Archive for the ‘composition’ Category

Best Digital Photography Books – The Long And The Short Of Ben’s Books

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Best Digital Photography Books – The Long And The Short Of Ben’s Books
By Rika Susan

CompDigPhoto

One of the best digital photography books for you would be the book that answers the specific questions YOU have about digital photography!

The incredible explosion over the last couple of years in the field of digital photography, combined with the affordability of excellent digital cameras, has resulted in the publication of some of the best digital photography books seen yet.

The best digital photography books include books giving a detailed overview of the field, as well as the more specialized ones. This category is coming to the fore as digital photography is applied to an increasing number of the traditional fields of photography.

Among the best digital photography books, you will therefore encounter a bewildering array of titles.

The specialized topics covered in the best digital photography books include digital night photography, digital black and white photography, digital portrait photography, digital infra-red photography, digital photography lighting, and even setting up digital photography studios.

If you’re just starting out on the digital photography road, one of the best digital photography books to read is probably Ben Long’s revised and highly acclaimed ‘Complete Digital Photography’.

For someone who wants to buy a first digital camera, or upgrade to a better model, this book includes some very useful information on what to take into consideration when shopping around.

Judged one of the best digital photography books available, it is neither too basic, nor too specialized, and is excellent at bridging the gap between the film and digital worlds. It explains the technical aspects of digital photography with clarity, and can serve as a thorough guide for shooting, and editing your photos in Photoshop.

The best digital photography books give a novice a good grasp of the subject. Ben Long’s book certainly does this, by explaining everything from how the image is captured on the sensor, right through to printing and presenting the final image.

He spends a good part on digital ‘darkroom’ techniques, and introduces his readers to a variety of useful concepts for achieving the desired effects.

Ben Long, who is highly regarded as author of some of the best digital photography books, divides ‘Complete Digital Photography’ into four sections. The first part provides basic technical information to assist you when reading the rest of the book.

Most of the best digital photography books devote a section to giving you the necessary information upon which to make a buying decision. Even though many new cameras have appeared on the shelves since publication, the second part of this volume gives you an insight into which features you should be aware of when buying your digital camera.

In the third part of ‘Complete Digital Photography’, Ben Long gets down to actual shooting and shows you how to choose exposure, how to use a histogram, when and how to use a flash, and much more. All the techniques the best digital photography books usually illustrate, are detailed here.

Lastly, the book deals with digital editing and correction techniques, and also shows you how to go about printing your images. The CD that comes with the book, has what you need to complete the tutorials in the book, as well as many full-color images from the book.

As one of the best digital photography books, ‘Complete Digital Photography’ offers a truly comprehensive course that will bring out the best in you and your camera.

Another book by Ben Long, ‘Getting Started with Camera Raw: How to Make Better Pictures Using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements’, also deserves a place among the best digital photography books. This is one of the more specialized titles. Everything about RAW is detailed, from explaining what RAW is, why and how it is used, the image editing processes involved, to useful tips.

Apart from being the author of more than one of the best digital photography books, Long is also known for excellent series of articles. In ‘Framed and Exposed’ he explores how to give your prints an edge, how to shoot at night, how to buy photo printers, how to control digital camera image noise, and how to use Adobe Photoshop.

With his wealth of experience and knowledge, it is no wonder that he has written what is considered to be some of the best digital photography books!

For more information visit Best-Digital-Photography.com

Rika Susan of http://www.Article-Alert.com researches, writes, and publishes full-time on the Web. Copyright of this article: 2006 Rika Susan. This article may be reprinted if the resource box and hyperlinks are left intact.

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Digital Photography Tips and Tricks Part 2 – Digital Landscape Photography

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Digital Photography Tips and Tricks Part 2 – Digital Landscape Photography
By Dominique Vangheel

Since the camera was invented in 1888 photographers have shown great interest to capture landscapes. That is probably even more true today, in the age of digital photography, than it has ever been before. Both amateur and professional photographers show their interest in digital landscape photography.

Digital photography technology has been in the process of constant development. Now it has reached a point where even amateur photographers are capable of capturing amazing scenery with wonderful photos. With the right technical knowledge and some imaginative power, you can create mind-blowing pictures.

Whether you are a professional who needs a refresher or an enthusiastic amateur photographer, you will find the following information helpful to you.

