Digital Photography

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Where to start when going digital and what others need to know to help you out

The camera you are using
What lens you are using
Which flash you have
What you tried to do and what didn't work the way you wanted.

Start by taking your camera - set it on auto - set the lens on auto - Then take your manual and go through it page by page. This is digital - you aren't wasting film or developing. Try every button as you go through the manual page by page. Yes lots of it will be gobbility gook - keep going - write down what doesn't make sense - all the WB and AF that you run into and don't have a clue what they are write them down - pages later you will run into them again and it will say WB ( White Balance ) which still won't mean much but when you see WB start saying white balance to yourself.

Put sticky notes on the pages that talk about focus distances, image resolution settings, flash distances, specifications. Your manual should look like a Bible someone has really used for many years.

If you want to take your photography to the next level get a good photo editing software and learn how to use it. ( Photoshop Elements 4 for under $100 - Photoshop CS2 for $600 if you really want to go pro )

When asking questions tell which photo edit software you are using.

When you have a handle on your camera and how it thinks ( it is a computer ) then venture into the manual settings.

When you know how to work with jpg files, in your image editor - then move on to tif and raw.

With digital you need to develop a workflow - a process where you get your pictures from camera to finished project. Here is a suggested workflow in steps - if you are a beginner just do:
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 - 15. Add the other steps as you find out what they are and what they can do for you.

1 - Capture images
2 - Transfer to computer
3 - Save - HD - CD - DVD
4 - Edit and delete
5 - Convert from raw
6 - Rotate and crop
7 - Resize up
8 - Correct color and contrast
9 - Repair
10 - Enhance
11 - Save working file
12 - Sharpen
13 - Save archival file
14 - File
15 - Output - developer - printer

There are several learning curves going here:

Your camera
Your edit software
Your computer
Your online developer/ local lab/ your own printer

It can be really over-whelming all at once - so go slow and work on one thing at a time - ask questions specific to what you are working on.


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