For many photographers, the word “digital” is the most frightening term in the English language.
Though digital camera technology offers superb image quality and ease to film cameras, many experienced photographers have yet to make the transition into the 21st century.
Opponents of digital cameras claim the new technology takes the art out of the sport and changes the integrity of the photo. Converts, on the other hand, site the ability to take a seemingly unlimited amount of photos without having to buy expensive film, ease in reviewing photos and better camera controls.
Regardless, when it’s all said and done, taking a quality photo uses the same basic principles. Here are a few tips and tricks for the digital photography beginner:
Avoid Camera Shake
Camera blur can make what could make a good picture unusable. It can plague any photographer, regardless of what instrument they use. In order to avoid camera shake, you need to first learn how to hold a camera properly. Make sure one hand cradles the body of the camera while the other one holds the lens. Take a deep breath before snapping the picture, and use a tripod when possible. The slower the shutter speed the higher the possibility of a blurry picture. Never go below 1/64th of a second without a tripod; the human body cannot physically hold a camera still enough to create a clear picture.
Use Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is essential for any type of picture. Placing a subject in the center often creates a boring photo. Imagine four lines, two horizontal and two vertical, that cut the frame into thirds. Rather than putting the focal point smack dab in the center, try placing it in one of the other squares. This will allow the eye to wander around the image and in turn make the photo more aesthetically appealing.
Create a Sense of Depth
The background can be just as important, if not more important, than the subject. Creating a sense of depth is paramount, especially when photographing landscapes. A photo with a clear foreground and background will make the viewer feel like they are there. Use a wide-angle lens with a low aperture. Having a subject closer to the foreground will help create a sense of depth. Use a tripod when possible, as having a small aperture will require a low shutter speed.
Play with Shutter Speed
Different shutter speeds can make the same subject appear completely different. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different speeds. Have a tripod on hand, especially at night, and go wild. Moving objects at night are the most fun to play around with, especially when bright lights are involved.
Don’t use Flash Indoors
Flash is ugly, especially indoors. Avoid it like the plague. Though it can be a good tool in some instances, there are better ways to soak up all the natural light available without resorting to flash. First, turn up your ISO as much as possible without distorting the image quality. Use a small aperture and a tripod when available, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
At the end of the day, photography is photography. Digital cameras use the same rules as film cameras, only the tools make it easier. The best part, you can experiment without worrying about cost. So get out there and have fun.
Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America. His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City. Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe. Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Have a story that needs to reach national media? Email him today.
In addition to being photo editor for the Internet’s largest collection of Travel Articles, Outbounding, he is also the lead photographer for BuenosTours, the specialists in private walking tours of Buenos Aires
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