Ten Commandments to Simplify Digital Photography (Part 1 of 2)
Your phone has more pictures of places, people and things than your adorable selfies. You’ve been dreaming of that one fabulous day when you’ll no longer have to sigh at the graininess of your phone photographs. The signs are clear – you’re ready to take the plunge into the wild, wild world of digital photography. But, where do you begin?
Digital photography is an ever-evolving field and it can be quite unnerving to a newcomer who has no formal training or experience in the subject. To help you get started, here are ten easy commandments that will simplify your first experiences will digital photography.
Don’t worry too much about the quality of your digital camera
Photography equipment is expensive and with every passing day, it seems like newer, more advanced models are storming the store shelves. But the truth is, while your choice of camera is important in determining the quality of your photograph, what matters much more is your picture composition – that is, what you include and leave out of your photograph, your subject and how well it is arranged in the frame. Do your groundwork and find something that works with your budget. Chances are, you won’t be disappointed.
Choose the right shooting mode
Your digital camera comes with an array of in-built scene modes that work quite well for snapshots. But if it is created you’re after, you’ll need to step out of that bubble and work with the more advanced semi-automatic shooting modes. Remember: aperture priority helps you control the exposure, shutter priority helps you control the shutter speed (useful when you are shooting spots and action) and program mode is a fully automatic mode that lets the camera decide the aperture and shutter speed while still allowing you to adjust the shutter speed and the aperture to get different effects (while still maintaining the exposure).
Don’t be pressured into going manual with your camera
A lot of professionals out there scoff at the idea of automatic camera settings. In all fairness, however, there are several things your digital camera can automatically do for you to ensure high quality photographs. These include white balance, autofocus and auto-ISO. Sure, you can go manual if you have the time, but when you’re in a hurry, the automatic settings will do just fine in a pinch!
Don’t neglect light
The quality of a photograph has a lot to do with the quality, quantity and the direction of the light your subject is photographed in. If you want to reveal detail, shoot with soft and muted light. For outdoor and macro photographs, work with bright but overcast skies – never, ever in the harsh, midday sun. Experiment with backlighting and with illuminating your subject from one side for more drama. When shooting with natural light, don’t let your shadow creep into your photograph.
Shoot in RAW
Most cameras allow you the choice of saving your photographs as RAW or JPEG files. While JPEG files are lighter and quicker to handle, RAW files let you manually adjust light and colour without affecting the quality of the photographs. Photo-editing software (such as Photoshop) work well with JPEG files, but tend to reduce the already lower quality of these files when they are edited.