Category: Camera

Flash Photography

Adjust The ISO Setting = Adjusting The Sensor’s Light Sensitivity

One of the things you can do to improve the light recording capability of your DSLR is to adjust the light sensitivity of the sensor. This is done by adjusting what is known as the ISO (pronounced “EYE-so”) setting – this is a numerical value and the higher the ISO number, the better your camera’s sensor will deal with low light conditions… to a point! You see, there is a trade-off for this wizardry – the higher you push the ISO setting, the grainier your photos will turn out. This graininess is referred to as “noise” and it lowers the overall quality of the image.

A general principle is to keep the ISO setting as low as possible, for the best possible quality in your images. Get to know your camera’s lowest “native” ISO setting. What I mean by this is, on some of the more sophisticated DSLRs, you get the option to select Extended ISO from the camera’s menu and this allows you to digitally take it below the manufacturer’s natural or “native” ISO setting, which is where the camera’s sensor performs at its natural best. For instance, on the Panasonic GH4, you can turn on the Extended ISO feature and this will allow you to take the ISO down to either 100 or 80. Turn off the Extended ISO and the lowest you can get to is ISO 200… this is the Panasonic GH4’s lowest “native” ISO setting.

Adjusting The Aperture Lets More Light In Through The Lens

Another thing you can try and adjust is the Aperture of the lens – this works like the iris of a human eye: the wider it opens, the more light can enter, so the scene looks lighter and brighter; with a narrower aperture, less light can enter the lens, so the image will be darker.

If your images are looking too dark when you review them on the LCD screen of your camera, you can try and open up the Aperture. This will require dialing down to a lower f-stop number. For instance, f2.8 is a wider aperture than, say, f8. If, on the other hand, your images are too bright and detail is being lost because of the brightness, you can try and dial a higher f-stop number, to close the aperture down and make the image darker.

However, notice that in both instances I said “you can try”? This is because adjusting the Aperture impacts on the overall image, by adjusting how much of the scene is in clear focus and how much will be blurred. Basically, lowering the f-stop number (widening the Aperture of the lens), increases how much of the background will be blurred (focus on a subject in the foreground and stuff in the background will become defocused – a.k.a. blurred), and you might not want this; you might want everything in the image in clear, sharp focus. The way to do this is to increase the f-stop number (narrowing the aperture of the lens). But, in doing so, you’re going to reduce the amount of light that can come through the lens, so you’ll once more encounter darker images.

Adjusting the aperture, to employ what’s called “selective focus” – where you deliberately blur out background subjects in order to make foreground subjects stand out more clearly, helping direct the eyes of those looking at your photos to precisely your chosen subject – is a key part of helping your photos tell a story, so you may not want to adjust your aperture in order to brighten up your image. It depends, if your image doesn’t suffer from the wider aperture, then do so to help aid the image sensor in grabbing as much of the available light as possible.

Adjusting The Shutter Speed Allows More Or Less Light To Be Recorded By The Sensor

If you’ve decided you’ve got the right aperture for your photo and don’t want to alter it any further, then adjusting the Shutter Speed is another way to increase or reduce the amount of light that can be recorded onto your digital image.

Basically, when you select a faster Shutter Speed, you’re reducing the time that the shutter stays open and, as a result, less light can reach the sensor, so this will make images darker. Conversely, when you select a slower Shutter Speed, you’re keeping that shutter window open for longer, exposing the image sensor to more and more light. For all the time the shutter is open, the sensor will record every scrap of light it detects. Keep it open for long enough and you will end up with an overexposed image, to the point where you just have a totally white photo, which has lost all of its detail because you allowed the shutter to stay open too long – light rays get recorded on top of light rays, and you end up with a washed-out image. So, you play about with the Shutter Speed, increasing and decreasing it until you have the shutter staying open just long enough to capture the perfect amount of light detail, resulting in a nicely exposed photograph.

However, there may be times when you don’t want to adjust your Shutter Speed any further. For instance, you may deliberately want a slower Shutter Speed, because you’re trying to capture movement of, say, a car as it passes with its lights on, and you want to add a sense of motion to your still image, by capturing the light trails as the vehicle whizzes by.

