caveat - i'm NOT a pro photographer, but in the dim past i was very much into print photography, loaded and developed my film and images as both negatives and positives, did a lot of darkroom work with both b&w and color film, had a gaggle of nikons, canons and other 35mm cameras, all with lenses from wide to telephoto. i've had photo journal article work published in magazines. i'm not an imaging pro, but i know when i'm looking at or taking a good image.
here's just a very few tips ...
1. photography is all about capturing light. if at all possible, keep the light source, if any, to your back, not behind the subject matter's back. if you can't have the light source in front, take great care with backlit subjects!
2. understand your light source. there are two basic kinds of light - large and small.
large light means there is good, diffused light, such as a cloudy but quite bright day where ya can't see much of the sun, if at all. the light seems to be everywhere and little to no shadows. this is the ideal setting for taking potentially great images.
small light means a bright light source (typically the sun), with extreme contrast between brilliant light and very dark shadows. this kinda light is always challenging and much care must be taken positioning the subject and the camera.
2. composition. don't obfuscate the subject - meaning, isolate the subject from the subject's background, so that the subject is the focal point, not the subject and the background. eliminate distractions before snapping the image. in example, move the subject or your camera or both if it looks like a tree branch behind the subject is growing out of the subject's head. this is just good composition.
3. focus, Focus, FOCUS. focus on the subject, not the background!
4. take LOTS of images of the subject! with digital cameras, you get to see the image immediately. do so! check it! digital film is free! take LOTS of images!
5. know your camera. read the manual, learn how it works, take lots of test images in all manner of day light and at night (flash) to see what settings work best for you.
hope some of this helps, and all your trophy shots are great ones.
-------------------- "Have I not commanded you ? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Posts: 910 | From: Alaska | Registered: Dec 2007
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If the subject is in poor light or your photos come out with the subject dark, such as when you're in the shade or the subject is backlit, use the flash. All cameras can be set to "force flash" where the flash goes off every shot.
Don't center the subject in the frame, use the rule of thirds when composing a photo. Essentially you divide the frame up into thirds horizontally and vertically in a grid and place the subject where the grid lines intersect. Many point and shoot cameras have a mode where the camera will display a grid pattern on the screen to help you compose.
In order to get the subject in focus while using the rule of thirds, center the subject in the screen, depress the shutter button half way to make the camera focus on the subject without taking a photo and while keeping the shutter button half depressed, move the camera to compose the photo. Then finish pushing the button to take the photo.
If the subject is a person and they're wearing a hat, have them take the hat off, or move the hat back so it doesn't shade their face, or use the flash to remove the shadow on their face.
Shoot in "P" or "Priority" mode, it gives you much more control over your camera than just shooting in "Auto". I like shooting in "P" with the color set to "vivid". This mode makes the colors really bright and, well, vivid!
Like Rob said, read the manual to learn the different functions and have fun!
Posts: 1162 | From: SoCal | Registered: Apr 2008
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Side light can also be used well and can be quite dramatic (my favorite!)
Make a habit of shooting all pics on the highest possible quality setting the camera offers. It is easy to downsize images for the web, but nearly impossible to upsize small jpeg's to print quality. That is especially important if you want to make a photo book or submit images with an article to a magazine.
-------------------- I have a free roaming, ranging mind -- sometimes it reports back to me... --------------------------- Posts: 1208 | From: Eugene, OR | Registered: Apr 2003
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Excellent tips from everyone! A couple I will add: shoot from lower angles (get eye level with your subject) for more life like images in trophy shots. Clean any blood, debris, etc from the animal before you shoot. shoot on wide zoom settings and move closer rather than longer zoom and moving farther. whenever possible use a background setting that is darker or the same as your subjects lighting. this will make your subject "pop" and come to life. If you are using a camera with adjustable white balance and shooting on a sunny day but shooting in the shade try a couple shots with the white balance cahnged to the shade setting to avoid the "blue". make sure your subject is completely in one light source. no mixed lighting hitting your subject. (example: sunlight coming thru tree tranches making a light/dark camo pattern of light on your subject. or deep shadow from a hat hiding the eyes). until you know what you are doing, flash is not always your friend. if its daytime try a few shots witht the flash off. Always try new things but also always shoot "failsafe" images. these are shot you took on auto or a know method that has worked great in the past.
