8 Tips for Digital Photography. Landscape and Travel Fine Art Photography — Ramon Fritz

Digital Photography Tips

Digital cameras these days offer superb image quality allowing you to print images in large format, and heavily crop into an image with little or no loss of detail. This is particularly valuable for landscape, fine-art and commercial photography.

These cameras look and work like traditional cameras with a few added extras. Much like the age of digital and hardware progress, cameras are quickly becoming simpler in design as photographers don’t want to be bogged down by non-user-friendly technology; well most photographers anyway.

But as there are a number of things about digital cameras that are identical to film cameras, these vary from slight tweaks to features that are unique to digital photography, some can actually help you take better pictures than you ever did with film.

The technology in digital cameras has had even experienced photographers worry that it may be difficult to master and everyone knows how trying technology can be sometimes. But everyone had to start somewhere, even with film.

The basics of photography still apply and if slow shutter speeds and big telephoto lenses are needed, a tripod is important. And key to stop action, fast shutter speeds and f-stops still continue to affect depth of field. Subjects in an image, still need to have central focus and dramatic light helps make for dramatic photos.

Digital cameras come in all shapes, sizes and varieties from point-and-shoot to advanced digital SLRs. You may wish to choose one that may be best suited to your chosen theme of photography or perhaps something that operates across a general scope of interests to help you best determine what themes you wish to explore. Point-and-shoot cameras offer surprising results. Because they are totally automatic in focus and exposure, they just have to be pointed at a subject and clicked however, most will have limited capabilities for image control although they will often have white balance controls. Of course, they’re also handy in being compact so you can carry them around everywhere.

Again, more advanced point-and-shoot cameras are similar and mostly rely on automatic controls. However, they tend to have special features added to make the camera a little more bespoke. These cameras can be a good introduction to digital.

Digital SLRs with interchangeable-lenses offer all the controls of a 35mm SLR, including complete and extensive photographic controls and best in image-sensor and processing technology with high levels of noise control and so much more.

Shoot it Right from the Beginning

Getting it right from the start is the how to get the best photos from your digital camera and yet it appears that there is a notion that one doesn’t need to devote as much effort when you have software to do all the work for you. Particularly in social media where photographers get accused of over processing and image or a photo is fake. This notion has sometimes reached almost surreal proportions where according to a digital article in a major news magazine, just a few years ago, where it indicated that software was available that would automatically transform amateurs' photos into images that would rival the best. Well, that software does not exist, nor will it. Much like anything in photography, software is a tool Good photography has always been about the craft and understanding the tools of the craft and using them well. The ability to capture an image that catches an audience’s attention and communicates well still lies with the photographer and even with the best AI, you will never get the narrative behind the image.

Digital photography is still photography

Basics

The most common mistake is camera shake, when the camera is inadvertently moved at the same time that you press the shutter. It blurs the image or reduces the sharpness. Whilst you can check an image on the LCD screen of your camera and it may look fine, when you open it up on your desktop, a feeling of despair washes over you as you may never get that same image again. So, keep it steady!

Transfer of Digital Imagery

All digital cameras are equipped with a way of transferring photos to a computer whether this be by cable direct to the pc and camera, compact disk (SD) or wifi. In most cases photographers either transfer via disk reader or direct from camera for best quality.

Exposure

Most point-and-shoot cameras have a simple exposure override feature, normally allowing you to overexpose or underexpose your picture where you can experiment with both in finding the right balance for your subject. If the subject is predominantly dark, overexpose to compensate; if the subject is predominantly light, then underexpose. Test and check on your LCD screen and use the additional features like the histogram to compensate accordingly. Remember, the LCD screen is only a guide and not perfect, so take a few shots.

Composition

A very basic rule of composition is known as the rule of thirds. So if you imagine your viewfinder or LCD screen is divided into nine equal parts, compose your picture with your subject center-positioned at one of the four intersecting points. I have gone a little more into detail about composition on my blog 5 Key Rules to Follow when Composing a Photo along with a great supporting video.

Angles

Although circumstances don’t always allow it, a picture can be more interesting when taken from different angles. Raise or lower your camera by standing, crouching or lying or change viewpoint by climbing higher and looking down on your subject. Don; t be limited in your experimentation.

Zoom

Point-and-shoot cameras often have an autofocus zoom lens and the ability to zoom in on your subject is both easy and mostly accurate. I say mostly as it very much depends on your subject whether it is static or moving. Zooming is great in getting closer to your subject however too much zoom and it doesn’t allow much room for cropping your image should you need to. Try a few options and see what works best for you. Remember to give your image enough room to play around with. Giving enough room of cropping also allows you to better compose a photo.

Post-processing

Many photographers work with image processing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom and find the process tedious, and in some cases a steep learning curve. One reason this may be is that much of the instruction takes the wrong approach particularly for photographers by concentrating prominently on the software as opposed to the photography.

The photo is always the priority and the software a tool; this is important to remember. When the software takes priority, the focus is no longer on the image; it is on learning the functions of the program. As a result, one tends to delve too quickly into the intricacies and details long before they had any idea as to why they might want to have this knowledge.

A photographer should know their photos and what they want them to convey. Whilst they might not know everything one can do with an image in the software, it is less important than why they took the photo in the first place. Don’t forget the narrative and try not to become obsessed with the technology. Think about what you want to convey and not about what you think everyone else wants you to convey — it’s a balance between your craft and selling your soul if you intend to make a living from photography.

Let yourself go, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Backup your images and always have a RAW copy on a separate server somewhere so you never lose any imagery.

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