Check out this awesome photo from 500px: http://500px.com/photo/28806279
One of the most frustrating experiences for a photographer is to get home from a photo trip with some great images only to find that some of the images are not sharp. To help solve this problem, this article covers seven things that a photographer can do to create really sharp images.
When it comes to getting sharp images, the first place to start is with a tripod. A tripod provides a stable platform that holds the camera rigid — dramatically increasing the sharpness of the image.
Weighting the tripod
A tripod is a good start. However, a tripod can be made even more stable by using some object to weigh down the tripod. This produces even sharper images. This is so important that many tripods have some type of mechanism at the bottom of the center post that was designed for hanging objects to add weight to the tripod.
A simple way to take advantage of this feature is to carry a small net bag with your photo equipment. The bag can be filled with rocks, or other materials, and attached to the tripod. Even if a tripod doesn’t have such a mechanism, other methods can be used such as hanging a camera bag from the center column of the tripod.
Just because a camera is on a tripod doesn’t mean that the camera will be steady. The simple act of pressing the shutter can cause vibrations that will cause a loss of sharpness. The solution is simple. A remote switch can be used to release the shutter. A remote switch is a device that attaches to the camera through a cable, or wirelessly, and allows the photographer to release the shutter without touching the camera.
Mirror lock up
Even if the camera is set up on a tripod, the tripod is weighted down, and a remote switch is used, image quality can still be degraded due to vibration from the movement of the camera’s mirror when the shutter is released. This vibration is primarily a problem with shutter speeds between about 1/30s and 1s.
This is easily solved by enabling the mirror lockup function on the camera. Once enabled, pressing the shutter button once swings the mirror out of the way. Pressing the shutter button a second time releases the shutter. This way, the mirror vibration dies out before the shutter is released.
The middle apertures (around f/8 for most lenses) produce the sharpest images. The larger apertures produce softer images due to various aberrations while the smaller apertures produce softer images due to diffraction.
While a tripod eliminates camera movement, the subject that is being photographed may be moving. Thus, a shutter speed that is high enough to freeze the subject movement should be used. This may require that a larger aperture be used in order to get the proper exposure
Increasing the ISO will allow a higher shutter speed to be used in order to stop the movement of the subject.
Following these techniques will put you on your way to creating some really sharp photos.
About the Author
Ron Bigelow (www.ronbigelow.com) has created an extensive resource of articles to help develop photography skills.
Go to full article: How to Capture Really Sharp Photos
Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips
If you’ve spent time shooting people or products inside a studio then, chances are, you’ve shot a white background before. In this video, photographer Mark Wallace discusses a common pitfall of shooting subjects against a white background — lighting the background insufficiently so it appears gray instead of white. He offers a couple of solutions, using both off-camera speedlights and more powerful studio strobes:
The said mistake stems from the incorrect assumption many photographers make that moving the key light closer to the subject leads to a better illuminated background. Mark goes on to illustrate how such is not the case and repeatedly mentions the Inverse Square Law which governs the physics of light intensity with respect to distance.
Mark presents a couple of quick and easy lighting solutions. The first involves using separate speedlights to illuminate the subject and the background. Ideally, the background light is one stop brighter than the key light. The second employs a studio strobe fired into a large parabolic reflector and positioned on-axis, with the subject set close to the background so they are illuminated roughly equally.
As the tutorial shows, a little knowledge of lighting principles can go a long way.
Go to full article: How to Get a Nice White Background in Portrait or Still Life Photography (Video)
Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips
1. Move closer to your subject. Nothing kills a photo quicker than a distracting background. If you have a great background try bringing the subject closer to the camera so they don’t get lost. Remember this tip if nothing else.
2. Take lots of pictures. Digital photography is cheap and it is good! It is okay to shoot multiple photos with only slight variations…keep and share your best photos. Also you don’t need an expensive camera; I have photos from all over the world hanging on my walls that were taken with a $300 point and shoot.
3. Get creative. It doesn’t take much to enhance a photo. Pictures taken from 5 ½’ above the ground can look repetitious. Think about changing the perspective – get down on one knee or on your stomach if possible. Stand on a chair. Experiment with different lenses if you have them. Experiment with composition.
