Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Picture the Perfect Photo. (Personal Computing)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Picture the Perfect Photo. (Personal Computing)

Article excerpt

Technological progress with desktop computers and office software has plateaued in recent years, with little eye-opening innovation. That can't be said of some peripheral computing areas, including digital photography, where progress continues to soar.

The quality of digital cameras has reached parity with conventional film-based cameras. You can now create pictures that to most eyes in most situations are just as rich and sharp as you can with 35mm single-lens reflex cameras. The near-instant gratification and savings of not needing to have film developed is compelling. Though digital cameras are still more expensive, their prices continue to drop.

On the other hand, there's nothing stopping you from taking really lousy pictures. Whether you use a digital camera for business or personal purposes, here are some tips on getting the most out of it, no matter which model you have.

LIGHTING

Ultimately, photos are made of light, but when it comes to lighting, many amateur photographers are in the dark. Photos taken inside of subjects illuminated with conventional incandescent lightbulbs can have a slightly off-color cast because cameras are preconfigured for the "color temperature" of natural lighting.

You can correct for this in one of three ways: 1) Change your camera's "white balance" setting, if your camera permits. 2) Use special "daylight-balanced" lightbulbs. 3) Place your subject by a window.

Your pictures will usually come out better if you avoid using a flash. The inexpensive built-in flash of a typical digital camera can make your subject unnaturally bright and the background unnaturally dark.

Instead, if possible, turn up the lights. If you must use a flash, you can experiment with diffusing its light by bouncing it off a light-colored ceiling or nearby wall. Just hold a small mirror in front of the flash at a 45-degree angle.

Shooting in dim light can also cause the devilish "red eye" problem in subjects. You can use your camera's red-eye setting, if it has one. Other options include turning up the lights or taping a small piece of tracing paper over the flash to diffuse its light.

Outside, try to shoot with the sun behind you. If the sun is behind your subject, turn on the camera's flash to avoid creating an over-dark subject and an overbright background. The best photographic light is in the early morning and late afternoon or in the shade.

COMPOSITION

Although you can crop a picture later using your computer, you'll get sharper results by cropping using the camera. …

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