Archive for May, 2009

DIGITAL CAMERA LENS CONSIDERATIONS

Digital cameras are about more than just looking at how many mega pixels the camera produces images at. A major concern, but most overlooked, is the actual lenses you buy for your new digital dSLR. More than anything else, the lenses you use will impact the overall picture quality. There are a few factors to consider while choosing the lenses for your digital camera.

Quality of Image

In the world of dSLR digital cameras the big aftermarket product is lenses. And, the biggest consideration to take into account when choosing those lenses is the quality of the image. In most mass produced point-and-shoot type digital cameras, the quality of the image is measured by mega pixels. However, in dSLR the quality of the image is found in the quality of the lens.

A major concern for dSLR aficionados is the sharpness of a particular lens. When you see people talking about buying a new camera or purchasing this, or that, lens, most frequently the topic is centered around the sharpness level of the lens. Most lenses for dSLR cameras are pretty good for run of the mill shooting. However, if you want to get more specialized, and produce top quality photos, upgrading your lens is a must.

Aperture of Lens

The lens aperture is the name for the size of the opening that the lens opens once the shutter is pressed. This is indicated on the lens with a small ‘f’. Depending on the number of the aperture, the lens will either let in a lot of light or a small amount. Generally, the smaller the aperture number, the greater light will be allowed in, thus making the camera faster.

If you are going to be taking a lot of pictures in dimmer light then you will want to be looking at a lens with an aperture of f2. On the other hand, a lens with an aperture of f8 is great for outdoor shots with plenty of sunlight.

Light isn’t the only factor included with the lens aperture. If you want to take pictures of moving objects, sports, or any other type of action where things are moving, a ‘fast’ lens will be the kind of lens you want. The smaller the aperture the faster you can take pictures. Fast lenses also help when using a flash as it will allow the sensors to capture more ambient light.

A good all around lens aperture would be an f4 for good quality pictures in normal light. If shooting inside a lot, a dSLR with a flash and lens with an f2.8 would be a good choice.

Zoom Lenses

A good zoom lens will give the photographer much greater versatility in his photo taking. A zoom lens is of particular importance, and use, when shooting sports, scenes, and other shots where your movement is severely restricted. Most dSLR cameras offer a pretty decent zoom lens, with only the least expensive having low quality zooms. You can find just about any type of zoom lens for a dSLR camera. Anything from a wide-angle, telephoto, short telephoto, and everything in between.

Todays lenses operate on the basis of what is called an optical zoom. The main reasoning for the popularity of this type of lens is because the elements in the lens can be so finely tuned that you get a much greater image quality. Most point-and-shoot type digital cameras are equipped with a digital zoom which cause the image to be less sharp that an optical type zoom. Granted, most point-and-shoot cameras do have an optical zoom to a certain point and then the digital takes over.

Focus Ability

A great shot is often found in the way that the object of the picture was brought into focus. As a photographer you want to get as close as you can to the object so you capture only the object and not the surrounding elements that can detract from the quality and sharpness of the the image once it is enlarged.

Focusing is achieved by moving the lens back and forth until the object is crystal clear. When you are closer to the object then the lens will have to be moved away for a clearer shot. A short, focal length lens is a great addition to a dSLR because of the ability to move back and present the best possible shot at a short distance.

Quality of Build

Lenses vary greatly in the quality of their construction. One great way to find out if a lens is durable enough is to pick up two different ones and compare the weight of them. The lighter one will probably be more plastic. In some of the lower cost lenses the plastic parts are usually in the more susceptible areas where damage an occur. While you would like to buy things that are in your budget, picking a low cost lens can actually cost you more in replacements.

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DIGITAL CAMERA FORMATS

Digital cameras are technology at its best. By preserving your pictures on a digital format instead of regular film, you not only save a lot of money in film processing, but have almost unlimited room to store them on your computer’s hard drive, or compact discs. The only drawback to digital cameras is the various formats these photos can be stored in and finding the right devices that work together. Typically, digital photos are formated in either JPEG, TIFF, and/or RAW.

JPEG Images Are Universally Standard For Websites and Email

Most digital cameras come with the JPEG (pronounced Jay-Peg) photo format. For those who are interested in keeping their images small, compact, and for use in email and websites, JPEG is the perfect option. Starter digital cameras, such as the Point and Shoot type, are often universally JPEG for ease of use.

