Mode Setting Control

All you need to do is snap the picture and you will get a decent exposure. But if we take a closer look at the mode setting knob we’ll see it has other features as well. The typical digital camera will have the following settings on its mode knob.

Landscape: The landscape icon usually looks like a mountain with a cloud over it. This setting presets the camera with a small aperture and helps keep your image in focus. It also sets the shutter speed fast enough to eliminate a blurred image. This setting can also be used for night landscapes, though it is not the preferred method. As you become more proficient with your camera you will learn ways to customize the settings to get better low light photos.

Sports Setting: This icon typically looks like a figure running. It locks in a faster shutter speed to freeze the subject and background. The camera will use the center of the viewfinder for focusing.

Portraits: This icon is easy to find it usually looks like a persons profile. This setting opens the aperture for a shorter depth of field. It keeps your subject in focus, but blurs the background for a more pleasing composition.

Night Portraits: In this zone the icon usually has a star or moon in it. When shooting in this mode the flash mechanism fires to fill the background and correctly illuminate the subject. The night setting can be used when shooting in very low light conditions.

Close-up: The close-up icon often looks like a flower, usually a tulip. This setting is used when you want to take pictures with great detail like plants or insects. This area of photography is often called macro-photography and is an art form in itself.

Think of the different basic zone modes as tools to be used in different picture taking situations as they arise. You will get average pictures with the automatic settings. Some of them will be quite good. But the better cameras contain advanced settings sometimes referred to as Creative Zone Settings. These controls give you much more creativity in the pictures you take, and can be used to provide greater adaptability as changing circumstances arise.

Kinds Of Stock Images

You are only required to pay a single one time fee for use of the chosen image multiple times and for multiple purposes. There is no time limit for how long a buyer can use the image. You cannot have exclusive rights to a royalty free image. The photographer would be well within his rights to sell the image as many times as he wants. There is a limitation for the number reproductions per image with royalty free images.

The amount of copies made is called the print run. This amount is usually defined before the purchase of the image. Any reproduction of the image beyond this stipulated number will mean that the buyer will have to pay a fee per brochure. This fee is usually about 1-3 cents. Magazines which have large print runs cannot use royalty free images. They instead have to purchase the images with a rights managed license or hire in house photographers.

Rights managed stock image or licensed images: The buyer has to pay each time the image is used. There is usually a time limit to how long a buyer has exclusive rights to an image. This time period is usually for about a year. This ensures that the photographer can sell the exclusive rights to the image again after the first buyer’s time limit is over. The buyer has to choose a rights managed license if he/she wants exclusive rights to the image.

The photographer is, therefore, barred from selling the image to anyone else, if the exclusivity clause is a part of the license contract. But, not all rights managed licenses are exclusive. Exclusivity typically has to be stipulated in the agreement. The fees of these stock images depend on many factors such as exclusivity, time period for which it is used, distribution, and also geographic location of usage. A rights managed license usually allows for a more extensive print run per image than stock images with royalty free licenses.

The editorial is considered to be a form of rights managed license if there are no releases for the subjects. Without releases, the images cannot be used in advertising, or for depiction of controversial subjects. They can only be used for news and educational purposes.

Hence, stock photographs are very significant indeed, whichever way they are used. Their informative as well as complimenting powers simply cannot be underestimated. A good content if often defined by the stock images used, and the visual information they deliver.

Practical Examples of Landscape Abstracts

Sunset Greece

This image is distinguished by its slight graininess, that makes an image look as an impressionistic one. Although this shot is not a detailed landscape, I sill include it in the post, because of special effects used here. The image was shot using a high sensitive film of ISO 1600. The equipment used is the Nikon F9, a 105 mm macro lens, a cable release, a polarizing filter, f/16, 1/4 sec.

The Namib Desert, Namibia, South West Africa

Deserts are great sources for abstract photography, because it is possible to simplify an image including only the sky and the sand in a shot. In the given image a side lighting put one side of the sand hill in shadow, while the other part is brightly colored in orange, which contrasts with the blue of the sky. A lonely tree provides an image with a focal point. A telephoto lens was used here to narrow the image on the right and simplify the landscape. The equipment used is the Nikon F90X, a 80-200 mm lens, a cable release, a tripod, a polarizing filter, 1/2 sec., f/16.

