Beginners Photography – How To Start Using More Automatic Modes On Your Digital Slr!

In my previous Beginners Photography article I looked at the Automatic Modes available on your Digital SLR. These were the Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape and Close-up Modes. This article introduces the remaining Automatic Mode options. Bear in mind, that if you are new to photography, it makes sense to take some time to familiarise yourself with auto settings, and the situations in which to use them. This allows you the chance to concentrate on composition, for example, which, once mastered, would allow you to begin experimenting with manual options.The automatic modes appear as a series of icons on your Shooting Mode dial. Choosing one of these prepares the camera for specific situations. Let’s take a look at a further 3 of these modes and situations you would use them in.Sports Mode – running man icon. Although this is known as Sports Mode, it can be used to capture, and freeze, any moving subject. For beginners, photography of motion is a pleasing skill to get under your belt. Sports Mode is based on three principles: – continuous focusing, large apertures and fast shutter speed. In the majority of situations, the camera chooses settings that capture moving subjects well. There is some risk of digital noise (as ISO will be selected automatically) if the camera decides a very high ISO is required for your shot. You will need to frame your subject in the centre to ensure the continual focusing is on them.Night Portrait Mode – head and shoulders with a star icon. You can use this mode when out and about at night you want to photograph someone, but want some background scenery included. Full Auto Mode may fire the flash, potentially rendering your background completely dark. Night Portrait Mode tells the camera to choose a slower-than-normal shutter speed to let more light in, giving a more balanced feel. Ensure you have a steady hand to counteract camera shake. Also, automatic ISO is selected, so watch out for any digital noise levels. This mode also works well when taking portraits at sunset.Flash Off Mode – lightning with line through icon. At times, you may find yourself in a situation where light levels are low, but you don’t want to use flash. The use of flash may be restricted, as in a museum, or you just want to utilise available light. Flash Off Mode prevents the flash from firing. Using ambient light, the camera will adjust ISO accordingly to assist the exposure (again watch for any noise). If the shutter speed is slow enough to potentially cause camera shake, you should see a shutter speed indicator warning in the viewfinder and/or upper LCD panel. However, the many Image Stabilisation lenses available today allow for more than decent handheld results.

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Learning Photography

For an aspiring professional photographer to prosper in the trade, there are several important aspects and techniques of photography that one has to learn and muster. In fact, to help him/her to improve in photography, one must cover both useful and not so useful in the trade. Examples of these techniques and operations in photography that I have learned in my endeavors to become an accomplished and competent photographer are aperture (depth of field), shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and exposure compensation. I have also amassed knowledge about certain fundamental principles of digital images such as scanning, color theory, basic image adjustment, file management, and printing. Most, if not all of these techniques are quite useful for application in various genres of photography including photography at air shows, wildlife photography, and sports photography among others. This Article is a learning narrative of the various techniques and operations of photography that I have leaned and amassed considerable level of knowledge

Transferring and Backing Up Images
Now that you have a good system set up for your images, it’s time to organize the images themselves. Let’s start from the beginning, when images are first transferred from your camera or digital memory to your computer. Create a folder for the specific day the images were created (if there are several days of images on the folder, split them up into their respective days) as per the instructions above. Then put the folders of images in the corresponding ‘month folders’. Now that the images are on your hard drive, it’s a very good idea to back them up to at least one other location before you empty your memory card. As mentioned above, I have an extra hard drive just for my photographs. For now, I use my C: drive (master hard drive) for backup. A better (though more expensive) system would be to have another dedicated hard drive (possible external) for backup.

If you don’t have a second hard drive for backup, it’s a good idea to back up the images on CD or DVD. Blank discs from reputable companies are so inexpensive these days (~$0.30 Canadian). The best thing to do is to make two (2) copies, keep one ‘on site’ (where your computer is), and bring the other somewhere out of the building – maybe to work, or to a friend’s place whom you trust. Now you’re ready to erase (format) your camera’s memory card. I prefer to do it in-camera for two reasons: first, this makes sure the camera formats the card with a system that the camera’s software will understand; secondly, it ensures that you don’t accidentally erase or format the wrong folder or drive on your computer – stranger things have happened!

