Digital Camera Scene Modes

Portrait Mode

Portrait mode is for taking people pictures. Whether it’s a single person or a group of people, you should use the Portrait mode. Your digital camera will select an appropriate shutter speed and aperture combination to capture your subject and blur the background. The idea here is to make the background less distracting.

Newer digital cameras incorporate autofocus technology that actually scans the picture looking for faces. It’s usually called Face Priority or Face Detection. It especially helps when your subject is not dead center in the picture or when you have a group of people. Nikon, Fuji, Sony and others manufacturers are putting this technology in many cameras.

Check your owners manual to see if your digital camera uses this technology and whether it’s automatic or you have to enable it manually.

Landscape Mode

Landscape mode should be your choice for all of those breathtaking views you want to shoot. Scenic vistas of the beach, the mountains, a field of flowers or a city skyline are all prime uses for Landscape mode. Your digital camera selects an exposure combination to maximize what’s in focus from front to back.

Although it’s not absolutely necessary, using a tripod or some other sort of support will help. Walk around a bit to find the best vantage point. Sometimes a small shift to the left or right (or up or down) will make the difference between a snapshot and a photograph.

Sports Mode

Whether it’s kids soccer or baseball, or an NFL game, Sports mode is designed to help you stop the action. Your digital camera will set the shutter speed as high as possible for the lighting conditions in order to stop action. Sports mode also puts your camera in Continuous shooting mode (hold the button down and shoot 3-4 pictures in a row) and forces the flash off. If you can, setting the ISO to 400 or 800 will also help. A few cameras do this for you.

You’ll want to get as close as you can for great Sports and action pictures. First get physically close, right on the sidelines if possible. Move up and down the field with the action. (Not so easy at hockey games.) Then use your zoom lens to get the shot you want. Take some wide shots to show all the action, along with tight shots of one or two players. This will help tell the story much better.

Be sure to pay attention to what’s going on in the game. You may have to jump out of the way of the players!

Beach/Snow Mode

Having been a longtime resident of Florida, and as a current resident of Colorado, I can attest to the real benefit of the Beach/Snow scene mode. Both film and digital camera light meters are calibrated to a medium tone. Overly bright or dark scenes are not recorded properly. Beach/Snow scene mode is for all those bright scenes.

Big open areas of water on a sunny day. Long stretches of white sandy beaches. Snow covered mountains on your next ski vacation. These are all perfect times to use Beach/Snow mode. You are telling the camera that your subject matter is quite bright and it will compensate accordingly. Instead of muddy grey snow it will be recorded bright and white as it should be.

Sunrise/Sunset Mode

While most Scene modes change the aperture or shutter speed used, Sunrise/Sunset mode changes how the colors of the scene are recorded. The goal is to record the beautiful quality of light at these times of day.

Sunrise and sunset are times when the world is bathed in beautiful warm light. You’ll hear photographers refer to this as Golden Light or the Golden Hours. By using these settings instead of Auto mode you’ll capture that beautiful light and the dramatic colors. Try it for yourself next time you photograph a sunset and you’ll see the difference.

The next time you read your manual (You do know where it is, right?) check out all the scene modes your digital camera has. Perhaps there are a few that you would find useful for your style of shooting. Try them out, along with the 5 listed here, to improve the pictures you take.

Preparing For Your Portraits

Plan Ahead

Your photographer should offer to have a meeting with you to discuss and plan your portrait with you. During that meeting/ consultation, you and your photographer will get to know each other a little better, and he’ll get your ideas about what you want for your portrait. You should talk about color schemes, discuss hair and makeup options as well as the overall look and feel you want in your portraits. A thorough consultation will also help you start planning how to incorporate your portraits in with the other furnishings in your interior decoration scheme.

