Using diopters to achieve macro like effects on non macro lens can also be referred to as macro photography, but using reversed lens or bellows are actual macros and not close ups. Some diopters or close up filters do allow 1:1 macros but most are not 1:1 and thus this group of photographs also fall into close ups.

Point and Shoots and macro

Many point and shoot camera have the so called macro mode. These are actually close ups , most p&s(point and shoot) cameras have tiny sensors and their lens systems are made to be cheap than to be performers. So essentially it is impossible to achieve 1:! on a point and shoot or even a bridge. The reason being that the optics are not good enough and the sensor is too small. Even those cameras that can focus at distances less than 1 cm are not taking macros. So putting it simply P&S have close up modes and not macro modes. They call it macro because it resemble , a very vague resembles at that, to a macro.

Also point and shoot cameras have a lot of mega pixels cramped onto a tiny sensor thus the quality of each pixel is very low compared to a sensor in a DSLR. Therefore the results that one can expect from the P&S's so called macro mode is limited. This mode is good for the starting hobbyist who is not yet into wasting his whole salary on photographic equipment.

Is there anything else called Micro photography?

Yes there is a realm of photography that attaches a camera to a microscope and then photographs of what is being seen in the viewfinder is taken. This is widely used in making textbooks and the like. There are some artists who make brilliant photographs using this technique.

So next time your friend says his new point and shoot camera has Macro photography you know that he is talking about close up photography. Also when you see an image of an insect with brilliant details you can understand that it is a macro or a super macro photograph.

Remember reading only gives you ideas going out and clicking pictures will make your pictures better.

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Shereena Vysakh is a Pro Photography Hobbiest Blogging at

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Better Photography - Look at the Light

photo by:ChrisY

Story by: Duncan Wherrett

Photoshop is now one of the major computer programmes around. The basis of it all, however, is the photographic image.

Very often the quality of the original image can get overlooked or can be considered unimportant. We hear sentences like: "Oh that'll do - we'll fix it later in Photoshop".

Perhaps it can, but starting off with a better photograph in the first place can save a lot of trouble later.
Well begun is half done.

Light does have a special place in photography, but all too often it is largely
ignored, whereas in actual fact, different light can change the whole scene
dramatically. Good photography requires lighting rather than light and when
shooting outside, the light can be controlled and used in much the same way
as it is used when photography is undertaken in a studio.

At the risk of stating the obvious, light is a visual thing, and it should be
considered in its own right and used and controlled as much as possible by
being more selective about the time and place when the photograph is taken.
A change in the light will change the landscape and with a little practice these
changes will soon be noticed.

Spring light in the early morning gives a feel to
a scene not found later in the day.

Early morning light and sun have a unique quality not found at other times
– a freshness and sparkle with or without any mist. Such circumstances
give a special feel to most situations, and it can be worth rising for an early
morning walk in order to catch these moments. The atmosphere of a scene
will, therefore, be greatly influenced by the light and the same scene can look
very different in the sun, under cloud or in the numerous changing weather

Evening light adds warm tones and, with long dramatic shadows, will give extra modelling to the subject. The same scene photographed with a high sun in the middle of the day can look flat and uninteresting.

The low sun emphasizes the shape and character of the scene.

Back light, that is shooting into the sun, also has its own qualities, giving attractive halos to the subjects.
If there is water in the scene, such as a lake or river, then the use of back light will put a real sparkle into the water.
With the sun in front of the photographer, the water has a sparkle it would not have if the sun had been in any other position.

Even the sun behind the photographer can be effective sometimes, although it is not generally recommended, because it will make the subject look too flat and characterless. The very low sun over one's shoulder late in the day, however, can give colours a strength and richness not normally seen.
It's under such circumstances, with the sun behind the photographer, that rainbows are usually seen.

Perhaps one of the most appealing types of sunlight is that of dapple light,
with a strong sun shining through trees and lighting up the subject in patches.
In any season, such sunlight can really make the picture, with its depth and
multitude of tones. If there is any early mist around, the sunlight might be
seen as shafts of light and with autumn leaves there is likely to be an extra
warm glow to the colour of the light.

Dapple light can give an interesting look to a scene.

There can be situations where a cloudy day is best. Strong sun gives a
bright picture but it also gives high contrast. When the sun is shining in a
narrow street or a picturesque alley in a Mediterranean village, some of the
street will be in strong sunshine and some of it will be in shadow.

This will give a contrast range which is so extreme that it will not be possible to produce a good print through a normal printing system. In such circumstances, if you can manage to photograph that side street or market corner on a cloudy day or when no sun is directly on that area, then the lighting will be much more even and all of the detail will be printable.

Certain lighting conditions can definitely be a bonus:

  • sun poking through the clouds
  • sun on rain-covered ground
  • a shaft of sunlight coming through a window or doorway.

All this means that it is not advisable to shoot too quickly, but to look at the
light and consider its effect. The sun brings out colours and brings everything
alive so it can be worth waiting perhaps 10 minutes for the weather to change, or going back on another more suitable occasion.

A potentially good picture can be a great disappointment purely because
the light at the time does not do the scene justice. It can often be better to save the film on a very dreary day and return later when the sun has moved round to the best side of a building or landscape.

Just a short walk might be sufficient for that gap in the clouds that will
send out shafts of sunlight; or try using the gathering storm clouds to your
photographic advantage before running for cover.


