Posts filed under: ‘Photography‘

Vacation time

  1. Pack enough power for the whole trip, disposable or rechargeable batteries with battery charger. Don’t forget to recharge it overnight. If no power for a long time in that area, a spare battery may be needed.
  2. Pack memory cards. Though 1GB might be enough for most vacations, safe to have a backup card.
  3. Carry manual with you, read during free time with camera in hand to try. The more features you use, the more you master the ctrls.
  4. Most compact digital cameras offer 20 or more varieties of preset scenes modes, represented by icons that vary with brand. Once you master these, start thinking outside the box to achieve cool special effects by applying scene settings in creative ways. For example, try shooting a pumpkin with the sunset scene mode. These modes allow even a novice to shoot like an expert. 
  • Portrait- puts subject in focus automatically & the background out of focus.
  • Landscape- achieves greater depth of field with everything in focus.
  • Sunset- enhances warm colors & works well for sunrises too.
  • Self portrait- works for arm’s length shot.
  • Beach & snow- compensates for exposure so snow looks white & sand doesn’t look gray.
  • Cuisine- perfect for shooting food. It compensates for a close distance i.e 1-3ft, reduces flash output, adds color saturation to make food look yummy.
  • Fireworks & Candlelight 

Add a comment June 10, 2009

Compact digital camera

  1. Buying- How does it feel? How easy is it to set the functions & choose features? How many megapixels you want? Any 6/7/8-megapixel compact is going to give you stunning images. For big prints/blowing up sections of images, more mega pixels, the better.
  2. Try at home- How do you get the most from the camera? Try auto features to do everything for you. How you creatively approach your subject is what will make the pictures really special.
  3. Standard features are
  • Autoexposure
  • Autofocus
  • Automatic face detection
  • Automatic red eye fix
  • Brightening dark scenes
  • Image Stabilization, minimizing camera shake effects.
  • Preset exposure choices for-portrait, landscape, beachscape, fireworks, close-up, cuisine etc.
  • Movie mode, complete with sound.

Add a comment June 10, 2009

D-SLR, professional camera

  1. Digital Single Lens Reflex. Similar in design to SLRs of the 70s & 80s but using digital sensors instead of film.
  2. Most widely being used now, powerful,  exceptional picture qlty, easy to use, available for all levels of interest & expertise i.e weekender to professional, offer wide range of features, enduring value, good for creativity.
  3. Big advg’s- Speed, Power, Range. 
  4. Speed- Swift start-up, shutter response, autofocus & framing rate for continuous shooting. There is no shooting lag that occurs between the time you push shutter button & the time the picture is actually taken so you will capture those perfect moments other cameras miss.
  5. Power- Its sensor is bigger, which means its pixels are bigger, which means higher overall picture qlty. Some can analyze the lighting, color, contrast of a scene, instantly refer database & imm’ly choose the correct exposure-even in the most challenging lighting situations. High ISO sensitivity makes once impossible low-light pictures now commonplace.
  6. Range- Offer lens choices from ultra wide angles to super telephotos.  
  7. SLR allows you to ‘see’ through the lens, thereby getting a first hand insight into the depth of field & composition.
  8. Nikon & Canon top the list of digital SLRs. Nikon’s D-700, recently launched & D-90 are the talk of the town today.
  9. Do keep your reqt in mind before you spend a lot of money on a new camera. If you are a hobbyist, you may never use some of the features such as extremely high shutter speeds, offered in the pro models. 
  10. Nikon D-40x, a 12 megapixel camera, is moderately priced, more than adequate to learn photography with, as well as shoot your basic assignments.
  11. Always use a tripod, especially on shutter speeds lower than 1/100 second.
  12. Take the time to compose your frame – resist the urge to fire away at everything that you see. Do get a few shots, then rethink, re frame, re compose, THINK how you have arranged the subjects in your frame & why…
  13. Visualize -especially for studio photography & landscapes. The lighting set up, the exposure points, the filter, the lens, the film/ISO level, the shoot timing, the model make up & costumes, the photo editing stage, finally the presentation. When you are able to break it up into segments like this, you will have a ctrl over photography. 
  14. There are more uses to a UV filter than simply blocking out the UV rays. Filter costs you only a fraction of the amount you paid for your lens. Keep a UV filter attached to every lens that you have (considering it is an SLR of course). If you happen to scratch the ‘lens’ surface, you have only damaged the cheap filter & not lens surface.
  15. To blur out the backgrounds & fore grounds & isolate subject, you should understand the depth of field of the lens at the given aperture. When you focus on an object, there is an area in front of the subject as well as behind the subject that are both ‘in focus’ up to a point. Objects in front of the subject will gradually fall more out of focus the closer they are to you (and the further they are from the point of focus). This gradual change in the sharpness or ‘unsharpness’ of objects is what we call the depth of field or ‘d.o.f.’ of the lens at the given aperture. When you are able to get your backgrounds (or foregrounds) out of focus at will, you have become a better photographer. But need to change shutter speed to compensate for the increased or decreased amount of light that is allowed to enter the lens, with the change in aperture. Another factor which has an impact of depth of field is the focal length of the lens. A longer focal length i.e ’zoomed in’, produces a shallower depth of field. A wide angle lens has the exact opposite affect & produces a larger depth of field – directly proportional to the ‘wideness’ or shorter focal length. So – the shorter the lens focal length the more the depth of field, the longer the focal length the less depth of field. Also – the larger the aperture the less the depth of field, the smaller the aperture…. Use focal length & aperture to control your d.o.f.

