The Beauty of Shooting At 24mm

Canon 24mm lens
Have you ever questioned what is so special about shooting in 24mm? Or, have you ever wondered what focal length is good for landscapes is but in no way been quite sure what it is? The reality is that there are a lot of angles you can quite easily photograph your landscape with. Each time you zoom in or out, you will be altering the complete look and sense of your photo. Let’s look more intimately at the 24mm viewpoint. Why is it so good?

There are many wonderful things about photographing at 24mm. I use a Canon lens at 24mm for landscapes. The best 24mm lens is one that will tend to continuously supply you with an terrific range or width.  Any Canon 24mm lens (or Nikon 24mm lens) has the ability to get rid of the awful “warp” that comes with subjects taken too close with the ultra wide lenses. If you are unfamiliar with what this means, simply head to the Internet and search for a few wide angle photographs of tall structures taken up close with lenses less than 17mm. In some landscape photography situations it can work well, and in others it does not. From time to time, when you shoot at an ultra wide angle, the landscape you are shooting can look like it’s bulging in the center. If this happens, then why not try taking pictures at 24mm?

When shooting landscape photography we want to strive for “wide”, but not “bending” in the heart of the photo, as some ultra wide angle lenses can generate. This is where the magnificent 24mm focal length comes in. It produces a wide scene without looking unnatural. Not only is it a wonderful overall length to photograph at, but you can photograph at 24mm to generate panoramas. What I mean is 24mm makes for a beautiful individual photo AND it can be a great shooting measurement to stitch several single photos together to create a panorama.

You see if you took a handful of shots taken at 17mm or less, and stitched them together, you may indeed see an awkward bulge. This is what happens when ultra wide shots are stitched to make a single panorama. Unless you are trying to produce a fish-eye effect it will not work properly. When shooting with 24mm this terrible outcome does not happen. We are left with a wide angle perfect for for a single photo and just right  to create a series of photos for a panorama.

To get a better idea of the excellence of the normal 24mm wide angle lens, ask yourself does the photo have a real looking perspective? For example, do you sense any unnatural warping or bending in the horizon line or along the foreground? No, we can’t. That is more often than not a sign that the 24mm focal length is just right for the application.

Is this 24mm lens as a rule “wide enough”? Yes it is. And the beauty about this focal length is that we can bring three individual images at 24mm and create a superb panoramic scene. Some lenses that are ultra wide, such as the 17mm or less, can bulge a panorama a lot.

You can take a series of shots taken from the same view and using a tripod to make sure good results. Then use Panorama Maker Pro 6 photo editing software to merge or stitch the shots together into a sole frame. You will discover that 24mm is most ideal because it does not bulge the panorama in the heart as a 17mm series of photos would.

Once you stitch your 24mm photo sequence together then examine if the image is effective because of the extra surroundings at the edges. The answer is going to be relative because it has to do more with personal preference and the intention of the photographer.

Once you have stitched a handful of 24mm photos together to create a sole panorama, sit back, and have a good look at it. You will find that it looks like a realistic scene.

Food photography tips and tricks

food photography tips and tricks

food photography tips and tricks

In this food photography tutorial I will be explaining some of the very significant food photography techniques. How to photograph food photography relies upon very much on light, where you place things in the photo and focus. Use these tips and tricks to shoot stunning images every time.

We see more food than we realize. Walking through the shopping center will present hundreds or even thousands of expert images of foods and drinks. Flipping through a magazine will also usually present some flavorful and tempting food images as well. Is there really a special trick to photographing food successfully? Yes, in fact there are.

Commercial food photography can apply to promotion, packaging or editorial areas, and the professionals will often be involved with stylists, prop specialists and clients who want the dish to appear delightful and delicious. You will see photos of commercial food photography in brochures of fast food, supermarket catalogues and even billboards in shopping center complexes and road signs. Every time you go by a sign that advertises a pizza, fried chicken or organic produce, there has been a pro photographer behind that photo. This skilled photographer might have been in a studio, under hot lights and next to windows, for hours, while they photographed a series of tasty dishes.

Undoubtedly there are some serious challenges in food photography. Such things as meats or even vegetables must be taken in a way that makes them absolutely tempting. For many the key issues are lighting, background and texture. To photograph foods in the most satisfying ways achievable demands some vital resourcefulness and also demands that the food photographer pays close concentration the food looking as newly picked as humanly possible.