* Look at the light, and its effect on the subject
* Don't shoot too quickly but be prepared to come back when the light might be more suitable.

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Photographs which illustrate the points described here can be seen at
A reminder then that better photography makes later work in Photoshop easier.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wildlife Photography: Natural Light For Great Wildlife Photos.

photo taken at 11.30am in the morning by: Home Photography
(Click on image to view larger version)

Wildlife photography combines a range of skills, both creative and technical. Many people struggle with one aspect in particular; knowing the best light for capturing their wildlife photo.

To take a top-class wildlife photograph, you need to know your animal; where to find it, how to approach it without scaring it away, and how to know the precise moment to press the button to capture the character of the subject. Often a wildlife photographer will spend hours trying to get a good shot. What a shame, then, if all that effort is wasted by taking your photo in bad light.

As a nature photographer, I have learned that the ideal light for a photo can vary depending on the subject. Landscape photos are usually best photographed in sunny weather, early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the contrast is low and the light is soft and colouful. On the hand, rainforest photography is usually best in the middle of the day, in cloudy weather to eliminate extremes of light and shade. To understand the best lighting for wildlife photography, you can take a lesson from both landscape and rainforest photography.

To get the best light for a wildlife photo, you are really looking to minimize contrast, and to eliminate shadows from important areas; especially across the face of your subject.

If you take your photos in the middle of a sunny day, you are bound to encounter shadows in all the wrong places. Bright light is likely to overexpose parts of the subject, while the face and the underside of the animal could be lost in heavy shadow. The result will be unattractive, and lacking in much of the detail that should give character to your photo.

There is nothing wrong with taking your wildlife photos on a sunny day. Just remember the lesson from landscape photography and seek to take your photos early in the morning and late in the afternoon. At these times the sun is shining from a more horizontal angle, so it will illuminate the full face of the subject; you are less likely to have shadows over the eyes and other important features. If there are shadows, they will be much softer because the contrast is much lower when the sun is low in the sky.

The light at these times is also much more colourful, with the golden hues you associate with sunrise and sunset. This is a classic technique for improving landscapes, but it can be just as effective for wildlife. The warmth of the light can create an intimacy in your pictures that is completely lost in the harsh light of midday.

Your other option is to follow the example of rainforest photography and take your photos on a cloudy day. This allows you to catch your subject in very even, low-contrast light.

I find cloudy days particularly useful for animals with glossy surfaces. A frog, for example, has a shiny skin that reflects a lot of light. In glary conditions a green frog may appear mostly grey or silver in a photo. On a cloudy day the same frog will be shown in its true colours.

Birds can often appear more colourful on a cloudy day, for the very same reason. The sun shining on glossy feathers can create a lot of reflection, robbing the photo of its natural colour. It may seem the opposite of what you would expect, but the dull light of a cloudy day can actually produce the truest colours in a bright wildlife subject.

One final question you may ask: should you use a flash to illuminate a wildlife photo? My answer to that is a definite "NO." Flash photography bathes the subject in white light, coming from directly in front of the subject. It may illuminate the subject, but at the same time rob it of the natural play of light and shade that makes a good photo so appealing.

Some wildlife photography experts use multiple flashes to brightly illuminate a subject from every possible angle. This can be effective when it is done well, but remember; these are experts in flash photography. If you are at the beginner stage, I recommend learning to work with natural light. When you get the hang of it, I guarantee you will be happy with the results.

Check out Andrew Goodall's popular wildlife and landscape photography at , and learn from his experience with the top selling ebook "Photography in Plain English." Don't forget to sign up to the online newsletter for tips and's free!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Photo Studio Accessories

Story by: Sharpics

Now that you have decided to set up a photo studio, you can start hunting for the tools you require.

The first and foremost thing of course is the camera. Depending on how good you are at photography, you can choose from the basic digital SLR camera or a point and shoot type, a semi pro model or if you are a confident user, the professional model. Select a large memory card to begin with or even perhaps get one or two extra. Most cameras have a display screen. It is better to have one as this allows you to perceive the composition of your image before you shoot. Just in case you haven’t come across one with this feature, look for one with a video-output so that it is possible for you to attach the camera to a TV or computer screen to preview the results.

When it comes to studio photography, a tripod is one thing you cannot do without. There are many varieties to choose from to suit your needs. It provides a steady support. And stable platform for your camera.

It is important to use the correct lighting. These comes in as continuous or tungsten and flash. With the more traditional continuous lighting is cheaper and easy to work with as this gives what you see is what you get image. Tungsten lighting produces a lot of heat and it can be uncomfortable to both the photographer and the subject.

The flash lighting or strobe lighting also creates near-to-perfection results. This also you can choose from an array of things you get in the market. There are flash adapter rings, flash battery packs, flash diffusers, flash brackets; flash modules flash synchronizers to make your life easy with.

A good lens set is also needed in your studio. Other than the standard lenses, there are zoom lenses wide angle lenses, macro lenses to choose from.

You can enhance the use of the lighting methods by incorporating the use of backdrop accessories. They come as umbrellas, softbox. You can use just white paper or fabric to achieve the desired results as well or even paint your backdrop with acrylic paints. You can add a decorative backdrop too, which also comes as a backdrop accessory.

Next the use of a reflector will help you to cast away the shadows you tend to get while shooting. These will soften shadows and reduce reflections. You can achieve this by holding a white cardboard to reflect those shadows or you can buy a number of things available in the market. Reduce hot spots

There are software solutions available to help you with the minor faults while shooting. There are software solutions available to correct or enhance practically every drawback you have.

