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The refracted image of the symbol can be seen in each and every tiny drop. While this is a fairly rough and imprecise method, it is a good tip and works is many shooting situations. This is inadequate and, as a result, photographers often have to employ a degree of guesswork when adjusting focus. Regardless of the number of megapixels used to capture an image, the square pixels will always begin to show if they are enlarged enough. The result is a sharp subject with a blurred background, suggesting a feeling of motion and action.
Exposure bracketing Bracketing is when you take multiple photographs of an identical scene or subject, using different exposure settings. The idea is that one of the resulting frames will be perfectly exposed. Although this can be done manually — either by using exposure compensation or by shooting in manual exposure mode see page 63 — many DSLRs are designed with an automatic bracketing program. This feature allows the user to select the number of images in the series, and the level of exposure increment.
The photographer can then later compare the images from the series, before deciding which one is the most accurate. Bracketing is a highly useful and effective method of obtaining the correct exposure. Bracketing is also a useful precaution for beginners, who are more liable to make the odd exposure error. However, there is less need to bracket settings today with the advent of digital capture as, thanks to histograms, exposure can be assessed at the time of capture.
Also, a degree of exposure error can be easily corrected post capture. Bracketing This sequence helps illustrate how bracketing works. Therefore, it is wise to be familiar with the purpose of each, so you can match the most appropriate mode to the conditions or subject. Exposure mode programs Programmed auto Programmed auto P is a fully automatic mode. The camera itself selects the aperture and shutter speed combination, allowing the photographer to concentrate on composition alone.
DSLRs are so sophisticated today that this mode can be relied upon to achieve correctly exposed results in the majority of situations.
After all, a camera is simply a machine. It cannot predict the effect you are striving to achieve; therefore, programmed auto mode is best employed for snapshot photography only.
Instead, grasp control back from the camera by using S, A or M modes. This mode is most useful for determining the appearance of motion see page For example, if you wish to blur subject movement, then you should select a slow shutter speed.
For example, a fast-moving subject will naturally require a quicker shutter speed in order to freeze it. Shutter-priority auto Bird movement When photographing moving subjects, the shutter speed you employ will affect the feel and look of the resulting image.
Select a shutter speed too fast, or too slow, and the shot may be ruined. So, the photographer manually selects the lens aperture, while the camera automatically sets a corresponding shutter speed depending on the meter reading.
For example, scenic photographers often require foreground-to-background sharpness. Therefore, aperture-priority mode is a quick method to select the small aperture required to ensure the foreground, middle distance and background are all rendered crisply. The resulting shutter speed is often immaterial, as the subject is static and a tripod is usually used. It is important to note the E x p o s u r e t i p Despite its name, aperture-priority is also a quick way to set the fastest or slowest shutter speeds.
To select the quickest shutter speed, set the aperture to its widest setting; to select the slowest shutter speed simply set the narrowest aperture available. This helped isolate the insect from its surroundings.
This will vary depending on its speed, determined by its maximum aperture smallest f-number. The photographer sets the value for both aperture and shutter speed, providing them with full control over the exposure equation. Similar to the other exposure modes, the camera takes a light reading from the scene or subject when the shutter-release button is semi-depressed.
Or, you may want to ignore the recommended settings in order to expose creatively. E x p o s u r e t i p If you are using a handheld meter see page 17 , set your camera to manual mode so that you can implement the suggested settings.
Using the manual mode, I was quickly able to adjust exposure settings to compensate. Basically, they are variations of programmed-auto mode see page 60 , with the camera setting both lens aperture and the corresponding shutter speed.
Auto picture modes Sports The subject is presumed to be moving, so the camera automatically employs a fast shutter speed to freeze movement. The camera will be set to continuous AF and also continuous shooting, so it can record action sequences. A wide aperture is prioritized to intentionally soften and blur background detail.
For the best results, try using a short telephoto lens 70—mm. Picture modes are found on the majority of digital cameras — particularly entry-level models. The number and type included will vary depending on the make.
However, they offer the user limited creative control, so use them sparingly. The camera automatically activates the central AF sensor, assuming that the subject will be positioned centrally in the frame. This mode is suited to all types of close-up subjects, such as plants and insects.