Snowy trees

This shot was taken after a strong snowfall. The trees look perfect standing against white snow that covers the earth, and an overcast sky, which form a unity. That is obviously a great black-and-white shot. The equipment used is The Olympus OM4-TI, a 28 mm lens, ISO 1600, f/11.

Lake District, England

A telephoto lens allows you to single out small details of a landscape and emphasize its peculiarities. Trees under bright sunshine and their reflection in the lake are the peculiarity, which is not typical of wide-angle lenses, but is intensified by tele zoom, creating simple, but beautiful composition. The equipment used is the Nikon F90X, a 80-200 mm zoom lens, a cable release, a polarizing filter, 1/8 sec., F/11.

The Aegean Sea Greece

This shot was taken on a beautiful summer day, when the sea reflects the deepness of the blue sky. The white ripples in the bottom of the shot help to create an abstract image. The equipment used is the Olympus OM4-TI, a 28 mm lens, a polarizing filter, 1/250 sec., F/16.

Megapixels Reality

The number of megapixels is just one parameter in determining the quality of a digital camera. More megapixels is not necessarily better. Before checking out the number of megapixels or any other digital camera feature you should take a moment to determine the digital camera projected usage. If you intend to print enlargements you will need more megapixels. If you need to take high zoom photos and crop pieces of the photo you will need more megapixels too. If you intend to just watch your photos on your computer screen and print some 4X6 prints than 2 mega pixels is more than enough. A full screen photo on a computer screen with a common resolution of 1024X768 is less than 1 megapixels. A good 4X6 photo print should have a DPI of about 300 which translates to just about 2 megapixels.

For digital photo prints enlargements you should calculate megapixels that would result in a print of about 300 DPI. The following is a table for different print sizes and the needed mega pixels for such print quality:

  • page 4X6 2MP
  • page 5X7 3MP
  • page 8X10 7MP
  • page 11X14 14MP
  • page 16X20 28MP
  • page 20X30 54MP

Usually more megapixels digital cameras are more expensive. Since you probably do not have an infinite budget for your digital camera when buying it you make a compromise between megapixels and other features. As a result more megapixels could mean not having some other features which might be more important. For example is it better to spend money on more megapixels or on better lenses? Is it better to spend money on more megapixels or on an external flash for low light photography? When buying a camera try to predict what and how you will use it. A lower megapixels digital camera with better a lens can result in much better digital photos. Shop around and make sure that you get the best package in terms of both megapixels and other features.

Light sensitivity is also influenced by the number of megapixels. Since in most cases the sensor size is fixed more megapixels is achieved by having smaller pixels. Smaller pixels are less sensitive to light. For most purposes this light sensitivity difference is not noticeable. You should consider the number of megapixels and light sensitivity if you intend to take many digital photos in marginal light conditions or want to be able to take digital photos without flash light in darker scenes.

In conclusion do not be the victim of the number of megapixels. Although it is a good thing to have a high number of pixels there are other considerations that determine the quality of the digital photos. You should consider the complete digital camera features: megapixels, lenses, battery life, light sensitivity, sensor technology, external flash and many other features. Make sure that you consider the whole package and not use the number of mega pixels as a “quality” indicator for your buy.

Using Available Light to Shoot Quality Video

Somewhere along the way, I figured out how to make video production as easy as possible. I got tired of lugging all that equipment around!

But I still had to make it look as good as possible.

I notice that most video production advice on the Internet lectures you on the value of using a tripod and lights. Yeah, yeah, I know. Lights and tripods make your video look better.

But what I f you haven’t GOT lights and a tripod?

Or, what if you’re shooting ten miles back in the woods and you don’t want to carry the damn things that far?

I hear ya, buddy.

First, let’s talk about how to get away with NOT using lights

As a TV production professional, no matter where I was sent to shoot, (everywhere from the bottom of a cave to the governor’s office) the first thing I did was assess the light available to me. Windows, lamps, wall scones, anything already there.

Being able to shoot without adding artificial lighting saves TONS of time and trouble. Today’s cameras do a remarkable job in low light, however, merely relying on a low lux camera in a dark area will give you grainy, unprofessional video. Quality is improved remarkably if you learn how to take full advantage of available light, and usually there’s plenty.

If you open the heavy curtains and pull up the shades, a dark office can suddenly become plenty bright. Set your subject up near the window but not directly in front of it, just like the baby above. Have the window to the side of your subject and the camera. (Actually, what’s known as a ¾ profile is best for a head-shot. This means the subject is not looking directly into the camera, but looking off to one side just a bit.)