All this being said...What is the Best camera for all of the Above ? New to Photography. Looking for a Good camera to grow with.. Going to Africa later this year , Grandkids etc...Need Help. Thank's.
personally speaking, there is no 'best camera' - that's like chasing down the 'best trad bow'
the point-n-shoot types work quite well for me - sony, samsung, pentax, etc. my wife likes her canon powershot and the pics are really quite good. price range is $100-$600 or so.
beyond these kinda cameras, yer looking at digital cameras that allow lens swapping and all the big brands (nikon, canon, olympus, etc) have a gaggle to choose from and yer looking at $1k and well above, with more to spend on specialty lenses if need be.
good luck! don't head to africa without a good digital camera! better yet, take at least two or three!!! also buy and take *LOTS* of extra memory chips and batteries and chargers!!!
Thank's Rob! Is it easier to change lenses on a Canon or Nikon? I hear talk of autofocus in the body or only in High end lenses?? I thought all camera bodies had auto focus. Is any Bundle any Good / I read that you get a body but inferior lenses. Don't want to be saddled with something I have to replace soon. Any insight would be appreciated. Like Trad bows the one you have is the Best!! It's the arrows that count!! ( I think I read that somewhere before.)
what camera to get depends on your needs/requirements, and disposable cash.
imo, strictly with digital cameras in mind, the better the glass (lens) the better the image, as long as the electronics are up to the task. so it takes both the lens and electronics to make/take good digital images as long as the camera operator knows what they're doing.
some point-n-shoots will allow for excellent digital images, and almost all use a fixed wide angle lens. i use these the most - small, easy to use, good programming modes, excellent pixel image quality. my wife's canon takes amazing flower images, some of which she's had blown up as framed pictures, and even for yearly calendars.
beyond the point-n-shoots, yer looking at what is basically a digital version of an slr (single lens reflex) print/slide film camera. all will allow interchangeable lenses, typically they all use some form of "bayonet" twist on/twist off mount, though not all brands work the exact same way. this allows having different fixed or zoom lenses from super wide angle to extreme telephoto, and at least having one good zoom lens could cover a lotta bases.
shooting images in africa has GOT to mean having at least one long lens. using a point'n'shoot will mostly mean wide angle shots and critters that'll be just little bitty dots. long lenses are not cheap. one really good lens can easily cost 2 to 10 times more than the camera body/electronics. back in the day, i had a pair of nikon telephoto lenses that cost over $2k each. not saying you need to spend that much, but ... once you have a good camera body with good electronics, the image is all about the glass (lens). again, depends on yer needs/requirements (and $$$$).
also consider that almost all dc's can do video, some better that others, some are truly excellent. this is another key reason to stock up on lots of memory cards!
in the long run, it would be in your best interests to visit several different local camera stores (cameras only, not a conglomerate store with a pimple faced clerk that don't know squat about cameras) and get some pro advice, based again on yer needs/requirements, and the dollars you have to spend. maybe you could even rent a good long lens camera outfit. it's TOO easy to sink a fortune in cameras these dayze, but at least you don't need to buy the dang film.
Great Stuff Rob !!Once upon a time I had slrs. (Petri, Minolta, Nikkormat, etc.) did some developing w/ ships photographer, looong time ago..(71-73)Bayonet fittings were just starting to arrive. Had lots of good lenses. Most f.1.2 for wide angle lenses. Got away from it till now. Trying to catch up.. Lots have happened in 40+ years as all things do.( I got OLD). That being said, I'll check out the camera shops. And Thank's for the Help .
I definitely agree with going to a local camera shop. The big camera companies are setting prices more and more so you don't save as much online as you once did. Since you have SLR experience you would have no issue getting back into a DLSR if you could justify the cost.You asked about a focus motor in the camera body or the lens. Most of the new lenses have the focus motors in the lens. by getting a body with the motor you would be able to use older lenses in auto mode. You can pick up some really good glass at a discounted rate by looking for older lenses.
The kit lenses are actually really good glass. The biggest difference in them and the others are the lens speed. Most of the kit lenses are 3.5 to 4.5 lenses. They are great when using a flash or you have a lot of light. I use the kit lens for most of my sons soccer games and the pics are awesome. I do have a $2500 2.8 lens I use for my daughters swimming and water polo. The pictures are close to the same quality but the 2.8 allows me to use it indoors without a flash and capture the action.
Be careful though getting back into photography can be as addictive as bows. if you decide to go with a DLSR (you wouldn't regret it assuming you can justify the cost) try to bring along a decent point and shoot as well and keep in your pocket. I find i don't always have the DLSR handy and miss shots if I didn't have the small camera handy.
Either way get the camera you think works for you and spend as much time as possible taking pictures and learning how to control it before you go on your trip.
Posts: 567 | From: Holt, Michigan | Registered: Aug 2004
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Lechwe, Thanks for the insight. Since starting on this path I've learned that Most camera shops have gone out of business here in the Dallas area. But I will continue to Persevere. Again, Thank's to All !!