A Helpful Consideration

At the elite level of sports competition as well as in business, a method called visualization is used with excellent results. It can have a measurable effect in the end results of your portrait session as well. Obviously this will require some serious thinking. Consider who you are as a person, a couple, and, or a family. Condense your description down to one or two sentences. Then consider how you could best portray that “essence of who you are” in a portrait. Imagine what the portrait should look like. Imagine your pose, your clothes, your expression…visualize what it will look like, and the feeling of great satisfaction you will have as a result.

Wardrobe, Dressing For A Portrait

They say, “the clothes make the (person)”. The art of portrait photography is to capture not only the best view, or countenance of the subject, but also the personality and mood. It is a person’s eyes and face that tell the story of their personality. (Include body language in ¾ and full-length portraits). So, the goal of wardrobe in a portrait is to flatter the subject, and influence the mood. To that end, the clothes should be relatively subdued. Colors should be muted rather than bright and loud, and solid colors are usually better than prints. Aloha prints with a color print over a color background are better than those with white over a dark color. Those present too much contrast and will distract the viewer from the subject(s).

Keep in mind that the clothes help to set the mood or feeling of the portrait, so it’s best to avoid the ‘latest’, ‘greatest’, “in” styles in favor of more timeless standards. That is, if you want your portrait to have a lasting quality and value, and not be too dated.

Light tones in clothing, bright and cheery though they are, are not necessary for a portrait to have a bright and cheery look. It is also true that dark clothing will not necessarily present a somber mood. Again, it is the eyes and facial expression that dominate and tell the story.

In photographic portraiture, the fact that light colors diminish shadows produces the result that the figure appears slightly fuller. Also, very light or white clothes can tend to wash out your skin tone. The opposite is true with dark toned clothes: they intensify shadows, have a slightly slimming effect, and skin tones appear deeper.

Here are a couple more tips about dressing for your portrait: loose fitting, long sleeves will draw attention away from your arms. If you feel your arms are too big, or you have blotchy skin or band-aids on your arms, wear long, loose fitting sleeves. An open, scoop or V-neck shirt or blouse will add the appearance of length to your neck, where a crew or turtleneck will give the appearance of a shorter neck.

Jewelry And Accessories

Keep it simple is the best advice here. Remember, the part played by accessories and jewelry, the same as with clothing, is simply to flatter the subject, not steal attention from the subject: you. Unless an accessory or piece of jewelry is essential to the look or feel you want in the portrait, or is something you wear all the time, or has special meaning to you, leave it out.

On the other hand, if something is important to you such as your great aunt’s locket, or great granddad’s walking stick, or plays an integral part of your life such as a stethoscope, or a canoe paddle, talk with your photographer about how to include it in some of your portraits.

Makeup

Men will tend to skip right over this while women will zoom in…MEN: before by-passing this whole topic, look in a mirror at your face. What color is your skin? How’s the complexion? Circles under the eyes? Are your nose and forehead shiny? You want to look your best in your portrait, and it’s perfectly OK for men to blotter the forehead, put a little powder on for portraits. Even a little lightener under the eyes or blush on the cheeks! Even Arnold, and Steven Segal wear makeup when on camera!

Now, Ladies, just do what you do normally in applying your makeup, as if preparing for an evening at a benefit gala: tastefully a little stronger than for daytime. It’s a good idea to bring all your makeup to the session along with some tissues and cold cream. Your photographer may have some suggestions for color changes or additions.

Hair

Real basic here: Make sure your hair is clean and styled the way you want it when you get to the session. And bring your brush, comb, spray, gel, whatever you might need to re-do it! If your hair needs to be cut before the session, have it done at least a week prior to having your portraits made. If you are having your hair styled specifically for the session, have it done just before going to the studio.

Posing

Whether your portrait style will be literal or interpretive, if you give some thought to posing before going into your session, it’ll be easier to work with your photographer, and you will look more natural and relaxed in your portraits. In the weeks or days preceding your portrait session be particularly aware of people you see in commercials, movies, magazines, TV shows, at the park, at home, at a friends house. Try to see poses of individuals, or groups, which look good, and portray a quality of feeling or emotion as in a good painting. Imagine yourself or your group in the same or similar pose.

