Understanding Digital Photography - John Wiley & .chapter1 Understanding Digital Photography Are

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    Understanding DigitalPhotography

    Are you confused abouthow digital photographyworks? This chapterintroduces you to theadvantages of digitalphotography, the differenttypes of digital cameras,and how easy it is to workwith and use digitalpictures.DIG



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  • Why Go Digital? ....................................................4

    Discover Digital Cameras....................................6

    From Start to Finish: The Digital Workflow ....8

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    With digital photography, youcan do more than take snapshotsfor your family album. You canuse a digital camera to quicklyand significantly improve yourphotography skills. You cane-mail your digital pictures tofamily and friends, or createinteresting Web pages aboutyour hobbies, family, or evenhome business. You can alsosimplify everyday tasks, or takepart in the popular hobby ofdocumenting your family historywith a digital scrapbook.

    Why Go Digital?

    Improve Your Photography Skills Because digital pictures do not require film andprocessing, you can experiment with lighting,composition, camera modes, and creative techniquesat no cost. Because you see images immediately, ifan experiment yields poor results, you can delete thepicture, modify your setting or approach, and tryagain. The best way to become a betterphotographer is to take many pictures.

    Simplify Everyday TasksA digital camera allows you to share and conveyinformation easily. For example, you can capturespecial moments such as birthdays and anniversariesand almost immediately send the pictures to yourfriends in an e-mail message, or post them on a Website. You can also take digital pictures of clubmembers for a visual directory. Other tasks includecreating a home inventory for insurance records, andphotographing items you are selling on eBay.

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  • Understanding Digital Photography chapter1


    @jim wiley.com@jim wiley.com

    Share Pictures Online and in E-mailWithin minutes of taking a picture, you can share it in ane-mail message, or upload it to an online photo site toshare with family and friends. By doing it this way, thoseloved ones who want prints of the photos can buy themonline and receive the prints in the mail.

    Create Photo Slide Shows on CDs or DVDs You can use programs, such as Photoshop Elements, tocreate digital image slide shows on recordable CDs andDVDs. Then you can add voice narration, captions, music,digital movie clips, and transitions to finish the slide show.Photoshop Elements also lets you organize your digitalimages by assigning each photo a keyword. If you like, youcan even add a rating, which is similar to the star ratingsthat are so popular with movies and hotels. You can usethese keywords or ratings to find and select a particularphoto for your slide show or just see all your best photoswith a click of a button.


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    When you understand howdigital cameras work, you cantake that knowledge and makean informed decision when itcomes time to purchase yourfirst digital camera or toupgrade your existing one.Knowing how digital cameraswork also allows you to getbetter images from your camera.


















    Discover Digital Cameras

    How Digital Cameras Record PicturesDigital cameras record pictures using an imagesensor array a grid composed of millions oflight-sensitive pixels. The term pixel describes apicture element. The pixels are the buildingblocks of all digital images. A red, green, or bluefilter covers each pixel on the sensor so that itresponds to only one of the primary colors oflight. Each pixel reads the brightness and colorin a scene to produce an electrical signal. Thesignal is then converted to a digital number thatrepresents the color and brightness of the pixel.The cameras onboard computer processes theinformation to build a final image before storingit in memory.

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  • Understanding Digital Photography chapter1


    Types of Image SensorsMost digital cameras use one of two types ofimage sensors: a Charge-Coupled Device(CCD), or a Complementary Metal-OxideSemiconductor (CMOS). Although there aretechnical differences between them, bothproduce high-quality images.

    Resolution and Image QualityResolution is a measure of pixel density;the higher the resolution, the more pixelsthere are in every inch and the greaterdetail that is possible in the image. On adigital camera, the greater the number ofpixels on the image sensor, the larger youcan print the photo. There are consumercameras with sensor sizes up to 8megapixels. If most of your images are 4by 6 or sent by e-mail, any digital camerawith a sensor of 3 megapixels or greatercan produce prints large enough for allyour needs.

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    A digital workflow is a step-by-stepprocess that helps you get the bestdigital images and also manages yourcollection of images. The workflowincludes taking, editing, sharing,organizing, and storing digitalpictures. You can use the digitalworkflow described here as anintroduction to and ongoing guidefor working with your digital images.


    From Start to Finish: The Digital Workflow

    Capture ImagesThe digital workflow begins by choosing camerasettings that will produce the best photo. Youcan choose a preset scene mode (portrait,landscape, or sunset, for example), use a fullyautomatic setting, or set the camera to operatein manual shooting mode.

    Change the white balance to match the lightin the scene. For more information on whitebalance, see Chapter 8.

    Then adjust zoom, compose the image in theframe, ensure the autofocus has the subject infocus, and take the picture. To learn more aboutexposure, see Chapter 4.

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    Verify Exposure and CompositionNext, review the picture on the cameras LCD screen toensure that the exposure and composition are acceptable. Ifthe picture is too light (overexposed), too dark(underexposed), or has highlight areas with no detail,adjust the exposure using exposure compensation. As youreview the image on your LCD, look for distractingbackground elements, closed eyes, and other elements thatyou can improve. When in doubt, retake the picture asmany times as you want it is free.

    Use the LCDThe cameras LCD provides too small of a view to know if apicture is good or not. If possible, zoom the LCD display toget a better idea of the overall quality. Unless the picture ishopelessly flawed, you should not delete it. Instead, waitand evaluate it on your computer you may be able tosave the shot.

    Transfer Pictures to a ComputerYou can transfer pictures from your camera to yourcomputer with a USB cable, a card reader, or a dockingstation. The fastest way to transfer pictures is by using acard reader. Card readers come in many forms, they arecheap, and they do not drain your camera battery whichhappens when you hook your camera to the computer. SeeChapter 8 to learn more about working with digital images.


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    From Start to Finish: The Digital Workflow (continued)

    Edit PicturesYou can use image editing software that comeswith your camera or computer, or software thatyou purchase to edit pictures. Image editingprograms enable you to rotate, adjust color andsaturation, correct red eye, remove unwantedelements (ex-boyfriends), crop, resize, sharpen,combine, and add text to digital pictures. SeeChapters 12 and 13 to learn more aboutworking with image editing software.

    Print and Share PicturesAfter you edit, size, and sharpen your pictures,you can print them on a home photo-qualityprinter, or at a commercial printing service. Youcan also share them in e-mail messages or on aphoto-sharing Web site. For more informationabout printing and sharing pictures, seeChapters 15 and 16.




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    Organize and Store Digital NegativesYou should not alter the original image, which is theequivalent of a film negative. If you need to makechanges to an image, get in the habit of making changesto a copy and keeping the original file untouched. Thisis not as hard as it sounds. Some image editorsautomatically apply your changes to a copy rather thanto the original.

    The best way to manage your picture collection (whichwill become very large) is to use one of the many photoorganizer programs that are available. Many users thinkthat they will not need one when they begin takingphotographs only to discover their collection has grownto an unmanageable size in a short period of time. Youcan always find a particular photo quickly withoutspending hours searching for it if you consistently assignkeywords and descriptions to your photos using programssuch as Photo Organizer in Photoshop Elements or PaintShop Album.

    Clear the Memory Card After your pictures are on your computer, you can safelydelete pictures from your memory card. Many image editorsoffer to delete pictures after they have been transferred, butyou should be sure that the images have been successfullyplaced on your hard drive because when the images aredeleted from the card, you cannot get them back. All