Discussion in 'Photography and Imaging' started by WillowTree, May 6, 2018.
I have found that shooting pictures of yellow flowers the hardest to get good images from.
Here is something that may help you if you need it. If not then someone else may find it helpful.
A brief tutorial for your digital camera.
For the purposes of this study, I will use the same terminology concerning exposures and settings on the camera as we would a 35mm film camera. The actual values used here such as lens openings and shutter speeds and menus may be different for your camera, but the principles are all the same.
There are five main controls you need to be aware of that affect how your images are exposed on your digital camera. They are:
1. ISO setting
2. Shutter speed
3. Aperture setting
4. White balance
5. Exposure compensation
ISO setting is the sensitivity setting for the camera. It is very similar to setting the film speed on a 35mm film camera. The lower the ISO setting the higher quality images you can capture. The trade off for a lower ISO setting is slower exposure times (slower shutter speeds). Consequently using a higher ISO setting will result in being able to use faster exposure times (faster shutter speeds). This also will result in a slightly lowered image quality.
Only when you get the upper Limit of your available ISO settings will image quality be much less. The available light will affect how you need to set the ISO. Some cameras have an auto ISO feature that can raise the ISO setting as light fades or you enter a room that is not very bright.
The ISO setting menu on your camera is accessed using the camera menus. Note that when the round selector knob is set in the AUTO mode, ISO setting is unavailable. To keep the most control over my pictures, I rarely if ever use the AUTO setting.
Shutter speed is a measurement of how long the shutter remains open when you press the shutter release button. On a typical camera, the range of shutter speeds may be from 30 seconds to 1/4000th of a second. Your camera may be different. Note that when taking hand held shots a shutter speed slower than 1/60th second may result in a blurry image due to camera movement. Also zooming in requires a faster shutter speed. For example if you zoom in on something and the actual focal length of the lens is 200 mm you should use a shutter speed faster than 1/200th of a second, or use a tripod to avoid camera shake.
As a general rule the more light available in your scene the higher your shutter speed will be unless shooting in a manual mode. Note that the ISO setting controls the range of shutter speeds available to you in a given available lighting condition.
Aperture setting, also referred to as F-stop, is a number applied to how wide the lens is open. A typical camera has an aperture range from around f2.8 to f20 or greater. Note that the smaller the f-number the larger the lens opening. Decreasing the aperture (a larger f-number) will reduce the amount of light the camera “sees” when you snap the picture requiring you to use a slower shutter speed. Therefore a larger aperture setting (a smaller f-number) will let more light pass through the lens requiring a faster shutter speed.
Another factor to consider in selecting the aperture for making custom pictures is the depth of field. Depth of field is simply the area in front and behind the subject you are photographing that will be in focus. Note that a wider or larger aperture (smaller f-number) results in a very shallow depth of field. You can see this effect in pictures where the subject is in sharp focus and everything in the background is out of focus. This is useful for making your subject stand out, or where the background is undesirable, or you want some special effect.
Therefore using a smaller aperture (larger f-number) will result in more of your picture being in focus. The maximum depth of field is usually from a foot or two in front of the camera out to infinity in normal shooting modes. Note that in general, a longer focal length lens will have a more shallow depth of field then a shorter focal length lens. A 200 mm focal length lens is "longer" then say a 50 mm lens.
Examples of a shallow depth of field:
On the round exposure mode knob (your camera may be different) on the top of the camera, there are 4 main exposure modes for complete control of your pictures. Those modes are as follows:
M for MANUAL exposure
S for SHUTTER priority
A for APERTURE priority
P for PROGRAM SHIFT
Manual or "M" setting lets you select both the Aperture and Shutter Speed to expose your picture at. You must be sure you have the correct exposure, unless you are trying to get a special effect of some kind. Most cameras have some type of notification when you are over exposing or under exposing the picture.
Shutter priority or "S" setting lets you select the shutter speed you want and the camera selects the aperture setting for the correct exposure
Aperture priority or "A" lets you select the aperture you want and the camera sets the shutter speed for the best exposure. You can use any combination of these settings to achieve special effects like stop action or motion blur.
An example of motion blur:
The above vehicle was only traveling about 30 mph. I "followed" the vehicle with the camera. The camera settings were:
ISO = 100 Focal length = 105mm
Aperture = F/32
Shutter speed = 1/13th second
Exposure compensation = -0.7
Note that "following" the subject with your camera is called "panning".
An example of stop action:
The helicopter was flying and the blades were spinning, yet the camera freezes them with a fast enough shutter speed.
The camera settings were:
ISO = 200
Aperture = f/6.8
Shutter speed = 1/800th second
Exposure compensation = 0
Program Shift or "P" lets the camera choose shutter and aperture settings. This is different from AUTO in that rotating the control wheel or whatever method your camera uses to change exposure allows you to move aperture and shutter settings up and down.
Here is an example of a camera exposure mode dial or more commonly called the round selector knob
This camera is set to "Auto". I do not use Auto.
This camera is set to "Aperture Priority".
Note that AUTO gives away all your control to the camera. Don’t use this unless you want the camera to set exposure, and take away all your control.
White Balance is setting the camera for different types of light.
