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POINT & SHOOT CAMERAS GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA.

Course Description: This seminar will cover composition, the camera light meter, problems with the camera light meters, use of the camera and specific settings in a point and shoot camera.

I. Difference between a professional photographer and an amateur.

A. The difference between the two is NOT quality.

B. The difference is, do you make your living from photography.

C. Composition and cropping is what makes an image. When we talk about images, this can be photographs, paintings, or sketches.

D. Many times someone is going to show me some of the images from their vacation. They start the conversation with - now these pictures are not as good as yours. I do not want to hear this. I enjoy seeing where you have been and what you did while you are there. Your images assist me in learning about other parts of the world.

II. Composition.

A. Individuals and composition. So many times, people just do not care or want to know about composition. Immediately people will say, I just want to know the simple parts of the camera, I could care less about composition. It is composition that makes a vacation image great. It is composition that makes a photograph of your children or grandchildren really great. Notice that I did not mention anything about a camera. Great images can be created in a point and shoot camera or a $5,000 camera. Poor composition with a $5,000 camera is a poor image. Great composition in a point and shoot camera makes for a really great image.

B. Importance of composition.

1. To help communicate the photographs meaning as effectively as possible.

2. Every photograph should tell a story.

3. To emphasize things that aid in getting ideas across to the viewer.

4. To discard ideas which may distract or confuse.

5. Important things should be bigger and in sharp focus.

6. A photograph should have a strong center of interest.

C. Composing in the view finder.

1. We see what we want to see, we see things selectively, our eyes and our mind tend to ignore uninteresting details.

2. Remember, the camera sees everything in its field of view.

3. Things to look for.

a. Horizon level.

b. Unwanted details.

c. Is principal subject clearly defined.

D. Elements of composition.

1. Keep your photography as simple as possible.

2. Check magazines and notice how every object in the photograph has a specific place or reason for being there.

a. Picture area - DO NOT OVER CROWD.

b. Does negative space take away from the image?

c. Size of object relates to story it tells. Large dominate. Small - distant and isolated.

d. Size of object adds dimension to images.

e. What effect do you want the object(s) to have on viewer.

f. Control of photo area.

g. Camera distance.

h. Arrangement and balance.

i. Camera position. Many people take a photograph of a child while looking down on them. This gives the child a distorted look. Children should be photographed on their level.

j. Timing.

3. Value.

a. Lightness or darkness of shades or tones.

b. Whites are the highlight area.

c. Blacks are the shadow areas.

d. Importance of value. Invoke mood or feeling. To make things visible by contrast.

4. Lines of direction - there are three (3).

a. Actual lines - edge of objects.

b. Implied lines - suggested by motion, thrust, shape of object.

c. Psychological lines - our mind sets up to connect related objects.

d. Line action - should lead to center of interest. Horizontal lines suggest rest and serenity. Vertical lines suggest height or dignity. Diagonal or slanting feeling of movement or tension. Curving lines - suggest softness or rhythmic feeling, female figure, most things in nature.

5. Depth.

a. In an illusion (photograph) objects are three (3) dimensional. Remember that a photograph is a one (1) dimensional object that must be made to look like it has three (3) dimensions.

b. Parallel lines seem to converge.

c. Near objects appear larger than distant ones.

d. The further you are from a background, the lighter it appears.

e. You only see texture clearly in near objects.

6. Repeating geometrics.

7. The rule of thirds - Golden mean rule. 1/3 sky and 2/3 land. 2/3 sky and 1/3 land. People should NOT be in the middle of the frame. Action should be in the upper or lower third or in the left or right third. Take time to look over all your newspapers and magazines to determine what specific photographs are attempting to tell you, and why. Then attempt to determine by lighting and composition how a specific feeling or attitude was put forth.

III. The Camera - Big question, what camera do I need? Talk to anyone that has a camera and ask why they like that specific camera. Also ask what they do NOT like about that camera.

A. Old film speed - ISO Digital cameras do not use film but have continued the convention of relating the sensitivity of their digital sensors to light by using the same ISO equivalents. ISO selection is usually the first important decision and camera setting that you have to make. Some digital cameras may have restriction on the ISO equivalent choices you might have. The ISO is an indication of the sensor's relative sensitivity to light. Outside, during the middle of a sunny day (loosely equivalent to 10AM to 3PM) select an ISO of 100. All other times, early in the morning late in the afternoon, at night, or when photographing indoors - lean toward the use of an ISO of 400 or 800. High ISO will give image noise which shows up as grain.

B. What is a standard lens and what is a standard lens on a digital camera? On a 35mm film camera, a standard lens is a 50mm. On a Nikon DX digital, a standard lens is a 28mm. When doing normal photography, try to use a standard lens so you will not get distortion in your images.