There are carrying cases available to suit all your equipments, which make it easy for you to carry them around if any need arise. They are compact and beautifully built.

All these gadgets are available in a wide variety so that one can choose what suits their need and pocket and make their photographic experience a pleasant one.

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Sharpics specialises in
tabletop camera
, camera tabletop stand, tabletop studio.We offer portable seamless
backgrounds, daylight studio lighting,
and tabletop monopods
for camera stability.

Monday, October 27, 2008

General Tips for Flower Photography

The flower and by Home Photography
By Timothy Spencer

There is nothing more bedazzling than an open field of flowers reaching out from the ground to caress the sun. As any amateur or professional photographer would claim, flowers have always been a staple subject in photography classes, being delivered by the bulk to the studio or having hobbyists going out to various flower markets.

If your conditions for shooting flowers are fixed by a studio, checking the fresh batch of delivery helps you segregate the worn flora from those that can be used. Damaged petals, impurities in the color and how the stems curve are a few things you can look at.

The general guidelines for shooting flowers are really a reflection of the basics of photography. In sum, a photographer should first of all, identify the subject: are you shooting the entire flower arrangement, or are you just highlighting a portion of your subject. Determining your subject will depend on the context of your shoot. Usually, straight out product shots involves having to shoot the entire flower arrangement plus the vase to see the subject in its entirety. Lifestyle shots do not require having to show the entire subject from bud to stem to vase and would rather settle for a creative execution.

Shooting using back light through the hole from the window by Visuallens

Determining the subject also entails the use of some photography tips. The use of patterns or “abstracting” flowers is a common tip that you can never go wrong with. Rather than highlighting the flower as well, a flower it would be interesting to see the flower as a mere shape. This means highlighting the flower’s petal outline, going up close and focusing on the structure of the veins, or going wide and taking a row of flowers as they shoot towards the sky.

A tip when shooting veins is to have a natural backlight behind the flower (an artificial light source like candles or house lights or best of all - natural, but not direct sunlight) to highlight the lines and patterns The end result is a play with shapes and lines that “lead” your eyes to a certain part of the photo. An example of the leading lines technique would be to highlight petal veins that lead your eyes towards the center of the flower bud, which is your main subject. Another example would be to shoot the flower from its side with the stem leading up to the flower bud.

Using leading lines and abstraction techniques are two simple ways to identify and style your subject, specifically with flowers.

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This article was written by Timothy Spencer for Island Rose - Flower Shop Philippines. We hope you enjoyed this article and encourage you to visit our website. Through Island Rose, you can send Gifts to Philippines or simply browse through our blog for more informative articles.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Add Creativity in Photography

Photography is completely an art and one has to be cautious and visionary in order to learn this art. If you are already a photographer then you must be aware of the basic requirements of being a perfect photographer. And for learners or aspiring people who are eager to be a part of this field, one thing is must. That is creativity, which is an essential need for every photographer.

Need for Creativity in Photography

Creativity with a different vision is the most important thing required in photography. This is something that makes a difference between a normal people and a skilled professional photographer. Every person can click photographs with a camera, but what makes the difference between outputs is the creativity added by skilled photography professionals. No matter, in what kind of photography you are involved, you need to deliver the best to your customers. Whether it is wedding photography, fashion photography, or child photography; everywhere you need to present unique concepts of photography. That is possible only by including required set of creative vision.

In every shades of photography, a perfect photographer has to think beyond the normal scene to be captured. He has to think about the ways to make even a normal scene like special one that is possible only through a creative mind and vision to create a difference. For example, during bridal photography a photographer captures the pictures of bride in different poses before and after marriage. These photographs are lifetime assets for both bride and groom. So, the main duty of wedding photographer is not only clicking photographs, but he also has to capture the shame, hesitation, and excitement of the bride to make it more special.

The same approach applies to food photography and child photography. During food photography you have to capture photograph in very different way, so that the aroma and taste of food can be judged by only looking at those photographs. It should be like an appetizer for all viewers. In child photography or commercial shoots involving kids, a professional child photographer acts as a kid and makes the clicking for him easier. He captures every shade of naughtiness and quick wit illustrated on child's face.

A professional photographer also adds creativity in photographs during editing process. Through his computer skills he creates different effects and visuals to make photographs look even more attractive. Through their creativity, photographers can make their job more accurate and appealing.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wildlife Photography With Character - Four Tips

Photo by:Home Photography

Story by: Andrew Goodall

Wildlife photography is not just for professional photographers. Almost anyone with a camera is occasionally inspired to record a special wildlife experience in a photograph. For an inexperienced photographer, it is easy to be disappointed with the quality of your results. You see the great photography that can be found in galleries, on calendars and postcards, and wonder why you are not getting the same results.

These days, unfortunately, our first tendency is to blame the camera, assuming that the professionals have much better cameras than yours. Even worse, many people even assume the images are not genuine photos at all; they must have been enhanced or even manufactured on a computer.

The truth is, you don't need an expensive camera or to be an expert with software to produce good wildlife photos. Don't forget, great wildlife photography existed long before digital cameras arrived on the scene. In fact, you don't even need special techniques to take better wildlife photos. There are some simple things you can do that can help you take better wildlife photos no matter what sort of camera you have, or how expert you are in photography.

Here are some simple, low-tech tips for better wildlife photography.

