Now that you’ve got yourself a brand new digital camera, we are sure you’re itching to get some great shots. So, without wasting any time, let’s get you clued into some of the basic rules for good photography, and some tips on maintaining your digital camera.
~ Focus on the subject. For example, if you’re shooting a car, have the car fill the frame as far as possible. Cut out the clutter in the front, sides and back of the subject. You can do this by changing your angle and by avoiding unnecessary details around the subject.
~ In many cases, the photographer uses a very large aperture (which controls the amount of light entering into the camera), resulting in a very small depth of field. This ensures only the primary subject remains in focus.
~ Things in front or in the background of the subject remain out of focus, highlighting the subject. Most digital/ digital SLR cameras are equipped with a light sensor to determine the amount of light entering into the camera.
~ The aperture works in conjunction with the shutter (which allows light to pass through for a specified period of time to get the desired effect of a photograph) speed. Hence, the shutter speed is the amount of time (measured in seconds) the shutter is kept open while taking a shot for allowing light to reach the image sensor in a digital camera, or the film in a conventional camera. Long shutter speeds are usually used in low light conditions, especially for night photography.
Make it a habit to be as creative as possible by trying different angles, compositions and lighting, says Shibu Arakkal, a Bangalore-based photographer.
For example, try taking pictures of a subject, say, a car, from different angles to get the best shot possible.
Practice in low light
“This is to see how steady your grip is,” says Arakkal. In low light conditions, the aperture (opening) of the lens is maximum while the shutter speed is low. In other words, your hands should be steady to avoid blurring of the image.
To get the most out of your camera, experiment with the flash even when outdoors, and try using the night mode in daylight, says Arakkal.
You can also experiment with the colour settings to get the desired look. Fluorescent, tungsten, cloudy and sunny lighting are some of the settings found in a digital camera.
Several advanced digital cameras have a facility for creating special effects, as done in film cameras through the use of coloured filters in front of the lens.
For example, you can enhance the colour of, say, a blue background like the sky by using a yellow filter. Experiment with the various settings to find the one you like. Don’t be afraid of shadows, reflections or glare. The less you restrict your imagination, the better the pictures will be.
Maintaining your digicam
Generally, a digital camera should last for a good five to 10 years, depending on maintenance and usage.
Tips for maintaining your camera:
~ Take out the batteries when not in use.
~ Avoid moisture and heat. Store the batteries in a dry and cool place with a packet of silica gel. Change the packets regularly or ‘re-generate’ them by warming them in an open pan on low heat. This gets rid of the moisture. When dry, the silica gel becomes blue.
~ Avoid any kind of impact on the camera.
~ Don’t use water to clean it.
~ The front lens may be lightly cleaned with a brush.
~ Clean the camera body with a soft cloth.
~ Get the camera serviced at least once a year or once every six months.
For Rediff.com, April 9, 2007.