Managing Edited Images
There is quite a bit you can do to keep your images organized in the editing process. I will cover Image Tags in the next section, just below. First, when you have edited your photo and go to save it (no matter what file format you choose), I find it best to keep the original file name and file location, but add another name to the end. Ex: DSC_1035 – Water Drops.jpg, or DSC_2846 – Edit.psd, etc. If creating alternate versions, show that in the name somehow. Ex: DSC_1035 – Water Drops.jpg and DSC_1035 – Water Drops B&W.jpg, DSC_1035 – Water Drops crop.jpg, DSC_1035 – Water Drops Resize 20×30.jpg, etc. By keeping the original names and locations with the edited images, it is easier to find the originals for future editing. Also, if you remember the date or name of the event you shot, it will be easy to find all the associated images.

Backing Up Images
How often you do this is up to you (depends on value – either personal or monetary). I do it once I have a full month shot and edited, but I always keep a backup on a second hard drive, and I am ‘only’ an amateur. If this was my living, I’d backup everything every day. Back up onto secondary hard drive (remember, only the originals are backed up on there now!) Back up onto DVD and bring them off site. When I back up my edits, I back them up with the originals again. It makes one more copy, and if my hard drive were to fail, it would be a quick and easy way to restore everything. Another option to the endless DVDs is a portable hard drive. They are getting cheaper all the time, and it would be a quick, easy way to back up your photos and bring them to a secure, off site location. I can’t stress this enough – backing up is cheap! You can get reputable, 250GB, 7200 RPD, SATA hard drives for under $100 Canadian (forget the $200+ futureshop drives – check your local stores!), and DVDs and CDs can be found 100 for $30. Compare this to the film days when a roll of 24 was $5 for the film, and up to $20 for the developing and processing. You can put hundreds of thousands on a hard drive, or well over a thousand on a DVD!

DVD Storage
When blank CDs came out, they were almost $2 a piece – still a great deal for what you could store on them. Then DVDs came out, about the same price – an even better deal! Then the prices dropped – there is no reason not to back up your images onto DVD if you have access to a burner. Buy one, borrow one, do something!

Once you have your images copied to CD or DVD, there are a couple more things you can do to secure the safety of your images. First – and this may be over the top for lighter users – some people back up all their image twice, then on two different brands of DVD. That’s four copies! They keep one copy of each brand where their base is, and keep another set somewhere secure (another building, safety deposit box, etc.). Then, once a year, check the files on each brand on DVD. If one brand looks be going corrupt, they have another safe set. Then they back up and replace all the DVDs of the ‘corrupting’ brand. If your pictures make you money, or mean the world to you, this is worth the effort.

Store DVDs in a cool place, away from direct light. If you have your ‘home base’ DVDs on your desk or a bookshelf, just make sure sun doesn’t get to them. Maybe store them in a dresser drawer somewhere. Keep DVDs in hard cases – not in spindles, and not in the soft cases or CD books.

Keep the DVDs upright. I don’t know the reason for this or the last point, but apparently it makes a difference. Don’t lie them down flat. Keep them vertical, like books on a shelf. Try to use CDs and DVDs from reputable brands only. Just because some off-brand disc is on sale one week doesn’t mean you should trust important files with it. Discs can go bad. Even good brand names can have a disc fail, but it’s less likely. If you’re not sure what’s hot, and what’s not, Google is always a good place to look.

