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  • The Basics of Shutter Speed

    Posted on May 31st, 2012 Staff Writer

    First let’s review the basic terminology and aspect of the cameras shutter speed.  Located directly in front of the sensor inside the camera is a small flap called the shutter.  This small flap opens and closes to allow light to reach the sensor when a photograph is taken.  The shutter speed describes how quickly and how slow the shutter opens and closes.  The basic rule to remember is that a fast shutter speed then the short amount of time the shutter is open; and the slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter stays open.

    Choosing the best shutter speed is a tricky part of capturing a photograph and it takes practice as well as some knowledge on how to accomplish this task.  Most cameras come with an automatic mode and allows the camera to “guess” the right speed for your photograph.  However, this isn’t always the right speed and your photograph can end up being blurred or poorly exposed.  To prevent this from happening it is best to switch the manual mode so that you can control the exact shutter speed needed.  When doing so there are a few factors you should consider, such as:

    Camera shake;  you may think you have the steadiest of hands but with even the slightest movement a photograph can turn up blurred or lacking sharpness.  The best way to avoid such photographs is to use a faster shutter speed.  If you are using a longer lens it is best to use a faster shutter speed as well.  If need be use a tripod to guarantee your camera remains still and to avoid inappropriate pictures.

    Motion blurring happens when you are photographing a moving object, like a car or plane.  If you are using a slower shutter speed, then the object will move through the frame as the shutter is still open.  The best option is to use a faster shutter speed to avoid any blurry photographs.

    It is also wise to make sure that your desired location has an ample amount of lighting.  The shutter speed is not just about how fast your shutter opens and closes but as well as the amount of light you are allowing to enter. It is best to choose a shutter speed that is allowing the right amount of light to enter the camera.  It is recommended to practice and take several pictures with different shutter speeds until you find the right one.

    Practice makes perfect and if you continue to experiment with different shutter speeds, lighting, and techniques as well as become familiar with your equipment, then you can master the skill of shutter speed.

  • What is ISO?

    Posted on May 28th, 2012 Staff Writer

    Throughout many articles you have read along with the experience you have reached, there has been many mentions of ISO and your digital camera.  So what is ISO and how does it relate to your digital camera.  ISO is your cameras sensitivity to light measurement.  In other words the higher the ISO number is, the more sensitive the sensor.

    For example, if you are capturing an image with minimal lighting it is best to have a high ISO setting.  Your digital camera’s ISO setting determines the sensitivity to light that your sensor has.  Therefore, having a high ISO in low light environments means the more light that will be captured in your photograph.

    It is best before capturing a photograph to experiment with different light settings and your ISO setting.  Many photographs taken with minimal light don’t capture the essences of the photograph.  This could be in part to a poor ISO setting.  There is nothing wrong with experimenting and finding the optimal ISO setting for your environment.

    Most manufactures like to raise the ISO setting of a camera far more than what is advertised, so the best thing to do if you want high quality photographs in low lighting is to research your camera or buy a DSLR.   But, the most effective way to find the ISO setting right for you is to experiment with the camera and environment.

  • Is the Most Expensive Camera Equipment the Best Choice?

    Posted on May 22nd, 2012 Staff Writer

    When purchasing your photography equipment, there are a few tips to keep in mind.  The equipment that a photographer selects is their life line and source of photography.  It is essential that your purchase the best but not necessarily the most expensive.  You want to have dependable equipment but not break the bank in the process.  Here are a few helpful tips for when it is time to purchase your equipment.

    First, like previously stated, it is not necessarily the best option to purchase the most expensive equipment.  When you find equipment you are interested in also view other equipment with the same specifications but perhaps a cheaper price tag.  Do not focus mainly on the name brand of the equipment but rather on integrity as well as dependability.  Always check to make sure that the equipment comes with a warranty that meets your needs.

    Second, research all possible options very thoroughly.  Once you have selected the desirable equipment, research consumer reviews, warranties, manufactures’ notes, as well as view photographs done by the equipment.  Also, check with various retail stores to compare prices.  There is no harm in being overly prepared with your equipment.