Wildlife Photography Tip #1. Context Matters.

A wildlife photo looks best if it is taken in a natural setting, or at least looks that way. You should always consider the background in a wildlife photo. If it is obvious your photo was taken in a zoo, for example, the connection with nature is broken and the background spoils the shot.

Just why is it that some people, when they find a small animal like a frog, a beetle or a lizard...feel the need to pick it up? A photo of an animal in your hand is just the same as the zoo photo - it destroys the illusion of nature that you wanted to capture in the first place. If you can photograph your subject in a natural setting, with the colours of nature in the background, your photo will be much more attractive.

Wildlife Photography Tip #2. If The Background Is Distracting, Get Rid Of It.

Sometimes a great subject is found in a terrible setting, and there is nothing you can do to change that. You can, however, minimize the distraction of an unfortunate background, and you don't need a computer to do it.

Simply get as close to the subject as possible and zoom in with your largest lens. This reduces the depth of field so much that only your subject should be in focus. Not much of your background will be visible, and what you can see should be completely out of focus, and therefore not a problem.

Wildlife Photography Tip #3. Unusual Behaviour Makes Unique Photographs.

Be patient when taking your wildlife photos. There are millions of snapshots out there which are well-exposed but dull and uninteresting. The shots that stand out are the ones where the subject does something out of the ordinary. I am not talking about tap-dancing in a tutu; all it takes is a yawn, a wink, an interesting turn of the head, a head tucked under a wing...simple things that will set your photo apart from millions of others.

Animals sometimes turn up in unexpected locations which can also add interest to a photo. A kangaroo in the grass is not so unique, but find one on the beach and you have a photo on your hands.

Wildlife Photography Tip #4. The Eyes Are The Key To A Successful Photo.

Most importantly when taking wildlife photos, concentrate on getting the eyes sharp and clear. This is the feature that creates a personal connection between the subject and the viewer. If the eyes are out of focus or lost in shadow, the connection is lost. On the other hand, if the subject is mostly out of focus, or even hidden behind a bush, you can still get a great long as the eyes are sharp and well captured.

So there you have four easy tips that can add character to your wildlife photography. Note that none of them require special equipment or complex techniques. Like so much of nature photography, a good image is not about technology; it is about timing, patience, and your sensitivity to the subject. Happy Snapping!

Andrew Goodall believes that with a small amount of guidance, anyone can become a better photographer, no matter what sort of camera they have. Andrew's ebook "Photography in Plain English" is a perfect place to start. Check it out at and while you are there, sign up to the online newsletter for even more's free!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learn Wedding Photography - Preparation Basics For The Big Day

Pix by Visuallens

Like many professionals, Tom Jackson began his
career by shooting weddings. You can make a substantial income shooting weddings with very little overhead. He would like to share with you of his experiences in this article.

If you have been used to taking photos with a traditional camera and film, you may be surprised at how easy it can be to lose a whole memory card full of pictures, because of seemingly simple errors. With a film camera. it does not matter if the battery gives out right at the time you take a photo. The only problem that might occur, is that you lose that one shot. You just rewind the film, and you are good to go. As great as digital is, there are pitfalls that can really bite you if you do not prepare for them.

You need to make time to plan ahead whenever you are about to take important photos for any event, be it a wedding, graduation or even a family day out sightseeing in a new city. And the reason for the time? Lets take a deeper look. Each of the points I cover here carry the same weight as the other. In other words, do all of the following to make sure that you have a successful day, taking wonderful photos for you and the subjects.

1. Make sure that all your batteries are fully charged.

If your camera uses a proprietary battery, then you need to make sure that it is fully charged before you start the days event. Depending on how many photos you may take on the day, (see, more planning), you may need to buy an extra battery and have it fully charged as well. A lot of the smaller compact cameras, and even the larger DSLRs, often take special built batteries. They can be quite expensive, but if you think you might be taking a large number of photos, then it will be to your benefit to purchase an extra battery. It will always come in handy in the future, so it will never be a waste of your money.
2. Make sure that you have enough memory
cards to hold all of the photos you will be taking on the day.

Many of the smaller compact cameras can
only take smaller capacity memory cards. So, if you are planning on taking photos for a special days event, then it would be wise to make sure that you have one or two spare memory cards. Also, be aware, that if your camera can take the larger capacity memory cards, and you think you can take all the photos on just one large card, then you also need to consider that if you have problems with that card, you will lose all the images from the day. That’s why I often suggest having two or three cards available, so that if anything were to happen to one of your cards, you would still have images on the other cards. Some of the larger capacity cards available these days, can store hundreds and even thousands of images before you need to change to a new card. I can only imagine the pain of losing a card with hundreds of irreplaceable images.

3. Before you start the days event, make sure that you format the memory cards and get them prepared for the days event.

Be sure to format the card in the camera you will be using for the days event. Industry experts all agree that the best way to format and prepare a memory card, is to do it in the camera you will be using. Do not format the card using your computer. By using the cameras, it ensures that you have maximum compatibility. Also, if there is going to be a problem with the card, this is most often the time where the problem will show up. If the card does not format properly in the camera, then do not use that card during the event, but try and rectify the problem when you return home. Never try and use a card that shows any sign of a problem. It is just not worth the effort. You can try all kinds of things once you get home and have the time to spend and diagnose the problem.