When we see ourselves in a photograph, or portrait, we don’t always look the way we think we do, or should. Fact is all faces are asymmetrical to a greater or lesser degree, and we can present different looks from different angles. It’s a good idea to look at your face in a mirror and ‘practice’ looks that you think are flattering to you. Check your smile from different angles. Look at your nose and chin from different angles. What looks best to you? Work on reproducing two or three looks that you like. When you get to your portrait session show your photographer what you like, and ask for help if you think you can use it. Remember, the lighting your photographer uses wont be the same as you have in your bathroom or hallway where your mirror is, so if he knows what you like, he’ll be able to reproduce it for you with his lighting.

Digital Flash Photography

Some of the tips listed will only pertain to Digital SLR users. These cameras allow you to manually adjust settings, change lenses, and also they provide a hotshoe to mount an external flash. This external flash is much more powerful than the built in flash, & it can give you the option to bounce and diffuse the flash.

Point and shoot cameras will often have a built in flash of their own. This does not provide the creativity of the SLR camera, but some of the following suggestions will pertain to these cameras as well.

  • Clearly see your background: Anything in your field of view behind your subject will also be in your finished photograph. Carefully check to see that any shiny metallic surfaces or mirrors are not lurking there. The light from your flash will bounce off these surfaces and come right back to your lens. The result being a big blob of white light.
  • Be sure to charge your batteries: The condition of your batteries will determine how long it will take your flash to recharge. In other words, how long before you can shoot another picture. The fresher your batteries are the quicker you can shoot again. Also, if your flash doesn’t use it’s complete charge, your recycle time will be a lot faster. It is always important to have fresh batteries, & maybe even a backup set.
  • Flash Falloff: Flash falloff is when the flash is more powerful in the center of the photo. This is most common with the compact cameras. To overcome this, try and position your subject to be in the area with the best light.
  • Type of Light: Light from a flash can often be very harsh. It is often helpful to bounce the flash off a wall or the ceiling, especially lighter colored ones. Another handy tip is to use a diffuser over the flash. Small plastic units will work, some use hosiery, some will angle a white notecard in front of the flash. Trial and error will help you determine what works best for you. Keep in mind that diffusers will reduce the amount of light produced. You must adjust your exposures accordingly.

Camera Dollars

Who needs my photos

  • Webmasters don’t need only fresh content they need pictures also. Sure some of them shoot their own photos but sometimes they don’t have the time for it. For example you can be sure that a travel webmaster can be interested in your photos from your last trip to Thailand (just to name a country).
  • Real estate agents: Real estate is big business worldwide people are spending billions of dollars on renting and buying houses and apartments.

But real estate agents need photos as well some of them pay up to a few hundreds of dollars for a single picture of a house

Paparazzi: If you visit a concert try to make a picture from your favourite star.
Journalists do not have always the tame to take the pictures themselves and guess what there is a company who is whiling to pay you two thousand bucks for a single picture.
That is just like printing money if you visit a concert.

Where should I sell my photos?

  • Photo stock sites: Photo stock sites have two kinds of visitors: People who are looking for photos and people like you who are selling their photos. I remember me a post from a webmaster who has spend more then 4000 dollars on a single site so yes there is money to be made. Some sites are offering you a fixed commission and with other sites you can decide your own price.
  • E-bay: Millions of items are being sold on eBay every month. After the photo stock sites this is by far the easiest way to sell your photos online.
  • Offline: Your digital camera can be a cash machine offline to. For example you could sell your photos to a bank, an illustrator, an advertiser or a real estate agency.
  • Your own site: This can be a very professional way to sell your art but do this only if you have some more experience. Nobody wants to buy photos from a photographer with only two pictures on his portfolio.