Understandably, Live View is becoming an increasingly popular way to compose and focus images. This is possible thanks to the camera continuously and directly projecting the image from the sensor onto the LCD screen. Live View will still operate adequately in low light and on some cameras it is possible to simultaneously view a live histogram to help ensure exposure settings are correct before releasing the shutter — a useful exposure aid. On some models, it is also possible to overlay a rule of thirds see page 73 grid to aid composition and also other useful features, like virtual horizon, which acts like an in-camera spirit level to help you capture level horizons.
E x p o s u r e t i p Most modern cameras also have the ability to capture movie clips and audio. Raw is a relatively forgiving format with comparatively wide exposure latitude, so it is also possible to correct a degree of exposure error during conversion. Therefore it is the preferred format for many photographers. The pre-selected shooting parameters, such as white balance and sharpness, are applied to the image in-camera.
This makes Jpegs ideal for when you want to produce the end result quickly and with the minimum of fuss. So, if you do make a technical error, you are less likely to be able to salvage the photo than if you had made the same mistake shooting in Raw. Digital cameras allow you to shoot Jpegs in different quality settings and sizes — typically Fine, Normal and Basic. You can also capture either L large , M medium or S small Jpegs exact image size will vary depending on the resolution of the camera.
However, for optimum image and print quality, it is best to always shoot in Jpeg Fine, set to its largest resolution. There are two forms of compression: As the name suggests, lossless LZW compression stores images without losing any information so image quality is optimized. This will not often result in a visible drop in picture quality and, being smaller in size, i.
It is easiest to show image quality by enlarging just a small section. The second image shows the original Tiff. Only when equipped with this knowledge can you fully grasp creative control of your digital camera. You may understand the mechanics of exposure, but this knowledge means little unless you put the theory into practice.
Every picture-taking opportunity is unique and should be treated as such. Different subjects will require a different approach. In contrast, when shooting sports or wildlife, a fast shutter speed is often needed in order to freeze rapid action. This chapter is dedicated to exposure in practice — looking at its effect and role in combination with a handful of traditionally popular photographic subjects. However, while the following pages will hopefully help you and provide a good guideline, it is only through taking your own images that things really begin to make sense.
The idea is to imagine the image space split into nine equal parts by two horizontal and two vertical lines. The points where the lines intersect are, compositionally, very powerful. Therefore, by simply placing your subject, or a key Portland Bill In this image the horizon is positioned so that the sky forms one third and the foreground two thirds of the image space. Also, the lighthouse is intentionally placed roughly one third into the frame. The composition appears far stronger, with a better balance, than if the lighthouse and horizon had been placed centrally.
Compositional rule of thirds element within the scene, at or near a point where the lines intersect you will create a more balanced, stimulating composition overall. This rule is relevant to all subjects, but particularly to those featured in this chapter. Generally speaking, by using this approach, you will create images with more depth, balance, energy and interest than if you had placed your subject centrally in the frame.
However, it could be argued that this is never more important than when shooting scenics. One of the most challenging forms of photography is landscape photography. This is mostly due to the great changeability of light. Scenic images rely heavily on the quantity, quality and direction of light for their impact and drama.
However, natural light is constantly changing. The position of the sun, and its intensity, alters throughout the day, and also according to the season. While the light at other times of day can still produce very usable results, particularly if the conditions are stormy or dramatic, it is dawn and dusk that are best for scenic photography.
At these times of day, the sun is low in the sky. Typically, there is an imbalance in light between the sky and darker foreground. Recognizing this is a key skill for landscape photographers. This light imbalance needs to be corrected, otherwise the image will either have an overexposed sky, if you expose for the ground, or an underexposed foreground, if you correctly meter for the sky.
Alternatively, it is possible to shoot two or more exposures of the same scene, using different exposures, in order to later merge or blend them during post processing see page By doing so, it is possible to produce a result that is correctly exposed throughout.
Stormy sky Traditionally, early morning and late evening, when the sun is low in the sky, are the best times of day to shoot scenics. However, if the conditions are stormy, with dark brooding skies, it is possible to capture dramatic scenic images at any time of the day.