4. Never use a memory card in more than one kind of camera without formatting the card.

You run the risk of causing problems if you take a card out of one camera and use it in another camera that is not the same make and model. Most cameras will write the file a little differently, and so if you use the card in a different camera, you again run the risk of losing images. If you intend to use a card in a different camera, that make sure that you copy all the files onto your computer, and then format the card in the other camera before use.

5. Part of the reason for item 1 above (fully charged batteries), is not just to make sure you have enough power to take photos during the days event, but also to ensure that the camera will not power off during writing a file to the memory card. If the camera battery fails while writing a file, you will not only lose that image, but the rest of the images on the card may be lost forever. A memory card is just like a computer hard drive. It has a directory and file structure so that the camera and your computer know where the files are, how many files are on the card, and how big the files are. If the camera fails during writing a file to the card, it can corrupt the card, just like a hard drive crash. Also, never take a card out of the camera while the file is still being written to the card. Always make sure that if you need to remove the card after taking a photo, wait a few seconds to make sure the file has been written to the card to avoid problems.

6. When it comes time to move your photos onto your computer’s hard drive, I suggest that you use a memory card reader and not the camera. Again, it is always possible that the camera’s battery could fail during the process to copy the photos over to your hard drive. This will not usually be a problem, but it could cause the card to become corrupt and therefore potentially lose your images. Also, it is usually much faster to use a memory card reader to transfer your images. Card readers are very inexpensive, and you have a choice of using a multi format reader or one designed just for the card type your camera uses. They are so cheap, that I always carry one with me so that if I need to, I can either copy files to a computer that happens to be at the location I am shooting, or to display some of the images onto the computer monitor for the client or subjects to see right away.

So, if you would really like to lose all those treasured photos, if you really want to have the hassle of explaining to your client, family or friends that you have lost all of the images you took, then just ignore these tips. You will lose some money, some friends and have to endure the wrath of some potentially very angry people. And you will lose the word of mouth advertising that can end up making you a lot of money over the years. There are wedding photographers who consistently make well into the 6 figure income. And in the US alone, the wedding photography market is in excess of five billion dollars a year. Not a bad market to be in.

So, if you follow these simple steps, you will ensure that your images will be saved, and everyone will live happily ever after. OK, well, maybe we do not need to be that melodramatic, but I am sure you get the picture (pun intended). Your clients will be happy, you will be happy, and your wallet will be happy. Plus, you get the benefit and the pride of knowing that you did a good job and that a small part of you will live on and be enjoyed by generations of people looking at your photos. Just like an artist has people viewing their paintings. It just does not get better than that. Enjoy.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Digital Photography Secrets For Creating Tack Sharp Shots

Story By: Pat Lyne Pix by HomePhotography

Whether you are a beginner or serious photographer,  this is an article by Pat Lyne, to share with you the tips how to take a sharp and focus photo.

There are lots of ingredients to making a spectacular photograph, but the most important is for the picture to be in sharp focus. Even the slightest blur takes away from the picture, no matter how good the subject, lighting and color.

Photographers have somewhat varying opinions on what constitutes a tack sharp picture, but generally, a tack sharp photograph has good, clean lines. The picture has clear definition, instead of a soft blending of lines, or even downright blurry.

There are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting that coveted tack sharp picture.

Hand-Held Digital Photography Tips

If you’re hand-holding your camera, brace your arms against your sides to help steady the camera. If your camera has anti-shake technology such as Vibration Reduction (VR) or Image Stabilization (IS) lens that can be switched on and off, this is the time to have it turned on.

You can also lean against a wall or tree or whatever sturdy object that’s handy, and help keep yourself and your camera steady. Alternatively, lean or lay your camera or lens on some readily available sturdy object to help steady the camera.

Steadying your camera by hooking the strap under your elbow and wrapping the rest around your forearm will also help stabilize the camera and hold it steady in your hand.

Getting those tack sharp photos while hand-holding your camera can be difficult, so to increase your chances of getting that perfect shot, use the burst or continuous shooting mode on your camera to take several shots at once. That increases your chances that at least one of the pictures will be in sharp focus.

Tripods For Better Focus

There’s no getting around the fact that it’s easier to get a tack sharp photo using a tripod. You just can’t hold the camera as steady as a tripod will. And like most things in life, with a tripod you get what you pay for. A cheap tripod will help, but won’t hold your camera rock steady like a more expensive tripod will. The moral of the story is to buy the best tripod you can reasonably afford.

The more expensive tripods don’t come with the head attached. You have to buy it separately, but that means you get to choose what suits you best. To get a sharp photo, buy a quality ballhead that won’t let your camera slowly slide to one side.

If you’re somewhere that carrying a tripod just won’t work, beanbags make a nice cushion for cameras in these settings. They cushion your camera, helping to steady it and increase your ability to situate the camera to focus on the subject you want.

To improve your chances of a tack sharp photo even more, use a cable release instead of pressing the shutter. It may not seem like much, but the movement from pressing the shutter will make the camera move enough to prevent getting those tack sharp photos.

If you don’t have a cable release, the self timer will also work. It allows you to press the shutter, while giving the camera time to stabilize before it actually takes the picture.

More Advanced Digital Photography Secrets For Sharp Shots

If you have a digital SLR camera, there are even more ways to make sure your camera stays steady while taking pictures.