Think that a tomato is picked fresh from the ground, cleaned off and then instantly photographed? Think again! In order to photograph food that looks like you want to bite into it at first look  calls for a number of things to be in pace. The first key is lighting. Lighting foods in order to photograph them well often involves such methods as glazes or moisturizers to be applied to their surfaces to give them an interesting gloss that they might not normally have.

This also means that the item have to be lit appropriately. The majority of good food photographs are those with a lone, small source of lighting targeting the food in question and then a brilliantly lit or coordinating setting that adds to the complete look of the food. For example, many baked goods such as cakes and cookies are likely to be shot with complementary colors in the environment rather than just a simple or continuous color.

In addition to the single, small light source, the majority of food photographers also rest the light at a lower angle to the item than is standard for conventional studio lighting. This is to create a great deal of texture right through the surface of the food and to help any glazes or moisturizers develop many highlights or accents. While lots of studio photographers also are likely to use a great deal of flash fill lighting, food photographers make use of reflectors to light up small amounts of lighting on the subject instead. The final rule around light as used by commercial food photographers is to stay away from lighting any foods from straight in front. This frequently causes shadowed areas to appear, and a quick look at food images would reveal there are never any strong shadows at all.

There are literally dozens of other techniques used to successfully take photos of food, but the majority of professionals will say that the special trick is in the lighting. Once you have mastered the lighting, then you can work on your clear, sharp focus and composition. This development will permit you to capture the most beautiful and mouthwatering photos.

How To Use A Digital Camera – Wrapping Your Head Around The Basics

There are many great advantages of learning how to use a digital camera, even a point and shoot, or compact digital camera. Simply because you don’t have an slr doesn’t mean you won’t be able enough to take beautiful pictures. The elegance about compact digital cameras is that you can take them any where, fit them in your bag and if you see something worth photographing, you can straightforwardly point and shoot. When you realize a few handy techniques, you can subsequently start getting beautiful photos.

In order to photograph beautiful photos you need to take a few methods into consideration before pressing the shutter. As much as the camera has some  marvelous technology, it can only prove as a rough road map for you, instead of taking the photo for you. It’s you who takes a superb shot due to creative  and technological skills, not the camera.

On the days when you have a few moments to examine what result you are going will get you will be grateful that you didn’t rush and really looked closely at what you are shooting. It is constantly through this assessment and understanding that takes you to the next degree in your photography.

To begin, let’s look at the essential mechanical foundations of your camera. Shutter speed and aperture. Every photo consists of a mixture of shutter speed and f stop. To appreciate this fully think of your shutter speed as the measurement of time the light has to enter the sensor and then be shut out again. The fstop is the quantity of light that the shutter lets inside. Shutter is about shooting at the right moment and aperture is about the amount of light.

When you have a lens aperture that is quite large, you will find you have a quicker shutter speed time. This is so that not too much light floods the sensor and provides you with overly bright photos. (Photos with too much light can ruin your image). Fstop and shutter speed continually work at the same time. Once you feel more confident in your camera and your skills and competencies, you will be able to work out the ideal combination of both.  Once you get the perfect combination you will be able to progress your photography ten fold.

What about the modes on the compact ? There are a a small number of work modes you can use on your digital camera. Most of the time you will most likely shoot in automatic. I suggest to aim to use out the other controls if you can.

“SP” is shutter priority mode. It means that the camera will decide on what it thinks the best shutter speed is for your photo. “AP” means aperture priority. The camera will pick the aperture for you as you decide the shutter speed. You may also find a range of other scene shooting modes such as Portrait, Landscape, Night and Sport.  When you position your camera dial on any of these modes it will mean that the compact  will try to hit upon the best combination of shutter and aperture for these conditions you have chosen.

These diverse settings bring about distinct things to take place within the camera itself. Portrait mode sets the camera to have a blurry background. Landscape sets the digital camera to be able to get sharp focus in the distance. Night Time function sets the camera to have a very long-drawn-out shutter speed and Sports function tells the digital camera to have a very fast shutter speed. Within all of these shooting modes you are unable to manipulate the light sensitivity (called ISO), and at times won’t be able to use the flash. (Based on what digital camera you have.)

