Tuesday, November 6, 2018
If you’re in the business of creating photographic content here are some tips to help ensure that you have the best shots that come out.
First, make sure you check what background you’re taking your photo against. Are you doing it against a colored backdrop or composing an outdoor scenery shot? Are you indoors? Is it a rainy day or sunny? How your background is going to be set up will influence your shot composition, your colors, ISO, FPS and focus and aperture settings.
Also check to make sure your lighting. Lighting more than anything can make or break a shot and it is often this element that is capture and determines the colors and focus and graininess and how the shots will turn out.
If you have not practiced or played with your camera beforehand make sure you have tested it out or have a backup for situations when your camera might zap out at the wrong time. That includes extra chargers, batteries or add-on lighting, filters and lenses. Make sure you have tried to duplicate the settings you will be taking your photos under if you’re on assignment.
Since storage is cheap and it’s often easier to get the shots while you’re on location try to take as many photos as possible. SD cards and flash storage are relatively cheap.
Try to use your optical viewfinder if you are using slow shutter speeds because your camera will have blurring and shaking. You want to make things as steady as possible.
Be judicious in the use of flash. Usually flash is not needed in many situations and it might be a good idea to start without it and just have a steady stable camera. Exposure is the term for how much light enters the camera and hits the sensor and is a way to measure how light or dar a photo is. If it is too bright your photo is overexposed. If not enough then it is underexposed. We can change settings that affect the amount of light by adjusting aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings and various other settings.
ISO settings determine sensitivity of your camera to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to light while a higher ISO makes it more sensitive. More sensitivity allows you to shoot at higher shutter speeds also and sometimes allow you to operate a handheld camera without a tripod or a blur. However higher ISO speeds also introduce more digital noise and graininess or noise that can make your photo lesser in quality or introduce blur.
Aperture is the size of the opening of the lens through which light enters the camera. This can be adjusted and is adjusted in f-stops. The HIGHER the f-stop value, the smaller the opening. A small aperture will have a very wide opening. You might see f-stops in the range of f/22 or f/16 or f/11 or f/8 or f/5,6 or f/4 or f/2,8 or f/2 or f/1,4. This aperture affects another characteristic called the depth of field which determines how sharp and image is. If you have a wide aperture your dept of field will be shallow meaning some is sharp and some is out of focus. However if you use a higher f-stop value you will have a narrower aperture and a deep depth of field meaning everything will be sharp and in focus. If you have an aperture of f/22 for instance everything will be sharp and you will be able to see the background. But if you have a wider aperture the background becomes blurred at f/1,4.
Shutter speed is another factor which tells you how long to let the lens remain open to let light into the camera and onto a sensor. It can be a few thousands of a second or slow as a few minutes. Fast shutter speeds allow freezing a moment in time you might not otherwise see like hummingbird wings, race cars or a marathon runner. Slow shutter speeds let things like waterfalls look more like paintings with blurs and conveys a sense of motion.
You can also put add-ons like polarizing, color filters and telescopic lens to vary your photos.
Don’t forget how you stage your composition of your shots is a key part of photography. Too many crowd shots and shots of people’s back of heads is not always the best, sometimes you need close-ups and tight shots. You can always crop some shots later.
Try not to have pictures face a bright window or facing the sun to avoid having to do exposure correction later or having white blown out shots.
If you have have to shoot into a backlit background then using the electronic flash helps fill in some of the background.
Choose a great background instead of white and light walls. These are often bland and uninteresting. Also stay away from plants and columns and poles that can be unflattering and make them look to be coming out of a person’s body. Also beware of unintended messages.
Try to avoid cliche positions such as standing in a straight line. Possibly pose some seated or standing or leaning.
Try to make shots that show some action or activity as well so they are action shots. Having a few cliche shots like handing someone an award or doing a handshake is OK but have a few extras.
Try to not have one single person in all the shots taken.
A lot of TV and computer monitors have a certain resolution. If you are shooting pictures that you’re going to be displaying there make sure to plan for such a resolution change. For example for web photos you might use 450 pixels wide by 300 pixels high and 72 dpi. Most print require around 300 dpi.
It is better to size down than size up in Adobe Photoshop because of the way pixels are lost and unrecoverable.
File formats are also important. Most pictures can use a JPEG or Joint Photographic Experts Group format. This allows decent quality photo with a reasonable file as well. This file format allows for file compression by trhoring away some image data in order to shrink the file size. Often cameras have some compression as well, but using less compression means better quality images but also larger file size. Some files can be compressed in JPEG up to 90 percent without too much degradation in quality.
TIFF or Tag Image File Formats also provide uncompressed quality with the highest quality resolution. It stores for color information for every captured pixel but this results in large file sizes with some as big as 10MB which limits the amount of files in a storage medium thus you may need a higher capacity card for a digital camera. This also makes it take longer to transfer to another computer or upload to the web.
Be sure to label your photos to make it easier to find and retrieve later. Also be sure to keep backups of important files.
If you use a digital camera there are certain indicators, histograms and other graphs on some of them to help you determine lighting in the photo. Some of them can help you determine the spread of your light in your photo and if you have too many dark or light areas. Also practice with switching modes, testing to see if your camera allows manual mode settings while taking videos. Many digital cameras allow you to take short or full length videos and movies depending on the capacity of your storage card in your camera. Some of these may produce AVI also known as Audio Video Interleave files which is a compressed digital video standard or DV for short.
Also try to get the best picture you can while you’re still there in front of the subject you’re taking a picture of. It’s easier to get it right then and there than trying to Photoshop and edit things in post as not everything is worth the time and effort to fix afterwards.
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