Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is point of view?

The position, direction and height of the camera define the point of view of a picture. You can change the way your subject is viewed, to make your subject seem very tall; arrange the shot so that the camera is looking upwards. This is done routinely in movies to make actors look taller or shorter than they actually are... The mood and effectiveness of a picture can be very much altered by what appears in the background.

Remember to take multiple pictures of your subject so that you will have plenty to select from as you are viewing your most powerful images.
How changing your point of view changes the picture
The viewer’s reaction to your photo will be different depending on the point of view used by you the photographer. For example, if a photographer wanted to show a political figure as small and weak, a point of view looking down at the subject would subtly get that idea across. If, on the other hand, the photographer wanted to show the same political figure as strong, powerful and bigger than life, than a point of view looking up would have that desired effect. Changing your point of view can also help you eliminate distracting backgrounds When you are taking pictures of children, try getting down to the child’s height or lower to help emphasize more than how small the child is.

 Is there a “best” point of view?
The best point of view depends on the intention of you the photographer. By thinking about the point of view of a picture before you take it, you can make those choices that will help make your picture more powerful...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shutter Speed

If you want to capture still photos of fast motion (like pressing pause on your DVD player) you have to use a fast shutter speed. Many sports photographers use very fast shutter speeds to capture the peak moment and freeze it in time.

The Numbers of Shutter Speed
Here is an example of shutter speed numbers, from fast to slow:
1/2000  1/1500  1/1000  1/750  1/500  1/350  1/250  1/180  1/125  1/90  1/60  1/45  1/30
1/2000 of a second is an incredibly fast shutter speed and is not one that you will typically use. The most common shutter speeds are anywhere from 1/500 to 1/60. If you want sharp images while holding the camera in your hands, you cannot use shutter speeds much slower than 1/60 because it's hard to hold the camera steady. Slow shutter speeds blur motion and you are creating motion by holding the camera in your hands. You can solve this camera shake problem by stabilizing the camera on a tripod.
Some of the new digital camera models offer an anti-shake feature. These features produce crisp photos even when you are hand-holding the camera with a shutter speed less than 1/60.

Digital Camera Shutter Speed Display
The most common shutter speeds are measured in fractions of seconds. However, camera displays do not have enough room to show you numbers like 1/800.
Instead, digital cameras just display the bottom number: 800. If you look at your camera's display and it tells you that your shutter speed is 125, this does not mean 125 seconds. That would make for some very long and boring picture taking.
Instead, most cameras indicated seconds with a double quote after the number. So a one second shutter speed is displayed as 1". A 30 second shutter speed is displayed as 30".

Shutter Priority
Many digital cameras can be set to shutter priority mode. In this mode, you set the shutter speed and the camera automatically selects the aperture so that the photograph has the right exposure.

Shutter Speed Comparisons

A Formula 1 racing car is moving at high speed, and you don't want the image blurry
Very fast shutter speed
2000 to 4000
Your kids on sports day, and you want the images to be sharp and clear
Fast shutter speed
500 to 1000
You are taking a photo of your favourite pet, and your pet is being polite and sitting still
Moderate shutter speed
125 to 500
A merry-go-round is spinning and you want to show how fast it is going by letting the horses blur
Slow shutter speed and tripod
8 to 60
You want to take a photograph of your favourite building at night

" denotes time in seconds

8" to 30"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Photographing Fireworks

Photographing fireworks is challenging but not impossible. 

What you will need to take great photos.

Digital CameraFirstly turn off the flash and set your camera to manual mode. This will allow you to control the exposure and aperture yourself. A good starting place for your camera settings would be ISO 100, f/11, at 1/2 second. If the photos are looking too dim, vary the shutter speed while keeping the aperture the same. If you have one of the more expensive point and shoot style digital cameras you may be able to set it to manual mode and fix your aperture and shutter speed. Have a play with its settings and give it a go, you may be surprised at what results you get. Alternatively the landscape mode may be really good as well as it fixes the focal length at infinity.

