While learning to be good with the camera i have referred few books in improving my skills in photography. The best books i have referred to till now is from Rob Shepherd's book on what you can do best with your camera and take top class pictures. I would like to share some of the technical specs and the knowledge from the contents which will be helpful for you......
Well Photography is a lot of fun. Anyone can take better pictures right from the start. To get consistently better photos, it helps to get both you and your camera ready for taking pictures. Most people know that focusing the camera is important, but in many ways, it can be just as important to focus the photographer. Choosing what and where to shoot is the first step that you must take before shooting. Read local newspapers, check out travel books, or browse online resources to find out what is happening in your area. You can find great photo opportunities at local fairs, botanical gardens, nature preserves, national parks, or even zoos; and when outside shooting is difficult, consider shooting indoors where conditions are controlled. A digital camera allows much more flexibility for indoor shooting than film ever did.
The more you know about your equipment, the more you can concentrate on getting the photographs that you want and not on learning how to use your camera. Open up the camera manual and spend time with it and your camera so that you know what controls are available and how to use them. When you go to shoot, you will be more satisfied if you are realistic; a day of shooting does not always result in lots of good photos. All photographers have bad days that end up with only mediocre photos — especially when the shooting conditions work against you! Enjoy the experience of having fun with digital photography and learn from it.
When shooting wellphotographed
places such as
western mountains, take
the traditional shot and then
shoot creatively, too.
Being patient can pay off with the
right light. The early morning
light to look its best.
People are easiest to
photograph when they
are involved in activities
that keep their attention
away from the camera.
Gardens offer terrific
opportunities for interesting and
colorful close-up images, such as
this shot of a hollyhock blossom
in early morning light.
When you find a good
place to take
photographs, visit it
again and again. Your
images will improve
each time that you
return because you will
learn the best times and
subjects for photos.
Did You Know?
Some of the best photo
opportunities may be in
your own backyard.
Explore details, shapes,
or colors that might
make good photographs
and give them a try. A
digital camera’s LCD
review helps you refine
Use the Internet to
learn where and when
to shoot. Many online
guides and forums
provide all the
information you need
to find wonderful places
and subjects to shoot
that will suit your
It starts with FOUR LETTERS
Most photo enthusiasts have mixed feelings about the digital part of photography. Many of them enjoy the advantages of digital cameras, but they feel uncomfortable with computers. They often think that all this digital stuff adds a layer of complexity that can be difficult, so much so that it can prevent them from getting the most from new technology. By keeping in mind the letters I, C, A, and N, you can overcome any apprehension you may have about shooting digital photos.
I, C, A, and N represent possibility and potential. Put them together and you get “I can,” banishing the thought, “I can’t.” There is no question that a lot of photographers get stopped by some of the new digital
tools and throw up their hands saying, “I can’t do this.” Everyone from teenagers to octogenarians can learn digital photography and love its possibilities. “I can” does not mean that you can do everything right away. After all, no serious photographer understood everything about a film camera without some study and practice. You might not know it all right away, and you might still be working on learning the technology, but with practice, you will be able to accomplish great things with your digital camera and the computer!
From your family to exotic
foreign locations, possibilities for
great photos are everywhere. A
lot of your success depends on
your ability to silence the selfcritic
and say, “I can do this!” for
your photography. At left, an
intimate portrait of brother and
sister shot to emphasize the close
relationship of the two people.
Travel gives you wonderful
chances for new subjects, but
remember that in popular
locations, a lot of photographers
have already taken pictures of
striking lights. Just taking an
attitude of “I can find something
different here” can lead to new
and interesting compositions.
Once you believe in
possibilities, you can
find good photographs
almost anywhere. I like
to keep a small digital
camera with me
wherever I go so I can
catches my eye, no
matter what the
Working with layers in an imageediting
program intimidates a lot
of photographers. It looks so alien
to photography that “I can’t”
escapes and runs amuck in their
heads. That does not have to be
the case. You might not
understand layers yet, but you
will discover how useful they are
so you will say, “I can do layers.”