Side lighting using the window as your light source is simple and effective, but it’s also easily screwed up if you don’t position the camera and the subject correctly.

Putting someone directly in front of a light source (consider the window your light source), then pointing a camera at them produces a silhouette. .

However, generally you want to avoid a silhouette unless you’re interviewing someone who doesn’t want to be recognized, like some sleazebag child molester. (You don’t want to know how many psychopath scum wads I met working in TV news. Well…maybe you do. That info is on my blog too. One guy threatened to have both my house and the TV station blown up cuz my documentary kept his sorry ass in jail. He bragged about killing people for fun and thought that made him cool. Sorry idiot.)

I see poorly shot interviews on the internet all the time. Usually, it’s exactly what I describe, someone standing in front of a window. I guess they realize the window is providing light but they never stop to think about the direction of the light. I swear, if they would just rotate the subject and camera a little their video quality would go from a D- to a B+.

Remember, anytime the light source is BEHIND your subject, you get a silhouette. Done well, a silhouette is a good thing. Done poorly, it’s a big fat mistake and makes your video look bad.

Available light comes in all forms. Look around. Move your camera to where the light is.

Are there any decorative lamps handy? Try taking off the shade and moving it closer to your subject. Even a 40 watt incandescent light bulb can greatly improve your shot. Place it about 2 feet from your subject and crop it out of the shot.

Insensitive Photos

Society would prefer that artists produce material that is ‘politically correct,’ or to put it another way, to not produce material that is considered insensitive to local, regional, or national mores.

Within our own industry, critics of your editorial stock photography will often wave the banner of “ethics,” claiming that you have overstepped certain boundaries in photographing wildlife, or natural objects. Or that you’re intruding into the private lives of individuals or government officials.

What does “ethics” have to do with art? Or don’t you consider yourself an artist? If you think of yourself as an engineer, or a technician, maybe ethics plays a role.

What society calls unethical today, can change tomorrow. Not unlike the fashion industry, or our own industry.

For example, a couple of decades ago, photographers were wringing their hands over the possibility that digital photography would disrupt the ‘ethical purity’ of a photograph by allowing the manipulation of the contents to create an altered image from the original. Today, the voices of protest have subsided and society accepts a digitized image.

This seems to be a cultural question. I don’t think that before digitizing, or before film for that matter, artists ever thought of “ethics” in their art. Before film and digits, there were sketches, oils, pastels, watercolors, engravings, lithographs — and no one ever asked the artist if he or she were being ‘ethical’ by manipulating a scene to change it or improve it.

Sutherland Dragon Fly

Dawn Sutherland dragon fly photograph is one of the amazing pieces of photography that I have ever managed to come across. Sutherland’s dragonfly photograph seems to be so natural that it gives the impression of dragon fly springing to life any moment. The color composition and the details in the Sutherland dragon fly snap are so eye catching and left me wondering about the various shades in the lap of nature. The clarity is unmatched and the focus is really defined. It’s virtually impossible to get such a clear portfolio of these insects because of the fact that the moment you decide taking a shot, they simply take off.

The austere background of the Sutherland dragon fly photograph brings the amazing color of the dragonfly to the fore front. I am one of the frequent visitors on this site who come looking for some of the beautiful works of Dawn Sutherland. And he has never disappointed me. Apart from Sutherland dragon fly photograph, his portfolio has are some of the most awe inspiring photographs that you will never get to see anywhere. The minor details that usually go unnoticed by the people around do find a place in his works. For beauty enthusiasts, Sutherland’s dragon fly picture features in the latest book published by photolaureares.org. It won’t be an exaggeration if I say that Dawn Sutherland dragon fly photograph is a real treat for eyes.

Compare Digital Camera Features

So you may start by asking what are the features you want are or need that will help you take great looking photographs. One important factor you might want to consider is the amount of pixel that is offered on the various type of digital cameras.

Of course if you want to compare digital camera features like this you might want to have a buyer’s guide that will list all the various features for each camera model. For example you will be able to compare the amount of pixels for each camera model you consider buying. Always keep in mind that the amount of pixels will usually determine what will be the quality of your pictures. The more pixels you have the greater the quality.

Another factor you should consider when you compare digital camera features is: What will you do with your camera. Is the camera you are looking at is for amateur photographer, semi-serious or serious photographers? Determining this will bring you one step further from buying the camera you need.