Taking Photos With Flash

When you’ve adjusted your ISO and don’t want to risk introducing any “noise” into your images; and when you’ve adjusted your Aperture to get the right amount of depth of field (e.g. everything in sharp focus or background blurred to make your foreground subject stand out more clearly; and when you’ve adjusted your Shutter Speed as fast or slow as you want it… and you’re STILL not getting enough light onto your sensor, to expose your photo(s) properly? Well, that’s when you need to add some flash into the mix, preferably from an external flash (as you can control direction, as well as the power of the light, to get that perfect balance of light hitting your subject when you take the shot). The “pop-up” flash on your camera is better when you’re able to turn down the power, so you’re just “kissing” subtle light onto your subject, to fill in what would otherwise be lost to shadows, but because it’s facing your subject directly, it tends not to give the most flattering look, especially when taking photos of people. If you can get hold of an external flash unit, you will improve the look by taking the flash off to the side (at an approximate 45-degree angle from your subject).

Depending on the external flash unit you get, you will be able to change certain settings on the flash, to add sufficient light when you don’t want to make any further changes to your camera settings.

Settings that top of the range flash units allow you to adjust, include:

  • Flash Power… this will be a feature of virtually all external flash units, allowing you to keep the ISO on your camera low, by increasing the power of the flash output.
  • Flash Zoom… if this is an option on your flash, you’ll be able to select a wide angle setting, to spread the light wider in the foreground; or you can zoom the flash to get it to spread deeper into the scene (but at the expense of how wide the light will spread – the further out you zoom the flash, the narrower the beam).

Transforming a Camera Bag Into a Camera Kit

You weren’t prepared to capture the moment. We’re talking about experiencing a total camera bag fail. And we don’t ever want you to face that kind of thing. You’re probably already in the habit of packing a spare lens or two. Terrific… but all the lenses in the world won’t help if your battery is dead or you’ve run out of space on your memory card.

So here’s a list of essentials that can transform your camera bag into a well stocked kit.

  • Memory cards: Avoid the horror of having to delete photos and format your disk to make room for more. Equip your bag with (formatted) memory cards.
  • External flash: Flashes tend to create unwanted shadows. Here’s where an external flash can be your best friend.
  • Charged camera batteries plus charger: Don’t miss a shot because you weren’t prepared with backup power.
  • Mini tripod: So, what if your hand isn’t as steady as you’d like? A mini tripod makes it easy to reduce camera movement. Also, if you use a timer you can appear in your own shot without having to try and take a selfie!
  • Gorilla Pod: While technically this is a tripod, it’s not the ungainly, hard to carry around sort of tripod. If you bring your camera bag with you wherever you go, or if you have a large purse or other sort of bag that you carry around with you all the time, it’s worth investing in one of these cool little gadgets. A Gorilla Pod is a flexible tripod that you can wrap securely around many different surfaces. Tree branches, fencing, there are a ton of different possibilities. Having a Gorilla Pod on hand may save you in situations where you can’t brace your camera in other ways.
  • Rain cover: Keep yourself and your camera dry and protected. Bonus points: the rain cover can serve as a mat for your gear if the ground is wet or muddy.
  • Lens cleaner kit: This typically include items such as an air blower, cleaning liquid, and lens tissues. Regularly cleaning the lens can reduce scratches, as well as provide you with a clear field of view and keep little black flecks from showing up on your photos.
  • First-aid kit: Accidents happen… keep a small kit handy and don’t forget to include sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, extra tissues, and hand sanitizer.
  • Snacks: Seriously, have you ever been around someone who is hungry?… always bring snacks and water!
  • Small notebook: Put down your smartphone and get ready to go old school. Record the location of where you took that amazing shot, jot down the colours that you saw when you took the shot. This way you will know why you took the photo and if needed you can edit the shot at a later date. Jot down new ideas, favorite locations and times of day. Since you’re going old school don’t forget to take a pen or (sharpened) pencil! You can also keep your wallet (or a smaller version) and keys in your camera bag… no need to add bulk to your jacket or pants.

Now get ready to take some amazing photos knowing that no matter what, your pack always has your back!

Need a Video Camera Stabilizer

A video stabilizing mount is a device used to hold the camera while recording videos as this prevents unwanted movement of the camera. Using a video camera stabilizer will give you the shake-free videos Using this will avoid the wastage of shots. Using a video stabilizer will save your video editing time. You can find a stable video as an output for the video you shot.

Martin Stevens in 1991 invented a handheld video stabilizer for the cameras and it is known as the Glidecam. It uses springs as shock absorbers. Whereas there are also some stabilizers that use gyroscope for sensing the disruptive motion.