In fact, when shooting woodland scenes, dull conditions can often prove best. By intentionally shooting in overcast weather, it is possible to record colour and detail with greater accuracy.
This enabled me to record detail in the foreground, while also preventing the bright, colourful sky from overexposing. Scenic images can often be dramatically improved by including something in the immediate foreground. Potentially, almost anything can be used. Often, this approach works best in combination with a wide-angle lens. By using a short focal length and moving quite close to your foreground, you can stretch perspective and create dynamic, eye-catching compositions.
Typically, shutter speeds are quite slow when shooting landscapes. So, if you shoot handheld, camera shake is a genuine concern, even if using a lens with image stabilization.
In practice, a tripod is essential. When image-forming light passes through the aperture, the light striking the edges of the diaphragm blades tends to diffract or, in other words, it becomes scattered. This softens image sharpness. At larger apertures, the amount of diffracted light is only a small percentage of the total amount striking the sensor.
However, as the aperture is stopped down reduced in size , the percentage of diffracted light effectively grows much larger. To some extent, this will vary depending on the quality of the lens itself. Eye-catching scenics are normally the result of creating an interesting and balanced composition. Big or small, old or new, industrial or residential — buildings come in many shapes and sizes and can prove highly photogenic.
Urban landscapes can be a dramatic subject — day or night. Towns, cities and urban areas are full of interest and it is possible to capture great images with just a very basic set-up: Often, it is best to opt for strong, bold compositions, in order to create images with impact — maybe using the shape of one building to frame another.
The appearance of architecture alters greatly throughout the day as the position of the sun changes. East-facing buildings receive most light in the morning, while west-facing structures will be lit in the afternoon. However, bear in mind that a building might be in shade for many hours a day, depending on the position and height of neighbouring buildings. Modern architecture New developments and modern architecture can be very photogenic, with eye-catching and unusual designs.
They often suit a very low or high viewpoint to create arty, abstract-looking results. Old buildings can also look good photographed in context with a modern construction — the contrast between old and new creating visual interest.
After all, buildings are static, so the shutter speed is of no great concern unless you are shooting handheld. Converging verticals When photographing architecture, converging angles, or verticals, is a common problem. This is a term used to describe the way parallel lines in an image appear to lean inward to one another. This perspective distortion is created when we angle our camera upward or downward, which is often necessary when photographing a tall building from nearby in order to photograph all of the structure.
The effect is further exaggerated when using a wide-angle lens. Converging angles can look odd, giving the impression a building is leaning or falling over. However, the effect can be used to create some very eye-catching, dramatic or even abstract-looking results.
Therefore, there will be times when you should actually try to emphasize the effect, rather than attempt to correct it. You can do this by moving closer to the building, angling your camera more or by attaching a shorter focal length. When converging angles are undesirable, you can minimize the problem by moving further away and using a longer focal length. However, this is not always practical and it may be better to try to correct it post capture using software.
Many Raw converters are designed with tools to alter perspective. Click and drag the markers until the verticals are correctly aligned. Perspective distortion Converging angles can create the impression that a building is leaning or about to topple over. Although the effect can be undesirable, used appropriately, it can also create some very bold and interesting results.
E x p o s u r e t i p Do not photograph sensitive buildings, such as government-owned buildings, airports and schools, unless you have prior permission. The authorities may question whether your intentions are purely creative and, in some countries, you can be arrested for photographing certain buildings.
The best time of the day to photograph low-light cityscapes is the hour between sunset and nightfall, when the warm sky will help to enhance the outlines of subjects. When taking images at night time, the resulting long exposure can present photographers with one or two challenges. Shutter speeds may be anything up to 30sec or longer. Therefore, a good tripod is essential to keep your camera still during exposure. Due to the lengthy shutter speeds you will be employing, this motion will be blurred, creating some interesting effects.
For instance, the trails of light created by car headlamps and rear lights will add visual interest and an extra dimension to your night images. When photographing in low-light conditions, meter for the scene in the same way you would at any other time of the day. By switching to spot metering, it is possible to take two or more readings from different areas of brightness within the image.