The first is to use mirror lock-up. This locks your camera’s mirror in the up position so when you take a picture the mirror doesn’t move until after the picture is taken, limiting the movement inside the camera. This means to take a picture, you will have to press the shutter release button twice on 
your remote or cable release (you’re not going to all this trouble and pressing the shutter release on the camera are you?). The first press lifts the mirror and the second press actually takes the picture.

The second method is to turn off the Vibration Reduction or Image Stabilization. That may sound counter productive, but when you’ve stabilized your camera with a tripod and other methods, the vibration reduction keeps looking for shakes/movements. If there isn’t any movement, the vibration 
reduction actually causes some shaking while looking. A good rule of thumb is to keep these turned off when shooting with a tripod, and only turn them on when you’re hand-holding the camera.

One last way to increase the sharpness of your pictures is to have good glass. The lens you use makes a big difference. A quality lens with good glass is more expensive of course, but it’s another instance of getting what you pay for. Think of it as an investment in great photos.

Use as many methods as you can to steady your camera, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting those lovely tack sharp photographs.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ten Tips For Working With Macro Digital Photography

Photo by pixellens
Macro photography is a fun way to get close up shots look stunning. If you want to get technical, the real definition of macro is the image on the film or sensor being as big as the actual subject. In this case, the camera lens must have the capability to focus on an area as small as approximately 24×36mm because this size is the size of the image on the sensor. This is frequently referred to magnification of 1:1.
What makes macro photography so enjoyable is that it’s intensely creative and powerfully flexible. You have a lot many opportunities around you right now then you think for macro photography. And you don’t need expensive digital photography equipment to do it, in fact the secret is in your lens.

Before we get into lenses in full detail, if you’re starting out in macro this type of photographic category can be a helpful starter to gaining new knowledge very quickly. You can learn new tricks and have fun experimenting in the comfort of your own home. Here are ten tips to getting sensationally clear, beautiful up close macro shots;

1. Always use a tripod. It’s important to get yourself a good quality tripod. A poor quality tripod will slip, and won’t hold the camera steady. You will get a lot of use from your tripod, so see it as an investment. You can use a good tripod for table work too, which is ideal for taking macro shots of flowers in a vase in your own home.

2. Look at your lens. It’s very important to get some good extension from your lens when taking macro shots. If you already own a macro lens have a look at the 2x tele-converter to double its effective focal length. A tele-converter lens will work to provide greater maximum magnification at the minimum focusing distance.

3. Use a shutter release cable. Using one of these very handy things will reduce any potential vibrations, movement or harmful blur. Add a self timer to your macro along with your shutter release cable to add razor sharpness to your images.

4. Don’t forget your mirror lock-up if you have this available to reduce camera vibration, movement or blur even more.

5. Remember that aperture affects depth of field. Using an aperture of between f16 and f32 is a good place to work with. You can also use a while aperture such as f2.8 which will give you a very shallow depth of field and then you can be very selective on what you want to focus on.

6. For beautiful flowers or parts of trees or bushes, remember a windy day will just frustrated you as it will most likely create blur and it will be very hard to capture your flower well. Try cutting it off the branch (if possible) and bring it inside. You can peg it up or put it in a vase to keep it still and out of the wind.

7. Keep a clean background in mind. A background with a lot of busyness is distracting. It will take the viewers eye off your main subject. Try a pure white background to emphasize cleanliness, or a pure black background to enhance bold colour. You can use neutral tones for macro such as pale blue or brown. All you have to do is use coloured 

8. Break the rules. I have never listened to anyone when taking macro pictures. I love to take weird, unusual, totally abstract subjects to include in my macro collection. You can also use metal as an interesting subject. (Jewellery, pins, forks, spoons, etc.)

9. If you don’t have adequate lighting then use your own. Don’t be afraid to use a lamp, or flash off-side, but not too close. You don’t want to overexpose your subject. You can try a torch if you like to create interesting shadows. And don’t forget black and white macro shots look fantastic too.

10. If you use a low ISO such as ISO 50 for example, just remember you’ll get better results for your macro shots. Since you should be using a tripod, a low ISO should not hinder you. Its fine to use anywhere from ISO 50 to ISO 200 for your macro shots. Any higher and you’d be getting nosier images. I’ve always set the ISO to the lowest setting when dong macro, such as ISO 50. I would recommend to use a noise reduction filter on your camera if possible or you can use some very nifty tricks for reducing noise after the shot has been taken. (See my blog with article about reducing noise at: If possible try shooting in RAW mode for the absolute best in image control at the post process level.

You will get a lot of inspiration by looking at images from professional photographers. Look and learn and then find your own style.

By Amy Renfrey

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Top Ten Digital Photography Tips

Story by Derrick Story, author of Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 3rd Edition

You’ve heard this before: Digital cameras do all the work. You just push the button and great pictures magically appear. The better the camera, the better the photos. Isn’t that right? Heck no!

The truth is that you can make great photos with a simple consumer point-and-shoot camera, or take lousy shots with the most expensive Nikon. It’s not the camera that makes beautiful images; it’s the photographer. With a little knowledge and a willingness to make an adjustment here and there, you can squeeze big time photos out of the smallest digicam.

To help you down the road to great image making, here are ten tips that will enable you shoot like a pro (without maxing out your credit card on all that expensive equipment).

1. Warm Up Those Tones

Have you ever noticed that your shots sometimes have a cool, clammy feel to them? If so, you’re not alone. The default white balance setting for digital cameras is auto, which is fine for most snapshots, but tends to be a bit on the “cool” side.