Add a comment June 10, 2009

Tips for everyday snapshots

  1. In-built camera flashes tend to give a very flat and 2-dimensional appearance to photographs. Avoid using it unless the existing light just isn’t adequate. Try using longer shutter speeds instead. In case of automatic cameras, shutting off the flash (if possible) would automatically ensure longer shutter speeds.
  2. Try shooting at an angle to the face to avoid red eyes. 
  3. Lower the ISO value, the better would be the pixel quality in your files. So use higher ISO only if light is too low.
  4. If background is distracting, throw it off focus & zoom as much as possible to focus subject’s eyes.
  5. While pressing shutter button, squeeze gently till fires but dont jerk down to prevent camera shake. Also hold breath.
  6. Carry camera with you everywhere you go, so you don’t miss a winning image.
  7. Don’t leave batteries in camera for lengthy storage as they leak after a certain period of time, especially the use & throw ones. It is a pathetic way to lose your camera’s functionality.
  8. Never let camera get damp, unless if water-proof. It is the worst enemy of all, especially digital cameras. Use water-proof case for the camera.
  9. Posing is important. Chin held high spells out confidence, but if too high, could speak pride. Stooping gives impression of sluggishness or depression, while chest held out firmly speaks confidence & content. If camera shy, pre-occupy subject’s attention with a prop of some kind. Get person’s hands to do something instead of being stiff.
  10. Never let background be too cluttered, never let poles & trees grow out of people’s heads & shoulders. Instead, better lean against the prop.
  11. Shoot more images than you require & select the best to get the right expression.

Add a comment June 10, 2009

Outdoor photography

  1. Since you will not have much control over lighting conditions/sun position, positioning the subject is important or have to wait for the right time for the right lighting.
  2. If light source is in front of the lens, lens flare occurs. So, keep your back to the Sun & the subject should be in front of you so well illuminated.
  3. If there’s a large area of sky behind the subject, lock focus on the subject by half-pressing the shutter before you fire to well expose subject or lock focus on sky for exposing nature instead of subject.
  4. To shoot portraits with ‘sunshine in your hair’ look, Sun should be low on the horizon. Twilight is too late, around 4pm should do fine in most countries. The sunlight shd’ve started to turn yellow by then, but still bright enough for a good exposure – and just NOT bright enough to create a lens flare. Look through the viewfinder & position the camera-subject combo in such a way as to catch that light in the hair. This works very well for brown & blond hair. Also, zoom in as much as you can. Not only are longer focal lengths better for portraits in general, but they provide just the right effect for the sunshine in your hair effect.   
  5. At night- No option but to use either flash lighting or long exposures with a tripod