Working to get the best image sharpness you can is the ideal way to take pictures.  It’s important to be on familiar terms with what type of subjects needs what kind of focusing. For example, a close up picture of someone’s face needs sharp, close focusing. A mountain range will require sharp focusing all the way in the distance. (This span of focusing is called depth of field.)

To make sure that your shots are in focus at the point you want them to be, you will see a small circle come up in your view finder or the screen. When the picture is in focus the little circle will present. Some digital cameras don’t have a green small dot but may beep quietly when the shot is in focus and it’s time to take the shot.

It’s important not to be careless with the focus. Sometimes it’s hard to keep everything in your head at once which is why digital camera making companies created a useful little mode called “Auto Focus Lock”. This mode allows you hold the focus on your subject while you get the best position, then you can photograph and still keep clear focus.

Otherwise you can point the camera, keep the button down half way (don’t compress it yet) wait for the camera to beep, then take the image. By doing this you will also be holding the focus. This has great advantages because you don’t have to recall to take the auto focus lock off. You can just move on to the next image.

Always keep in mind to observe your light, before taking the shot. Choose which mode you love photographing in and take the photo accordingly. Happy shooting!

Gallery

How To Take Great Portraits

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The Truth About Neutral Density Filters

cabdf360.jpg
Picture courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/COKINFILTERSYSTEM/graduated_filters.htm

This week one of my loyal customers asked me a brilliant question about Neutral Density filters. It was so good I just had to answer it via this article. You’ll most likely appreciate this digital photography tip as much as he will.

A question, I want to get a graduated filter, however, all the one’s I see are graduated grey, are they still ND and will not affect the colour? Very best regards, Pete.”

What Pete’s digital photography question is all about is the common confusion of photography equipment looking like something different to what we first expect.

When choosing a filter for our digital photography its best to first look at them as tools. Firstly in order to maintain clarity about ND filters, firstly think about what you need then work your way from there. Pete’s a fantastic photographer and is ready to move to the next level with his digital photography equipment choices, which is where I come in.

The answer to Petes digital photography question is yes, they are still ND, but like all filters, the colour will be affected. I’ll explain.

ND filters are predominately used to darken a bright sky so that both the sky and subject can be properly exposed. Graduated ND filters have varying degrees of “graduated grey.” The Graduated ND filter comes in a few different types, but can really be broken down into two main categories. They are; hard edge and soft edge.

As the name suggested a Hard Edge is mainly applied when there is a sudden difference in the luminance of the digital photo, such as an overexposed sky over a landscape. The soft edge filter is mainly applied to a digital photo that has less distinct over and under exposed areas such as the same landscape but perhaps taken at approaching dusk when the light is not do hard. A soft filter just gently tones down harder areas of light. It’s less dramatic and can often be used very well in black and white photography to give the digital photo a “boost” of the dramatic.

You can have a variety of ND filters that go from a weak graduated grey to quite a strong graduated grey. The “intensity” of graduated grey is described by numbers. So for example a weak graduated grey ND filter is known as “ND2X”. And the strongest is “ND8X”.

All filters affect digital photography colour whether subtly or dramatically. You can have an ND filter that’s quite soft but still darkens an area of the digital photography image. Even though it’s subtle, anything you put onto that lense will be affected. But it depends what we mean by “affected.”

If we mean the colours disappear and change completely…well a lot depends on that such as the intensity of grey, the colour at the time of day, the seasons etc. If you are using a Full graduation from top to bottom then your colours will most definitely change. They will become darker. However if you are using a less intense ND filter, then you’ll notice the change in colour is not as apparent. You‘ll notice that the lighter ND filters will have more of a polarizing affect, the darker areas being at the top and not so much shading at the bottom.

Graduated ND filters are brilliant in times of excessive brightness coming from the top of the sky for example. You can use an ND filter to darken an overly bright sky and keep the main subject’s luminance the same. It has a terrific influence over evening up unbalanced light. It can effectively tone down over exposed areas in your digital photography.

Happy Shooting,

Amy Renfrey

The Best Way To Clean Your Digital Camera

This week I’ve been asked a barrel of questions! I’m very lucky to have such a loyal group of subscribers. One the questions I was asked was from John about digital camera cleaning and what sort of digital camera cleaning equipment did he need (a different John to last week).