When you know that you will share
a photo online, you do not need a
high image resolution. Try cropping
a detail from a large image before
you resize it for the Web. A small
bird in a mostly blue-sky print can
become a large bird that fills the
frame when it is cropped for the
MASTER YOUR CAMERA to get great photos
To consistently produce the best photos with your digital camera, learn all that you can about it. Today’s sophisticated digital cameras are amazing. Even pocket point-and-shoot cameras enable you to take excellent photographs with their superb automatic features and high sensor and lens quality. However, most digital cameras offer many additional features worth learning so that you gain important creative control over how photos are taken and ensure that you get exactly what you want.
One of the best features of all digital cameras is the LCD screen that lets you review the image and camera settings immediately after taking the photo. This enables you to check that you have composed the photo as you want and that the camera settings were set as you expected. Some cameras even include a swivel or rotating LCD for more versatility. Many digital cameras even provide a histogram to give you a visual impression of the exposure. These review features encourage you to make adjustments while you are still there with your subject.
You have made an investment
in purchasing a digital camera.
Although you do not have to
know everything about it in order
to use it well, the more controls
you master on your camera, the
better the return on your
The instant review LCD monitor
on a digital camera gives every
photographer the chance to
check the shot. This lets everyone
become a better photographer
because camera controls can be
adjusted, and then the results
immediately seen on the LCD.
Digital cameras house a
lot of great technology
that works in the
photographer’s favor. A
rotating LCD can be a
great help in composing
your picture when the
camera must be held
low or high.
Advanced compact digital
cameras and digital SLRs can
display a histogram with the
image on the LCD. You can get
consistently better exposures if
you learn to read a histogram
Did You Know?
The more you learn about and use different features on your camera, the more possibilities you have for creative control. However, sooner or later you may forget what settings you have changed and shoot using the wrong settings. Use your camera’s LCD review to make a quick check of things like exposure and white balance. Learn how to quickly check other settings or to set them to the defaults in order to avoid shooting with the wrong settings.
Many digital camera shave shooting modes that automatically choose a faster ISO setting if there is not sufficient light. Make sure that you know what shooting modes allow this to avoid taking photos that have too much digital noise (which can come from high ISO settings).
CHOOSE THE IMAGE FILE FORMAT
to suit your needs
RAW format images are
proprietary, data-rich files that
you must convert before you can
view and edit them.
Did You Know?
You can shoot more JPEG images in a row compared to RAW before the camera’s memory buffer is filled, making the camera stop in order to catch up. On the other hand, RAW allows instant changes to white balance after the shoot with no effect on the image quality.
Did You Know?
The RAW format is the best image format to use if you want to get the best possible pictures from your
digital camera. Camera settings, such as white balance, contrast, saturation levels, sharpening, and other settings, are not applied to a RAW image file. After you shoot, you have control over these settings when processing them with a RAW image converter. Many photo enthusiasts shoot in RAW format most of the time, or choose RAW + JPEG if the camera offers that setting.
Set the IMAGE RESOLUTION AND COMPRESSION LEVEL
In addition to letting you choose a file format for your photos, most digital cameras enable you to choose the image resolution. Usually, you will choose the highest resolution — after all, that is what you paid for in the camera.
Image resolution is expressed in terms of pixels, such as 3648x2736 pixels. If you multiply these two numbers together, you get the total pixel count — for example, 3658x2736 = 10,053,888, or 10 megapixels (10MP). For most photography, 10MP easily gives excellent prints up to 13x18. More pixels in a picture are not about quality, but about image size. More pixels enable you to print at larger sizes, which could be one reason to buy a digital camera with a higher megapixel rating.
This is not a simple decision, however. More pixels on a small sensor can mean increased noise in the image (noise looks like grain in film or “snow” on a TV with poor reception). Also, as pixel counts increase, so does file size, meaning you need more memory to hold the same number of images, requiring you to purchase higher-capacity memory cards for extended shoots. You could gain space by choosing a smaller image resolution or a low JPEG compression. Unfortunately, both of these options reduce image quality. Choose the highest resolution and highest quality JPEG compression unless you have special need for small images, such as those used only on the Web (which needs a much lower resolution).
This photo is cropped slightly
from a 10-megapixel camera with
an image size of 3771x2514
pixels. This particular photo is the
full image file.
This image is at a much reduced
resolution of 1200x900 pixels.