  Tripod – A tripod is very important when photographing fireworks to keep your camera sturdy. If you don’t have a tripod then use anything that enables you to hold it still, like a table or fence post. For a different effect you may want to hand hold your camera but I don’t encourage you to do it all the time.
For point and shoot camera users you might want to look into a take anywhere foldaway tripod.

  Cable release - or remote shutter release, to remotely fire your camera. With most digital cameras you can get a remote control to fire them wirelessly, completely detached from the unit. It is a good idea to use some style of remote release to improve the sharpness of your photos. If you don’t have any of these there is always the timer release function, you just have to be really good at anticipating the timing of the show.
Other settings you may want to use include longer exposure times as well as your cameras B or Bulb Mode.

Developing Your Photographic Eye

This is a simple exercise you can do anywhere, that will help develop your photographic eye. Take your DSLR camera with just one lens and go for a walk (this applies to any point and shoot camera as well). While walking down the street, strolling in the park, out hiking etc.., stop occasionally and find something to photograph say within 10 or 15 feet (3 to 5 m) from where you are standing.
If you are out walking with a non photographer, ask him or her to tell you when to stop. Look up and down, look all around you, take your time to find something interesting to photograph. It can be a scene that is happening right in front of you, an architectural detail, a bridge, building even an insect on a flower. If you are using a DSLR try using just one lens but experiment with a different lens each time to make the exercise more interesting. The aim is to learn how to make the ordinary look extraordinary. Try different angles, a shallow depth of field, etc. Or experiment with your images in the digital darkroom later!
Why not get children involved in this exercise. This is a perfect way to get them to exercise, and introduce them to photography at the same time. Their discoveries might surprise you!
The possibilities are endless; just remember to have fun & experiment with your photography.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Indoor Photography Tips

What is the usual challenge you will face with indoor digital photography?

Low light condition.
And it's even worse when you're not allowed to use flash. Remember those "No Flash" signs before entering Museums and some Churches?
Or those performances where it's not allowed to use flash because it will distract the performers?

The problem when it's dark, your photos come out blurry.

There are 3 reasons why this happens: 

1. Camera shake
When it's dark, the shutter stays open longer to admit more light. But when the shutter stays open longer, there's more chance for a camera shake to happen. Causing the blurry picture.
2. Main subject is moving
It's similar to camera shake, but this time, it's your subject who's actually moving instead of the camera itself.
3. Autofocus is unable to lock on to any object
When it's dark, your camera can't determine which object to focus on.
Here's what to do?

Remember these two main things when taking indoor digital photography:

1. Keep the camera steady.
Use a tripod if you brought one. If not, lean your camera or brace your elbows against a steady surface like the top of a chair, couch, table, etc. And don't move the camera while your photo is being recorded.
2. Switch to the manual mode if possible.
You stand a better chance of taking sharp pictures by switching to the manual mode, because you can control how the camera processes the scene. Like how much light is admitted, and how long the shutter stays open, etc.
Here are some features you might want to adjust manually when getting ready for indoor digital photography: 
Shutter speed and aperture
You'll need a slower shutter speed so the camera captures more of the scene. The bigger the number (fraction), the slower the shutter speed. For example, 1/60 sec. is slower than 1/1000 sec. 
Note: When using a point and shoot camera? If there's not enough natural light, switch to your cameras night mode. This automatically keeps the shutter open a little longer.
If you are in a controlled environment, create more light (open your blinds, curtains)  turn on some lights to illuminate your subject.
Another thing, shutter speed and aperture are connected. So when you select the shutter priority mode and choose a shutter speed, the camera automatically adjusts the lens opening to admit the right amount of light. And vice versa, with the aperture priority mode.
Also, the wider the aperture (lower f-stop), the more light reaches the sensor and the narrower your depth of field is. In aperture settings (measured in f stops), the smaller the number, and the wider the aperture (lens opening) is. For example, f1.8 is wider than f2.8.
To draw attention to your subject, you might want to set your camera with a large aperture for a shallower depth of field. This will blur the foreground and the background, while keeping your subject in sharp focus.