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Professional Photography

If you are naive, passionate, and want to do something exclusive, if you’d like to consider photography as something more than just a creative outlet or a hobby you may be on your way to discovering a new career path, the one that would lead you the success and top profiles. This is not to say that becoming a photographer is easy, nor is it to say that all the people who want to become professional photographers will attain their goal. The photography industry is cutthroat and competitive. There are more people who want to become world renowned photographers than there are spaces to fill. The result is that, those who want to fill those spots, or even just become successful at photography on a local level are going to need to have immense creativity and business acumen like no other.
First of all becoming a working professional photographer has to do with one main element; Becoming recognized in the field. People don’t only buy your art; they also buy your credentials. In a sense, their buying what you represent. Often those things you represent will be of intrinsic value to your customers. Such as with whom you’ve worked in the past, where you’ve been published, how long have you been a photographer, where have you traveled to do work and so on?
Secondly you will also want to get as much education under your belt as possible. Throughout your education as a photographer you should also be taking as many photographs as possible to help build your portfolio. You will need to ensure your photography portfolio stands above the rest by paying extra special attending to detail. Look at the book itself, the paper it’s printed on, the font of descriptions, your borders, your themes, picture sizes, colors, and layout and so on. Do not simply fill a scrap book or photo album with photographs. Once finished, you should be able to walk away from your portfolio and be impressed with your own work, which is not easy task for many photographers, as most of them are their own worst critics.
Further you should also start looking around for assistant or internship work. Often this work doesn’t pay well but still it will help you learn more about the industry and art. You should try and work under the most respected photographers you can find. By doing this you are adding to your credentials without knowing it. You only want to surround yourself with the best and present your best side all the times.
Moreover you will also need to have a strong sense of business acumen. If you are planning on being like the 50% of other photographers who are self employed, you’ll need to make sure you have a good sense of networking skills, pricing, public relations knowledge and on top of that have a strong sense of creativity and imagination. Being an artist and a business person will be no small feat. It will have you on your toes at all times.

Lastly, you’ll want to narrow your professional interest to one or two main fields. For example you may want to work with press and other media, or you may be interested in photojournalism. Others may be interested in scientific or sports photography. Whatever your interest is, make sure you find the best people in that particular industry and study them. Model your success after theirs.

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Home Run Baseball Photography Tips

Strike one! Strike two! Strike three!

Baseball! America’s Pastime, and a sport growing in popularity throughout the world, where the Boys of Summer slug it out. A baseball game is the perfect way to spend a lazy summer afternoon, plus it provides opportunities to take photos that last a lifetime.

While many claim the sport of baseball is a slow-paced affair, when action does occur, it can happen very swiftly, almost too fast for an unskilled photographer to shoot the photos they desire. Baseballs fly quickly when hit or thrown, and timing the action for when to take a digital photograph requires split-second reflexes. Thus, before you plan on taking photos at a baseball game, you may wish to read the following advice:

1) First, make sure you are allowed to bring your digital camera to the baseball game. Some ballparks have no restrictions, others on the zoom length, some on using flash, and some may not allow you into the baseball game at all with your camera!

2) Change your camera settings to take the quickest photographs possible while still providing plenty of light for the photograph. You’ll need to read your camera’s manual on how to change these settings; for example, consider saving photos as JPG instead of RAW to take photos faster.

Just remember that the quicker the shutter speed, the less light enters the camera to take the picture. Thus, you’ll need to compromise picture speed and the amount of light to take great photos. That is why baseball games work well with photography – many games are played on sunny days or in well-lit domes or stadiums that allow you to take crisp, high-action photos.

3) Before going to a big league ballpark, make sure you know the rules and nuances of the game. Practice taking photos at a minor-league, college, or high school baseball game. The stakes aren’t quite as high if you miss a shot, and taking your camera to a game will give you more insight into when action occurs and when players just stand around.

4) Have extra batteries and digital camera memory handy and practice switching both out quickly before the game! A three and a half hour game can put a tremendous strain on even the most power-miserly camera, and more often than not you will have to switch out power or memory in the middle of an inning.

5) Don’t worry if you miss a shot! Unless you have tons of digital camera memory, you may not be able to continuously shoot photograph after photograph. If you miss a key pitch, the swing of a bat, or a forced out, don’t get angry! More often than not, new opportunities will arise for great photographs.

6) Study the lineup first. Know who are the key players and those who barely know how to swing a bat. Likewise, learn who has loose hands in the outfield and who is likely to win a Gold Glove. Focus your attention on the stars as they most likely will make the best photographs, but don’t be so drawn to celebrity that you miss a role player making a crucial steal or diving catch that wins the game for their team!

