Digital photo

What is digital photography?  How does it work?

According to Wikipedia, digital photography is a form of photography that uses cameras containing arrays of electronic photodetectors to capture images focused by a lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film.  The captured images are digitized and stored as a computer fil read for further digital processing, viewing digital publishing or printing.”

So digital photography is merely the digital process by which an image is captured.  But the elements of photography and achieving an exposure are the same.  A digital camera still relies on shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to create an exposure, the same as in film photography.

Digital photography is also the process of using electronic and computing appliances to capture, create, edit and share digital images/photographs. It encompasses several different technologies to provide electronic or computer-based photography services.

It is mainly used as a means to create, publish or use digital photographs on computers and/or the Internet.

The benefits of digital photography

Wander through the camera aisle of any big box store and the shelves will be loaded digital cameras and memory cards.  If you’re looking for a film camera or film, you’ll probably have to scour many a thrift stores or attics or go online.  Digital photography is simply the norm today, and for a good reason…

  • The images can be viewed immediately. You can see the image on the back of the camera or download it immediately to view on a screen.
  • Digital cameras offer you more control over your exposure. Not only can you change shutter speed and aperture, now a digital camera lets you instantly control ISO, white balance and more.
  • A memory card, depending on size, can hold thousands of images and is reusable. There’s no need to purchase film.
  • Images can be processed on a computer instead of developing your film or sending it off for outside processing and waiting weeks to see the results of your session.
  • Because you can view your images before printing, you’re only printing and saving the images you love.
  • It’s fun

Digital photography is all about instant gratification.  See the scene, click the shutter, see your image.  We can argue about the dangers of this mentality in another post.  But the reality is, digital photography has made it easier than ever to learn photography and improve your skills.

The Demerits of Digital Photography

  • The overall costs can be higher. High-end digital cameras can be incredibly expensive.  If you want to edit your images, you’ll also need a computer.  Then add in the cost of memory cards, batteries and printing images.  Your initial investment can be spendy!
  • Digital photo editing can be time-consuming and a difficult skill to master.
  • Technology changes rapidly and the best digital technology today may become obsolete next year.
  • Digital images often go unprinted. They stay on a memory card or computer and are never printed.  If your computer crashes or the technology becomes outdated, your images may be lost.
  • The joy of developing your film is a lost art.

That last bullet point is for anyone who ever took a film photography class and fell in love with the process of developing negatives and making prints.  I spent hours in the darkroom in college.  I worked with fixer and stopper so much that my hands would dry out and itch for days.  But that dark hole in the basement of Knight Hall was my sanctuary.  I went to the darkroom not just to develop film but to get perspective on love and life and everything in between.  Many old-school film photographers feel the same way – digital photography just can’t compare.

HOW TO MASTER DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Whether you are a beginner or more experienced with photography, here are some of our favorite tips that will help you improve your photography!

1.Avoid Camera Shake

Camera shake or blur is something that can plague any photographer and here are some ways to avoid it.

First, you need to learn how to hold your camera correctly; use both hands, one around the body and one around the lens and hold the camera close to your body for support.

Also, for handheld shooting, make sure that you are using a shutter speed that is appropriate for your lens’ focal length. If you’re shutter speed is too slow, any unintentional movement of the camera will result in your entire photograph coming out blurry.

The rule of thumb is not to shoot at a shutter speed that is slower than your focal length to minimize this problem:

1 / Focal Length (in mm) = Minimum Shutter Speed (in seconds)

So, as an example, if you’re using a 100mm lens, then your shutter speed should be no lower than 1/100th of a second.

Use a tripod or monopod whenever possible.

2.Learn to use the Exposure Triangle

To get your photos looking their best, you need to master the three basics: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.

You also need to understand the relationships between these three controls. When you adjust one of them, you would usually have to consider at least one of the others, to get the desired results.

Using Auto Mode takes care of these controls, but you pay the price of not getting your photos to look the way you wanted them, and often disappointing.

To get your photos looking their best, you need to master the three basics: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.

You also need to understand the relationships between these three controls. When you adjust one of them, you would usually have to consider at least one of the others, to get the desired results.

Using Auto Mode takes care of these controls, but you pay the price of not getting your photos to look the way you wanted them, and often disappointing.

3.Use a Polarizing Filter

If you can only buy one filter for your lens, make it a polarizer.

The recommended type of polarizer is circular because these allow your camera to use TTL (through the lens) metering such as auto exposure.

This filter helps reduce reflections from water as well as metal and glass; it improves the colors of the sky and foliage and will help give your photos the WOW factor. It will do all that while protecting your lens. There’s no reason why you can’t leave it on for all of your photography.

4.Create a Sense of Depth

When photographing landscapes, it helps to create a sense of depth, in other words, make the viewer feel like they are there.

Use a wide-angle lens for a panoramic view and a small aperture of f/16 or smaller to keep the foreground and background sharp. Placing an object or person in the foreground helps give a sense of scale and emphasizes how far away the distance is.

Use a tripod if possible, as a small aperture usually requires a slower shutter speed.

5.Use Simple Backgrounds

The simple approach is usually the best in digital photography, and you have to decide what needs to be in the shot, while not including anything that is a distraction.

If possible, choose a plain background – in other words, neutral colors and simple patterns. You want the eye to be drawn to the focal point of the image rather than a patch of color or an odd building in the background. This is especially vital in a shot where the model is placed off center.

6.Choose the Right ISO

The ISO setting determines how sensitive your camera is to light and also how fine the grain of your image.

The ISO we choose depends on the situation – when it’s dark we need to push the ISO up to a higher number, say anything from 400 – 3200 as this will make the camera more sensitive to light, and then we can avoid blurring.

On sunny days we can choose ISO 100 or the Auto setting as we have more light to work with.

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