IV. Light Meters. If underexposed - lose shadow detail. If over exposed - lose high light detail.

A. Types of light meters.

1. Reflective. a. Measure average light being reflected from the object.

b. May give false reading.

c. Carry an 18 percent gray card and take reading. Back of Caucasian hand reflects about 1 stop too much.

d. Sunset and sunrise. Meter off of the sky and stop down one stop. One and a half (1.50) hours before, to one and half (1.50) hours after sunset called magic hour. Sky will look lighter to eye than on film and digital image. e. Meter can give average, spot or center weighted.

2. Incident light meters.

a. Reads or measures the amount of light falling on the subject.

b. Much more accurate when conditions get tough. Example a very white dress.

c. Because you are reading the light falling on the subject, it is almost impossible to get a false reading.

B. Light meter problems.

1. Reflective meters try to average everything out to be 18% gray.

2. Dark object - camera reads and opens up to make 18% gray.

3. Light object (such as beach or snow) - camera reads as bright and closes down to give 18% gray. 4. Point and shoot cameras have special setting under scene to adjust for this problem. (We will discuss under camera settings).

C. Sunny 16 rule. In bright sun F16 at a shutter speed that is reciprocal of film (digital sensors) ISO. Example: ISO 100 use shutter speed of 125. Bright sun on snow or sand. F 22. Bright sun. F 16. Hazy sun. F 11. Cloudy bright. F 8. Hazy overcast. F 5.6. D. Some point and shoot cameras have a histogram. This is a way to show if your image is over or under exposed. We do not have time to go over histograms, but if anyone should like to discuss them, see me after class.

V. Camera set-up.

A. File format - the film of the digital camera. Along with file format, we must discuss compression.

1. TIFF (Tagged Image File Format). High quality, no compression artifacts, does not compromise. Highly functional file. "Lossless compression" - No data is lost during compression.

2. JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group). Relatively small in file size. Files DO EXHIBIT artifacts. An artifact is a flaw in the digital image. Each time you save a JPEG image, information is thrown away. "Lossy" - some of the image information is thrown away when data is saved. If necessary to make any corrections of any original JPEG, it is suggested that the image be copied as a TIFF. This will allow any number of open and save as, without losing information. Once all of the changes are made, then convert back to JPEG for the processing lab. The loss is often undetectable in normal image reproduction. Important to run tests to assess what compression levels are acceptable to you for different purposes.

3. RAW files. Provide the highest image quality and file versatility and far exceeds other file types. NEF (Nikon Electronic File) - Nikons version of RAW file type. Other cameras also have a RAW file with their specific file format. Canon Raw .crw Fujifilm Raw .raf Olympus Raw .orf Pentax Raw .pef Minolta Raw .mrw Kodak Raw .dcr With raw files, you preserve the original archival data. If you change an image, you only change the instructions. In Forensic Photography this is called a digital negative.

B. Digital cameras have many different menus.

1. Setup menu. This is where you will find the place to set date, time and format the memory card.

2. Shooting menu. Will find in different area of different camera.

a. Program mode (1) ISO setting. (2) White balance setting. (3) Print size and quality. L - 12M 40000x3000 16x20 print. M1 - 6M 2816x2112 13x19 inches. M2 - 2M 1600x1200 postcard size. S - 0.3M 640x480 sending as e-mail attachment. W - Widescreen prints - 4000x2248. Some point and shoot cameras have Fine, Normal, Basic.

b. Auto mode Only set the size of the image.

c. Scene mode. Two very important settings. Remember, we talked about the reflective light meter does not always work right especially on the beach or in snow. Beach - Shoot natural scenes in strong sun light. Snow - Shoot natural looking snowy scenes.

d. Adjust image brightness - exposure adjustment. Does not work in every mode. VI. Processing digital files and digital information.

A. The image correction for density and color may be completed in your own computer or at a processing lab. Images going to a processing lab must be in the JPEG format.

B. Remember that your printed images may come back from the processing lab with the wrong color. If this occurs, take the printed images back to the lab to be re- done. There are times, where the lab technician does not know what your image is and therefore does not know what the color should be. An example, you take a photograph of a sunrise which is very red, the processed images come back very gold, looking like a sunset. The technician thinks the image is too red so the technician changes the color to look more like a sun set.

C. Your image may also be returned with the wrong density (too dark or too light). Again, the technician has no idea how dark or light an image should be.

D. Wrong color may also be attributed to your camera or computer monitor. If you keep getting the same color or color shift, both your camera and monitor can be calibrated to control the unwanted color or color shifts.

E. Your lab technician is one of the to go people that you should get to know as she/he can really assist you with your digital image taking and processing.

VII. Summary: Remember the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer is NOT quality. A professional photographer makes her/his living from photography. Start studying all images that you look at to begin understanding composition. Go to the library and check out some books on the subject of composition. Start in depth reading of the handbook that comes with your camera. By really understanding your camera, you will be able to make camera setting changes that will lead to great images. If you are having problems with your images, call someone that can help you.