Digital Photography Central - Beginners Guide

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1 Digital Photography Central - Beginners Guide Welcome to the wide world of digital! As you look into buying a digital camera, know that it will take some getting used to, and there is a learning curve associated with operating a digital camera. Once you accept this, and you are ready to dive in, you will love the options the world of digital photography offers. Why go digital? There are distinct advantages of digital photography: Instant gratification. See and share the photo you just took on the LCD screen on the back of the camera. Shoot away. Since you are able to delete photos that you do not want, you have the freedom to shoot many photos of the same scene, and just keep the one or two that turned out the best. Once you discover this, you have another great way to capture memories. Every print's a winner. Gone are the days of shooting a whole roll of film to get a few good pictures! With digital photography, you only print the best shots. Options. Whether it's 4-by-6-inch prints to put in your photo album, homemade greeting cards printed on your inkjet printer, or sharing your photos online, digital photography opens up a whole new world of options for your memories. What's the deal with megapixels and resolution? When dealing with digital cameras, you'll need to become familiar with the terms "pixel" and "megapixel." Pixel is short for picture element, and it refers to the tiny "cells" that gather information in a digital camera. The term "megapixel," which is found on most digital cameras, simply means one million pixels. The higher the number of pixels, the better the resolution. The higher the resolution, the larger and higher quality prints you can make. Higher quality photos take up more space on your media card, but they will give you the best prints. This guide will give you a very general idea of what to expect in terms of megapixels, resolution and output size:

2 # of Pixels Print Size Less than 1 megapixel "Screen resolution" (good for ing) 1 megapixel 4-by-6-inch prints 2 megapixels 5-by-7-inch prints 3 megapixels 8-by-10-inch prints 4 megapixels 11-by-14-inch prints 5 megapixels 16-by-20-inch prints Keep in mind everyone's perception is different. You may be happy with an 8-by-10-inch print made from a 1-megapixel digital camera, but our quality conscious neighbor may think it looks too "jaggy." If you figure out the largest print size you will ever want to make, and then buy the digital camera, based on the chart above, with the megapixels to match, you will be very satisfied with your digital camera. Which digital camera is right for me? To assist you with finding the proper digital camera, you might ask yourself, "What will I do with the pictures?" Do you only want to post your photos to the Internet? Well, a 1-megapixel digital camera might be perfect for you! Are you planning to print your pictures on a desktop inkjet? A 2-megapixel camera would be a good choice. How about making 8-by-10-inch photos? You'll probably want to go with a 3-megapixel camera or higher. Thinking about these things will help you establish which camera is right for you. Where do I put the film in my digital camera? Digital cameras have removable media (or memory cards), much like floppy disks, in lieu of film. This means when you take pictures, the digital camera creates a file and saves it to this media. You can then save these files to your computer or give the memory card to a photo output service to download and make photo prints, gifts or CDs. Whatever you do, it is wise to make a backup copy of your photos before you take the memory card in for processing. Then simply delete the files and take more pictures. The number of images you store on your digital memory card depends upon the size (in megabytes) of your card, the resolution of your camera (in megapixels), and how the camera compresses the images. Your digital camera will come with a digital memory card, capable of holding a small amount of images, but you will want to purchase at least one more for additional storage capacity. If you do not purchase additional memory cards at the time you purchase your digital camera, it is important to remember what type of media your digital camera uses. Click here for more information about memory cards.

3 LCD and viewfinders Most digital cameras have a viewfinder, which you look through to take a picture (just like a regular camera). Most digital cameras also have a screen called an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), which allows you to view the scene you are about to shoot, as well as see the picture just taken. If someone says "Oops, my eyes were closed," you can view the image and retake it if necessary. The LCD also gives you access to the camera's menu system, which will allow you to change the settings of the camera fairly easily. Liquid Crystal Display The LCD will allow you to view all the images on your memory card. You can flip through the stored shots and delete the ones you don't want to keep. The LCD will draw a lot of power from the battery, so there may be situations (when you don't have access to your battery charger) when using the viewfinder is a better option. It is also better to use the LCD rather than the viewfinder when shooting close up, due to the accuracy of the framing (what you see is what you'll get). File compression and file size Your camera will allow you to adjust your image quality, so your memory card can contain both high resolution and low-resolution images. Use the high resolution setting when you know you will want to make large prints, and you do not plan to take many photos. Use the lower resolution setting when you want to take a lot of pictures, and will probably only want 4-by-6-inch prints, or simply to the photos to friends. Digital cameras will compress the pictures you take so more can fit on your memory card. The higher the compression you use, the lower the picture quality of the image. You can change the level of compression depending upon how you are using the photos. If you are taking pictures to , you may want to use the highest level of compression, while you will probably want to use the lowest level of compression when shooting to make prints. A good general rule of thumb when shooting pictures you plan to make into prints is to set your camera at the highest resolution setting and the medium compression setting. This guide will give you a very general idea of what to expect in terms of megapixels, megabytes and media storage: Storage Card Capacity DIGITAL CAMERAS 8MB 16MB 32MB 48MB 64MB 96MB 128MB 192MB 256MB 320MB 384MB 512MB 1.0 MegaPixel , MegaPixel MegaPixel These ranges are only estimates of how many images will fit onto the given size memory card. This will vary depending on the compression setting of the camera, which is usually adjustable. The higher the compression used, the more pictures will fit on the memory card - at the sacrifice of picture quality.