It is also worth bracketing to guarantee a correct result. Review histograms regularly and be careful not to grossly underexpose results. When working in such Light trails It is best to shoot night-time, urban landscapes within an hour of sunset. The light trails of car head and rear lights, created by the long exposure time, can look striking. Therefore, select a viewpoint where you can include them within the shot.
In this instance, a bus created the unusual streaks of light. E x p o s u r e t i p If you are setting up a tripod on a pavement, be considerate where you position the legs of your support and be mindful not to obstruct other people.
Wildlife can be a challenging and technically demanding subject. However, by practising your knowledge of exposure, you greatly enhance your chances of producing successful results. Birds Few subjects are more challenging to photograph than birds. Therefore, it is best to begin by photographing birds that are relatively accustomed to human activity; for example, ducks and waders at a local reservoir or wetland.
Often, they will tolerate a close approach on foot, so they can prove good subjects with which to begin honing your skills. Larger birds, such as Moorhen One of the best places to begin honing your wildlife photography skills is a local reservoir, wetland, park or canal, where the resident bird life is more tolerant of human activity.
This photograph was taken at a local canal, the moorhen posing happily while I took photos from just a short distance away. If they allow you to get very near, try using a short focal length, or even a wide-angle lens, and, shooting from a low angle, take a shot that shows the bird within its environment.
The shot will have far more impact than a standard portrait. Truly wild birds will rarely allow you to get within shooting distance by stalking on foot. Instead, a hide of some sort is required. Compact and collapsible hides are available quite cheaply, and are perfect for concealing your whereabouts. Alternatively, try making your own. Place your hide close to a feeding station, or a spot where you know, or have been told, that birds visit regularly.
Try to enter your hide before daybreak, to minimize subject disturbance. If they are in soft focus the image will normally be ruined. Flight photography, in particular, is quite tricky, but the results can look amazing.
In order to do this, you will probably need to select a large aperture. Blackbird When photographing wildlife, try to capture some form of behaviour to give your images more interest and help them to appear less static. In this instance, I triggered the shutter just as this blackbird foraged for food amongst the heavy snow.
Most gardens are home to a variety of garden birds, small mammals, amphibians, spiders, snails and insects. Larger animals, such as foxes, might also visit regularly. What is the ideal ISO sensitivity for wildlife photography? There is no right or wrong answer to this. This will depend on a number of factors, including available light and artistic interpretation. However, a fast shutter speed is often a priority when photographing wildlife, to freeze subject movement and eliminate the risk of camera shake — a common problem when using long, weighty telephotos.
After all, even if image quality is slightly degraded, this is still preferable to a shaky image or one with unintentional subject blur. Meadow Pipit This image was taken in my back garden during a cold spell of weather. Birds were attracted to the food I was placing out for them on my snow-covered lawn.
I lay down close by and, using a long telephoto lens, photographed them while they fed. Reptiles can be enticed by providing suitable shelters in your garden, such as corrugated iron sheets, rubble or wood piles. Try placing the bait near to a window or shed that you can then use as a makeshift hide. Also, look for reptiles, snails and small invertebrates. They might not be the most glamorous of subjects, but they can create interesting images. Natural light is often restricted when shooting in close-up.
E x p o s u r e t i p If you are new to wildlife photography, it is worth visiting a zoo or safari park where you can practise techniques and experiment with exposure. As with any type of subject, good technique is needed to capture fresh, eye-catching photographs. Communication Entire books are dedicated to the skill and art form of people photography. Even though, theoretically, a photographer can control light, composition and the subject, capturing consistently good portraits is far from easy.
Therefore, in many situations, your ability to communicate — putting your sitter at ease — is every bit as important as your technique and use of exposure. Unless you are using a professional model, few people enjoy having their picture taken. Good communication skills are essential.
Keep talking, explaining what you are doing and why and ensuring they know the type of image you are striving to Friends and family Generally, friends and family will be happy to be photographed and will act fairly relaxed in front of your camera. In this instance, I asked my young nephew to pose for me.
We had fun playing with different viewpoints and expressions. If possible, show them examples of different poses and styles beforehand, so that they have a better idea of what you require from them. This will be of particular help to anyone not accustomed to having their picture taken.
