Take great pictures with your digital camera (Part 2)
Concluding my take on digital cameras…
. 1. Batteries: Keep Spares on Hand
Many cameras come with rechargeable batteries. It’s a good idea to buy at least one additional battery (preferably the same model) when you purchasing your camera. Then you can keep on shooting while your spare battery is charging
I opted for a camera which uses the high end AA batteries. Some camera like some of the Sony models uses very unique camera batteries and to buy spare ones can be really expensive. Check yours. I always have 2 spare Fuji Rechargeable AA 2100mAH Ni-Mh batteries in my camera bag. It can last for several days of photographing. Never use the standard AA batteries. It does not have the necessary “juice” fort a camera flash.
. 2. Storage
It’s not that hard to stop at a store to pick up an extra roll of film, but you may not find a memory card for your digital camera as easily. So, be sure to plan ahead. You might want to check to see if someone you’re visiting will be able to transfer photos from your memory cards to a CD, thus freeing up your cards for more photos.
I have a 16MB xD card and 64MB xD card. Both came with the camera when I bought it during a promotion. Different cameras have different cards – SD, XD and CF. Note the differences and pricing.
3. Shoot and Delete
Most photographers eventually come to the conclusion that film is cheap, but electrons are even cheaper. Don’t hold back. Take lots of exposures, and then delete the bad ones. Often you can do that while you are taking photos. If you know your subject moved or someone got in the way as the shutter opened, most digital cameras make it easy to delete that shot to free up space for a better photo. But be careful! You don’t want to delete a prize-winning photo.
One professional digital camera photographer quoted once in TV interview that he will be lucky if he can find one good shot in 36 shots that he takes on a subject. Imagine 1 in 36! With a 64MB xD card, I can get about 84 shots (at 3M) but I would be happy if I get one great shot from that 84 shots.
. 4. Experiment: Try New Things
Digital photography is very liberating because you have instant feedback and you don’t have to print anything you don’t like. Before digital cameras came along, you had to wait for the film to be processed before you could see if something you tried was successful. With a digital camera’s LCD screen, you can immediately get some idea if you have the right exposure of that spinning merry-go-round or of the fireworks on Merdeka Eve.
. 5. Make Prints
Don’t make the mistake of becoming so mesmerized by glowing pixels that you fail to get prints made of your favorite photos. Even if you e-mail that photo of “little Johnny” after his first haircut, Grandma is still going to want a print to stick in a frame. Plus, the prints you get are real photographs that last. Most inkjet printers use dye-based inks that can fade quickly over time, especially if displayed in bright light.
. 6. Don’t Travel with a Brand New Digital Camera
Always get to know a new camera before you entrust it with treasured vacation photos of the family in far away places. Digital cameras can have many powerful features that take a little getting used to, so plan to spend a good bit of time with your new camera, along with the instruction manual (sounds alien here?), before you head off on that vacation.
In other words, do plenty of “test runs” and reading of the manuals before heading off for holiday.
. 7. Use the Camera’s Viewfinder and the LCD screen
New users of digital cameras will often immediately start using the LCD screen for composing all of their photos and forget about the viewfinder. That can be a big mistake. For instance, when outdoors where bright light can degrade what you see on the LCD screen, you may not notice when you cut off someone’s head.
On the other hand, using the LCD to shoot high over your head or with the camera very close to the ground can make the impossible shot possible. Plus, on many cameras, turning off the LCD will dramatically conserve battery power
. 8. Organize and Backup your Originals
Most people are happy to leave their originals on their computer without thinking of a backup strategy for those precious files. If your hard disc crashes, you can say good-bye to your 1,000 once in a lifetime shots.
Since many personal computers today come equipped to make CDs, writing backup copies immediately is easy and a good habit to develop. Then you can use software like Adobe’s Photo Album to catalog and organize those CDs, with keywords that make it easy to retrieve photos in logical groups. Making a duplicate set of CDs to store at another location is also an excellent idea.
. 9. Learn to “half-press and hold” your shutter button
By doing this, you give the camera a chance to focus on your subject and do anything else it must to be ready to make an exposure. Then when you press the shutter the rest of the way, you are much more likely to catch the exact moment you want.
That technique can go a long way toward reducing the frustration often attributable to “shutter lag,” a slight delay in the shutter release that is common to even some of the better digital cameras on the market today
. 10. Don’t Stop Learning
After you get your feet wet and have fun taking those “free” digital photos, it’s a good idea to take the time to learn a little about the way a digital sensor differs from film in the way it sees and records light.
For instance, an overexposed negative can often be printed just by putting more light through it, while overexposed digital photos will have little or no detail in the highlight areas. On the other hand, underexposed film will have little or no shadow detail, but underexposed digital shots can often produce very good photographs when the various tonal values are adjusted in a computer
Check through some of the sites in the internet or buy a good photography magazine to beef up your knowledge.