4 Software Most digital cameras come with computer software to edit and to organize your images. These programs will assist you in correcting and manipulating the brightness, sharpness and color of your photos. The possibilities for image editing and manipulation are limitless once you become acquainted with the program. Using the flash Both traditional and digital photography require good lighting for good results. Most digital cameras have a flash capability, but digital cameras are less sensitive to light than traditional film cameras. If you are shooting indoors or in a low-light situation, even with the flash, you should move close enough to the subject for the flash to be effective (no more than 10 feet away). If this is a concern, some digital cameras allow you to use accessory flashes or studio-type lighting. If you set your digital camera on Auto, the camera will attempt to determine the need for flash based on the lighting conditions, but you still should use the manual setting when appropriate (such as using the flash in bright sunlight to reduce intense shadows). Using the flash will consume more of your battery power, so keep your spare set of rechargeable batteries charged and ready to go. Avoiding red eye Red eye is caused by an electronic flash reflecting off the back of the eye, making the eye look red. Many digital cameras offer red eye reduction settings, but this will also delay the time from when you click to when the photo is actually taken. Also, keep in mind red eye can be easily removed with image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, which comes with the efilm PicturePAD. Card readers After filling your memory card, you may want to download the photos to your computer. Most digital cameras allow you to do this with a cable that connects your camera to your computer. Another way to transfer photos from your camera to your computer is with a card reader. Card readers are like an external disk drive that will allow you to access the images on your memory card, just as you would with a floppy disk. This is one of the easiest ways to get the images from your memory card to your computer, and it helps save battery power. While some cameras come with a card reader, most do not, and you may need to purchase one. Click here for more information about card readers.

5 Batteries One of the issues with digital cameras is the issue of power. Digital cameras require a lot of battery power, especially when using the LCD screen on the back of the camera. When you buy a digital camera, rechargeable batteries are a must. Some cameras come standard with rechargeable batteries, while others do not. Either way, you will want to make sure you have at least two sets of rechargeable batteries. There are several different rechargeable batteries on the market. NiMH - an abbreviation for nickel metal hydride - will perform the best, allowing you to recharge the batteries at any time while still holding their capacity. Lithium ion batteries also hold their capacity fairly well. NiCad - an abbreviation for nickel cadmium - are more temperamental, creating a "memory effect" if not charged properly. NiCad batteries will lose their capacity over time, so if given the choice, choose NiMH or lithium ion batteries. What do I do with my digital photos? 1. Get real photo prints. Depending on the resolution of your digital camera, you can get beautiful, REAL photographic prints from 4 by 6 inches up to 16 by 20 inches. The sharpness and quality rival that of film, so you don't have to give up your photo albums or scrapbooks! Many local Photo labs have the capability to make real photos from your digital camera memory card, usually within an hour. You can hand the salesperson your camera, memory card, CD, Zip disk, etc., OR or upload the photos to a local photo developing service, and then pick them up an hour later. This is the most timely and convenient way to get pictures from your digital camera. Online photo processing - There are many online services that can accept your digital camera files over the Internet, and send the prints to you in the mail. If you can wait a few days to get the prints in your hands, our website is a great option. This service offers you the ability to store and to catalog your digital photos on our website, as well as a variety of editing and printing options (see "Online photo sharing" below). 2. Online photo sharing a. Upload your digital photos to an online service into "albums," categorized by date or event (or any other classification you should choose). b. Add, delete, edit/enhance, add captions, etc., to your photos. c. Send your friends and family the link to your online photo album for them to view instantly. (Imagine sending out a birth announcement with all the photos of the event hours after the baby is born!) d. Those who view your album may run a slide show, enlarge images, or even order pictures directly from an online service.

6 Make prints at home The digital printers available on the market today produce beautiful digital prints that closely resemble photographs. Although printing at home takes much more of your free time, there are many instances when you will want this capability. It's important to evaluate the cost of the consumables (ink, paper, etc.) when deciding which printer to use and how often to use it. There are many different features on each printer, but the main technologies are as follows: Inkjet printer - Far and away, the most popular way to print photos from your home PC is the inkjet printer. High-quality inkjet printers, in combination with the right photo paper and inks, can give you beautiful prints. A wide variety of specialty inks and papers are available that will allow the creative digital photographer to create everything from custom greeting cards to works of art. Some of these printers can now accept memory cards, allowing you to make prints without a computer. Dye sublimation printer - Special "dye-sub" printers are now available specifically designed for printing your digital photos at home. These printers use special ribbons and heat-sensitive paper to produce photo-like prints. These usually print on paper that comes in standard photo sizes (4 by 6 inches, 5 by 7 inches, etc.). Accessories Like traditional cameras, there are many accessories you can purchase for your digital camera: batteries, auxiliary lenses, filters, bags, tripods, adapters, cables, memory cards, and inks and paper to name a few. Click here for more information about accessories. Classes Digital photography classes are widely available to both the beginner and advanced photographer. These classes will introduce you to the digital terms, equipment, and techniques to learn how to use your digital camera to take good pictures. Classes may teach you how to compress your files, upload to the Web, edit your images, etc. Click here for a Multi-Media Flash training course for beginning Digital Photography. Fun features Digital cameras, image-editing software, websites and the like all offer some sort of fun features to change or enhance your photos. From digital borders to postcards to morphing your face with the body of an animal, the world of digital photography allows you to stretch your creativity and have a lot of fun in the process. The possibilities with digital images are limitless!

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