Well don’t do what I did before I knew anything about photography. It’s embarrassing, but I’ll tell you anyway. I was standing at a beautiful beach one balmy, Aussie summers dusk and there was a rush of wind. It blew sand all over me and onto the digital camera. Knowing ‘zip’ about digital camera care and maintenance at the time I cleaned the lense with the corner of my t-shirt and went on my merry way.

When I arrived home that night I took out my digital camera to download the images to the computer and out fell small particles of sand onto the floor. I thought “what the..?” I was surprised to see so many grains. I took off the lense cap and there were sand granules embedded into the edge of the lense. And that particular digital camera lense has never retained the same sharpness and clarity since my various trips to the beach. After a while the sand granules on the lense caused the annoying lack of quality that I previously had. I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my time with digital photography from not knowing any better, and that was a doozy.

Thankfully I learnt and am now teaching digital photography. Camera care and cleaning is a regular thing you should give your digital camera. And the best way to clean a lenes? Carefully! This is why you should never take the edge of your t-shirt and clean it because unbeknownst to you, you could be leaving tiny trails of grit and dirt on the lense causing scratching.

Remember all digital camera lenses are made of glass. The clarity and sharpness you get in your digital photos relies heavily on the surface of that glass to be squeaky clean. Nothing must get onto the lense if you can help it. Its pretty hard to keep a lense 100% clean because of dust particles floating around in the air, but you can get as close to100% as possible with some handy digital photography camera cleaning equipment.

There are a couple of ways you can clean your digital cameras lens, and that’s with a bit of spit…..just kidding. Seriously, you must use a proper lense cleaning cloth. You can use cleaning fluid too. This can cause some streaking across the lense if you use too much. One drop on your lens cleaning cloth in a gentle circular motion with a will get most marks off a lens.

In popular digital camera stores you can buy a pretty good lens cleaning fluid. It shouldn’t be more than $20-$25 depending on where you go. The digital camera lense cleaning fluid is an alcohol-based fluid that, just between you and me, I wouldn’t take my digital camera out without it. The digital camera lens cleaning fluid is ideal because it’s not solely for dust but accidental finger prints and other unplanned smudges.

Don’t forget about your other digital camera filters too. You can have a polariser on the front of your lens which will most likely need a clean if you’re using your digital camera a lot, or if you are using it outside for a day. You’ll be amazed at how dirty the lens can get. If you’re not sure, grab a lense cleaning kit from your nearest digital camera store.

lens-cleaning-kit.jpg

Picture by http://www.precison-camera.com

Personally I have several lens cleaning cloths, lens cleaning fluid, a brush with an air capsule to blow of dust then brush, cotton buds to get into the crevasse and a small leather pouch I keep it all in. The leather pouch is actually a small ladies purse. I bought it for the size and the durability and protection it gave my cleaning equipment.

No more wiping the lense with a t-shirt! (Heaven forbid!)

Happy shooting,

Amy Renfrey

How To Choose The Right Digital Camera For You

Many times I’ve been asked what the best digital camera to get is. The response is, as you’ve probably heard quite a few times, “it depends on what you want to do.” And what you want to do creates a need. That’s all very well but how do you know exactly what you need?

Once you work out what types of digital photos you want to improve then choosing a camera will seem difficult and confusing. In the end you will have a hard time and probably end up not choosing a digital camera at all and this is not good because your digital photos will remain the same. You can certainly have a great experience in digital photography, but if you have the right camera you’ll find that this experience is vastly improved.

 For starters, think about the digital photographs you have taken in the past and think about your frustration with them. Are they to dark? Is the lag time too long? Is it out of focus when you try to get long distance digital photos? Or alternatively are have you tried to get digital photos that seem out of focus up close, or you can’t get close enough in to your subjects?

 For example I have a subscriber who just loves to take digital photographs of flowers. She’s a lady in her 60’s and is an avid Gardner and asked me to help her to capture the brilliant colour and detail of her carefully grown flowers. I suggested that with the camera she had been using to date, her flowers would have two problems:

 Colour saturation (which creates lack of detail) and the camera would not provide her with the ability to get focused shots up close, even when the “flower” setting was on, on her digital camera. She confirmed this was indeed the problem she was having. As a help, I gave her some pointers to what may help her digital photography experience by looking at the problems in the current digital camera, then finding an active solution.

