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Monday, 28 January 2013

Photo Tricks and Effects For Beginners


The moment you pick up your camera to take pictures, you are a photographer. Even though that is the case, it doesn't mean you are a good photographer yet. Good photographers has lots of flexibility with their cameras. To be a good photographer, you have to learn to get the most out of your camera's manual mode.
Before you can use your camera's manual mode, you will have to learn to activate it. Check on Google for more details on your specific camera. Usually you can find this setting by rotating a dial on your camera (if your camera has a dial) to the letter "M", or you can press "function set" and look around for it.
Manual mode can be very intimidating for many people. The reason is because there are too many settings that you can adjust on your camera. If you want to be a pro, you will eventually have to learn all of them. Even though being a pro doesn't necessarily mean you are selling your skills for money. Being good at what you do always makes it more fun. For now, you won't need to learn every function. In this article will just need to focus on your camera's shutter speed.
The shutter of a camera is a flap between the view hole of the camera, and the environment. The moment this flap comes down, your camera captures the image records it as data. This setting comes in units of seconds or fractions of seconds. What I mean by that is that your camera will display something like these values:
1/8000, 1/6000, 1/1500, 1/80, 1/60, 1/4,.3",.8", 1", 15", 30"

Sometimes cameras don't display fractions and you might see something like these instead:
8000, 6000, 1500, 80, 60, 4,.8", 1", 15", 30"

If you don't see some of the values I listed, it's probably because your camera doesn't have the capability to go beyond a certain range. Different values indicate how long your shutter "waits" before it captures the image. For example, lets say you set your shutter speed to 8000, or 1/8000, then your shutter will "snap" at 1/8000 fraction of a second. If you don't see this mark --> " <-- then the number indicates fractions of a second, not actual seconds, so don't get confused. If you set it to 30" or 30 seconds, then your camera will keep the view opening exposed to the environment for 30 seconds before it snaps the shutter.
At different shutter speeds, different effects can be produced. Fast shutter speed can reduce motion blur. This effect can be evident as soon as you hit any speed faster than 1/80 fraction of a second. Motion freeze pictures can be produced as soon you hit the 1/250 mark. Since taking picture is an art by itself, you can leave some blur in the photo to express action. If you want pure freeze motion effect, then make the shutter speed as fast as possible. This effect is best achieved at 1/1500 or higher. Faster shutter speeds also makes the picture darker because less light is captured, so if you are trying to capture freeze motion at night, make sure you have a super powerful light shining on your subject. If you take your pictures at shutter speeds slower than 1 second, then different effects will be produced. Your picture will come out brighter. Lets say for example, you take a picture of your local park at night with a 30" exposure (technical term for shutter speed), then your photo will come out looking like you took the picture during the day hours. Another effect of taking long exposure photos is the blur effect. This might not be so popular of a choice if you are trying to take photos intending to clearly see the details of your subject. However, you can use this effect on water flows to express flow effect.
To be a good photographer, it's recommended that you try all the shutter speeds available in your camera. I gave you some shortcuts here, but different brands of camera might create slight different effects. If you have the timepractice using all of the shutter speeds. If you are still using film negatives to take your photos, then this method is highly not recommended. However, considering how we all use digital camera nowadays, you are obligated to practice and experiment with all shutter speeds to get the best effect.
When I tell you to practice, I am actually showing how you should train your eyes. Eyes are the windows to the soul. The purpose of a picture is to allow others to feel the moment of what you witnessed. If you want to take amazing pictures, you will need to master your eyes.
The key to excellent photography is nothing more than controlling light exposure. You can't rely on your camera to do everything. Practice until your eyes and your camera's shutter speed are linked and coordinated. To begin, start by practicing on the following subjects.
  1. Bright subjects (shiny light bulbs, or shiny objects, but not the sun or lasers)
  2. Normal subjects (people or objects that are not shiny)
  3. Dark subjects (people or objects that are hidden in shadows, or dark environment with dim lights nearby, not completely dark without light)
Lets say your camera's fastest shutter speed is 1/1500 fraction of a second. Turn on the lights in your room. Point your camera towards your bright light bulb. Take a picture. Repeat for the next slower shutter speed, like for example 1/1300 fraction of a second. Don't delete any pictures you took. Keep snapping until the pictures you take look too bright to notice any details. Now, go into your camera's review mode to view all the pictures you took. Search for the pictures that looks "just right" in terms of the amount of brightness. Now, press "disp" or display button in your camera to see what shutter speed you took that picture with. Write the best values on a piece of paper. For me personally, my pictures of the bright light bulb starts to look too bright at 1/250 fraction of a second. For you, it can be different so experiment shutter speeds faster and slower than that.
When you practice taking pictures of "normal subjects", choose subjects that are not too bright or too dark. If your subject is shiny metal or too white, then it's too bright. This applies if your subject is a person wearing shiny accessories or white clothes. If you find your subject dark enough to camouflage in shadows then that's too dark. If you are practicing on a person, then choose a person wearing bright clothes that's not white in color. If you are taking pictures of an object, choose a bright color object that's not white or black. Start at the highest shutter speed of your camera, and make your shutter speed slower for every following picture. If your camera's shutter speed goes any faster than 1/1500 fraction of a second, then you will notice that the first five or six pictures are pitch black. At 1/1500 or slower, some details will start showing in your photos. You may stop going any slower when your pictures look too bright. For me, my pictures started looking too bright at.3". Also take notice of when your pictures start looking "just right". Write down the best values on a piece of paper.
When you take pictures of dark subjects, start at 1/80 and take the following pictures in faster and slower shutter speeds. When you take pictures faster than 1/80, like for example at 1/100, you will find your following pictures get darker. Stop when your pictures look pitch black. Now at 1/80, and go in the reverse direction this time and next series of photos in slower shutter speeds. If you are taking a picture of a dark environment, you might notice that you won't see anything until you go slower than 3". At your camera's slowest shutter speed, you might start noticing the photos look like they are taken in bright light. However, if your shutter speed can't go any longer than 5 seconds, then that effect might not be as obvious. Write down the best values on a piece of paper.
Keep the numbers you recorded for future reference. They will teach you what range of shutter speeds you can use in bright environments, normal environments and dark environments. I hope you enjoyed this article.
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