Archive | Photo Tips RSS feed for this section

DSLR Macro Photography

DSLR Macro PhotographyEver wonder how a photographer is able to get extreme close up pictures of a frog that is less than an inch long? What about a close up picture of living tissue or a postage stamp?

There is no magic to how this is done. An ordinary 35mm. camera can do this, but if you really want to get up close and personal on your subject, then a 100mm or higher lens is necessary. This particular DSLR photographic art is known as macro photography or “photomacrography.”

Macro photography is nothing new. Before digital cameras were invented, photographers would either shoot close up subjects using a macro lens or sometimes even enlarge the subject using a darkroom enlarger during the development process.

The trick to getting super detailed close ups is to shoot as close to the object as possible. You may be asking, why not simply use the digital zoom? The reason not to go this route for close up shots is because the background will get in the way thus producing sub-par results.

With photomacrography, you can shoot as close to the subject as possible and have a larger image that is exquisitely detailed at the same time.

Below are some tips for successful photomacrography:

1. The aperture must be adjusted to achieve the right frame during each shot.

2. The lighting must be balanced to bring out the true color of the subject. If lamps or the sun are not enough, then having reflectors in the background can provide additional fill-in lighting.

3. The use of flash may sometimes be the only way to get a quality close up shot. You can check your lighting using a light meter and then test firing your DSLR camera flash a few times to in order to get it precise.

4. You will probably need to shoot the subject in several different angles in order to get the perfect shot. A tripod can be a great asset if your hands aren’t particularly steady.

5. Your equipment including your DSLR, macro lens, flash, etc. must be stored and cleaned properly in order to get crystal clear close ups every time.

Photomacrography takes a bit of practice in order to perfect, but it’s well worth the time since some of the most beautiful photos in all of photography are extreme close ups.

Night DSLR Photography Tips

DSLR Nigth PhotographySometimes taking a photo is not as easy as focusing on the subject and then clicking the shutter. Factors to consider when taking any photo include ambient and artificial lighting, zoom factor, camera position, focus, composition, and often times several other factors. Fortunately, with the advent of digital photography, experimentation through trial and error is not the costly endeavor that used to be the norm with old school film photography.

Perhaps, one of the most difficult forms of photography to master is night DSLR photography. This is because not only is the subject often times hard to find, but also because extremely low light levels require much longer exposures, which in turn require the digital camera to be rock steady. Below are some tips that any amateur photographer can use to master night photography.

Safety

The first thing to keep in mind is to choose the location well. Get familiar with the terrain during the daylight hours so you don’t stumble or trip when there during darkness. Also, remember that you will have valuable equipment with you, so be cautious about the areas you choose to venture into at night. Safety is paramount. If possible, do your explorations with another person for additional safety.

Spares

Batteries often discharge faster in cold conditions that can be present during nighttime hours, so it is best to carry spare batteries and also be sure to fully charge your batteries before going out on nighttime shoots. You should also be sure to bring along a good case for your camera as moisture during the night can easily permeate to your camera.

Additional Equipment

The best camera to use for night work is a quality DSLR since it will have manual exposure settings. Point and shoot cameras will leave too much to chance when it comes to handling low-light conditions. Another requirement is a sturdy tripod with rubber feet to minimize slippage on damp or inclined surfaces. A cable release will also be needed to enable you to hold the shutter open during longer exposures.

Exposures

The most important factor in conducting nighttime photography is the requirement for longer exposures. As mentioned above, you will need a good tripod along with a cable release. After several nighttime shooting sessions you will develop an instinctive feel for exposure times based on the ambient light levels.

Use of flash

If the ambient light from the moon and surrounding artificial sources such as street lights and light from nearby homes and buildings is not sufficient for even an extended exposure time, then it may be necessary to supplement the light with a hand-held flash. More extreme forms of artificial lighting such as movie lights and even torches may be required depending on the situation and artistic objective of the shot. This then becomes a photographic technique known as “painting with light.”

Digital Photography Basic Skills

Digital Photography Basic SkippsAt its core, there really is not much difference between using a digital camera and a traditional film camera. In fact, most experts believe that using a digital camera actually spoils the photographer, making things a tad too easy for him or her. Still, there are many who remain daunted by the prospect of using a digital camera especially when their training comes mainly from traditional photography.

There are several skills that you will need to learn when switching over to the digital format, but they really are not that difficult to pick up.

Computer Skills

Digital photography involves dealing with computers. In fact, operating a digital camera is essentially like operating a small computer. There are basic file management functions that are very similar to manipulating files on a desktop or laptop computer such as memory media formatting, file saving and deletion and a few other things. You will therefore need to become comfortable with these basic functions in order to move forward with using a digital camera.

In addition, you will also need to be familiar with performing these same tasks on your computer when it comes to storing your picture files and manipulating them with photo editing software.

There are a number of good books that provide tutorials that will both help you to enhance your computer skills as well as teach you some of the basics in using the computer with regards to photography.  Some books recommendations are listed below:

Graphic Programs

You can actually adjust your digital photos and create a wide variety of effects with the use of photo editing programs such as Photoshop. Such programs will allow you to change the size of the photo, alter individual pixels and even change the format into different graphic file types. Perhaps one of the best features of digital photography is the ability to preview and alter your pictures before printing it. Try doing that with an Old School film camera!

To take things even a step further, these programs also allow you to erase flaws, sharpen some features of the photo, blur the background and even merge one photo into another. The possibilities are endless and in fact, such advances have caused us to now question the validity of a lot of the photographic content that we now see both on the Web as well as in print. The term “Photo-shopped” has now also entered our lexicon.

Camera Functions

As mentioned before, working with a digital camera is similar to working with a small computer. In order to realize the full power of a digital camera, in addition, you will also need to master the more traditional camera functions such adjusting the shutter speed, the aperture settings, and lens focal length and zoom factor. When you become more advanced in the use of your digital camera you can even set things to be fully under manual control just like the good old days with high-end film cameras.