Top Ten Digital Photo Tips!


Quadophile

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Beef Up Your Battery Supply

Since just about every function on a digital camera requires batteries, you'll use yours up fast. However, there are a few things you can do to make batteries less of an issue.

  • If your camera uses plain AA batteries, never use plain alkalines. Use nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeables for most purposes, and always carry lithium AAs for backup and travel. Lithium batteries cost more but last five times longer and are lighter weight than the traditional type.
  • You should always have spare rechargeables. Three sets can be extremely helpful. You can go out shooting with a fresh set in your camera and another in your bag. The third set, in the charger, will be ready to go when you return.
Improve Your Memory

Buying extra memory cards will seem expensive in the beginning, but compared to the price of film and developing, the price is negligible in the long term.

Having several memory cards (or one big card, at least 512 megabytes) available will assure that you will always be able to take as many high-resolution shots as you need without running out of space. Plus, once your files are transferred to your computer, you can erase the cards and reuse them.


Take Lots of Shots

How do National Geographic photographers get such great photographs? Well, part of the secret is simply taking as many pictures as possible—up to a thousand rolls of film per assignment. Buying hundreds of rolls of film might be beyond your budget, but with a digital camera's reusable memory cards, you don't need to spend a lot of money to take a lot of pictures.

Don't be afraid to try the same shot over and over until you get it right. You can always delete the ones that you don't like. Be patient. It may take a hundred shots to make the perfect one. Experiment and take as many pictures as you can.


Shoot at Your Camera's Highest Resolution

One of the most important reasons for having sufficient memory cards is to enable you to shoot at your camera's highest resolution. If you paid a premium price for a five-megapixel camera, then get your money's worth and shoot at five megapixels. And while you're at it, shoot at your camera's highest-quality compression setting too.

Taking pictures at lower resolution settings will allow you to store more images on your memory card, but it severely limits your ability to print your images. The larger you save your original image at, the larger you can print your image. You will also be retaining extra pixels that will help keep the image looking sharp if decide you want to crop it—or otherwise alter it—later using your computer.


Save Photos in TIFF Format If You're Altering Them

If you are going to crop or otherwise alter a photo on your computer, first resave the image in TIFF format, rather than in JPEG, which is the most common image format.

Every time a JPEG file is opened and resaved, data are thrown out and rebuilt, so the file starts to degrade. A TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) file takes up more space in your computer's memory but will better preserve image quality as you work with your photo.


Back Up Your Images on CDs or DVDs

There are few things more heartbreaking to a digital photographer than to save a treasure trove of photos on a computer, only to have the computer crash, taking all the images with it. Be safe: Save all your images on a recordable CD (CD-R) or DVD. And look for the mention of long life or archival life to ensure the image data will remain stable.


Use Your Camera's LCD Monitor to Break the Ice

Ever been too intimidated to take a picture of people you don't know? In these situations the monitor on the back of your digital camera is an important ally.

Once strangers see themselves in the picture, many of them warm up to the idea of being your subject. "They gain confidence in you and get into the process," photographer Michael Melford said. "It becomes a great way of engaging subjects as you photograph them."


Create Smaller Photo Files for E-Mailing

One big mistake new digital photographers make is to send the exact image files created by the camera for standard e-mail correspondence. These files are too large to be sending casually—your too-big e-mail could be blocked by your friend's e-mail system or cause a serious slowdown or even a crash.

Generally, you want to keep an attached file under 300 KB (kilobytes). (Some computer features—such as Apple's iPhoto application or Windows' "Send Pictures via E-mail" function—can automatically resize images to an e-mail-friendly size.) Be sure to do a "Save As" on the smaller file, so you don't overwrite the original file.


Go Against the Digital Grain

Digital photography, unlike film, potentially has no grain. However, digital "noise" is an effect that essentially looks like grain—usually yellowish or reddish splotches (especially in an image's darker areas).

Key Factors That Increase Digital Grain


  • High ISO settings: ISO refers to film speed. For example, in a film camera, when you use 400-speed film, you generally set your camera to 400 ISO to match. Digital cameras, of course, use no film, but many allow you to set an ISO, to mimic the effects of working with film. As with film, a higher ISO setting on a digital camera can result in a rough, grainy image. When possible, set your camera for lower ISOs, such as 50 or 100. Using lower ISOs, though, means you'll need more light (natural or flash) or longer exposures.
  • Long exposures: Even with the latest digital cameras, exposures longer than a second will typically increase grain effects.
  • Enlargement: As with film pictures, digital photos become more grainy, or noisy, as they are enlarged.
Don't Forget Prints!