Add a comment June 10, 2009

Photo editing

  1. Color corrections- Our everyday tube lights have a ‘cooler’ tone as compared to the ‘warm tone’ bulb lights from incandescent light sources. No auto white balance setting can be so perfect (at least not till today) that it can accommodate changes for a variety of light sources. Most cameras perform well under daylight. To fix- In Adobe Photoshop, FILE-OPEN-IMAGE-ADJUST-COLOR BALANCE, reach for sliding tool that lets you replace one color tone with another but have no effect over the brightness of the image.
  2. Red eye- In low light conditions, the pupils of the eye expand much like the aperture of camera’s lens, to allow more light to fall on the retina. This forms a brighter image where light levels are not sufficient to do so on the ‘film’ of the eye – the retina. When the eye experiences brighter light, the pupils contract (like a smaller aperture) to accomodate the increase in light. This expansion & contraction of the pupils is constantly taking place as we experience varying light intensities. Flash on the camera is obviously used in low light levels. Keeping in mind that the pupils of the eyes of the subject were already expanded in such a scenario, the eyes are not prepared for the unnatural burst of light. In such case, if & when the flash & the eyes are near-parallel or parallel to ach other, the flash light hits the retina, bounces off it to create the red eye. The redness is of course, thanks to the color of blood within the retina. To fix- Don’t shoot directly into subject’s eyes while using flash. If already have image with red eyes- In Photoshop, FILE>OPEN, select red area in both eyes with lasso tool, give a sufficient leather effect. Play with Hue/saturation(Image>Adjust>Hue/Saturation) to remove red eye. Some camera’s have in-built red eye reduction feature, where camera’s flash fire 1 or 2times before the final flash so eyes are tuned into the bright light levels condition, the pupils contract, and eyes are no longer taken by surprise when the final image is photographed. But keep in mind, this extra bursts of flash per image consumes more battery power.
  3. Sharpen images- File>Open, then Filters>Sharpen>Choose Unsharp mask in submenu. Begin sharpening with 3tools. Amount- ctrls amount of sharpening that is applied to the picture. Radius- effects the radius of pixels that are effected with the sharpening procedure. The larger the dimensions of the image, larger will be the reqd pixel radius for sharpening. When you alter the variables in the sliding bars, resulting effects will simultaneously be visible in the opened image. Expt with radius & amount until you reach the desired effect. Don’t sharpen the image to such an extent that it is obvious to the naked eye – you begin to see high contrasts when you over-sharpen, this is to be avoided at all times. Threshold- to soften the sharpening effect if overly obvious after you’ve adjusted the first 2 sliding bars.
  4. Photomontage- is the result you get when you use 2 or more images to make 1 composite image. 2ways to make a photo montage are– the old fashioned ‘manual’ method & the digital one. Today, the most common place photo montages we see are on cinema posters & are made on computers using Photoshop, all over the world. File>New, enter resolution, width & hgt parameters on dialogue box that pops up. Set resolution(DPI) to 300 for print, & 72 for web usage. Select images, cut out areas of interest, experiment with various feather densities, copy-paste in final canvas area. 
  5. Blur images- Result of 2kinds of errors. 
  • Off-focus error is usually in manual focus camera but if in auto focus camera, then subject was off-center. Most auto focus mechanisms focus on whatever subject is found at the center of the frame. So try this simple trick– get the subject into the center of frame, half-press the shutter so the lens locks on to the subject, without pressing button, re-compose frame to the desired composition & fire the shutter to get a in-focus image. If difficult to half-press the shutter, switch over to manual focus mode.  Finally, the smaller the aperture you use, the more of a range would you get into focus (more depth of field). The final technique mentioned (small apertures) should only be used at times when you are in an absolute hurry, since it does not always give you the perfect results you can expect with the former two techniques mentioned.
  • Camera shake- Typically occurs when shutter speed was set to too low & the picture taken hand-held. Make sure shutter speed is at least the inverse of the focal length used. If using a 300mm setting on your lens, shutter speed need to be set to 1/300 of a second at least. Use tripod/wall/tree/rest hands on knee/against side of face for support. Never jerk down the shutter release, squeeze it gently till the trigger fires, much like a gun is fired! 