I hope with reading this article you have realised that you have a cash machine right at your home. And a last point perhaps you are scared that people on online stock photo sites will not pay you. No panic, most of them are working with a shopping card system. As soon as the webmaster has paid for your photos he will receive them.

Get Paid to Take Pictures

Invest in the Right Equipment

The right photography equipment can not only improve the quality of your work, but it can also save you time as well. Even if you are working on a tight budget, you should not base your purchases solely on price. Look for products that offer the best value, which means finding those that provide the best features for the least amount of money. The most important equipment you will need is a camera, computer, editing software, and possibly a bag to carry everything in.

Gather Samples and References

As in any business, you will have to provide your customers some proof that you are competent photographer. You can do this by building samples of your work and providing references of past customers. If you are just starting out, then offer to take pictures of friends or family for free. Combine these sessions with some artistic or outdoor shots to show a variety of your talents. Put it all together in a portfolio or brochure you can hand to your clients. Just don’t skimp on the quality since this is the first impression they will have of you.

Market Your Services

Finding the best way to advertise can be difficult, especially if you are on a budget, but the key is to be creative. Start by designing your own business card with a memorable photo on the front. Pass these out to everyone you know and leave small stacks of them in public places. For mainstream exposure, use online classified sites that let you can post your services on for free. Of course a website is also helpful, and this can be done easily by building a blog. Some photographers also use their blog to post new photographs of their work.

Great Uses of Anti-Fog Spray

Photos are also taken on special occasions, like when your baby takes their first step, when they go to “big school” for the first time or when they graduate. Memories such as these are precious and are even easier to remember when you have pictures to look at. The only horrible thing about photography is when you take the most beautiful picture, only to discover that your lens was dirty and the picture came out terrible and you cannot retake it. There is only one solution to this problem.

Anti-fog spray works magically on cameras. Before you are going to be clicking away, take a soft cloth and some anti-fog spray and clean the lens. That’s all you have to do, it’s quick, easy and the cleanness lasts! You will not have to wipe the lens after every photo you take; it lasts for quite some time before you will have to clean it again. Do not drench the cloth with spray, just put on enough to make the cloth slightly damp. Wipe the lens softly, and the work is complete, you can now start clicking away!

So now you can take those pretty pictures and they will come out just as the original thing you saw, anti-fog spray really does the trick.

Using Filters for Special Effects

Star and Cross Effect Filters

Star filters are typically used when you want to enhance reflections into a specific star shape. You’ll see these used in pictures of streetlights, theme parks, and sun reflections of surfaces like glass structures. Two of the most common are the Star-Six and the Star-Eight filters, which refer to the number of “points” on the star shape.

If you are taking photos of ladies wearing expensive jewelry, a Cross Screen Filter will add a “flare” in the shape of a four-cross. This is how they produce that dramatic effect in jewelry ads that focus your attention on the sparking diamond.

There are other variations, such as the Spectral Cross Filter and the Vario Cross Filter. Spectral cross filtering produces a cross of light with a soft-focus effect, particularly good for portraits. A Vario Cross Filter will add the effect of four rays of light coming from each light source.

Close-up Filters

Instead of just being limited by a camera’s zoom, you can add close-up filters and Macro filters. Macro close-up filters are good for taking shots of small insects, flowers and other tiny objects at close-up. They typically have a +10 diopter rating with a 2-element, 2-group construction lens.

Another creative filer is the Split field filter. This splits the image so that half is a close-up shot while the other half is normal.

Multivision Filters

If you want to create the effect of the same object being repeated in a photo, check out Multivision Filters. These are available in 3PF, 3F, 5F, 6F, and 6PF where the number determines the number of times the object will be repeated. These work best with dark backgrounds or larger objects.

Multivision filters are made up of optical glass accurately cut into different facets. Color multivision filters add different colors to the image. There are two types available – 3F with three faces in red, green and blue, and 5F with five faces equally divided into orange and green colors.