When you start to compare digital camera features you will soon be submerge by more info that you were actually looking for. They key is to look for the one you want instead of being overwhelmed by features you don’t need. Some of those feature apart form the pixel amount could be your picture options. Do you want your pictures to turn into sepia, black and white or soft pictures with the use of your filter?

One point I strongly suggest you look into when you compare digital camera features is the shooting modes you get with your camera. You should find indications about various features like the focusing or flash capabilities of various digital cameras. Whether it is Canon, Nikon, Olympus or any other brand of digital camera, make sure you don’t overlook this aspect.

Of course the information you will gather to help you compare digital camera features will mostly be of technical nature. Make sure you look at various sources of information. Another great place to look for information is to buy photography magazines. They will help you compare digital camera features that allow you to take picture with special effects.

These special effects could be special zoom capabilities that allow you to take pictures from a totally new angle or focus capabilities enabling you to crop some of the surrounding areas of you subject.

Of course if you want to take great picture (who doesn’t want to) it helps to have many different helpful features in your camera. It is up to you to find what features you want in your camera by gathering the right information and doing research in magazine, internet articles and digital camera buyer’s guide to help you compare digital camera features.

End of the Film Era

In the nineteen fifties the large studio cameras were still in use but the film holders were downsized to five by seven and even split five by seven in order to save costs. The Speed Graphic cameras used by many newspaper photographers held four by five inch sheet film.. It’s sensitivity boasted speeds of four or eight hundred ASA without affecting the appearance of grain to any extent. The holders were unwieldy with only two pieces of film in each, except for the film packs that held a thinner film pack of twelve.

Color film had been invented in the forties, but the color appeared weak and tinted with shades of orange and aqua green. Kodachrome gave the best color but was affordable only in 35mm size for slides. There was Agfacolor and Ektachrome in four by five sheets but the color left something to be desired. Candid weddings became popular in the fifties but the case of thirty film holders weighed over forty pounds.

In the sixties, the twin lens cameras using 120 roll film were the rage. Finer grained film duplicated the quality of the four by five film holders and the cameras weighed one quarter as much. Twelve exposures and later 24 exposures made candid photography much more convenient. Only the German lenses passed the critical eyes of the professional photographers. Rolleiflex and the single lens reflex, Hasselblad, made the grade.

By the seventies, better quality film by Kodak and Agfa allowed the use of 35mm single lens reflex cameras for most journalistic work. The larger sizes were still used for magazine publications, producing stunning detailed perfectly colored photos. The new multi coated, multi element lenses from Germany and Japan contributed much to the quality. Some camera manufactures experimented with half frame 35mm, 16mm and even 8mm film but one had to sacrifice some quality for compactness and weight savings.

The next two decades saw many improvements in camera automatic functions like the Minolta Maxxum with its built in motor drive, LCD readouts and program exposure but the film remained virtually the same. One hour film service reigned and custom labs could produce sharp grainless photographs in wall sizes.

If you didn’t mind seeing little squared in your three by five snapshots, digital cameras were available in the mid nineties but the year 2000 saw massive changeover to digital ‘film” with full size sensors and six to eight mega pixels of smooth detail.. The cost of changing from film to digital was daunting, but the benefits were irresistible to the professional photographer. No more hand coloring, hand retouching, waiting for proofs, smelly chemicals, space eating darkrooms and large storage facilities for storing the spent film. But we’ll never forget the amazing one hundred year reign of film.

Need A Commercial Photographer

Photographs for the Brochure

A brochure is the introduction of the company and its offerings to the potential customers. Not just the customers, a brochure has the vital role to impress even those who influence the thinking and buying decisions of the customers. And therefore the photographs required in a brochure, have to be compelling enough. It is not only about impressing the clients abuot the services, but also informing them about the company and what all it is into. A brochure acquaints the world at large with the organisation, the management, the mission and the vision of the company. Therefore the photographs have to be all encompassing. They have to give an overall picture of the company and its values to the consumers. Only a thoroughly professional commercial photographer can do justice in such times.

Photographs for the Advertisements

A print advertisement is one such place, where commercial photographer rules the roost. The product or service can be something very small one or a rather big one. It can be a fast moving consumer good or something that is used in industries and factories. Different products / services – different customers. And different customers – different viewpoints. All in all, the person who would take the picture for the advertisement, has to understand the psyche of the people about to view the ad. And that is where comes the requirement of an experienced commercial photographer.