Offer encouragement to your sitter and, calmly and politely, give clear instructions on how you want them to pose and look. Once you have mastered this, the job of taking good portraits will become far more straightforward. A wide-angle lens can be used to create distorted, wacky portraits, whilst a tele-zoom is normally the best choice for candid shots. This type of approach can produce unusual, eye-catching images that reveal far more about the subject than a standard portrait is able to.
The surroundings are of equal importance to the person you are photographing, so creating a balanced composition is important. Often, a short focal length is best — a 24—70mm standard zoom being a versatile and effective focal range. In trouble with the law Environmental portraits can reveal or imply so much about the subject.
Using a wide-angle lens, it is possible to create eye-catching portraits by shooting your subject close-up, with the background portraying something about your subject.
How the subject is lit will not only help determine their appearance, but it should also complement the look and mood of the subject. Although for some types of people photography you will simply have to work with the ambient light available — candid shots, for example — often you will have at least some control over lighting. In truth, both types of light have their merits — it depends on the result you want. While strong sunlight might suit some subjects, bright but overcast conditions are best for people.
In contrast, bright direct light, particularly during midday when the sun is overhead, is too harsh, creating ugly shadows underneath facial features and also causing your sitter to squint. This is one of the reasons why wedding photographers will often pose people in the shade of a tree or building. Daylight can also be used when shooting indoors; for example, natural light entering a room via a window or patio doors.
If the light is too strong, it can be diffused by hanging muslin or net curtain across the window. Often it is best to keep the backdrop clean, simple and uncluttered. It will also help generate a relatively fast shutter speed that will enable you to shoot handheld, which is preferable when taking portraits, allowing you to alter your shooting position quickly and freely.
For this reason, many professional portrait photographers spend much of their working life in a studio environment, gaining precise control over the direction of light and the way the subject is lit. Even strong, contrasty light can prove effective when used precisely and appropriately in a studio — it will depend on the effect you wish to achieve.
As ever, lighting is a crucial ingredient. In this instance, the way the model is lit makes her stand out boldly against her contrasting environment, creating an eye-catching and unusual result. It can be best described as an unplanned, unposed and unobtrusive form of people photography, where the photographer captures a moment of everyday life.
Often, pictures are taken from further away, so that the photographer remains largely unnoticed. A focal length in the region of mm is ideally suited. As a result, candid images look completely natural. Good candid photography relies on timing; for example, a split second too early or late and the person being photographed may turn and look in the wrong direction or change their expression.
Therefore, you need to work quickly. Wedding receptions, bustling markets, high streets and festivals are among the places where great candids are possible.
However, some people do object to having their picture taken. Presuming they agree, simply wander off and place yourself strategically within shooting range. They will soon forget you are there. You can then begin shooting natural-looking candids. Fun on the beach Good candid images rely on spontaneity and timing.
Your subject should be unaware of you and your camera, so that images are natural and genuine. The term refers to a depiction of inanimate objects — man-made or natural — arranged creatively by the artist.
Still life photography is popular and accessible to all. It is a great subject with which to hone your compositional, lighting and exposure skills, as the subject is stationary and the photographer has complete control over every aspect of capture.
One of the key skills to still life photography is having the ability to identify suitable subjects. Even the most mundane, everyday objects can create bold photographs. Have a wander around your home, looking with a creative eye. As you would expect, how best to light your subject is a key consideration.
If you are using household light, be aware that tungsten light see page has a lower colour temperature than daylight. As a result, a warm, orange cast will affect exposures taken under tungsten, unless you correct this via your white balance setting, or during Raw conversion. Alternatively, use window light, diffusing it if necessary with muslin or a similar material. In this instance, I carefully positioned a knife, fork and spoon, using a lightbox to create a simple, white backdrop.
While mono can create mood and a feeling of nostalgia, colour will create impact. In this instance, I arranged a number of coloured pencils, positioning them diagonally to strengthen the composition.
While, for larger arrangements, a standard zoom lens should be adequate, for smaller subjects, opt for a macro lens or close-up attachment. They are ideal for product photography and are available in a variety of designs and sizes ranging from small table-top set-ups to large professional studio tables.
