Fasttrack to Digital Photography

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Digital Photography Tutorial

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  • Fast TrackTo

    Digital Photography

  • CreditsThe People Who Made This Book Possible

    EDITORIALAditya Kuber EditorGagan Gupta WriterRobert Sovereign-Smith Copy EditorRam Mohan Rao Copy EditorRenuka Rane Copy EditorMeera Vankipuram Writer

    DESIGN AND LAYOUTJayan K Narayanan Lead DesignerHarsho Mohan Chattoraj IllustratorVijay Padaya Layout ArtistSivalal S Layout ArtistAtul Deshmukh Design SupportMexy Xavier PhotographerJiten Gandhi PhotographerShyam Shriram Design SupportRohini Dalvi Coordinator

    Jasubhai Digital MediaPublished by Maulik Jasubhai on behalf of Jasubhai DigitalMedia. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in aretrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any meanswithout the prior written permission of the publisher.

    March 2005Free with Digit. Not be sold separately. If you have paidseparately for this book, please send a mail toeditor@thinkdigit.com along with details of location ofpurchase for appropriate action.

  • WHEN WE FIRST decided to publish a book with every issue ofDigit, and then later decided that the first book would be ondigital photography, I must admit I was a bit apprehensive. A200-page on digital photography? Would readers love it? Wouldwe be able to give great content that will justify this effort?

    But when I finally saw the book, I knew we are onto a bigthing. Coming out with a book this in-depth not only takessuperhuman effort, it also means every single person from theteam contributing to this Herculean task. Books normally takemonths to publish; Digit managed it in three weeks, the exacttime we get to publish a magazine, put all the great software onto the DVD and on the CD.

    This book works at different levels-for the novice to theintermediate user to the expert. As a professional photographer,took me back to the days while I was still grappling with thefundamentals of photography.

    This book is not just about the technology behind digitalcameras, it is also equally about photography. Interestingly, forthe reader, the structure of the book is like an opera. It begins atthe basics, then gradually takes the reader to successive steps tounderstanding digital cameras and photography, reaching acrescendo with all the wonderful things you could ever do with adigital camera.

    Admittedly, this book won't make a great photographer ofanyone-that would ultimately depend on how dedicated a personis towards the craft. However, Fast Track to Digital Photographywill create a whole new generation of users, who would be ableto utilise this knowledge to attempt better pictures than before.They would also be able to share better, edit better, print better.

    I hope you love the first issue of Fast Track.

    Mexy XavierPhotographer, Digit

    Foreword

  • FAST TRACK 9

    Digital photography is here to stay. In its early days, puristsquestioned whether this was the real thing and were evenready to write it off. But relentless development and

    evolution has meant that digital cameras have become householdgadgets that everyone feels is a must-have.

    Digital cameras and photography did come at a price, though.While they cut down on recurring costs, they also necessitated thepresence of a computer at your premise adding to the investment.But the argument that almost every home would anyways have acomputer has helped speed up the popularity of these gadgets.

    Digital cameras have gone through their evolution cycle andhave had their technological ups and downs. The industry has nowmore or less settled on the base technology and the entry-levelspecifications. While this process has taken a good decade, it hasstill been much faster that the two centuries it took forconventional photography to reach a benchmark.

    Digital photography brings with it various advantages anddisadvantages. The advantages are in the form of speed, qualityand ease of use while the disadvantages are in the form of lack ofreliability and high initial investment. But these disadvantagesare slowly being relegated to the perceived category rather thanthe actual ones. It is therefore natural that almost all of us wouldlike to make use of the advantages

    Which brings us to this book Thanks to our readers whobelong to different backgrounds and strata of society, we have ourpulse on what it is they have and what it is they want. It is aninteresting fact therefore, that a large number of Indians own adigital camera but not too many are aware of its capabilities or thepossibilities that digital imaging offers.

    Through this book, we aim to dispel many a myth that has kepta lot of digital camera owners away from exploiting the truepotential of their cameras and educate those who did not know

    The Future Of Photography Is Here

  • where to go for the most basic of information regarding digitalphotography and its possibilities.

    You will find most of the information you wanted to haveabout digital photography and some important (though seeminglyinnocuous) tips and hints throughout the book.

    While the book has been confined to address the beginners,there is much more to digital photography. Basic informationabout understanding your camera, the accessories with it,transferring photos, basic editing and organising and sharing yourphotos has been dealt with extensively in the book.