Now let us take a look at the various types of the stabilizers

  1. Handheld stabilizers: This is probably the most easy video camera stabilizer for using and assembling. The users can just attach this one to their camera and that is it, ready to use. These handheld stabilizers are great for shooting videos while walking, running and while climbing stairs.
  2. Vest Stabilizers: These are the type of stabilizers that you can connect to your vest or waist which in result you have two free hands to maneuver the camera.
  3. Light Stabilizers: These are very easy to use as they are made using a lightweight material to be light weight. It is very much perfect for those who use heavy cameras for very long times during weddings, funerals, functions. As it can only carry up to a certain weight, you should make sure that the camera is light.

The handheld stabilizing mounts provide far better stabilization to your videos, but they are considerably costly to buy and use. And when it comes to the vest and light stabilizers, they can be very much easy to carry for the camera persons.

Explaining How To Properly Use A Monopod

Unfortunately dragging around a massive tripod can often be a huge challenge, not to mention that a lot of the time we find ourselves in a position where it is impossible to use one. There simply is not sufficient space.

Therefore, most photographers (at least the ones that are concerned enough to want great pictures) end up getting themselves a monopod.

If you didn’t know – a monopod uses the same type of camera mount and so forth as a tripod, but has the benefit of only using one leg.

This feature is both good and bad…

Having only one leg makes it lighter and less tiresome to carry around – it can even be used like a walking stick if you’re trekking out in the wilds.

However, after a few uses, the majority of us shooters come to the realization that using a monopod is not any steadier than not using one. What’s more since it has only one leg, it wiggles around so much that it is usually WORSE than shooting without one. So we heave our monopod in a spare closet and never touch it again.

This is a huge mistake! Your monopod is entirely as solid as a tripod, it’s only that so few of us have learned how to properly use it.

Generally we use it like a stick with our cameras affixed to the top – rather, we need to be using it like a tripod!

Here’s how to use the monopod…

  • First… For stability we need three legs. Like a tripod. The monopod itself is ONE leg, our own two legs, separated a bit wider than shoulder width form the other two legs of the tripod.
  • Second… Place the monopod in front of you far enough out so that when you tilt it back and bring the camera to your eye, it creates a 45 degree angle to the front. You’ll have to increase the monopod’s leg by quite a bit to get the 45 degree lean yet have it positioned at eye level. There is your tripod, both your legs spread to the side and the monopods’ leg extended to the front…
  • Third… Your camera should be affixed to a swivel mounting head. Tilt the camera forward with the swivel mount so that when you tilt the Monopods’ leg back at a 45 degree angle to your eye, the camera is level even though the monopod is leaning at 45 degrees backwards.
  • Fourth… Then when you are shooting, position yourself into a stable stance and press your camera’s viewfinder tightly to your face. Finally you have a – virtual – tripod that’s every bit as solid as most – real – tripods. Along with the added bonus of being easier to use!

Shutter Speed and Exposure in DSLR

It is indicated by some numbers like 1/10, 1/200, 1/4000, 1/2 etc. Basically it is always calculated by the fraction of a second, which means, 1/2000 shutter speed indicates the single unit of the time which we will get if we break 1 second into 2000 equal units.

  • Faster the speed of shutter, the sensor will be less exposed to the light. Faster shutter speeds are often required to capture very fast moving subjects like a panther chasing a deer or a formula one car at its top speed.
  • Fast shutter speed is one of the key things to freeze a subject which is a quintessential part of Sports Photography or Wildlife Photography.
  • Typically, a highest shutter speed in an entry level to mid-level DSLR camera is 1/4000 which extends to 1/8000 in the professional DSLR bodies.
  • A slow speed is also a very much handy tool for creative photography. When you are at a place with low light, it is necessary that the image sensor is exposed for a long time to capture your picture perfect image. Suppose you are eager to capture the Taj Mahal on a moonlit night, then the slow speed is the main thing which is going to help you to get your dream image.
  • It is treated as a slow one when it became 1/10 or slower than that though there is no hard and fast rule for defining slow ones.
  • Main obstacle often photographers face while handling a low light environment with a slow speed is the blurred effect in image known as motion blur and camera shake.
  • The motion blur is caused by anything (a car or a person) which was in motion during the exposure time. A slightest movement in someone’s body can also cause a motion blur when you are capturing images in slow shutter speeds. So, be aware of movement during shooting. But this motion blur could be interesting and an effective tool for creativity if you can handle it efficiently and intelligently.
  • The camera shake is caused by the movement of body or parts of the body of the photographer. Though you might think that it is very little and nominal, but your high precision DSLR treats it huge like you treat the earthquake. To eliminate this problem, a sturdy tripod must be used.
  • A remote shutter release cable with a sturdy tripod is the best combination when you are planning to capture photographs at night with slow and long shutter speeds.
  • The slowest one in almost every DSLR camera is 30secs, after which it gives an option known as “BULB”, in which the shutter remains open as long as the shutter release button is pressed.