The Importance of Location in Digital Landscape Photography

The selection of the right location is key in digital landscape photography. Before you choose a location, you should consider the purpose of your photograph. If you want to capture photos to hang them in your bedroom, you should think of serenity, peace or calm and look for such locations as a mountain range, seascape or moorelands. If your purpose is an exhibition then you should consider anger or fury to bring out a striking impact. Thus, always keep in mind the emotional effect your photos will give and what you want to accomplish with your photo.

The Importance of Composition in Digital Landscape Photography

Try to keep you image simple and uncluttered. You should remove any distractions from your photograph. This will help you bring more prominence to your focus subject as your viewers eye will not drift as much. Also try to include some form of foreground interest into the image. When you take a photo of only the main subject it will look only half as good as the same picture but with some foreground and background in it to give the whole piece perspective. A good rule is to follow the ‘Rule Of Thirds’. So split your photo in three equal parts horizontally and also vertically, so that you have nine squares. The bottom row is for the foreground, the top row is for the background. Keep your main focus subject off-center, away from the middle of the frame. As a result, your photo will look more dynamic, and ultimately more interesting to view.

The Focal Point in Digital Landscape Photography

An important part of the composition of your image is the focal point, which attracts the viewers’ eye, such as a lighthouse, a boat on the ocean etc. This will ensure that your photo has a dimension and sense of scale. If you apply this technique, it will help prevent the image from looking too bland or boring. You will not have to use something mainstream as your focal point; in fact, it is more eye-catching and interesting when you choose something completely out of the ordinary. But the main point is to pick one main subject for your photo.

Digital Landscape Photography and the Time of Day

The quality and the effect of the light on your photos will depend on the part of the day you select for your photography. Suppose when the sun rises, shadows are weaker and pastel colors more apparent in your shots. Atmospheric haze is also at its lowest in the morning. But the light becomes more contrasting and harsh as the day progresses and is at its strongest during the middle of the day. If you want maximum color impact then you should shoot your picture with the sun behind you, or to one side. A favorite time to landscape photographers is the evening when the sun sets and you can get that warm, rich glow which works extremely well for landscape images. Thus, select the particular time of the day for the particular effect you want from your image.

Digital Landscape Photography and Capturing the Perfect Moment

A good photographer should try to get sufficient control over the situation and him/herself to take the perfect shot, not just any shot. So, do not remain satisfied with second rate shots just because factors seem to turn against you. If, for example, you cannot get the shot you want because it starts to rain, that’s too bad, come back another time for that shot. However, do not consider it as a set back. Rather let your imagination work freely and then try to capture shots only possible when it is raining!

As a last suggestion, pay some attention to the right equipment. The most expensive kit does not guarantee that you will take superb shots. But you can take some simple items that make it easier for you to create great digital landscape photography. These items are a camera bag, a tripod and a lens cleaning cloth. A camera bag, which is both protective and sturdy, is essential if you are walking over rugged areas. A tripod can be very handy to have with you to keep your camera stable and to help you take the right image. A simple lens cleaning cloth may prove an important tool when the whether is rough.

These are some of the most important tips to great digital landscape photography. In the end, a lot of it comes down to practice and being conscious about what you want to create. Armed with these tips you should be able to put a real sense of purpose in your next digital landscape photography session. And I bet you that the results will then speak for themselves!

Want more digital photography tips and tricks? Then check out the Tips ‘n Tricks eZine.
Dominique Vangheel is a devoted fan of digital photography. He works to gather information, tips and news for digital camera users. Visit Your Digital Photography for more information on digital photography.

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Digital Food Photography – Lou Manna

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Digital Food PhotographyDigital Food Photography by Lou Manna

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It would have received 5 stars if it wasn’t for the price – it just wasn’t a £23 book. £16 would be about the right price. Excellent content, beautiful images, plenty of ideas. Would have liked a bit more on the technical aspects of each image, especially how each shot was lit.
Check out Digital Food Photography on Amazon the price has dropped since I bought it and it is now much better value for money. If you love food, and you love photography – have a look.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Three easy ways to improve your photographs

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I was out with a friend the other day when something happened that got me thinking about what experienced photographers do naturally and beginners frequently don’t know anything about. So I’ve decided to share three simple rules that shift photographs out of the snapshot arena.

My friend had a brand new compact camera and was happily enjoying taking pictures of all the plants and flowers in the garden we were visiting. There was a very attractive holly bush with berries that she found particularly photogenic.. I borrowed her camera took a shot and with a quick glance through the photos my friend had taken it was obvious that my shot was significantly better.