Add a comment June 10, 2009


  1. Camera records images either as still photo or as moving videos or movies.
  2. Camera Obscura in Latin means dark chamber & modern camera evolved from it. To make one at home- Cellotape a magnifying lens on 1side of the shoe box, leave the other side of box open. Point lens towards a distant overhead lamp. Move a tracing paper or any paper coated with oil  towards & away from front of the shoe box & affix the paper onto cardboard frame when image is clear. Or If you know the focal length of the lens already, simply fix paper at a distance of the lens focal length, measured from the lens.
  3. 5-4th centuries B.C.- Chinese & Greek philosophers describe the basic principles of optics & camera.
  4. 1664-1666 Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of diff colors.
  5. 1827- 1st photo taken by Joseph Niepce but took hours to get a permanent exposure.
  6. George Eastman invented 1st film which is flexible & paper-based on roll in 1884 & the small box camera called Kodak in 1888 designed specifically for roll film. This was the first time that cameras became relatively easy to carry around and take photos. It was still nothing like the cameras today, but photography as a hobby had been born. He was a high school dropout & was self-educated.  
  7. In the early 1900’s the 35mm camera was invented by Oskar Barnack. The 35mm enabled high quality photos to be taken on rolled film. It is the most commonly used still camera & uses 35mm film.
  8. Edwin Land invented Polaroid camera in 1947.
  9. In the 1990’s digital cameras were introduced to the mass market by Kodak. These cameras became very popular by the year 2000. Digital photos are easy to use, share, email, store, check immediately, affordable since no film needed, easy to delete if you don’t like.
  10. Amateurs use digital cameras more often while professionals use DSLR i.e digital SLRs(Single Lens Reflex).
  11. Cameras work with the light of the visible spectrum i.e portion of the electro magnetic spectrum(EMS) that is visible to the human eye or with other portions of the EMS.  EMS is the range of all the possible freq’s of EM radiation.
  12. Focussing mechanism- SLR & DSLR cameras have this with meters. Most cameras these days have auto focus mechanisms that have made focusing much easier. 
  13. Camera types- Compact, semi-professional model, SLR or beyond. 
  14. Compact are small & easy to use. If you are an amateaur, go for an automatic compact models so don’t have to be bothered with focus, exposure etc. Compacts latest features are Image Stabilization that ensures blur-free pictures even in low light conditions & Face Detect that ensures that the camera focuses on the subject’s face even if it is located off the center of your frame, giving you in-focus subjects at all times.  
  15. Semi pro cameras- Offer SLR-like features at a low price & weight to SLRs. They give a lens with a wide zoom range or give an external flash, allow manual override on focus, shutter speed, aperture etc.
  16. SLR or D-SLR are professional cameras.
  17. Camera parts- 
  • Aperture- opening at 1end for light to enter.
  • Body- Limits the amount of light that exposes the sensitive film.
  • Film- Available in color or black & white. Color films include slow films (25-64 ISO), medium films (100-200 ISO), fast films (400-1000 ISO) and ultrafast films (1600-3200 ISO).
  • Lens- in front of camera’s aperture to gather the incoming light & focus all or part of the image on the recording surface i.e film. Design & manufacture of the lens is critical to the qlty of the photo. It is the most imp part since it has to reduce any kind of aberrations & the focal length(FL) helps in determining the magnification of as subject. Wide angle lens- FL is betn 21-35mm, used for landscapes. Normal lens- FL 35-70mm, for std/hobby. Medium telephoto- FL 70-135mm, for portraiture. Tele Zoom- FL 135-300+mm, for wildlife, nature, sports.
  • Shutter/shutter release button- is used to take a picture. When pressed, shutter is released, so that it opens to capture a picture & then closes, allowing an exposure time as determined by the shutter speed setting which may be automatic. It is 1 of the basic features of a handheld camera. The different types of shutters used in modern day cameras include leaf shutters, diaphragm shutters, focal plane shutter, projector shutter and central shutters.
  • Viewfinder- Enables you to see the subject. 2types. The 1st type will allow you to look through the lens of the camera while the other will enable you to view at a plane parallel to the camera lens. 

Add a comment June 10, 2009






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