Digital photography can be an amazing hobby for people of any age. However, seniors have one crucial advantage here – they have enough free time to delve deep into the secrets and wonders of taking good photos. If you are a senior with a passion for this art, the following digital photography guide will help you take photos like a pro!
Before you start diving into the secrets of this digital photography guide, you need to get acquainted with your camera basics.
If you are still looking for the perfect digital camera for you, this is the first tip I have for you. Digital camera manufacturers usually offer three types of cameras – compact, bridge and DSLR cameras. Compact cameras are the smallest ones, with few features, while DSLRs are the largest ones.
Since photography will probably be your hobby, I might suggest that you buy a bridge camera. DSLR may be too expensive for a hobby, while a compact camera can be too small and not very handy. Bridge cameras are larger than compacts and what is more important – they have more features. Alternatively you can use a cell phone camera to try your photography skills. A high-end model smartphone will produce similar quality to a bridge camera.
Memory cards are there to provide removable storage for photos. You can find them in various types and capacities. The most popular types of memory cards are SD, CF, and XD, with SD being the most common in non-professional cameras. You should choose the type of card your camera supports. Cards come in various capacities. Deciding on the size (capacity) of card to carry around matters in terms of practicality. The more pictures you take per trip, the bigger the card you need.
All digital cameras take photos in a JPEG format. Some of them allow you to capture RAW files. What is this “raw” thing about? This is for the perfectionist or professional who wants the most “untouched, pristine, raw” image that the sensor can capture.
Jpeg images are actually compressed (simplified) images that actually omit and destroy detail. Why would anyone do such a thing? To make the image smaller. Jpeg images take much less capacity than their RAW counterparts. To the human eye a good jpeg doesn’t look much different that a RAW version, so all amateur cameras capture in jpeg.
As a hobbyist, you won’t need RAW files that take up a lot of memory on your camera. If you want to save your photos in high quality, set your camera to a JPEG format and choose the highest resolution. If you want to be a serious amateur and do lots of pixel-perfect editing post-capture, you might want to research the raw option further. It means opting for higher-end cameras among other things.
The image resolution refers to the number of dots that make up an image. Resolution can be expressed in total megapixels, such as 2MP, or in width and height, such as 1000 x 800. Usually, 2MP is decent resolution for photos that you want to share via email or social networks. However, if you are planning to print images for photo gifts, you’ll want the photos in higher resolution; possibly 12MP.
White balance is also known as color temperature, and it’s responsible for the overall warmth of the image. It allows you to control the appearance of the colors on your photo, from cold to warm, i.e. from blue to orange. The white balance setting gives information to your camera regarding the ambient light at the moment of capture.
Digital cameras have various white balance settings – from Daylight for bright sunny days, to Cloudy for days when there’s no sunlight coming through. You will also find options for shooting at night, or in closed, dark spaces.
The ISO setting lets you adjust your camera’s sensitivity to light. As you increase the ISO number, you increase the exposure, too. At the same time, the image gets more digital noise, which decreases its quality. Regarding ISO, there are no specific rules – you will have to decide if a particular photo needs more exposure or if it should be clean from any noise.
The exposure determines the extent to which your image will appear light or dark. The exposure is controlled by ISO settings, as well as the aperture and shutter speed. Aperture is the hole inside the lens which lets the light pass. The wider the aperture, the more light gets through, and vice versa. The shutter speed determines how much of that light you’re going to allow into the camera.
In order to prevent motion blur, it’s best to set the shutter to around 1/250. If you take photos at night, you’ll need slow shutter, such as 1/30. For sports photography, it’s good to choose a fast shutter, for instance 1/4000.
Digital photography guide essentials
As soon as you get acquainted with your camera settings, you can start exploring the basic photography rules.
Good composition helps the viewers of your photo pay attention to the part of the frame that was important for you to capture. Whether you are taking a photo of a person or a landscape, the composition can make or break your final result. One of the best compositional tools are the leading lines, also called grid lines. You can activate them on your camera to get a better perspective of the lines and paths in your photos.
One of the most important and most used compositional rules in photography is the rule of thirds. Basically, you should split your camera’s frame into 9 equal parts, divided by 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines. Your key subjects should intersect with these lines at some point. This is how you can create depth and interest, adding an exciting balance between the subject and the background.
Balance is also connected to composition, and it determines whether the photo is pleasing and harmonious or uncomfortable to look at. It has to do with the symmetry on your photos. Studies show that balanced photos make the viewers feel more relaxed. On the other hand, unbalanced photos help attract the attention of the viewers. You can play with the balance depending on the effect you want to accomplish.
Nothing can ruin an image more than a blur, except when the blurred effect is intentional. If you want to create nice, sharp images, you need to pay attention to your hand movement while you take the photos. You can also use a tripod and shoot using the self-timer. This way, the slight movement of your camera while you press the shutter button won’t affect your photos.
Dirt on your lens or your image sensor can result in spots and blur your images, too. Make sure your equipment is clean before you take photos. Another thing that can ruin the sharpness is the wrong focus. Pay attention if your camera focus is upon your chosen part of the image and take the time to check before you set up your shoot. Incorrect aperture, ISO, and shutter speed settings can also affect the sharpness of your images.
Now that you’ve learned the secrets of this digital photography guide, you can start creating your own pieces of art! This will also be a good time to get the Sherish photo app. It is the most secure app you can use to store, organize, and share your photos with the people you care about.