With so much emphasis on technology these days, it can be easy to forget one of the key reasons you take pictures in the first place: to display your memories. By now it's so easy to make prints from digital photographs that there's no reason to leave them locked up in your hard drive.

Many drug stores and discount stores have photo kiosks that allow you to inexpensively print your images from a disc or memory card. Also, the falling prices of photo printers are making it simpler to print at home. There are even some printers that hook directly into cameras, eliminating the need to first transfer your photos from camera to computer.

Also, many Web sites allow you to upload your digital files to them and will mail prints on photographic paper to you.


(Courtesy: National Geographic Digital Photography Field Guide)
 
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floppybootstomp

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I scored 8 out of 10 :)

I failed on TIFF image saves and breaking ice with viewfinder.

Oh well, nobody's perfect...
 
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The only reason i don't use full res with dads digicam is it takes 3 seconds to take a photo, and unless you have a tripod or a VERY steady hand, your guaranteed a VERY blurry photo.
 

Quadophile

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christopherpostill said:
The only reason i don't use full res with dads digicam is it takes 3 seconds to take a photo, and unless you have a tripod or a VERY steady hand, your guaranteed a VERY blurry photo.
Chris,

You are 100% wrong there when you say it takes 3 seconds to take a picture. IT DOES NOT!

The picture is taken based on the shutter speed set which in general situation in daylight could be anywhere between 1/125 to 1/2000 of a second, you just cannot get blurry pictures at those speeds. What actually is hapening is that the 3 seconds are required to save the image on the memory card and that is why most camera show an hour glass, its the processing which is going on not the picture being taken.

You need to understand the workings of the camera a bit more before you embark on a digital SLR that you said you plan to buy. With that kind of knowledge you surely will be wasting a lot of money. :(
 
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When i say take a picture, i mean the time from when you hold down the button, to point it has finished.

You can turn exposure down but thats about it, images are blurry or not lit well enough!

The Cannon EOS300d will take a picture in 1/30th of a second, at good quality.
 

Becky

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I thought that was a great insight into the more technical side of taking good pictures, Quad - thankyou! :D
 
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floppybootstomp

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Chris - what make & model digicam does your Dad have?
 
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Trust Powercam 770Z

He had a budget of £100 at the time, it looked the best for the money. Most of the time it will poduce cracking pics, but when the lights not great, or you take close up pics, it's not brill.
 

floppybootstomp

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christopherpostill said:
Trust Powercam 770Z

He had a budget of £100 at the time, it looked the best for the money. Most of the time it will poduce cracking pics, but when the lights not great, or you take close up pics, it's not brill.
Well, maybe you're right then, I remember my brother in law had an early digicam, cost a lot of money at the time but wasn't particularly too good.

I'm using the Canon Powershot A80 atm, it's good, 4 mega pixel, host of functions, manual override, and I don't have that problem.

But - I would absolutely die to get a quality 6 mega pixel SLR, either that Canon or more likely the Nikon model about the same price.

Tell your dad he can buy my old Canon Powershot A40 (2 mp) for £65.00 and throw that old thing in the waste basket :) Boxed, all accessories plus a 32Mb flash card. See Glastonbury thread on this site for examples of pic clarity with it ;)

Nowt like a plug eh? ;)
 
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Flops

Dad is actually VERY interested in that digital camera as it happens. He wants to (yet again) do business with you but firstly he would like to know a couple of things, How old is it (your exact one), what kind of condition is it in and whether there are any faults/things wrong with it at all?

And i am assuming it will be much better than the 770Z right?

Does it take picures quickly (i.e. not 3 seconds of holding your hand perfectly still)??

Cheers

Chris
 

floppybootstomp

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Answers:

1) Purchased August 2002 (£230.00) at Dixons, Brent Cross.
2) Excellent condition, a few very light marks/scuffs.
3) Nothing wrong with it at all.
4) Yes, it will be better than the 770Z
5) No 3 second picture taking.

There is a slight delay whilst it focuses before the shutter is released but as it has a completely manual operation override, It's possible auto-focus can be disabled. The auto focus happens before the shutter is released, not whilst the picture is being taken, shutter release is typically a fraction of a second.

Full details Here

Compact flash media details from Crucial Here

The camera comes with the original 8Mb card plus a 32Mb card. The 32Mb card will store about 55 photos at full res.
 
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Ian

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Good choice there Chris, the A40 is a cracking camera - I've got a couple of mates with one and its VERY good.
 

floppybootstomp

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OK Chris. I don't do Paypal, so a cheque would be fine. If you've mislaid my address, PM me.

I best go wrap it up then.
 
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And Dad will write the cheque!... i would assume it's A Sullivan as opposed to T (or Mr Floppybootstomp) ;)

How much you want for shipping then?

Cheers Flops

Chris
 
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