You can even move it adjacent to a window should you wish to use natural light. Here, you can begin to arrange your still life.
It is normally best to keep it simple, ensuring it is complementary to your main subject. A piece of black or white card, available cheaply from a craft shop, will create a simple, neutral backdrop. When you begin arranging your still life, start modestly.
Look at the way the light affects the shadows and the shape of the item. E x p o s u r e t i p You can learn a lot from studying still life images published in books, magazines and online. Notice how photographers often use lines, repeating shapes, contrast and colour. If you require back-to-front sharpness, select a small aperture. By doing so, only your point of focus will be pin- sharp — with everything in front and behind drifting pleasantly out of focus.
This can prove to be a very effective approach, but still life photography is highly subjective — experiment in order to discover what you like and dislike. Exposure for still lifes Water droplets Simple ideas often create the most eye-catching results.
This image was created by positioning a print of the H2O symbol for water behind droplets on a windowpane. The refracted image of the symbol can be seen in each and every tiny drop. Keyhole Not all still life images have to be set up. In this instance, I saw the peeling paintwork on an old blue door and recognized the still life potential. I used the keyhole as a point of interest. The cloudy, overcast conditions provided nice, diffused lighting.
Photographers who shoot abstracts and patterns simply use imagination, creativity and originality to capture stunning, eye-catching images. Choosing a subject Abstract photography is the process of using colour, tone, symmetry, patterns, form, texture and repeating lines or shapes to create an image.
Almost anything can be shot in an abstract way: With a little imagination, even very ordinary, everyday subjects can create bold imagery. Although creativity is the key ingredient to abstract photography, you still need to be technically competent: Without a good, working knowledge of exposure, you will be unable to reproduce your thoughts and visions. With this type of photography, the possibilities are endless — your only restriction is your imagination.
A close-up of water droplets that had formed on a discarded metal pedal bin, created this interesting and eye-catching pattern. Visually, this can prove a highly effective approach. Also, through selecting a large aperture, the resulting shutter speed will often be fast enough to allow you to shoot handheld should you wish.
While normally I encourage using a camera support whenever practical, when shooting abstracts the freedom of shooting handheld can help promote creativity and original shooting angles. Another popular technique is to blur subject movement through the use of a slow shutter speed see page Digital capture has encouraged creativity and experimentation. You can then alter your set-up or exposure settings accordingly until you achieve exactly the effect you desire. New patterns are formed naturally every day, so where better to begin looking for potential abstract subjects than the great outdoors.
Form is primary; content is irrelevant. Therefore, you need to rethink how you would usually photograph any given subject. You need to look with fresh eyes at natural subjects that you might normally ignore, such as moss, bark, geology and sand. By photographing such subjects in an abstract way, employing an unusual angle or using a creative technique, you will achieve stunning results.
It is not just miniature natural objects that form interesting abstracts. Rather than photograph subjects using a traditional approach, try shooting them more imaginatively.
Once again, motion can be a useful visual tool. Usually, any camera movement during exposure would result in a ruined image. However, this is abstract photography, so no approach should be ruled out completely.
While this technique can prove hit and miss, maybe taking several attempts to get right, panning the camera during exposure either from side to side or up and down can create visually arresting photos. Another fun technique to try is zoom bursts. Adjust the focal length of your zoom from one extreme to the other during an exposure of around 1sec to create bizarre results. Simplicity is often key — the sharp form of this single, backlit thorn created a striking close-up.
Sand pattern Natural abstracts are often easily missed, so you need to look carefully. In this instance, the low, evening light emphasized the ripples in the sand, creating a simple, but attractive pattern. By doing so, I created this blurry, streaky effect of a group of trees. Nikon D, 70—mm at mm , ISO , 1. By moving nearer to your subject, you will reveal intricate detail, colour and texture that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Close-up photography allows us to view subjects from a totally new viewpoint and capture visually striking photographs indoors or out.
Equipment for close-ups It is a common misconception that to capture great close-up images you need pricey, specialist kit, such as a dedicated macro lens that is optimized for close focusing. In truth, many standard zooms offer a useful reproduction ratio of around 1: There are also lots of close-up attachments available, many of which are inexpensive. For example, supplementary close-up lenses provide a good introduction.