The camera does not see light the same way the human eye does. Various settings on your camera may be Auto, Bright Sunlight, Shade, cloudy, fluorescent, flash, incandescent and manual. Outdoor settings are self-explanatory. Indoor lighting is usually fluorescent or incandescent (Light bulbs) Auto will work for most light conditions, but experiment with different white balance settings for different effects.
An example of difference in white balance:
One last setting to touch on is Exposure Compensation. Sometimes the scene is either over exposed or under exposed when the camera shows exposure to be correct. This is determined by taking a picture and then looking at it and if the colors look good and it’s not too dark or too bright then exposure is good. If the camera says exposure is correct and it is too light or too dark then changing your exposure compensation will adjust the exposure to brighten or darken the picture. See camera documentation for the correct way to do it.
This is very important as many times if you are not aware of this you will never know why your pictures don’t come out the way they looked in the viewfinder.
A few pointers on taking pictures.
To get a stop action picture use the highest shutter speed and set the aperture to give the desired depth of field. To limit depth of field open the aperture. Remember that any change of aperture requires a change in shutter speed unless you are trying for a special effect.
To get pictures indicating movement of your subject can be done at least two different ways. We will use an example of a pickup running down the highway against a background of trees as an example subject.
1. Subject movement against a non-moving background:
You may need a tripod here. Use a mid to large aperture (or large aperture number for longer depth of field) and a shutter speed around 1/30th to 1/60th second to start with. When the subject enters the viewfinder and is centered how you like it, take the picture. This will result in a slightly blurry subject shown against a clear background. You may have to experiment with exposure settings and zoom to get the desired effect.
2. Moving subject against a motion blurred background:
Use a fast shutter speed (fast enough to freeze the subject) and frame the subject in the viewfinder and move the camera with the subject as it moves, following it. Take the shot when ready. The subject will be clear and the background will be blurred giving a speed motion effect. Experimentation will help in these cases.
Taking pictures at less than 1/60th of a second (1/30th if you’re steady) usually will require a tripod to hold the camera still. Most night time shots will be taken at even slower speeds than this. Note that most cameras have several time delay settings. You can delay the exposure by ten seconds, which is useful when you want to trip the shutter and then run around and get in the picture or two seconds when you just want to avoid shaking the camera in low light/slow shutter speed situations.
Note that in some situations you cannot get the right exposure setting. In this situation adjusting the ISO setting or using the flash may solve this problem.
Using the flash can help take great pictures outdoors as well as indoors. One situation called “backlighting” is where using the flash outdoors will be needed. Backlighting is when the subject of your picture has a bright light source behind it, such as the sun. Taking the picture like that will result in the subject or their faces being in a shadow with an overall poor picture quality. Use the flash to fill in. If the flash head is movable on your camera then you can even bounce the flash off the ceiling for a less direct flash effect.
Most cameras have settings to control the flash all the way from no flash to full flash.
Be aware that in the AUTO setting on the mode knob, you cannot control any exposure setting including ISO or flash output.
Note that the shutter release button on a lot of cameras does two things. It releases the shutter when fully depressed and when pressed halfway, it adjusts and locks in auto focus and locks in the exposure settings and displays them at the bottom of your screen or viewfinder. Note that if you hold the shutter release button halfway down and lock the settings, if you point the camera elsewhere and take the picture, settings will still be adjusted for the original scene. This is useful for some overexposed scene or hard to focus on subjects.
Sometimes this will cause a problem with focus because if you release the button and then press it halfway again it will refocus.
I avoid this by using "back button focus". Most SLR cameras have this ability. Search youtube for how to set ti.
Let's look for a moment at how changing the exposure of a scene can completely change the picture. The picture below was shot at around 6:30 in the morning and the exposure was as follows: Aperture F10 , Shutter speed 1/15th second, ISO 400, exposure compensation -0.7. The camera was a Nikon D40. Not to impressive, huh?
Now, the same picture taken a few seconds later with the following exposure settings, aperture F10, shutter speed 1/250th second, ISO 200, exposure compensation -0.7, gives a dramatically different result:
Believe it or not, this is the same scene at the same time, on the same day!
Finally, you need to understand picture composition. Composition is how you put your scene together to make it more appealing to look at.
Consider the rule of thirds which states that you should divide your picture into thirds instead of halves. This usually makes for a more appealing picture. Here's an example of a picture cut in half:
Now, the same shot re-taken using the rule of thirds:
Notice in the picture above the two animals are in the left third of the image.
Here is one picture taken of a house at the end of a fence row:
And here is the scene re-composed into a cleaner simpler shot which seems to make the scene more appealing to the eye.
So taking a little time and analyzing the scene before you snap the shutter may make a big difference in the final picture. Lastly, Make sure a tree or a telephone pole isn't growing out of your subjects head! J
There are many more features available in your camera that after you master these basics, using your manual can fully explain them. Also consider a small book or Internet site on picture composition.
The science of understanding how your equipment works and why, along with lighting and composure enhances one ability to create art. You don't think Picasso just mixed those colors on his palette and prayed for the right mix do you?
I bet he has nuts!
Osprey family. The chick is in the middle looking all bug eyed!
Separate names with a comma.