Yet, both look fine at this size
because either resolution
supports the small size of the
images as shown on this page.
The cropped image
shows the difference.
The top photo is
cropped from the larger
image file and looks fine
smaller file and starts to show loss
of sharpness and pixilation. The
point is that the small file is much
more limited on how large it can
be displayed or printed compared
to the big image file.
Did You Know?
By reducing the image resolution to store more photos in your camera, you reduce your ability to crop photos later and the opportunity to get the largest possible prints. Memory card prices are very reasonable for high storage capacities, so buy either extra or big cards so that you can store your images at the maximum image resolution and with the least image compression. This helps you avoid taking a prized shot that is too small or has too much compression to make a good print.
Each time you save a JPEG file after editing it, your image degrades. Therefore, JPEG should not be used as a working file format when adjusting it in Photoshop Elements or any other program. Save a working file in an uncompressed image format such as TIFF (.tif) or Photoshop (.psd). JPEG can be used later for archiving finished files to save disk space.
Control your camera’s light sensitivity with the ISO SETTING
In traditional film photography, you choose film for a certain sensitivity based upon an ISO rating, such as ISO 100 or ISO 400. Digital cameras also enable you to change ISO settings, which are similar to, but not the same as, film ratings. Digital camera ISO settings come from the camera amplifying the signal from the sensor rather than a built-in rating as in film. This sensitivity affects how you can deal with certain photo needs, from the amount of light to a desired shutter speed. Low settings such as ISO 100 are less sensitive, or “slower,” than ISO 400 because it takes a slower shutter speed to properly expose the image. A higher ISO setting enables an image to be recorded with a faster shutter speed. Choosing an ISO setting is one of the most important settings that you can make. High ISO settings, such as ISO 800, enable you to shoot in lower-light settings with faster shutter speeds, but you may end up with more digital noise in your photos. Digital noise is similar to grain in traditional photography and is minimized when you choose a low ISO setting.
This photo was shot at ISO 1600
to enable a faster shutter speed,
avoiding image blur in low levels
of indoor light.
Digital noise is easily visible in
most of this photo as a speckled
pattern. Still, people expect
indoor photos like this to have
This photo was shot at
ISO 100 to give the
image the highest color
and sharpness, plus best
tonalities, while keeping
Digital noise is minimal throughout
this photo, but it did require using
a tripod because a slower shutter
speed (1/3 second) was used.
Did You Know?
You generally get the best picture quality by using the lowest ISO setting your camera offers, such as ISO 100 or 200. A high setting, such as ISO 1600, will have considerably more digital noise.
Although digital noise is generally an unwanted characteristic of a digital photo, you can use it as a creative design element. In the days of traditional film, photographers often used grain to add a romantic look to their people and travel photos.
Did You Know?
When you edit a digital photo with an image editor such as Photoshop Elements, you are likely to get more noticeable digital noise when you perform steps such as increasing contrast, adjusting saturation, and sharpening an image.
Improve color with the WHITE BALANCE SETTING
Color photography has always had a challenge with getting accurate color. A common problem is an undesirable color cast, such as a red, blue, or green haze over the image. This was difficult to deal with when using film and often required special films or filters to balance the color with the light. Digital photography has really changed this because of white balance settings. Now you can select an in-camera white balance setting so that your camera records correct colors when shooting under a variety of different lighting conditions, such as incandescent light, tungsten light, sunshine, or clouds. You find icons representing presets for each of these in the white balance setting area. Auto white balance (AWB) gives less consistent results (even when working with RAW files).
Besides letting you choose an appropriate white balance setting, many digital cameras have a custom white balance setting that can record very accurate colors. Each camera deals with this setting differently, so you need to check your manual, though custom white balance requires that you have a neutral white or gray card for the control. If your camera offers such a feature (and most do), it is worth learning about and using.
This photowas taken
at sunset with the white balance
set to cloudy. Cloudy gives a
warm sunset that looks more like
traditional film-captured sunsets.
with the white balance set to
AWB or auto white balance. With
AWB, the camera does not know
that a sunset should look warm
and takes out much of that
warmth in order to make a more
background can cause
AWB to give false
results. This portrait of a
Peruvian girl was made
using the shade preset.
image is important because it
reflects the time of day it was
captured. A daylight preset was
used to preserve that color cast.