4. Rent equipment. Professional camera stores are not just for professionals. They have rental departments where anyone can pick up an exotic lens for a day or more. Many that can be used on non-professional cameras. These rental departments are manned by people with lots of photo knowledge and people are generally more than happy to “talk photography” if not too busy at the moment. Don’t be shy.
5. Use the camera’s flash. Especially outside. Your eyes can look at a person in front of a sunset and see their smile but your camera can’t. It is either going to record the colors of the sunset and your subject will be a silhouette or your subject will be visible and the background will be overexposed. Be conscious of shadows on people’s faces – again utilize your flash. If your subject is looking into the sun they are squinting – turn them away from the sun and fill shadows with flash.
6. Think of your camera like a painter’s canvas. Be the artist. Is there a garbage can or other unwanted item in the frame that can be eliminated by simply moving a foot or so to the left or right? Look at the entire frame you are about to capture, not just the one main element you are focusing on. Sure you can fix it in Photoshop but it is better to capture it the way you want to see it.
7. Study Pictures. Pictures you like. Cut them out of your favorite magazines or newspapers. Keep a file on your desk and just take a moment to look at them and tell yourself what you like about them. Bookmark web sites that have photos you like. Go to them often. Develop your eye.
Oh, and move closer to your subject
8. Learn to take a little criticism. All photographers love their own photos. You put your heart and soul into them. You want to show them off. They are pictures of your kids, taken with the camera you always wanted and just bought. How can people not love them? Remember art is subjective. Not everybody is your mom.
9. Get your pictures published. Local newspapers have photography contests, generally centered on a theme: children, pets, travel. If you are in the right place at the right time, CNN might be interested. Don’t forget about the internet. There are always photo contests you can enter online. Publish your own website. There are plenty of free sites that will allow you to build a web site using your photos. They are a great way to share our art and these days you don’t need a degree from MIT to do it.
10. Learn from your mistakes. But don’t be afraid to break rules. Photography is fun and creative. Nobody is going to die if your snapshots are a little off or weird. What might not work one day may be a stroke of genius the next.
And one last time, move closer to your subject.
For the amateur photographer, these are ten easy, non-technical tips to help you improve the quality of your photos. While there are many technical aspects of photography, great pictures usually begin with a confident photographer who has learned to master composition before worrying about F-Stops.
About the Author
Andy Templeton is a professional photographer located in Orange County, CA. Andy specializes in editorial, public relations and corporate photography. Find his site at http://atempletonphoto.com to see his photography, access articles on leveraging images to enhance your business or access his photography blog.
We all have an inner street photographer, whether it be a hidden urge or a full-blown passion. In this Nikon-sponsored video, documentary photographer Nina Berman discusses her approach, on the roads and avenues of New York City, to this style which demands so much instinct, quickness, and versatility:
For a long time, Nikon has been gearing their cameras towards this type of photography by focusing their development on high ISO performance, wide dynamic range, and ever more compact bodies. True to the essence of street photography itself, Berman focuses her project on “speed”. In doing so, she seeks out swift motion and energy, but also embeds her theme on her method of shooting – very immediate and intuitive, often not even using the viewfinder, shooting blindly or from the hip.
These are tried and true techniques for shooting streets; firing without framing leaves your images wide open to absorb amazing slices of life that often elude the more inquisitive eye. Viewing your images without any idea what you’ve taken allows you to look at your own work with the virgin eye of the viewer, without preconception.
Conventional wisdom says that the act of observing changes that which is being observed. Great street photography is truly unique when it succeeds in capturing a moment before it can be altered – the moment is lost if your subject notices the camera and adjusts their manner accordingly. The tiny, scarcely noticeable size of the Nikon 1 V2 and other similarly-sized cameras gives the freedom of a low profile and the ability to be very incognito.
Legendary street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson used a rangefinder, which was a similar sort of idea, for its day – highly compact but excellent quality and very customizable. His contemporaries reported that nobody knew when he took a photograph; he would raise the camera to his face and back down again, as if deciding not to take the picture after all. Mastery of speed and dexterity, combined with a keen eye, ushered him into the royalty of photographic giants.
Next time you go out to shoot streets, remember these few basic tips:
- Be fast, be on your toes.
- Get up high and down low.
- Take a small camera. Blend into the scenery.
