Point and click. The new life of digital cameras gives us all the opportunity to capture images as we go. Whether you simply hit the shutter button to take pictures of your friends and family or if you want to have your camera with you at all times in order to capture the beauty of life wherever you find it, getting the most out of your digital camera can be easy.
Let’s imagine ourselves with the perfect set up of digital camera and a few accessories to make things just right. My personal and professional recommendation is that we start with memory. Get more today. If you only have one memory card for your camera it is time to add to the collection. If you have more than one then good job! The more memory you have for your digital camera the less likely it will be that you get stuck wanting to take more pictures and have no more room on the storage. Memory is relatively cheap, takes up no space in your kit and gives you total control over creativity.
Your camera comes with a variety of quality settings to work with when taking images. Don’t use TIFF, leave it on one of the medium quality level settings and your camera will take fine images for you and not eat up all your memory. If you use the highest setting you will get very few images onto your card. They will for the most part be of very high quality but you would only want to shoot at that level of quality if you are intending to make high quality large format prints of your images.
Now if that child of yours is just so incredibly cute and your wall is aching for a portrait of his or her shining face then by all means do it on the highest quality. The key will be to use good software to process the image and then a printer that can make a large format, high quality print of your image. They exist and for not unreasonable prices I might add.
I was stunned at a recent art show in my neighborhood to be looking at a photographer’s exhibit of large size prints (18x24 and up in size) to find out that he shoots exclusively in digital now. He was a former film photographer who switched over in recent years and now makes stunning prints from his digital images. His landscape images were simply amazing and to find out that he shot them on a good digital camera made me very curious about the process, but that is fodder for another article.
Juice is the answer to your next question. Always have more juice. I spent 20 years in the TV news business and my mantra was always have extra batteries ready to go and an extra tape under the back seat in case of emergency. For TV cameras the batteries were always big and heavy rechargeable NiCads. Lithium batteries are the rage nowadays as they are lighter in weight, have no memory problems, and run longer. Digital still cameras can take advantage of Lithium batteries but the cost is often slightly prohibitive for most of us. Some camera systems use proprietary battery systems. I would recommend not buying into that sort of system. Try to buy a camera that uses universal types of batteries such as AA’s. I use a camera that takes AA’s and I have three sets of rechargeable batteries so I can rotate through them and never be caught short. Total cost for three sets of batteries is about $30, and they will last you several years if you treat them right. If you just buy regular AA batteries and shoot a lot of images your battery cost might triple that over a like period of time.
Edison did it and now we consider him a genius. Experimentation is the name of the game. Digital images cost you nothing but time and a little battery life. Play around and take lots of shots of things, people, events, you name it. Look at magazines, newspapers and notice what images look cool to you. Try to take shots like that yourself so you can see how it is done. This will get you thinking about how to make your everyday shots better. Look for new and different ways to frame things, take both a vertical and a horizontal shot of the same thing and see how it changes perspective. Get closer to your subject, or get farther away to see which looks better. Find something unique about your subject and look for a way to exploit that for a better image. Here is and example, say for instance you have a great looking car you want a picture of, well don’t stand across the street from it and zoom in on the car, get right up close with the sun behind you so the car is sparkling shiny and fills the whole frame of the image. Find it’s best feature and center that in the shot say the awesome lines of front of the car or snazzy wheels.
Print something from your camera every week to remind you of the beauty of everyday things. Take shots all the time, pick one and print it out and then put it in front of you for a day or a week. Live life as though you want beauty around you all the time. If you are madly in love then surround yourself with pictures of that love. If you live in a beautiful place then take pictures of it all the time to make sure you never forget how special it is to be there in your life. Don’t let those images hide away and not be seen. Wallpaper on your computer can be another place to put your weekly image, change it regularly with images from your family, work, life, hobby and you will get more smiles and more joy out of your camera than you know what to do with. My current wallpaper takes me back to a wonderful day on a mountain lake this past summer paddling kayaks in the afternoon breeze. What about yours?
Kevin Rockwell is a life long photographer and digital camera convert. He has spent his whole adult life taking pictures and now spends his time shooting sports images, training soccer players, and writing about digital cameras. The Flash Times is filled with tips, news, and information about digital cameras. Visit www.great-digital-cameras.com/signup.html to sign up today for this monthly newsletter.