JPEG images are termed as “lossy”. This means that because of the compact nature of the file, a JPEG file will lose some of it’s quality when enlarged. JPEG will produce quality pictures for smaller photo sizes, but when enlarged the compression of the pixels can’t return to a decompressed state. The pixel arrangement is unrecoverable. A popular feature with JPEG featured digital cameras is that there are 3 levels of compression to choose from for different qualities.

Of course, it should be noted that the format of the photo isn’t the only criteria for good quality photos. Light, location, environment, and quality of the camera are major factors to take into consideration when taking digital photos.

JPEG is a great choice if you are using a smaller SD Card of 1 to 4 gigabytes. It is an easy format to use with most photo software, and are good when taking a lot of pictures. However, if you are going to go for professional quality, or working with pictures sequences you might want to take a look at the other two formats; TIFF and RAW.

TIFF Digital Format Is Slowly Losing Ground To New DSLR Cameras

A very old digital format for pictures is the TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), which is slowly losing favor to the other two formats mentioned. Most of the newer DSLR digital cameras are phasing out the TIFF for easier to use JPEG.

That should not be a frown upon the quality of picture that TIFF can produce. While the newer cameras are coming in either RAW or JPEG, or both, TIFF should not be underestimated. Being a little larger than a JPEG format, a TIFF file is one that can be compressed, and enlarged, without any loss of quality. The file is “lossless”, or no information transposed onto the file from the picture taking is loss due to compression.

Although digital cameras are phasing out the TIFF format, it is wildly popular in archiving documents and files. Because of the quality of the file and the flexibility of it, it is the most widely supported format across most platforms. This includes Mac, Windows, and Unix. TIFF also stores data in all forms up to 48 bits of encryption and most color spaces, RGB, CMYK, YCbCr, etc.

RAW Is Not Universal But Highly Workable

RAW is the unprocessed, uncompressed raw data captured by the camera’s image sensor before any of the in-camera processing has been completed. With this in mind, RAW format is the equivalent to the negative of a regular film camera.

The RAW image format allows the photographer to make a wide range of changes while maintaining the quality of the original picture. Since no processing, or compression, has been done to the image, it is of high quality but also very large. The drawback to a RAW file is that is requires either camera specific software, or highly specialized third party software to manipulate the image file.

Some high end cameras, such as Nikon and Canon store their images in RAW or TIFF files so the user has a better quality image. Mass produced Point and Shoot cameras, that cater to the recreational photographer, use predominately JPEG for their file formats.

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Viral Marketing Your Best Wedding Photography Pictures

I remember this one picture which I saw somewhere on the net. It’s a shot of a couple who were having a beach wedding ceremony – with a topless woman walking by to where the wedding was held. The title of the post was quite funny, it’s “Why you should get married in church”.

This is a perfect example of how you can incorporate viral marketing in wedding photography. First up, let’s define what viral marketing is all about. The term refers to marketing techniques used in pre-existing social networks which aim to increase brand awareness.

From the term viral, the way that this form of advertisement is supposed to work is for it to spread like a virus. It can either spread through word of mouth, or a series of forwarded e-mail messages.

In the wedding photography business, your main arsenal if you want to launch a viral marketing campaign is to use the most beautiful, funny or heartwarming photos that you have. These pictures can be used in a viral post which is bound to hit the front page of
Digg – just make sure that you have the catchy titles to go along with the post.

Just to give you an idea, you can post a really unflattering picture of a group of drunk guests at a wedding doing something really funny or something wild. The title of the post could be “Why You Shouldn’t Get Wasted at Your Friend’s Wedding”. Post the link on your wedding photography blog and on the account that you have on the top social networks. The link baited titles should be something that makes online users want to click – and your viral marketing wedding photography post should spread like wildfire.

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Tips on Preparing the Right Wedding Photography Accessories

If you want to succeed at any type of business, the number one thing to remember is that you should have all tools at your disposal. Whether you’re working in the kitchen or in an office environment, the tools and accessories that you have will be your ally in doing a great job. The same thing applies when it comes to wedding photography.

To give you an idea about the must-have tools for wedding photographers, here are a few tips that I have on how to prepare the right accessories:

- Prepare all your equipment and accessories in advance.
Aside from the main digital SLR camera that you are using, you may want to have a backup camera to give a different perspective on the wedding that you are covering. See to it that you have a supply of fully charged batteries, extra memory cards, lenses, camera tripods, chargers – and arrange them accordingly in your camera bag.