7) When the opening lineup starts, look at the dugout. If you’re rooting for the home team, the beginning of the game is a great time to get player photographs as they are running out onto the field. If not, take photographs during the middle of the inning. If you don’t get the perfect photo, delete bad photographs during lull times and try later during the game.

8) To take a picture of a swinging batter that will last a lifetime, do the following:

*) Preparation is the key. First, before the game, know how to operate your digital camera. Practice focusing the camera and quickly deleting unused photos – sometimes you can delete an unwanted photo before it is completely saved to the camera’s memory.

*) Before the pitch, focus your viewfinder on the batter’s box and try not to cut out any of the batter’s body. Zoom in as appropriate, but remember the more you zoom in, the slower the potential shutter speed needed to take a clear photo.

*) Anticipate shutter lag. Lock your focus before the pitch; this usually is done by pressing the shutter button down half-way.

*) Time it… time it… then as soon as the ball is about to hit the bat, press down fully on the shutter button.

*) If the pitch is a strike or the swing is not one to be remembered, cancel the save so your picture is not written to memory. This way, you can save room for other photos.

9) Look around for photo opportunities not directly related to the action. Take a photograph of the grounds crew cleaning the bases and raking the dirt between innings. Get a few shots of the crowd. Take a picture of the scoreboard. Look at the surrounding area. If you want to remember the full experience of a baseball game years from now, you should take advantage of one of the best features of a digital camera – the ability to take lots and lots of photographs – and shoot photographs showcasing the FULL baseball experience.

10) Take a break during the game! You came to the baseball game to enjoy the spectacle, not just to take pictures, right? Designate a few innings as photo-free time where you just sit back, munch on a hot dog, drink a soda, and soak in the environment.

Remember to study your digital camera manual first and practice, practice, practice! Follow these ten tips and you’ll be on your way to taking “home run” baseball photographs in no time.

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Commercial Photography

Why Images?

They say that an image is worth a thousand words and this fact is nowhere true but in the world of commercial photography. If a photograph can say thousand things to the viewer only by viewing it what is the use of scribbling words to explain what you want to communicate?
The use of photographs in the world of advertising, product promotion, magazines and many other commercial areas is always of greatest importance. A photographic image instantly lets the viewer know what the product is all about. When these photographs are accompanied by words, the total effect for the viewer and the organization grows by manifold.
In the world of fashion, the image of the models and their clothes has to be as detailed as far as possible so that the product reaches to consumers thoroughly.
Commercial photography has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for businesses and organizations and the rapid advances in the photography techniques which ensure that the images are as detailed as possible. A skilled commercial photographer bears great affinities with the painter in giving the image a life like look.

The World of Commercial Photography

As the name suggests commercial photography is nothing but a photographic job done for commercial uses. The basic aim behind commercial photography is to sell and promote the product for the client. Broadly, commercial photography is done for brochures, advertisements through magazines, menus of restaurants, or publications by companies.
Commercial photography is different compared to editorial photography, and retail photography, which have other purposes behind taking photographs. There are different categories in commercial photography such as magazine photography, architectural photography, Product and promotional photography, sport photography, building photography, and photography for advertising.

The photograph of a car or an item the business deals with is taken mainly for selling it and so it has to be attractive and eye catching for the viewers. In sports photography, for example the photographer has to take aerial photographs so that they seem stunning.
Architectural photography is another important aspect of commercial photography. In architectural photography an architect, a builder or a real estate professional needs photographs of their site so that they can show it to their clients. It is well to keep in mind that though commercial photography is done for commercial purposes the element of art is never absent in it. The element of art is best seen in the photographs of food menus seen in cookery magazines.

In the world of commercial photography, there is the most glamorous world of fashion photography, which is always the subject of gossip for people. Fashion photography appears on billboards, fashion magazines, television and other such places.
Commercial photography is not one man’s job and may involve people like the art director, photographic assistants, account executive and many other people. Commercial photography is thus a collaborative endeavor. Commercial photography is known as one of the profitable business among the other types of photography and most of the editorial and fine art photographers have worked in commercial photography.
Commercial photography thus blends art and business together and offers photographic solutions to commercial enterprises.

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