    But digital photography is more than just shooting ortransferring. Digital imaging encompasses image manipulationand is fast being recognised as a new age means of expression. Atthe end of the day, its the same as with any art formwhat youcan do is limited only by your dedication or your imagination.

    So there is also a section on Tools that gives you theinformation on some of the best software there is and the betterWeb sites for learning, and a host of books that can enhance yourknowledge and fuel your passion for photography further.

    Thanks to digital photography, the time may have come thatthe average Indian could document his whole life and not just fewevents. We hope this book gives you the inspiration to do so andsets you off on a quest to capture all things beautiful.

    Happy Shooting.

    FAST TRACK10

  • FAST TRACK 11

    ContentsPart 1 Getting Started and Shooting Page No.

    Chapter 1.1 Why digital photography? 18Yes, why? Find out.

    Chapter 1.2 Digital versus conventional photography 19Is digital photography really better?

    Chapter 1.3 Selecting a digital camera 26Which digital camera is right for you?

    Chapter 1.4 Know your camera 30What all does your camera have?

    Chapter 1.5 Setting up your digital camera 35What additions should you invest in?

    Chapter 1.6 Accessories for your digital camera 37Dont just aim-and-shoot. Know what you are doing

    Chapter 1.7 Basics of composition/photography 39Things to watch out for and some DOs and DONTs

    Chapter 1.8 Viewing and transferring images 42Its time to get those images on your computer

    Part 2 Editing and Enhancing Your Digital Photos Page No.

    Chapter 2.1 Introduction to Photoshop 44The basics of Photoshop explained

    Chapter 2.2 Manipulating Image Attributes 48Making basic changes to your images

    Chapter 2.3 Fixing Common Image Problems 54Freeing your image of the basic problems

    Chapter 2.4 Fun and Games 60More than just cleaning and adjustingget creative

  • FAST TRACK12

    Part 3 Sharing and Organising your digital photos Page No.

    Chapter 3.1 Organise your digital photos 64Specialised software that make organising piles of photographs a breeze

    Chapter 3.2 Printing your digital photos 69The good old-fashioned way of sharing your photos

    Chapter 3.3 Sharing your photos online 71Create a website or upload to an online album

    Part 4 Special Projects Page No.

    Chapter 4.1 Shooting for the Internet 76There are ways you can save time and effort by shooting specially for the Internet

    Chapter 4.2 Shooting your travels 78Do more than just document your adventures

    Chapter 4.3 Restoring photographs 80Have some old photos that have been worn down by time? Now you can bring them back to life

    Chapter 4.4 Your autobiography in photos 82Create a photographic story of your life

    Chapter 4.5 Low-light photography 83Nighttime does not mean you pack up your camera and call it a day... the night presents great opportunities for the roving eye

    Chapter 4.6 Shooting children 87The apple of your eye... the light of your life... make him the star of your photos

    Chapter 4.7 Nature Photography 90The great outdoors beckon... do you have itin you to rough it?

  • FAST TRACK 13

    Part 5 Tips and Tricks Page No.

    A collection of a wide range of tips and tricks to help you enhance 120your photographic skills. Some of the featured tips include:Recovering lost photosScanning old photos and digitising themShooting fireworksUsing flash modesCreating slideshows and screensaversShooting SilhouettesCaring for your camera and accessories

    Part 6 Tools Page No.

    Chapter 6.1 Books 00A wide range of reading material collected justfor you. These books deal with a variety of topicssome in-depth, some for beginners and some just for fun

    Chapter 6.2 Software 00Over 20 pages of the best software for imaging.Everything from organising software to ones thatcreate calendars, slideshows, and presentationsto even the top-of-the-line photo editing software

    Chapter 6.3 Websites 00The Internet is an endless pool of resource andwe dip into it to bring you some of the best fromthis pool. From sites that present reviews to thoseoffering courses, our list has it all

    Part 7 Glossary Page No.

    You no longer need to ask What does that mean? Presenting the jargonbuster that clears any doubts you ever had

  • Getting StartedIBasics Of Photography

    17

    DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    FAST TRACK

    Photography is an art and a science. There are techniques, rules,and even laws. But most of all, its something we have all cometo embrace as an integral part of our lives.

    As photography goes digital, its time you knew how to makethe most of it. Part I of this book deals with the basics ofphotography and everything you ever wanted to know about whatto do and what not to do when taking photos.