- Make sure that the number of memory cards that you have is suitable for an entire wedding day coverage.
When covering a wedding event, there are hundreds – if not thousands of shots that need to be taken. From the minute that the bride and groom dress up for the wedding ceremony up to the time that the last guest leaves the reception hall, all these will take up lots of space on your memory card. So make sure that you have sufficient storage for all the wedding moments that you want to capture.

- Keep that camera tripod with you always.
Aside from his digital camera, another ally that a wedding photographer has is his camera tripod. This will make it easier for you to take a series of group shots and will minimize the blurriness of the images.

With these wedding photography accessories preparation tips, you can rest assured that you will be doing a much better job of covering a wedding since you have all the right tools at your disposal.

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How Do I Take Great Formal Wedding Photos?

Even if you’re practicing a photojournalistic style of taking wedding pictures, you still would need to have a series of formal shots to complete the album that you are creating for your couple client. I do know how newbie photographers and even the veterans struggle with this type of shot, because they don’t know how to make the emotions ‘pop’ out of the photo and not make it look like the subjects were told to smile at the photographer’s instructions.

Here are some tips on how you can take great formal wedding photos:

- First, make sure that you have a list of the formal shots that need to be taken. This list should be prepared with the couple – especially if there are family members whom they want to be taken formal photos with right after the wedding.

- Second, it is much better if you will take the formal photos after the wedding ceremony has been completed. Following the list that you created of the shots that the bride and groom wants to be taken, you should take control of the mini-crowd that is sure to develop right after the wedding ceremony and gather everyone around. Better yet, have the couple assign one family member to be the one who is in charge of which family member should pose with the couple, and when.

- Third, make sure to check with the wedding coordinator if you do have time to take the formal wedding photos after the ceremony. If not, do it before the wedding.

Photos of the bride and groom with their parents, siblings, bridesmaids, groomsmen and other members of the family are the all-important formal shots that you need to take. By creating a list of the formal photos that need to be taken beforehand, you can make sure that you won’t forget anything and the newlywed couple will be happy with the quality of work that you have.

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Be Eco-Friendly with Wedding Photography!

When you go online and search for any type of business in your area, you would usually see a company which claims to have a green or environment-friendly operation. This is definitely a good thing, what with all the ecological problems that the entire world is facing.

So if you’re in the wedding photography business, how can you do your share in helping save the environment?

Read on to find out:

1. Purchase and use batteries wisely.
There’s probably not even a need to say this, but you should make use of rechargeable batteries as much as you can. Not only will you be helping save Mother Nature in the process, but you will also save up on your business’ operational costs because disposable batteries don’t give you the best bang for your buck. If you do have a lot of used batteries, dispose of them properly.

2. Reuse, reduce and recycle.
This is the mantra that green businesses should live by. Purchase recycled paper products as much as possible. Reuse the UPS boxes that you are receiving on a regular basis, just make sure to cover up the previous labels. Operate on a paperless environment as much as you can.

3. Drive an eco-friendly car and if you have weddings to cover, carpool.
Although driving a green car may be more expensive than the regular gas guzzler, you will end up saving more resources with the gas that you will save – not to mention the fact that non-eco-friendly cars are harmful to the environment.

4. Market your business as eco-friendly.
Although being green is not necessarily a high priority for most brides – but there are environmentally-conscious couples out there. You might get plus points if you advertise your business to be green and eco-friendly, just make sure that you practice it 100% on all aspects of your business’ operations.

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Wedding Photography Tip-Gaining from the past

Every good wedding photographer has a list of things that he or she does with the perspective bride and groom. One of the most important, of course, is talking to the bride and groom to find out what sort of shots they want taken before, during and after the wedding ceremony and reception. You define the style they are trying to achieve, how much time they want spent with each group or individual and whether they want candid or more formal shots. These are all excellent ideas that appear in virtually every bridal guide and are surely employed by nearly every wedding photographer in the country.

What is missing from this equation? Taking a retrospective glance at the coverage that was provided. My theory goes beyond hours of pouring over negatives; photo shopping out the maid of honor’s skin imperfections and trying to select the best shots of each group to present the bride and groom in an attempt to get them to buy bigger, buy more. This has nothing to do with the hours that the bride will spend with her girlfriends and her family, trying to decide which pictures to enlarge and hang over the mantle. While these are all important steps in the process, they are still lacking something vital.

