Home How-To Shooting 10 Top Digital Camera Shooting Tips
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

10 Top Digital Camera Shooting Tips

Shoot it right from the start and get better images for use in the computer


6. Overexposure is bad, too.
Overexposure puts details too high in the tonal range. When highlights themselves start losing important detail, there's no magic in Photoshop that can bring them back. Overexposure can also make colors go too high in the tonal range. They lose color up there, too, so when they're darkened, they look gray and lack their normal saturation (if they have any color at all).

7. Expose to use the whole tonal range of your sensor.
After using a digital camera for a while, you learn to judge good exposure from the LCD, although this little monitor alone isn't the best for doing that. Two resources found on most digital cameras help: overexposure warnings and the histogram. Overexposure warnings are typically blinking areas on the image where highlights are either gone or close to overexposure. The best way to deal with them is to decrease your exposure until either they disappear or they're only present in small, unimportant areas. Don't overcompensate and go an extra stop or two under just to be sure the highlights aren't blown out.

The histogram is an important tool for photographers. This graph of data should avoid large gaps at the right side, a sure sign you're not fully using your sensor's capabilities. You want to move the histogram toward the right, as long as important highlights don't block up or clip (seen on the histogram as a sharp drop-off at the right), even if the photo looks too bright in the LCD. You can always make properly exposed highlights darker, but if underexposed shadows have to be opened up, you'll find noise and weaker color.

8. Sharpness comes from shooting sharp.
I can tell you from experience in judging many photography contests with thousands of entries that achieving the highest level of sharpness can be challenging for many photographers. I've seen fine photographs that don't quite make it because sharpness was a little off.

Most photographers work to avoid the distinctly blurry or fuzzy image; I'm talking about the difference between a crisply sharp image and one that's almost sharp. The latter often looks sharp if seen small on the computer monitor or not compared directly to another image that's truly crisply sharp. If you enlarge the photo to small details, you'll find tiny highlights that are crisply sharp in the sharpest photo. On the sort-of-sharp picture, you'll find these highlights are degraded and no longer crisp. This is reflected in the overall photo by giving a duller image with less sharpness.



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