What You Need To Know About Digital Photographry

Digital photography is a great pastime for anyone that is interested in taking pictures. Digital technology allows you to easily share your photos with friends and family. There are tips and tricks to get you past any difficulties.

Digital photography has become an exciting and desirable pastime for many people including those that previously never really cared much about taking pictures. Fortunately for photography enthusiast, over the past few years the cost of digital photography has been lowered which makes the technology within the reach of most consumers.

The instantaneous image that can be seen right on the camera's LCD screen may account for much of the interest. Or it could be that the photos can be easily shared with friends and family over e-mail. Digital memory cards can be used over and over so there is no film to buy or to develop. It may even be that envious twinge we feel whenever we see someone with a new svelte model. In reality the digital phenomenon is probably a combination of all these things.

Before purchasing your new digital camera, even if it's not your first one, there are a few facts to consider as well as some tips and tricks to follow.

All digital cameras are not created equal. This is apparent when you try to choose between two or three models. Although very unlikely, it would be great if you could pick and choose all of your favorite features and have them available in one camera.

The prices have dramatically dropped for many digital cameras. Cameras that cost $500.00 to $600.00 a year ago can now be had for $300.00 to $400.00. The rest of the good news is that most of these cameras have great features. At the lower end of the price range you will still find 3.2 mega pixels, an LCD monitor, a small form factor (the dimension of the camera), a 3X optical zoom, a 2X to 3X digital zoom, a removable digital media card, a rechargeable lithium battery, and in some cases a docking station. At the high end of the price range the features are much the same - except you'll probably get up to 5.2 mega pixels and possibly a larger zoom. The zoom on a digital camera is a combination of both optical (the most desirable) and digital. Cameras at all price points will include software specific to the camera and will also likely include photo editing software.

Before making your decision, think about what you want from a digital camera. Ask yourself a few questions such as:

How do I intend to print the photos?

If you intend to use your photos online it may be best to choose the lower mega pixel count. Although many people have a high speed broadband connection there are still those that do not. The higher the pixel count the slower a photo will load on the internet.

If you want to print your photos the higher mega pixel count is best, because each pixel contains information that makes up the details. A digital photo looses clarity once it is enlarged past the point that the available pixels can provide enough information to fill out the details.

If you want both options you can compromise with a 4.0 mega pixel camera or you can preserve details of a digital photo by cropping it (removing details that are not important) using photo editing software possible included with the camera.

How large is the LCD monitor?

Most LCD monitors on digital cameras measure between 1 and 1.5 inches diagonally. This is an adequate size but it is difficult to see much detail. To counteract this, check to see if the camera has a zoom feature for the LCD monitor.

There are cameras that have larger LCD monitors - some measuring up to 2.5 inches diagonally.

By using the LCD monitor as the viewfinder you can more accurately frame your photo. The combination of optical and digital zooms can cause an unrealistic sense of the actual photo you will capture while looking through the view finder.

Is the size of the camera important to me?

The smaller the camera - the easier it is to carry around. This may have been more important before cell phones became equipped with cameras. While traveling the small digital cameras can be carried in a shirt pocket or a small bag.

If you have large hands the small form factor may not be for you. The view finder is often placed in such a way that your fingers get in the way and can ruin an otherwise great photo. You may be able to save a photo like this by cropping it.

What type of digital media card I you prefer?

Unlike film cameras that produce photo images on a roll of film, a digital camera writes the photos to a storage device. These devices commonly called digital media cards - work similarly to each other. They have no moving parts and they are durable. Some of the differences include their size and shape, their storage size and their write speed. The manufacturer of the digital camera determines which type of storage card can be used. Each model will use some type of digital media card whether it is the compact flash card style I and II, the SD (secure digital) card, the MMC (multi-media) card, or the memory stick.

If you own another device such as a PDA or an MP3 player that use digital memory cards you may choose a camera that uses the same ones. Memory cards save photos files, data files and music files.

How do I prefer to transfer digital photo files into my computer?

In order to see the photos on your computer you have to transfer the files to your computer. This can be accomplished by using a USB cable that comes with your camera, by using a digital memory card and a reader or by using a camera dock.

Any of these methods work well but there are considerations that need to be looked at with each one:

Battery power is used to transfer files directly from your camera through a USB cable.

(Nothing extra has to be purchased)

A digital memory card needs a reader to transfer the files.

(Readers are not expensive and can usually read several types of digital media memory cards.)

A digital camera dock easily transfers the files while charging the camera batteries.

(All cameras are not able to use docks so your choice of cameras is fewer.)

If you find and are considering buying an older model digital camera there are a few things to consider:

Many older digital cameras do not use removable digital media cards. The photos are transferred through either a USB or a serial cord. If the batteries are allowed to run down - all of your photos disappear because the camera memory depends on battery power for its memory.

Typically a consumer model digital camera writes the photo image to the media card as the popular and widely used JPEG file format. The file format is important due to the fact that as technology advances, there are no guarantees that a file format will be supported in the future- even by the company that developed it. If you do not own the software that reads the discontinued file format you may not be unable to open the image file.

Now that you have made your decision on which camera to buy here are a few tips about using it.

Reduce red-eye - If your camera has a red-eye setting use it. Before completely depressing the shutter button - push it half way down to set off a pre-flash and then press it all the way down.

Lighting - If your camera has different lighting settings adjust them according to the conditions. A digital camera depends on white balance to correctly record your subject. If there is too much or too little light the camera cannot balance color and brightness.

If you take a digital picture in too little light it will be blurry. If there is too much bright light such as from a window the subject will turn out dark.

If you are not sure about the lighting situation take extra photos from several angles and from different directions. You can delete the ones that did not work out well.

Distance - Since a typical consumer digital camera has a 3X optical and a 2X - 3X digital zoom your subject may not have great detail if it is too far off in the distance. Frame your photo in such a way that you can bring your subject closer to the forefront by cropping the photo.

Some cameras have a macro setting if you want to take photos at an extremely close distance. Typically you can get a great photo from within 4 inches of the subject but with a macro setting you can get as close as an inch or two from the subject. This can be important for anyone photographing flowers or items such as collectibles where the details have to be clear and visible.

Movement - Action photos are more difficult to get right with a digital camera. You have to anticipate the subject's movement as well as allowing for the slight delay of the time between when you push the shutter button and when the photo is actually written to the digital memory card. It helps to slightly push the shutter button down - wait for the right moment - and then push it on down just at the moment you want the camera to record the photo.

Camera Treatment - Digital cameras are small computers. They have a circuit board inside that is somewhat fragile. Don't swing the camera around or let it bump into things. Keep the wrist strap around your wrist so that you do not drop the camera.

Extreme heat can damage your camera. Do not leave it closed up in a car in direct sunlight for instance. If the weather is extremely cold allow the camera to warm up a bit before taking pictures. Keep it in an inside pocket of your clothing - preferably close to the body.

Also check and follow the manufacturer's recommendations of your digital media.

By choosing the appropriate digital camera for your wants and needs and by following a few simple digital photography tips you can have a great time taking and sharing digital photos. If the first photo is not up to par - just take another one. You are only limited by your imagination and the size of your memory card. Delete the photos that you are unhappy with and share the photos that you are proud of.

The digital photography technology changes almost daily. Even so, with the use of great techniques and software you can keep up pretty well.

© High Speed Ventures 2011