Choosing an automatic exposure mode

Most digital cameras offer a variety of automatic exposure modes, which you select either via menus or an external dial or switch. In all these modes, the camera handles critical exposure decisions, such as selecting the aperture setting and shutter speed, leaving you free to concentrate on composition and your subject. Shooting in automatic mode also typically means that the camera handles most other settings, too, including those that affect color and autofocusing. Although the number and...

Steadying Your Camera

For nighttime shots and other photos that require long exposure times, keeping your camera steady is essential. Otherwise, you run the risk of a blurry image because of camera shake. Here's a look at some of the devices you can use any time you want to be sure that your camera remains absolutely still Traditional tripods You can spend a little or a lot on a tripod, with models available for anywhere from 20 to several hundred dollars. At the higher end of the price range, you get a sturdier...

Programs for beginners and casual photo editors

Several companies offer programs geared to the photo-editing novice or the digital photographer who only wants to perform simple photo surgery and creative artwork. Just a few choices in this category include ACDSee Photo Editor ( 50, www.acdsystems.com) ArcSoft PhotoImpression ( 50, www.arcsoft.com) Adobe Photoshop Elements ( 99, www.adobe.com) Corel PhotoImpact X3 ( 70, www.corel.com) These programs provide all the basic image-correction tools that most casual photographers need, plus plenty...

Pixels and print quality

HBEff Generating a good print from a digital photo requires that you feed the printer a certain number of pixels per inch, or ppi. So the pixel count of a photo determines how large you can print the image without noticing a loss of picture quality. Compare, for example, the images in Figures 4-9 through 4-11. The first image has resolution of 300 ppi the second, 150 ppi and the third, 75 ppi. For a close-up comparison of the three images, check out Figure 4-12. For print purposes, resolution...

Adjusting color with white balance

Different light sources have varying color temperatures, which is a fancy way of saying that they contain different amounts of red, green, and blue light. Color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale, illustrated in Figure 6-10. The midday sun has a color temperature of about 5500 Kelvin, which is often abbreviated as 5500K not to be confused with 5500 kilobytes, also abbreviated as 5500K. When two worlds as full of technical lingo as photography and computers collide, havoc ensues. If...

ISO ratings and chip sensitivity

With the aperture setting (f-stop) and shutter speed, you control how much light makes its way from the camera lens to the image sensor. But the final exposure that results from your chosen f-stop and shutter speed depends on the light sensitivity of the camera's image sensor. Light sensitivity for both film and digital camera sensors is stated in ISO numbers. ISO stands for the International Standards Organization, which is the group that developed the light-sensitivity specifications. (Years...

Storing Your Picture Files

Figure 2-2 A memory-card wallet provides safe storage for spare cards. Figure 2-2 A memory-card wallet provides safe storage for spare cards. A hot topic in the world of professional photography is digital asset management, which is simply a fancy term referring to the storing and cataloging of digital picture files. (If you want to be ber-hip, you can refer to it as DAM and, yes, it's pronounced just like the four-letter word you used to get in trouble for saying as a kid.) Professional...

Adding more harddrive space

If the existing hard drive on your computer is bursting at the seams, you can add a second (or third or fourth) drive for relatively little money. And you don't even have to crack open the computer's case to install an internal drive plenty of companies make external drives that attach via a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection or, in some cases, via a second type of connection called FireWire. Nor do you have to give up much desk space to add storage many drives are no larger than the size of...

Showing Some Depth of Field

One way to become a more artful photographer is to learn how to control depth of field, which refers to the distance over which sharp focus is maintained. With short, or shallow depth of field, only objects close to the subject are sharp, as in the left image in Figure 6-6. This treatment is perfect for portraits because it prevents the background from drawing attention away from the subject. Figure 6-6 Shallow depth of field is ideal for portraits left landscapes benefit from a longer zone of...

Equipping Your Digital Darkroom

In addition to deciding on whether your camera meets your needs, you also need to ponder whether your computer, monitor, printer, and photo software are suitable for the types of projects you like to do. Chapter 10 provides a detailed discussion about printers, including advice on when you should print your own images and when you're better off having them printed at your local photo lab. Chapter 2 introduces you to some great photo software for editing your photos, and Chapter 8 looks at...

Table of Contents

1 What's in This Part I Peering Through the Digital Part II Getting the Most from Your Part III From Camera to Computer and Part IV The Part of Icons Used in This Conventions Used in This What Do I Read Part I Peering Through the Digital View finder 7 Chapter 1 Gearing Up Does Your Equipment Fit Your Needs 9 The Savvy Shopper's Camera Design options Point-and-shoot or Picture-quality Lens Photo-enthusiast Make-it-easy Speed Other fun and practical So . . . is it time to Equipping Your Digital...