However, they do tend to suffer from chromatic and spherical aberration and the camera-to-subject working distance tends to be short. Despite this, they are a cheap and useful introduction to the fascinating world of close-ups. They work by extending the distance between the sensor and lens.
However, they do reduce the amount of light entering the lens, and this naturally affects exposure, as a longer shutter time is required to achieve a correct result. Next, take a subsequent meter reading of the same object, but with the extension tube attached. Compare the two meter readings — the difference is the absorption factor.
Knowing the level of compensation required is essential if you are using a handheld light-meter or a manual extension tube. Sometimes the problem can be alleviated by altering shooting position or by using a longer focal length to increase the subject-to-camera distance.
Compact, collapsible versions are relatively cheap and a good accessory to keep in your camera bag. Alternatively, a piece of white card or aluminium foil can be used. What is reproduction ratio? Reproduction ratio is a way of describing the actual size of the subject in relation to the size it appears on the sensor, not the size to which the image is subsequently enlarged on a screen or when printed.
For example, if an object 40mm wide appears 10mm on the sensor, it has a reproduction ratio of 1: If the same object appears 20mm in size, it has a ratio of 1: If it appears the same size on the sensor as it is in reality, it has a reproduction ratio of 1: You can then compare the results later and decide which is best.
I had to employ a reproduction ratio of approximately 1: As a result, the light reaching the sensor is reduced so, to compensate, the shutter speed has to be lengthened to maintain the correct exposure.
Presuming the subject is static, the best solution is to use a tripod to support the camera. However, if the subject is moving or being wind-blown, the shutter speed may not be fast enough to freeze its motion. When you need to place your point of focus with pin-point accuracy, it is best to focus manually using Live View see page Close-up or macro — what is the difference?
However, there is actually a distinct difference between the two. While this might be technically incorrect, in truth the distinction is fairly academic.
This is because there is only one geometrical plane of complete sharpness, so you want to place as much of your subject within this plane as possible. It refers to the illumination surrounding a scene or subject by which to take photographs. For example, sunlight, tungsten lighting or even candlelight can be the source of the ambient light used in your photographs.
Evening light This is a simple image, essentially comprising of two rocks and a windswept tree.
The shot relies on the soft, warm, evening light for its aesthetic appeal. For example, a very dark object can appear to be white or even silver depending on just how the light falls on it.
Recognizing just how light can alter the tonality of your subject will help you to reproduce it just as you wish in a photograph. By simply altering your shooting position, a subject can look radically different.
For example, a subject that is backlit or cast into silhouette can look far more dramatic than if simply lit from the front or side. Digital cameras are designed with a white balance setting to enable photographers to neutralize colour casts created by different types of ambient lighting. However, it is worth remembering that sometimes a cast should be enhanced, rather than removed, as it can improve an image aesthetically.
These leaves would normally be mid-tone but in this image, due to being backlit, they appear lighter and more vibrant. There are four broad categories: Matched to the right scene or subject, each type is capable of producing striking — and very different — results.
Front lighting The easiest to handle, front lighting illuminates the front of the subject evenly, removing visible shadows. That said, when the sun is low over the horizon, it can provide excellent colour saturation. With low front lighting, an additional problem is that you have to avoid your own shadow appearing in the picture when using short focal lengths. Depending on the situation, overhead light Beach huts Side lighting is best for highlighting texture and form. Side lighting One of the best and most regularly used forms of light, side lighting helps to add depth to a subject and create a three-dimensional feel.
It is for this reason that many outdoor photographers prefer shooting at the beginning and end of the day.
Side lighting will normally produce images with a good degree of contrast, while strong, low side- lighting has a modelling quality. Backlighting While you should never point your lens in the direction of a bright light source, backlighting, where the subject is illuminated from behind, is one of the most dramatic forms of lighting.