When shooting outdoor portraits and sunny landscapes, try changing your white balance setting from auto to cloudy. That’s right, cloudy. Why? This adjustment is like putting a mild warming filter on your camera. It increases the reds and yellows resulting in richer, warmer pictures.

If you don’t believe me, then do a test. Take a few outdoor shots with the white balance on auto, then take the same picture again with the setting on cloudy. Upload the images to your computer and look at them side by side. My guess is that you’ll like the warmer image better.

2: Sunglasses Polarizer

If you really want to add some punch to your images, then get your hands on a polarizing filter. A polarizer is the one filter every photographer should have handy for landscapes and general outdoor shooting. By reducing glare and unwanted reflections, polarized shots have richer, more saturated colors, especially in the sky.

What’s that you say? Your digital camera can’t accommodate filters. Don’t despair. I’ve been using this trick for years with my point-and-shoot cameras. If you have a pair of quality sunglasses, then simply take them off and use them as your polarizing filter. Place the glasses as close to the camera lens as possible, then check their position in the LCD viewfinder to make sure you don’t have the rims in the shot.

If your camera doesn’t accept filters, then you can still achieve the effects of a polarizer by placing your sunglasses over the lens. Figure 2a is shot normally without any filtration. Figure 2b is shot during the same session, but with sunglasses placed over the lens. Notice the enhanced colors and deeper sky tones. (Canon PowerShot S200, Program mode)

Without a filter.
Figure 2a.

With a filter.
Figure 2b.

For the best effect, position yourself so the sun is over either your right or left shoulder. The polarizing effect is strongest when the light source is at a 90-degree angle from the subject.

3. Outdoor Portraits That Shine

One of the great hidden features on digital cameras is the fill flash or flash on mode. By taking control of the flash so it goes on when you want it to, not when the camera deems it appropriate, you’ve just taken an important step toward capturing great outdoor portraits.

In flash on mode, the camera exposes for the background first, then adds just enough flash to illuminate your portrait subject. The result is a professional looking picture where everything in the composition looks good. Wedding photographers have been using this technique for years.

With fill flash.
Figure 3. By placing the subjects in the open shade beneath a tree and turning on the fill flash, both the boys and the background are properly exposed. (Canon PowerShot G2, 1/250th at f-4, flash on)

After you get the hang of using the flash outdoors, try a couple variations on this theme by positioning the subject so the sun illuminates the hair from the side or the back, often referred to as rim lighting. Another good technique is to put the model in the shade under a tree, then use the flash to illuminate the subject. This keeps the model comfortable and cool with no squinty eyes from the harsh sun, and this often results in a more relaxed looking portrait.

Remember, though, that most built-in camera flashes only have a range of 10 feet (or even less!), so make sure you don’t stand too far away when using fill flash outdoors.

4. Macro Mode Madness

Remember as a kid discovering the whole new world beneath your feet while playing on the grass? When you got very close to the ground, you could see an entire community of creatures that you never knew existed.

These days, you might not want to lie on your belly in the backyard, but if you activate the close up mode on your digital camera and begin to explore your world in finer detail, you’ll be rewarded with fresh new images unlike anything you’ve ever shot before.

Even the simplest object takes on new fascination in macro mode. And the best part is that it’s so easy to do with digital cameras.

Close up mode.
Figure 4. Nature looks much different, and sometimes more compelling, at close range. (Canon PowerShot G2, Programmed exposure, spot meter, Close Up mode, flash off)

Just look for the close up or macro mode icon, which is usually a flower symbol, turn it on, and get as close to an object as your camera will allow. Once you’ve found something to your liking, hold the shutter button down halfway to allow the camera to focus. When the confirmation light gives you the go ahead, press the shutter down the rest of the way to record the image.

Keep in mind that you have very shallow depth of field when using the close up mode, so focus on the part of the subject that’s most important to you, and let the rest of the image go soft.

5. Horizon Line Mayhem

For some mysterious reason, most human beings have a hard time holding the camera level when using the LCD monitors on their digicams. The result can be cockeyed sunsets, lopsided landscapes, and tilted towers.

Part of the problem is that your camera’s optics introduce distortion when rendering broad panoramas on tiny, two-inch screens. Those trees may be standing straight when you look at them with the naked eye, but they seem to be bowing inward on your camera’s monitor. No wonder photographers become disoriented when lining up their shots.

Finding horizontal lines.
Figure 5. How do you square up an image in the LCD viewfinder so it appears “level” when you view it later on the computer? Look for nature’s horizontal lines and use them as guides. Sometimes you can use the line where the sky meets the ocean, other times you can use a strip of land as your level. In this case I used the shoreline of a mountain lake to help me align this composition. (Canon PowerShot G2, Aperture Priority exposure set to f-8, polarizer filter)

What can you do? Well, there’s no silver bullet to solve all of your horizon line problems, but you can make improvements by keeping a few things in mind.

First of all, be aware that it’s important to capture your images as level as possible. If you’re having difficulty framing the scene to your liking, then take your best shot at a straight picture, reposition the camera slightly, take another picture, and then maybe one more with another adjustment. Chances are very good that one of the images will “feel right” when you review them on the computer. Simply discard the others once you find the perfectly aligned image.

If you practice level framing of your shots, over time the process will become more natural, and your percentage of level horizon lines will increase dramatically.