Diffusion Filters

Diffusion filters provide a soft focus effect on the image due to an irregular or uneven surface. This kind of filter is specifically used for portraits.

Center Spot Filters

The center of this filter has a clear spot that gives the center image a clear and sharp effect, while the background can have an effect of fog to make it romantic.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to enjoy the use of special effects filters. Try adding one or two to your collection and experiment with them in different situations. Who knows… you could come up with a whole new unique look-and-style!

Advertising Photography For Christmas

They would deliberately look at advertisements so that they can make wise buying decisions.

And it is now that the advertisements should be made more attractive, more informative and more compelling. And advertising photography plays a more important role in this situation. The role of advertising photography takes a significant place in advertisements for print media, static media and online media. Yes, the periphery of advertising photography has increased and has crossed the boundaries of print media and has reached and covered the area of static media as well as online media.

And since Christmas is round the corner and people would watch out those banner ads on various websites, on billboards and kiosks and also in their favourite magazines, therefore it is absolutely very critical that the advertising photography should be very impressive and attractive. If you had thought that advertising photography is just the image that is to be there in the ad, then wait, there is more than what meets the eye.

In any ad, it is not just the content or the ad copy that speaks to the viewers. Words do play a very significant role, sometimes as significant or more than the image. But it is the picture which primarily speaks to the audience. It has the very tough job of attracting the reader and compelling him or her to stay and read the ad. This is really really tough, and if the Advertising photography is unable to do that, then the competitors might just have a hands down victory.

Using Retro Stock Photos

Many people are now considering using retro styling in their website designs not only because they are much more decorative but they equate to a certain set of values that one expected of the period when they first appeared. Certainly using some retro rather than the high tech styles that many other website owners prefer will provide your site with something that is unique and is likely to catch the eye of any potential new customer.

The kinds of pictures that a person will be using for their site that fit into the retro group are those from the 1950’s and 1960’s and certainly these equate to a time when live was a little more easy going. Certainly some of the most well known retro stock images that you will regularly see being used are photos of such icons as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Audrey Hepburn.

Yet when it comes to you using such images for your own site there are two different types that are now available and which can be easily obtained through the internet. Below we take a look at just what these are.

Non Exclusive Images

These are ones where you will be required to pay a licence fee every time you use a particular image but it also allows others to purchase the same images using the same licence as you.

Exclusive Images

With these particular retro stock images a person is again required to pay a licence fee in order that they may use the image they have selected every time that they actually use it. However unlike the non exclusive images once you have paid the licence fee in order to use that image then you and you alone have exclusive use of it.

However if you are considering using any kind of retro stock images in your website design it is important to make sure that they will fit in with the overall image of it. So you really need to consider the kind of audience that you are trying to reach and what you are trying to say through the use of such images. Once you are able to understand this then you will be able to select those images which will be able to meet with your requirements perfectly.

Take Properly Exposed Wedding Pictures

There is a simple solution to this; set your exposure to +2/3 WHEN the bride is in the picture. Don’t forget to dial your expose back to normal when taking pictures of only the groom (in fact, you might want to go -1/3 exposure in these situations) or of the guests.

Other things which can screw up your exposure are:

  • Reflections of the sun on objects (try to find something to block the reflection)
  • Bright lamps/lights behind the scene. (try to find something to block the reflection)
  • Bright Windows in the frame. (increase exposure by 1+)
  • Mirrors and your flash (try to move so something is blocking the mirror)

By keeping this all in mind, you are more likely to get properly exposed pictures without having to photoshop them later.

Another important thing to do, regardless if you think you are sticking the exposure or not, is to take your pictures in RAW format. Although the extension and software used to manipulate RAW images differs from camera to camera, raw images offer a much broader latitude in changing the exposure settings. Where a JPEG might be able to be manipulated +-1 stop, a RAW image can be manipulated +-2 stops due to it containing much more meta information and it being a 16 bit image. Most cameras which shoot in raw ship with software allowing you to manipulate raw images.