After the bride and groom have put away the new Lennox china and the mail has started coming to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, contact the bride. Find out what her thoughts are, not on the shots that were taken, but on the ones that weren’t. Meet with the new Mrs. or ask her to make a list of the people, places, moods that were not captured at her wedding and reception. Find out why there are no photos of this event or moment. Perhaps it was a sporadic event, or perhaps timing was wrong. Many times, the pictures that weren’t taken were of little things that just weren’t thought of. This information can prove invaluable to your next client and every one there after.

Make sure that you keep an organized list or journal of these ideas. Share these ideas with your new clients and categorize them as best you can. The variety of options and shots you offer to your wedding parties will quickly expand and perhaps make you the most creative wedding photographer in town. Present what was a missed opportunity to one couple as your gift to the next.

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Tips For Point-and-shoot Digicam Wedding Photography

Armed with a Point-and-Shoot Digicam at a Wedding? Here are Some Tips for You!

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I’m blogging about how to use a point-and-shoot digital camera for a wedding – but it’s actually for one reader who would like some tips on exactly how this can be done.

Here’s my ten cents worth of advice. First, if you’re bringing a tool which is not used by the professional photographers, then you might as well bring along some attitude with you. Instead of shooting typical scenes like the cutting of the cake, why not go where the rest of the other photographers cannot go? Watch people’s reactions to the couple’s first kiss and take as many photos as you can.

When you see the groom having a smoke with one of the groomsmen during a lull in the activities, that would make for a great black and white shot. Make sure that you have as much memory as you can have so that you can take as many pictures as you need. Use your optical instead of the digital zoom so that you can play paparazzi and get in close on the action.

As much as possible, don’t use the built-in flash that your camera has. Go near where the light is so that you can capture a softer, more flattering shot. The trick to taking great portraits is to open the aperture up wide – but not too much. Other tricks of the trade that you can apply even while using your digital camera would be to use dramatic diagonals and other “ambient” framing methods.

Finally, if you’re determined to make the most out of your time being an unofficial wedding photographer using your point and shoot digicam, the one thing that you should remember is that you should always be in the ‘on’ mode. Be on the alert for unusual, touching and funny scenes while covering a wedding and take as many photos as you can. Once you download those photos from the nifty memory card of your digicam, most of the shots would need very little touchups and you would be mightily proud of the work that you’ve done.

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10 Things You Must Check When You Are Buying A Digital Camera

Before buying a digital camera you have to consider several important criteria. The choice of a digital camera primarily depends on the need of a person. It is important to identify your needs before making a decision. Here we are going to discuss about the 10 things that you must check before buying a digital camera.

The types of digital camera you want have to consider before buying.

  • Camera can be compact or ultra compact depending on the way in which you can handle it. You have a choice on the ease of use. Some digital cameras are light weight and small in size so that you can carry in your pocket. Point and shoot cameras are easy to operate.
  • The price of the camera is the next thing you have to consider. Most of the point and shoot cameras costs in a range between 200 to 4oo dollars. The cost of the accessories required should be also considered. If you are an amateur photographer then a point and shoot camera will be sufficient.
  • You must be aware of the physical size of the camera. A digital camera will be handy only if it is smaller in size. You can visit a nearby shop to estimate the size of the camera you require. Take a trial before making the purchase.
  • A traveler or an amateur photographer will need a camera that can be used without bothering the technical aspects. A simple point and shoot camera can provide quality pictures. But professional may require better cameras.
  • You don’t have to spend more time thinking about the brand name of the digital camera. The more popular brand will be a better option. Digital cameras of most of the popular brands offer good performance.
  • You must be sure of the features that you want in your camera. It will be difficult to find all features in a camera. And including all features in a camera will be costly. You have to prioritize the features you require based on your needs.
  • The battery type of the digital camera must be checked. Ensure that the battery belongs to a popular make. The power and life of the battery is essential for using your camera effectively. It is better to have extra batteries with you.
  • The memory card is use to store photos in your camera. The number of photos you can take depends on your flash memory size. Ensure that you camera supports flash memory cards with maximum storage capacity.
  • The megapixel count of the camera will not directly affect the quality of pictures. But as the number of megapixels increase you will get sharper prints. When the number of pixels is more the picture will be clear when you are enlarging it.
  • Ensure that you a camera are having better picture quality. Most of the popular vendors are providing digital cameras with a reasonable picture quality. You can take some trial photos to ensure it.

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