This puzzled me for a moment. I had a quick glance at the bush, selected my view and took the picture. My friend had taken considerable time carefully selecting viewpoints and making several exposures. She obviously wanted to know why mine was so much better.

So did I.

Looking through the shots it was clear that the main difference was not in the subject matter – leaves and berries. The main difference was in the arrangement of the leaves and berries in the frame. There is a technical term for this – Composition.

Composition is how the elements of a picture are arranged within the frame of the viewfinder – or nowadays the screen on the back of the digital camera. The aim is to create an image that pleases the eye.

People who have been photographers for a long time tend to do this automatically simply because they’ve taken thousands of photos and spent time looking at what makes the difference between a good one and a bad one.

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to take thousands of photographs in order to improve your pictures. Here are three rules that will easily transform your photographs into images that please you and your friends when you share them. And that’s a huge part of taking photographs – sharing. Pictures need to be shared and enjoyed by many people.

This is a panorama of Hope Valley at Castleton in Derbyshire. The image consists of 8 separate photographs joined together.

This is a panorama of Hope Valley at Castleton in Derbyshire. The image consists of 8 separate photographs joined together.

Rule 1 The Rule of Thirds
If you can remember the name it is very easy to remember how to put it into practice. You mentally divide your viewing screen up by placing two, equally spaced, vertical lines and two equally spaced horizontal lines. This divides your view into thirds vertically and thirds horizontally.

These lines are where you place significant items of interest in your picture. So an horizon line would be placed one third from the top, or one third from the bottom (perhaps if you had a particularly interesting sky). The corner of a building, a person, or a lamppost would be placed one third of the way in from the edge of the frame. Other significant elements would be placed on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines. Fortunately some digital cameras, such as the Canon Powershot A650 IS Digital Compact Camera, have an option whereby you can overlay this grid onto the screen while you are composing your picture.

You’ll find that when you do this, your pictures start to take on a greater appeal and are more pleasing to the eye. A good way to prove this to yourself is to take a picture the way you always have done and then take another one, moving the horizon from the centre of the picture to one third down from the top. And then compare and see which one you prefer.

Snowdon, North Wales

Snowdon, North Wales



The wall is centred around a vertical, while the horizon is aligned with the top horizontal.

The wall is centred around a vertical, while the horizon is aligned with the top horizontal.

Rule 2. Use Diagonals.

Another simple device is to change your position so that you can have lines, like roads, rivers, or paths, moving diagonally across the frame from one of the lower corners towards the centre of the picture. This has the effect of leading the eye into the picture and keeping it there. This is visually pleasing and satisfies the ‘eye’.

The river provides a pleasing line for the eye to follow.

The river provides a pleasing line for the eye to follow.



The diagonal line of the canal leads the eye into the picture and on to the narrow boat in the distance. The red colour of the boat halts the eye.

The diagonal line of the canal leads the eye into the picture and on to the narrow boat in the distance. The red colour of the boat halts the eye.

Straight lines angled across the frame, rather than horizontally or vertically, create visual tension. This has the effect of making the picture more interesting, and more pleasing to view.

Here two crossing diagonals focus attention on the main point of interest.

Here two crossing diagonals focus attention on the main point of interest.



A much more pleasing arrangement than with the edges of the dish aligned with frame edges.

A much more pleasing arrangement than with the edges of the dish aligned with frame edges.

Rule 3. Compose with Colour.

The vast majority of pictures are taken in colour. Notice the effect of different colours. Cool colours like blues and greens recede. Bright colours like reds and yellows tend to dominate. So small patches of red or yellow can be used to balance much larger areas of cooler colours. The eye is drawn to these brighter colours so make sure there are no distracting reds or yellows to pull the eye away from your subject. Watch out for this especially if you are out in the countryside. Many waterproof jackets are made of bright materials and even if the person wearing them is a long way off – the eye is pulled straight to that patch of colour. Wait until they’ve walked out of frame. And you will have a better photograph.

Bridge with distracting red element

Bridge with distracting red element

Above, the red canoes distract the eye from the elegance of the bridge.
A slight shift of position and camera orientation has removed the distraction. An excess of featureless water has been cropped from the image below.

Composition improved and distraction removed.

Composition improved and distraction removed.

That’s three very easy tips to remember that will bring an immediate improvement to the quality of your photography.

Michael Hadfield

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