Monday, May 25, 2009

Camera Phones

While most serious photographers would never leave for work with just their camera-phone, it is nevertheless, a great insurance device to have along at all times. A "just so-so" image trumps no image at all, all the time.

With that in mind, and due to the overwhelming popularity of camera-phone combinations, PMA has released a guide to getting more use out of your phone's images.

Click here to download this free guide. (2MB PDF file)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dark Images

In our most recent poll, the most mentioned problem was dark images. This is often caused by one of three issues:
  1. The most common cause of this I believe is people using flash from too great a distance from their subject. I see this time and time again at high school sports such as basketball games. People are 100 to 200 feet away from the action and they are trying to take pictures with their small digital cameras or camera phones. Just about all digital point and shoot cameras have flashes that extend maybe 20 feet at best. The only cure for this situation is being able to change your ISO ( film speed) rating to 1600 or 3200 if your camera has that option. (Be prepared however, for some very grainy looking photos.)
  2. Shooting in one of the program modes (Program, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority) your camera may not have a slow enough aperture/shutter combination to adequately capture the image. (i.e. the light level may call for a lense opening of f1.2 at 1/5 of a second, and if your lenses maximum opening is f5.6 and your maximum shutter speed is 1/30 of a second, you will get a dark image.) Suggested cures for this situation would include: use a flash if you are close enough to your subject or turn on more lights in the room if possible. If you are shooting with a SLR or DSLR, get a faster lense for these situations.
  3. Another situation that will always cause darker images than you expected can happen no matter what type camera you are using, and that is when you take pictures of very light colored subjects. Taking a picture of a white piece of paper (i.e. your company's letterhead) would fool the light meter in your camera. So would a beach scene with lots of white sand on a sunny day. Similarly, taking a picture of a white kitten on a white blanket will probably look very grey in your original photo. In all these cases, your light meter is expecting a subject with 50% grey tonality and it will adjust your exposure to try to deliver that image. When shooting very light scenes (without a balance of light and dark tones) anticipate the wrong reading from your camera's light meter and add exposure with your +/- exposure compensation dial if you have one. By adding one or more stops of exposure, you will overcome this problem and be much happier with your results. For those who want more precise results, use a light meter or a grey card and set your exposure manually.

Hopefully these suggestions will help solve a great majority of the "dark image" problems so many of your were experiencing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hot off the press

More opportunities for inspiration. This time from the pros at the New York Times. Just released, a new blog of the New York Times photographers and videographers. Check it out here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's National Photography Month

Every year, the Photo Marketing Association celebrates May as National Photo Month. It's a time to start taking photos and to start doing something with all those digital files you've got sitting around.

To help the effort, PMA has put together some guides that cover a variety of topics. Today's guide covers camera selections, how to improve your shooting angle, how many pixels does it take to print an 8x10, and much more.

Click here to download your free guide. It's a 5.7 MB download. Enjoy.

Come back later this month for a guide to cell phone photgraphy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nikon sweeps European awards

Nikon announced that the Technical Image Press Association has bestowed their 2009 honors for Best Professional DSLR and best Advanced DSLR to the D3X and D90.

The D3X is phenomenal in low light with its large, full-frame sensor. Low noise at low light levels is its claim to fame.

The D90 has the same great response from its CMOS sensor as the D300, but at a much lower price. The D90 also has the advantage of offering high resolution video capabilities - the first in Nikon's line of SLR's.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Getting a grip on telephoto shots

Let's say you are going "big game" hunting and you need your longest telephoto. Camera shake is the bane of telephoto photography, so anything that can steady your "shot" would be most welcome.

Enter the Tactical Camera Assault Long Range Stock. Slap this accessory on your SLR and benefit from it's ergonomic bracing capability.

It's not something you'll find in your local Ritz Camera store. Want to see it in action? Visit the official website at

Friday, May 8, 2009

Landscape inspiration

Columbia Station, OH -- Sometimes you run across a collection of photos that just bowls you over. Such is this collection at Landscapes 2.0. Incredible work from around the world by a large group of phototographers. Most of these are great examples of HDR photography, which we'll discuss in the future.

Being at the right place at the right time, when the light is right and the planets align....that's when you can get photos like these. Oh yeah, one other thing, make sure you have your camera and tripod with you!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Forget mega pixels - how about giga pixels?

Columbia Station, OH -- I was talking to someone today about the giga-pixel image taken at Barack Obama's inauguration. The picture was taken by David Bergman from the official press core stand along side the capital. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a click here to take a look. From an extremely wide angle, you are able to zoom in to amazing closeup detail.

In the fourth row, directly behind the president, you can see Hilary taking a short cat nap. Further back, look at the number of congressman taking digital pictures of the event. You can see others checking their Blackberries.

The news now is that the manufacturer, GigaPan Systems, is now out with their second model, the GigaPan Epic 100. With this new model, larger cameras can be used, not just point and shoots.

The Epic 100 can accomodate Nikon D40, D60, D80 and the D90, as well as Canon Rebel 400D plus many others of similar size. The astounding part to me, is that it sells for only $449.00, including the stitching software. You can spend that amount for stitching software elsewhere and not get any hardware included, so I think that price is a steal.

Now I'm looking for that "just right" project to pick one up. (Send in your suggestions.)
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