How to get started in digital photography

How to get started in digital photography

More than point-and-shoot

How to get started in digital photography is actually easier than most people think. The features, choices and lingo of digital cameras can be confusing, but, arming yourself with information can help you make decisions about which camera is best for you. If you are moving from a film camera to digital, focus on the similarities between film and digital, and the transition will not feel so intimidating.


Step 1

Consider the size of the camera.

Digital cameras range from small and compact to sizes similar to film or SLR cameras. Do you prefer a small pocket-sized camera for easy use and portability? Or is one with a larger viewing screen better for you? Handle several cameras and see which one feels best in your hands, is easiest to manipulate and has a screen that is comfortable to use. Then think about how you plan to use it. Pocket-sized are great for travel.

Step 2

Check the settings on the camera.

Consider the type of photos you will most often want and be sure the camera has settings for them. How easily and quickly can you change from portrait to outdoor, to macro, to museum? Are there special settings for photographing children, or sports?

Step 3

Decide how many megapixels (mp) you need.

This is one time when bigger doesn’t need to mean better. True, the more mp, the better the photo, however, for most casual photographers, 8-10 mp is sufficient. If you plan to produce photos that are larger than 8×10, or sell photos commercially, you may want more megapixels.

Step 4

Take a photo using the flash.

The location of the built-in flash can cause an annoying shadow if the camera has a lens that extends. Take a few pictures, and study the screen to see if there are shadows. Check also for a red-eye setting that uses several flashes to construct the pupils of your subjects and reduce the occurrence of red eye.

Step 5

Try the zoom function.

Be sure the zoom function of the camera is smooth and noise-free so that you don’t scare away that butterfly you want to shoot. Most cameras have 3X to 5X zoom now. If you shoot landscapes and travel photos you will probably want the most zoom you can get.

Step 6

Take 100 photos.

Taking digital photos is a wonderful learning experience. Take 100 photos of the same object or scene. Try different angles, lighting, camera settings. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Then repeat with another object.

Things Needed
• Additional batteries and a recharging unit.
• Optional screen film to protect the screen from scratches.
• A plan for post-production on a computer and storage of very large files.
• An additional memory card.

Tips & Warnings
• Avoid cameras that use regular batteries. Buy one with a rechargeable battery.
• Do your editing on a computer rather than in-camera to save your battery. Photos look different on the larger computer monitor.
• Use the “vivid” setting on the camera for the best quality photos.
• Buy an extra memory card and battery.


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