Pick the Ideal Digital Camera

If you’re an amateur photographer, keep to the low-end of cameras, one that you can afford. Then teach yourself about composing photos, exposure, along with other techniques.

Once you determine that you enjoy photography as a hobby and you would prefer some advanced functions, then you can sell your old equipment and graduate to higher-end models.

If you figure out that you’ve got a secret gift in taking great pictures and you’re thinking that you may genuinely wish to make some money from your talent, then you can spend more money on fancy equipment.

But your cash goes furthest if you get quality lenses. This will make a bigger impact than buying a costly camera body.

The biggest misconception when picking a camera is that the megapixels make a big difference in the quality of your images.

Unless your image is going to be plastered on a billboard, every camera presently on the market should be perfectly sufficient to satisfy your MP needs.

Instead, think about these distinctions between high-end DSLR vs. low-end DSLR vs. point-and- shoots.

  • Price (the difference between the top and bottom could be a few thousand dollars)
  • Response time (the time it will take the camera to take the photo after you hit the shutter)
  • Auto-focus
  • Functionality in low-light conditions
  • Video functionality
  • Weather-proof bodies

So here’s how to tell if you are a true photography buff: if you’re always snapping pics with your camera, particularly of things that many people probably would not consider photogenic, then you can consider yourself a real aficionado. In this case, you’re probably a person who would take advantage of the extra features of a DSLR.

Improve Your DSLR Photography Skills

Find out how to play with the shutter speed. You may choose to snap a quick picture or choose a slower exposure to capture a flow or movement in its entirety. You’ll have to experiment with this and discover what type of speed matches specific situations. This is a question of personal style instead of a general rule to follow.

It is possible to allow the camera pick the proper white balance for any particular environment, but sometimes the camera will get it wrong and the photo will look washed out.

If you’re having difficulty holding your camera straight, purchase a tripod. A tripod will go a long way in helping to keep your camera in position, so that you can focus on other variables aside from balance. Tripods work great if you’re in the wilderness or in an irregular terrain.

Use a fantastic lens to have a better image quality. It is possible to make artistic pictures with any sort of equipment if you work hard and adapt your style to your gear. But getting a fantastic lens opens up more possibilities.

Make use of lines to draw the viewer’s eye to the photograph. If done properly, the lines themselves may even be an interesting subject themselves. The use of lines in photography is a complex topic, but the most important issue to consider is they should draw you in, not push you apart.

You can do a lot to change the quality of your pictures by adjusting the focus of this shot. This doesn’t always need to be in the middle of the photo. Getting your subject in the lower right hand or left hand corner, as an instance, can increase dramatic aspects of your picture.

You may move the subject around so you can get a shot you find interesting. Depending upon the impression you wish to convey, try shooting your subject from different sides or from above and below.

Patterns can be an excellent design motif if you use them properly. You will find patterns on almost anything. You can locate them on lots of clothes, in design, and even in character.

Ultimate Camera Controls

Practice, practice, practice

This is by far the most important, but it must be done consistently and with a concentrated effort. It took me a long time to understand the relationship between each of the crucial settings on my first camera, but the more I practiced and experimented, the quicker I understood, and then once it just clicked and I no longer had to think about it.

Practice costs nothing other than time, especially now that we are in a digital age with a delete button, to erase our mistakes!

Simplify the scene

Including too much in your scene is often too much to view, hence why one of the most effective techniques is to lessen what’s in your shot. Keeping a single subject, complemented by a plain simple background or surroundings will make all the difference.

Line edges up

Using the edge of something in your scene to interact with another edge creates a visual pathway. The shoreline of a beach leading out to a headland can create the impression of a continual line. Use these to your advantage, line up as many things as possible to lead to your subject.

