Digital Photography Tricks That Anyone Can Use
If you didn\’t know already, there is a lot of skill involved in taking a great photograph. The photographer must have a thorough understanding of lighting, his subject, and of course the camera he is using. High-end, professional camera bodies have all sorts of bells and whistles that can assist a photographer in capturing a fantastic image. If your camera is not a professional camera but you\’d still like to take great photographs, this article explains a few simple, easy to use tricks.
First and foremost, there are two times of day that are ideal for photographing people; sunrise and sunset, and any time relatively close to those periods. The reason why is because the sun is lower on the horizon, and the light produced is more of a reddish hue that will compliment and soften a person\’s skin tone. If you take photographs during the day (anytime close to noon), the natural daylight is more bluish and will produce flat, washed-out colors. Take it from me, if you want great portrait style photographs, shoot them in the evening or early morning when the sun is low in the sky!
The second easy-to-follow tip is to overexpose your images. When you overexpose your portrait photographs, skin blemishes and discoloration tend to fade away. Additionally, you\’ll allow more flexibility when it comes to editing your photographs with digital editing software (overexposed images have more data than underexposed images).
If you own a professional camera body, overexposing your images is a simple solution: just change a few settings on the camera and your next photograph will be overexposed automatically. However, not everyone has a professional camera body, and today\’s point-and-shoot cameras don\’t have nearly as many customizable settings for the photographer to adjust. Instead of changing a setting on the camera to overexpose your image, people who own the point-and-shoot cameras will need to do a little more work if they want to overexpose a photograph.
If you want to overexpose an image with a cheap camera, it\’s a three stage process. Stage one: focus on your primary subject and frame the image but don\’t take the actual photograph. Stage two: turn towards a secondary subject that is the same distance away from you as your initial subject but with less light, and then hold down the shutter button halfway. Your camera will focus and take an exposure reading for the secondary subject. Stage three: with the camera button still held halfway down, turn back to your initial subject and press the shutter button the remainder of the way. Your camera will snap a photograph of your initial subject with a light reading that will overexpose the image.
It\’s important to note that if you use the above method for overexposing an image, you are careful to choose a secondary subject that is the same distance away as your initial subject because the focus of your image will be based on the secondary subject. Make sense? It may take a few attempts before you get the process down, but once you do it a few times it becomes second nature and you\’ll be overexposing your images as often as you like.
The sun is our primary light source the majority of the time. Because of the angle of the lighting, we are used to seeing people\’s faces that have high-angled lighting upon them. When we see images of people that have low-angled light sources on their face, the image doesn\’t look right, and the people don\’t look like their normal selves. Although the image may be true and correct, our conditioning to see people under high-angled light sources makes low-angled light sources a bad idea when casting light on our subjects (particularly people). The lesson here is to always setup your photograph so that your light is from a high-angled source and your pictures will appear \’normal\’ to anyone viewing the faces of the people in your photographs.
Every group of friends has one person who is always snapping photographs. The group usually complains and whines when the particular individual breaks out the camera, but they\’re always happy when they see the photographs weeks or months or years later. If you\’re the photographer amongst your friends, there is a simple trick to taking great portrait shots.
People like to see their faces when they look at a photograph. If you don\’t believe me, next time you look at a photograph of yourself, pay attention to where you look first. If it\’s a group shot, your eyes will immediately find your own mug and judge how you look. Because people want to see their faces, it\’s an easy fix to always shoot a great portrait or group shot: take close ups of their faces! While it\’s great to get wide shots that show the background and surroundings, it\’s also a very good idea to take a few close up shots that frame just above their heads down to their shoulders.
The 50mm lens is the one lens that closest replicates what the human eye can see. If you were to use a 200mm lens, then you are seeing four times closer than what the human eye is capable of seeing in the same photograph. If you were to use a 10mm lens, then you are capturing an image that is five times further away from your subject compared to what the human eye can see from the same viewpoint.
The wider your lens (the lower the number), the more distortion will occur within the image. The distortion won\’t be easily visible either (unless you use a really wide lens, like a 10mm). On the other hand, longer lenses (higher numbers) will produce images with very little ratio distortion between the sizes of objects within an image. The last tip: longer lenses produce more flattering images. Whenever possible, if you have an adjustable lens, always capture your portrait shots with the long end of the lens (zoom in). Your images will be more true to real life and your subjects will be glad you chose a longer lens for the shot.
Those are very simple tricks that anyone can use. They don\’t require great skill with a camera, but they do require a little practice so get out there and start shooting some photographs!
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