    Third, some retail department will allow consumers to return items they do not need or are not satisfied with.  Before purchasing, ask the salesperson if indeed they honor this program.  Once you have your new equipment, take advantage of the time frame and capture various photographs with different settings and elements.  If you are satisfied with your photographs, then you have found the equipment you need.  If not, then return the equipment to your retail store.

    Fourth, if you like to experiment with unique ways of capturing a photograph as well as unique equipment, try learning the fundamentals of a camera from the 40’s or 50’s.  Some antique stores or flea markets have this particular equipment for a reasonable price.  Before using such equipment, it is best to research the process and development requirements.

    Your equipment is your life line and must satisfactory to you, but you do not need to go broke just to purchase the equipment.  Some of the best photographs were taken with the simplest equipment.

  • Street Photography Tips

    Posted on May 13th, 2012 Staff Writer

    Street photography is an up and coming form of art that has introduced some of the most memorable photos.  One can say it is a simple skill and requires very little technique; however there are a few tips to ensure quality photos in street photography.

    First, you must keep in mind that street photography is capturing a moment not staged and very candid.  With this in mind, it is best to consider the effects of taking a photograph would have on an unsuspecting person.  Most people do not like to have their photos taken and most become uncomfortable if a strange begins taking their picture.  To ensure that everything goes smoothly it is recommended that you never take your eye off the camera.  In other words, scan the location taking shots and once you have captured a photo you are pleased with, continue taking photographs to let it seem like you are not just focused on one individual.  It may also be best to bring along a friend as a decoy to make it seem as though you are capturing their image.  If you do capture a photograph of someone and the individual seems confused or irritated with the photo, calmly approach them and be honest with your task.  Hopefully this can and will detour any hard feelings someone may have.

    Second, just like any photograph, experiment with different angles and aspects of your landscaping.  Try carrying your camera on your hip or perhaps around your neck and taking shots as you walk or stand.  Take many photographs and review them once back in your studio and don’t waste time going through them during the session.

    Third, if possible shoot a subject from the front and focus on their eyes.  The eyes are the souls of an individual and are the first focus that a viewer observes in a portrait.

    Fourth, before beginning your session it is best t adjust your camera to appropriate settings based on the weather and lighting.  Once you have completed this you may begin to take various photographs.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment with this form of photography and enjoy the experience.  You might be surprised at to what you can capture with a simple click of a button.

  • Travel Photography Tips

    Posted on May 10th, 2012 Staff Writer

    When stepping outside of your comfort zone and exploring various travel destinations, there are a few tips that are recommended for a safe and successful journey.  Photographers like to explore different settings and atmosphere, so they will travel to unique destinations like Greece, Italy, England, Ireland, and Russia.  If you cannot explore the fine beauty of Europe there are also some excellent location here in the U.S.  The following are a few helpful tips when partaking in travel photography.

    First, it is best to set a course for your destination.  Once you have decided where you would like to go, you should map out directions if you are driving.  If you are traveling overseas, it is best to be aware of the country as well as any particular interesting facts about the country.  Become familiar with the currency, history, and language of your location.  Keep focus of the interesting history that may be in your country.  Also, don’t just focus on your destination; become familiar with life in the outside towns as well.

    Second, once you have become familiar with your location, it is best to also check on any laws or rules set by the local government in regards to photography.  Some history monuments or museums do not allow photography in the location.  With that being said, there are different alternatives you can explore in order to reach your photography goal.

    Third, before leaving the comfort of your home it is best to double and sometimes triple check all your equipment.  If traveling on a plane, if possible carry on your equipment and place any extra equipment with your luggage.  There may be an additional cost with the airline, so it is best to check with the airline before departing.  Another additional tip is to also be aware on the location of your destination’s local photography shop.  You can be prepared but sometimes things happen.  Make sure all equipment is clean and dust free.  If you have the time and money, you should take a quick trip to your local photography shop and have the equipment professionally cleaned.

    Fourth, whether your photos are for enjoyment or for employment, it is best to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.  To avoid any legal mishaps or fights you should have a document made up or printed that local patrons should sign if they are included in your photograph.  It is best that the individual gives permission to be photographed whether it is a candid shot or by mistake.  Check with your local attorney to find out information with this particular issue and be prepared before leaving.

    Travel photography is fun and exciting.  Be creative with your shots.  Explore the fine art that is out there and take a chance on a new vision.