Sometimes you can add a preset white balance setting to add an attractive color tone to a photo. For example, using a cloudy white balance setting can add warmth to an otherwise cold or blue-toned scene.
Did You Know?
Most digital image-processing software offers several color-correction tools. However, many of them work best if you have a pure white or neutral gray tone in your image. If your subject requires absolutely accurate color, consider placing a white or gray card in the same light as your subject for a reference shot, and then remove the card for your real photos. You can then use that reference shot to help you get very accurate color in your final photos.
SHOOT YOUR BEST from the start
Digital photography is so adaptable and flexible that many photographers start thinking they do not have to worry so much when taking pictures because they can “fix it in Photoshop.” That idea can get you into trouble. Underexposure can cause problems with color in dark areas, as well as dramatically increased noise, no matter what camera you use. Overexposure can change highlights to detail-less white that can never be recovered. The wrong shutter speed will cause sharpness problems from camera movement during exposure to blurred subjects. An incorrect white balance can create colorcast problems.
You do not have to be a pro to shoot your images correctly from the start. Simply know your camera and be sure to make wise decisions for how you use it. This requires a little discipline and knowledge of photographic craft, which this book is designed to help you with. Although image-processing software provides you with tremendous image-adjustment power, you can always do more with well-crafted photos than you can with marginally acceptable ones. You spend less time working on an image in the computer if you have an excellent image to begin with.
The wrong exposure and detail
will also be captured wrong in a
photo like this that holds a large
range of tones.
Part of the appeal of this photo
of grapevines in a vineyard is its
sharpness. That comes from the
right technique of using a tripod,
careful focusing, and exposure
control from the start.
white balance preset
(Tungsten) gave this
warehouse shot the
proper colors for the
The wrong exposure on this shot
would have washed out the white
details of this western dogwood flower.
Once you have your digital camera, get a good-sized memory card (prices are very reasonable now). Taking photos costs nothing, so get out and shoot as much as you can. This is the best way to become a better photographer. Try different exposure settings and compositions, compare them in the LCD, and shoot plenty of photos so that you have a choice among them.
Did You Know?
You can use any camera to quickly adjust exposure without using any dials. Point your camera at something dark, lock exposure (usually by pressing the shutter halfway), and then move the camera back to the composition in order to add exposure. Do the same with something bright to darken exposure. You do need to be careful of distances here because locking exposure on many cameras also locks focus. The “something,” bright or dark, can be at a different distance from the camera than the subject, which would cause sharpness problems.
Pack for a SUCCESSFUL SHOOT
Every photographer has a different comfort level with how much gear he or she needs to bring along, but it is easy to carry too much. Photographers develop back and shoulder problems from the weighty gear bags they tote around.
If you really must bring a lot of gear, take along a smaller bag and use it when you know you do not need the whole kit. It can be literally painful to lug a heavy camera backpack along steep trails when you never really needed that heavy telephoto lens that was included.
Staying comfortable during shooting also helps you photograph more successfully. It is hard to be creative if you are cold, bug bitten, hungry, or sunburned. Bring along items that will make your outing more enjoyable, productive, and safe. Before you head off for a shoot, carefully consider what you should take with you in addition to your photography equipment. A few nutrition bars, water, gloves, bug repellent, sunscreen, and a hat can unquestionably contribute to your taking better photographs.
Think about what you need for
any photo excursion. Avoid
bringing more gear than you
will likely use, but be sure to
include the equipment needed
for a specific subject, such as a
telephoto for wildlife photography.
Water, sunscreen, insect repellent
and bite medication, and snacks
are just a few things that will
make your picture-taking time
This photo is a nice shot
from Cape Cod when it
was raining! Not having
appropriate rain gear
would have made this
Take a hat to protect yourself
from the sun and use a
headlamp, such as the Princeton-
Tec, to make your walks safe
when walking in the dark.
Did You Know?
Some of the most useful information for photographers is found on the Internet. Sunrise/Sunset/Twilight/Moonrise/Moonset/Phase information: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html
Please find more fantastic information about photography on http://www.robsheppardphoto.com
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