 The problem was that a lot of point and shoot digital cameras may be fantastic and feel like a bargain at $200 they just don’t have the digital sensor capabilities to capture to fine detail when there is a bulk amount of colour in the scene. Let’s take for example a digital photograph of a yellow rose. The digital camera would not be able to distinguish the detail in the petals up close because it gets lost in “all the yellow”. Because the digital camera’s sensor built for the bottom end range it’s not able to capture this fine detail.

 My subscriber was also having trouble with her detail in focus up close. Even though she was selecting the “flower” setting, it still was not as clear up close as it could be. And due to the colour saturation in her digital photos she was having difficulty getting the clear digital images that she imagined getting in her mind. I suggested that she may want to look at a digital camera with a capability to add macro lenses. I explained that the sensor would be able to pick up more detail in the colour of the flowers if she had better lenes for the macro photography that she wanted to do. A good macro lens would give her the detail up close, and she could get in even closer than before without loosing focus or detail.

 In the end my lady subscriber ended up choosing a Sony digital camera with interchangeable lenses and with a better sensor. She was extremely impressed with the new digital image quality her photographs were getting. She was able to photograph the petals up very close and even capture the tiny veins in the petals of the flowers.

 I recommend you do the same. Think about the frustrations you’ve had in the past as then find a camera to suit. Try to look first at the digital cameras that have the features and facilities you are after, and then look at the whole range. Not the other way around. Looking at every single digital camera first may confuse you; its better to narrow your search down to the features first.

Happy shooting!

Amy Renfrey

 

How To Choose The Right Digital Camera For You

Many times I’ve been asked what the best digital camera to get is. The response is, as you’ve probably heard quite a few times, “it depends on what you want to do.” And what you want to do creates a need. That’s all very well but how do you know exactly what you need?

 Once you work out what types of digital photos you want to improve then choosing a camera will seem difficult and confusing. In the end you will have a hard time and probably end up not choosing a digital camera at all and this is not good because your digital photos will remain the same. You can certainly have a great experience in digital photography, but if you have the right camera you’ll find that this experience is vastly improved.

 For starters, think about the digital photographs you have taken in the past and think about your frustration with them. Are they to dark? Is the lag time too long? Is it out of focus when you try to get long distance digital photos? Or alternatively are have you tried to get digital photos that seem out of focus up close, or you can’t get close enough in to your subjects?

 For example I have a subscriber who just loves to take digital photographs of flowers. She’s a lady in her 60’s and is an avid Gardner and asked me to help her to capture the brilliant colour and detail of her carefully grown flowers. I suggested that with the camera she had been using to date, her flowers would have two problems:

 Colour saturation (which creates lack of detail) and the camera would not provide her with the ability to get focused shots up close, even when the “flower” setting was on, on her digital camera. She confirmed this was indeed the problem she was having. As a help, I gave her some pointers to what may help her digital photography experience by looking at the problems in the current digital camera, then finding an active solution.

 The problem was that a lot of point and shoot digital cameras may be fantastic and feel like a bargain at $200 they just don’t have the digital sensor capabilities to capture to fine detail when there is a bulk amount of colour in the scene. Let’s take for example a digital photograph of a yellow rose. The digital camera would not be able to distinguish the detail in the petals up close because it gets lost in “all the yellow”. Because the digital camera’s sensor built for the bottom end range it’s not able to capture this fine detail.

 My subscriber was also having trouble with her detail in focus up close. Even though she was selecting the “flower” setting, it still was not as clear up close as it could be. And due to the colour saturation in her digital photos she was having difficulty getting the clear digital images that she imagined getting in her mind. I suggested that she may want to look at a digital camera with a capability to add macro lenses. I explained that the sensor would be able to pick up more detail in the colour of the flowers if she had better lenes for the macro photography that she wanted to do. A good macro lens would give her the detail up close, and she could get in even closer than before without loosing focus or detail.

 In the end my lady subscriber ended up choosing a Sony digital camera with interchangeable lenses and with a better sensor. She was extremely impressed with the new digital image quality her photographs were getting. She was able to photograph the petals up very close and even capture the tiny veins in the petals of the flowers.

 I recommend you do the same. Think about the frustrations you’ve had in the past as then find a camera to suit. Try to look first at the digital cameras that have the features and facilities you are after, and then look at the whole range. Not the other way around. Looking at every single digital camera first may confuse you; its better to narrow your search down to the features first.

Happy shooting!

Amy Renfrey