- Keep your eyes open; look behind you often.
- Shoot now, think later.
“If you want to start doing street photography, the first thing is you have to realize that there’s no perfect picture, so when you go out there and start walking around and wandering, and you’re thinking, “What is it that I’m looking for? What picture am I here for?”, don’t worry! Go out there, notice how the sun moves across the buildings, notice expressions on people’s faces, just try and get in to the sort of dimension of the street, and then have a camera that’s really comfortable, really light for you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.”
DSLR or point-and-shoot? Digital SLR cameras are excellent, but they are geared for expert-level photographers, whether amateur or professional. That hasn’t stopped their mainstream appeal, however—I’m sure you’ve seen people who lug along their DSLRs, and the only lens they have is the one it came with, and all of the settings are default. You may have also seen that Continue Reading
The post Size Doesn’t Matter: Capture DSLR-Quality Images with your Point-and-Shoot appeared first on Photodoto.
ISO should be one of the easiest aspects of digital photography to master, but many beginners in photography still have a hard time understanding this fundamental camera setting.
I suspect this is because of the way it is being taught. You see, ISO started out as a property of film, and it was much easier to visualize it in terms of the old technology. So that’s where I want to start my explanation, before bringing you into the 21st century with ISO today.
ISO actually started out as ASA, which stands for American Standards Association. Decades ago, a commercial film manufacturer came up with a set of numbers to define the sensitivity of different types of film. That set of numbers was accepted by the American Standards Association, so all American manufacturers could use the same system. Later, the American standard was adopted by the International Standards Organization, so ASA became ISO.
What does all that mean? Well, it means that the letters ISO didn’t really stand for anything except for the name of an organization.
What is important is what ISO referred to, which was the sensitivity of the film. The emulsion on some films reacted quite slowly to light, and on other films much faster. Slower films had a smaller ISO number, like 25, 64, 100. Faster films had a higher number, like 200, 400, 800.
A slow film needed a relatively high level of light to create a well-exposed photo. That meant that to take a photo in darker conditions, you would need to use a fairly wide aperture and/or a fairly slow shutter speed to get a result. On the other hand, a faster film reacted to light a lot more quickly, so it needed much less exposure to light to take a photo.
Fast film sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? A chance to take a photo in any conditions without a tripod, and to freeze moving subjects with very fast shutter speeds. So why didn’t everyone just use fast films all the time?
The answer is that the advantages of fast films came with a trade-off; loss of image quality. The grains of emulsion on a fast film were larger, so a photo taken on a film with ISO 400 or 800 had a rougher, ‘grainier’ look. This may not have been a problem in a small print, but became quite apparent with big enlargements. Consequently, most professional photographers preferred to use slower films of 100 or 64 ISO for most of their work.
So is this just a lesson in ancient history? After all, you have a digital camera, so what does all this have to do with you. Well, it may surprise you to know that despite the huge revolution in technology, the essentials of ISO have not changed one bit.
Your camera should allow you the option of adjusting your ISO setting. Just like in the days of film, if you set your ISO to a low number like 100, you will need more light to create a correct exposure. That means that you may need to keep a tripod handy for cloudy days, and in certain low-light situations you may not always get the aperture and shutter speed settings you want. If you set your ISO to 400 or 800, your camera will become much more sensitive to light; you will be able to shoot in exactly the same conditions without a tripod, and with greater flexibility to choose the aperture and shutter speeds you want.
But here is the amazing part. Higher ISO settings still come with the same trade-off that once existed with film. Along with the speedier sensitivity to light, you can also expect the image to have a grainier finish. I don’t know if it is pixelation, or digital noise, or a combination of both, but it is generally understood that for all their advantages, high ISO photos come with a reduction of image quality that becomes more obvious the more you enlarge the image.
So there you have a quick introduction to what ISO is all about. Perhaps I am just showing my age, but I find this subject easier to explain in old-technology terms. For many people it is easier to visualize when related to something solid like film, rather than something that happens on a computer chip. Anyway, I hope this helps you if you have had trouble understanding what ISO is all about.
About the Author:
Andrew Goodall writes for http://www.naturesimage.com.au and is a nature photographer based in Australia. He manages a gallery in Montville full of landscape photography from throughout Australia.