  • I Basics Of Photography

    18

    DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    FAST TRACK

    1.1 Why Digital Photography?

    It has been more than a century since photography made itsappearance. Since its birth, photography as an art and as a sciencehas fascinated anyone who came in touch with it. Today, photog-raphy forms the single-most important aspect of our lives. The

    power of photographs isso enormous that theylast far more than yourmemories and we cannotimagine any eventnomatter how big or smallwithout our cameras.

    Naturally, as has beenthe case with almost allthings in our lives, tech-nology has improved theway photography is doneand the way we share ourmemories. Digital photog-raphy, in its 10 years ofexistence, has increasedthe speed at which wecapture, share and cher-ish the importantmoments of our life.

    While digital cameras have virtually replaced film cameras,there are doubts and questions even owners of digital camerashave about the possibilities of using their trusted lightboxes! Thisbook aims at setting you on the path to discovering photographyand its countless opportunities. As with the light of the day, onlyyour imagination can limit your photography.

  • 1.2 Digital Versus Conventional Photography

    The advantages digi-tal photographyoffers over conven-tional (or analoguephotography as it issometimes called),range from the obvi-ous to the obscure.Here are a few clearadvantages of using adigital camera.

    No Recurring Costs Thanks to the pres-ence of an LCDscreen, you can view your photos immediately and decide whetheryou like them and if you want to keep them or re-shoot. So theresno uncertain waiting and no chance of any photo lab messing upthe photos.

    Moreover, when it comes to printing the photos, you dont have toprint all of them. You can choose the good ones and print onlythose meaning you dont pay for the bad ones. Chances are,though, that youll print all since the bad ones were deleted any-ways! But the value for money remains high!

    Also, imagine the time and energy saved when printing digitalphotos. There are ways of ordering digital prints online or justprinting them at home. (More on this later in the book.)

    IBasics Of Photography

    19

    DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    FAST TRACK

    BUYING TIP

    When deciding on buying a digital camera, you should pre-decide someparameters. Choose your priorites: cost, final use of images, additional

    features, service, availability of accessories and finally, the manufacturer(unless you are loyal or brand conscious!). These parameters should be enoughto guide you through your buying decision.

  • Although you might feel that you are spending too much on a dig-ital camera, the amount of money you would save in the long runis definitely worth it.

    Room For ExperimentingDigital cameras are a liberating tool. They allow you more roomfor experimentation. Even when you have nothing to do, you couldsimply pick up your digital camera and shoot away! Later, justdelete them. No costs.

    Such dynamism allows you to perfect your photographic skills soyou dont go wrong again when you are taking the real shot. Thinkof it as rehearsing for the final take!

    Functionality In A Small PackageWhile its a fact that SLRs (digital or conventional) generally offerbetter results than any compact camera, and while a digital cam-era is not a substitute for this, it can be a handy replacement if youreally dont need a large, bulky SLR with numerous lenses, flash-es, tripods and bag of its own!

    I Basics Of Photography

    20

    DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    FAST TRACK

    A conventional SLR (Single Lens Reflex) (left) and a digital camera (right)

    PHOTOGRAPHY TIP

    Take control of your picture-taking and watch your pictures dramaticallyimprove. Become a picture director, not just a passive picture-taker. A pic-

    ture director takes charge. A picture director picks the location, adds props,arranges people and creates them. Most pictures wont be that involved, but youget the idea: Take charge of your pictures and win your own best picture awards.

  • Todays digital cameras are equipped enough to offer you the qual-ity and creativity options that SLRs of yore offered. While SLRsthemselves have evolved, digital cameras, having been the centreof attention over the last few years, have evolved faster thanexpected. The question when developing most new digital camerasishow it can be made more SLR-like. Digital cameras are smaller, normally offer an ISO range of 100-400 in three steps (100, 200 and 400) and the lenses range from35mm to 120mm and are reasonably fast (f/4). Consequently, this

    allows for quality photos in daylight and indoors (using the built-in flash) and acceptable photos in low-light conditions. Digitalcameras also offer certain special functions such as Macro, LongExposures, Fill-flash and some models also sync with externalflash units. And no, you do not need to go buy attachments to doall this! These functions are built-in.

    LCD Eliminates Guesswork

    One of the most important additions to a camera has been the LCDscreen. It simplyremoves the guess-work from photogra-phyincluding com-position, exposure,zoomso much so,that you need n...