6: Massive Media Card

When you’re figuring out the budget for your next digital camera, make sure you factor in the purchase of an additional memory card. Why? Because the cards included with your new high-tech wonder toy are about as satisfying as an airline bag of peanuts when you’re dying of hunger.

If you have a 3 megapixel camera, get at least a 256MB card, 512MBs for 4 megapixel models, and 1GB for for 6 megapixels and up.

That way you’ll never miss another shot because your memory card is full.

7: High Rez All the Way

One of the most important reasons for packing a massive memory card is to enable you to shoot at your camera’s highest resolution. If you paid a premium price for a 6 megapixel digicam, then get your money’s worth and shoot at 6 megapixels. And while you’re at it, shoot at your camera’s highest quality compression setting too.


Why not squeeze more images on your memory card by shooting a lower resolution and low quality compression settings? Because you never know when you’re going to capture the next great image of the 21st century. And if you take a beautiful picture at the low 640 x 480 resolution, that means you can only make a print about the size of a credit card, not exactly the right dimensions for hanging in the museum.

On the other hand, if you recorded the image at 2272 x 1704 (4 megapixels) or larger, then you can make a lovely 8- x 10-inch photo-quality print suitable for framing or even for gracing the cover of Time magazine. And just in case you were able to get as close to the action as you had liked, having those extra pixels enables you to crop your image and still have enough resolution to make a decent sized print.

The point is, if you have enough memory (and you know you should), then there’s no reason to shoot at lower resolution and risk missing the opportunity to show off your work in a big way.

8: Tolerable Tripod

I once overheard someone say, “He must be a real photographer because he’s using a tripod.” Well, whether or not you use a tripod has nothing to do with you being a true photographer. For certain types of shots though, these three-legged supports can be very useful.

The problem is tripods are a pain in the butt to carry around. They are bulky, unwieldily, and sometimes downright frustrating. Does the phrase “necessary evil” come to mind?

For digital shooters there’s good news: the UltraPod II by Pedco. This compact, versatile, ingenious device fits in your back pocket and enables you to steady your camera in a variety of situations. You can open the legs and set it on any reasonable flat surface such as a tabletop or a boulder in the middle of nowhere. But you can also employ its Velcro strap and attach your camera to an available pole or tree limb.

The UltraPod II.
Figure 6. The UltraPod II is lightweight and affordable (less than $20 typically).

You might not need a tripod that often, but when you do, nothing else will work. Save yourself the pain and money of a big heavy lug of a pod, and check out the svelte UltraPod. Yes, then you too can be a real photographer.

9: Self Timer Fun

Now that you have your UltraPod in hand, you can explore another under-used feature found on almost every digital camera: theself timer. This function delays the firing of the shutter (after the button has been pushed) for up to 10 seconds, fixing one of the age old problems in photography: the missing photographer.

Hey, just because you’ve been donned as the creative historian in your clan, that doesn’t mean that your shining face should be absent from every frame of the family’s pictorial accounting. You could hand your trusty digicam over to strangers while you jump in the shot, but then you take the chance of them dropping, or even worse, running off with your camera.

Instead, attach your UltraPod, line up the shot, activate the self timer, and get in the picture. This is usually a good time to turn on the flash to ensure even exposure of everyone in the composition (but remember that 10 foot flash range limit!). Also, make sure the focusing sensor is aimed at a person in the group and not the distant background, or you’ll get very sharp trees and fuzzy family members.

Self timers are good for other situations, too. Are you interested in making long exposures of cars driving over the Golden Gate Bridge at dusk? Once again, secure your camera on a tripod, then trip the shutter using the self timer. By doing so, you prevent accidental jarring of the camera as you initiate the exposure.

10. Slow Motion Water

I come from a family where it’s darn hard to impress them with my artsy pictures. One of the few exceptions happened recently when my sister commented that a series of water shots I had shown her looked like paintings. That was close enough to a compliment for me.

What she was responding to was one of my favorite types of photographs: slow motion water. These images are created by finding a nice composition with running water, then forcing the camera’s shutter to stay open for a second or two, creating a soft, flowing effect of the water while all the other elements in the scene stay nice and sharp.

You can create a painterly effect with moving water by mounting your camera on a tripod and slowing the shutter to an exposure of 1 second or longer. (Canon PowerShot G2, Aperture priority set to f-8, shutter speed 1 second, polarizer filter, UltraPod II tripod)

With slowed shutter speed.
Figure 7a.

With slowed shutter speed.
Figure 7b.

You’ll need a tripod to steady the camera during the long exposure, and you probably should use the self timer to trip the shutter. If you camera has an aperture priority setting, use it and set the aperture to f-8, f-11, or f-16 if possible. This will give you greater depth of field and cause the shutter to slow down.

Ideally, you’ll want an exposure of one second or longer to create the flowing effect of the water. That means you probably will want to look for streams and waterfalls that are in the shade instead of the bright sunlight.

Another trick is to use your sunglasses over the lens to darken the scene and create even a longer exposure. Plus you get the added bonus of eliminating distracting reflections from your composition.

Final Thoughts

Most digital cameras, even the consumer point-and-shoot models, have a tremendous amount of functionality built into them. By applying a little ingenuity and creativity, you can take shots that will make viewers ask, “So what kind of camera do you have?”

You can tell them the answer, but inside, you’ll know it’s not the camera responsible for those great pictures. It’s the photographer.

Derrick Story is the digital media evangelist for O’Reilly. His current book is The Digital Photography Companion. You can follow him on Twitter or visit

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