Tell a story

I am always looking for a way to convey a message in my photography, and it can often mean finding a bizarre angle, a lower vantage pint or simply getting closer. But all in all, every photograph is about telling a story and to do so, you need a connection. The stronger the connection between your subject and its surrounds/environment, the stronger the message, therefore the stronger the appeal of the image. Look to include items/things/views etc that compliment the subject or challenge it, either way, questions drawn from your image, all lead to building a story.

Experiment with colour

A colour photograph isn’t the aim for every photograph. Experimenting with different colour hues, such as converting to black and white or sepia, or some other monotone, or even just desaturating (removing some intensity) the colour a little can help be less distracting. Too much colour, can sometimes distract the viewer from the subject, because they wow over the colour and then look for a subject. It’s all about experimenting.

Show it off

Showing you work is one of the best ways to get feedback. Show your images to everyone you can, friends, family and little to their very first reaction… “wow” or “oh OK”, or “that’s nice”. The latter two is your first indicator that the image didn’t grab their attention immediately.
Look at what can be improved and get out there.

Lens Hood

Lens Hoods

The hoods are supposed to prevent the lens flare or glare. But when it comes to lens hoods, the range of choices is quite large. Firstly, there is the basic version. This is similar in resemblance to a lamp shade and it is utilized on the lenses which work in the larger areas of the tele zoom. Since in this case the angle of vision is very narrow, the phenomenon of vignetting (obstructing the field of view used by the lens) will not appear. Today’s market offers various types of lenses which can start from wide and continue to telephoto regions. In this case, the regular lens hoods cannot be used particularly since they can cause vignetting.

Design

The aspect of design is taken care of by using hoods which are specially created for this purpose. They are constructed by measuring the horizontal and vertical angle of vision in a separate manner. Normally, the horizontal angle is larger than the vertical one and the sunlight brought by it. This requires a design shaped as a flower or even a petal.

In what concerns the hood for every lens, this needs to be created according to the angle of the lens or else vignetting will appear. In addition to this, the lens hood also protects the lens from getting physically damaged. Some of the hoods for cameras (prosumer models) fix filters of teleconvertors directly on them. When it comes to macro photography, the short lens hoods have ring shaped LEDs placed over them. This way great lighting is assured from closer angles. The hoods mentioned are very flexible and offer great freedom to photographers. But when battery packs are included, the camera might lose its stability a bit.

Matte Box

The matte box is used especially in the video area rather than in the photo field because it can help the photographer adjust the length of the fins. Also known under the name of French Flags, the fins come with a great flexibility and freedom of movement. They are less used in the still photography and they are mainly dedicated to small environments such as studios (mostly due to the huge size of the matte box). Next to this, they also are a great place to fix plastic or glass filters.

Thus, when you decide to purchase an object of this type, you should also include a lens hood in the deal because it will provide a better quality when working with direct sunlight. This way a better contrast is created and pictures can look more powerful due to the hoods, since sunlight will not fall on the front elements of the lens.

Essential Accessories for DSLR

Camera Bag

Hauling your camera and its accessories around can be quite distressing if you lack the proper way to carry it. A camera bag eliminates all the hassle. Acquiring one should be based on how much equipment you have. Shoulder bags are the go-to choice for most as they offer easy access to the camera. It is likely that you will buy filters, flashes and lenses down the road and having a safe place to keep these will matter. Besides, a bag will shelter your camera from dust and rain.

Utility Strap

Holding on to your camera for the entire length of your photography session can be quite tiresome. If you need to use your hands, you are compelled to lay down your camera, which exposes it to damage and theft. This conundrum can be solved by investing in a utility strap. It will ensure the camera is close to you at all times. It is especially recommended since it eliminates all risk of you accidentally dropping your expensive DSLR.

Tripod

Tripods are awkward to carry around, but their usefulness cannot be understated. It is a must have if you want to capture the most stead shots. You might not use it every time you are taking pictures, but it is very important that you have it with you. Aluminum tripods are good and sturdy, but also heavier to carry around. Carbon fibre ones are lighter, but also more expensive to buy.

These are the most important accessories to start out with. You might also want to think about lenses, density filters, flash diffusers and flashes as well if you want to make the most of your photography experience. The cumulative cost for a one-off purchase for all these can be quite high, so it makes sense to start out with what you will need for your kind of photography (nature, weddings, etc). The abundance of proprietary stores online should make it easier to find something that works with your needs, and budget.