However, it can also prove the trickiest to meter for. Metering systems tend to underexpose backlit subjects, so check histograms regularly and apply positive compensation see page 58 if necessary. Backlighting can create attractive rim lighting, where there is still detail rendered on the face side of the subject and a golden halo of light surrounds it. Silhouetting is the most extreme form of backlight, with the subject recorded without colour or detail see page Flare can appear in many different forms, but typically it will be brightly fringed polygonal shapes of varying size, in addition to bright streaks and a reduction in contrast.
For this reason, modern lenses are designed with surface coatings to combat its effects and a detachable lens hood is normally supplied as standard. It is the most extreme form of backlighting, where the subject is recorded as a black outline, without colour or detail, against a lighter background. Effectively, the subject is grossly underexposed. However, silhouetted subjects create powerful imagery, especially when contrasted against a clean backdrop or colourful sky.
Choosing a subject Silhouettes are easiest to achieve at either end of the day, when the sun is lower in the sky. What the photographer is striving for is a photograph where the main subject is devoid of detail or colour. For this reason, it is important to select a subject with a strong, instantly recognizable outline.
People, buildings, a cityscape, animals or lone trees are good examples of suitable subjects. Exposing silhouettes To create a silhouette, the subject needs to be backlit and contrasted against a brighter background. To achieve an exposure that will cast your subject into silhouette, it is usually best to switch to spot metering mode see page 22 and then take a meter reading from an area of brightness behind your subject.
Presuming that it is, when you take the photograph using the settings from your spot meter reading, your subject will be rendered pure black, producing a perfect silhouette.
E x p o s u r e t i p When spot meter reading from a brightly lit portion of the frame, be careful not to look directly at the sun through the camera, as this can be damaging to eyesight. Silhouetting a subject will place emphasis on shape and form. Keep compositions clean and simple. To take this image, I arranged a section of jigsaw on a lightbox and metered for the highlights. As a result, the puzzle itself was grossly underexposed, creating the effect I desired. I removed a piece to create visual interest.
Windmill Silhouetted subjects stand out particularly well against colourful skies. In this instance, I metered correctly for a bright area of the sky, which cast the windmill into inky silhouette.
This is determined by its source. In contrast, light that is diffused in some way is deemed quite soft and attractive. The key factors that affect the quality of sunlight are time of day, the season and weather — the light is much less intense and more diffused on a cloudy day, for example.
It can prove Quality of light the difference between a good and a great shot. For example, shoot an identical composition, but at different times, in varying types of light, and the results will be radically different. When photographers talk about the quality of light, they are actually referring to its intensity.
However, if the sunlight is diffused by cloud, or a soft box is used in the studio, its intensity is lessened. As a result, shadows are softer and contrast is reduced. However, natural light cannot be controlled, so photographers working outdoors have to either make do, or wait until the quality of light changes naturally. In contrast, on a clear, cloudless day, the sun will act like a giant spotlight, casting harsh shadows. The best light is usually produced when there is broken cloud.
The position of the light source also has a huge impact on the quality of light. A similar effect can be observed in a studio. For this reason, the middle hours of the day are generally best avoided — for landscape photography, in particular. The quality of light can also affect exposure.
E x p o s u r e t i p The quality of natural light is generally best when the sun is lower in the sky. Not only is the light softer and warmer, but the longer shadows help create the feeling of depth. Although only taken moments apart, the quality of light is radically different in the two images.
However, when the sun appeared seconds later, the direct, late evening sunlight transforms the scene, with the light and resulting dark shadows giving the image life and depth 2. Its role is to neutralize colour casts produced by the varying temperatures of light. Most cameras have a useful automatic white balance AWB option, where the camera looks at the overall colour of the image and sets WB accordingly, which is reliable and accurate in most shooting situations.
However, it will not always produce the best results. For example, if a scene or subject is dominated by one particular colour, AWB is likely to be fooled. Colour temperature Every light source contains a varying level of the three primary colours of red, green and blue RGB.
Lower temperatures have a greater percentage of red wavelengths, so appear warmer; higher temperatures have a greater proportion of blue wavelengths and appear cooler. The temperature of light is measured in degrees of Kelvin K. Light is considered neutral at around 5,K — this rating being roughly equivalent to equal amounts of the RGB wavelengths of white light.
To capture colour authentically, digital photographers need to match the colour temperature of the light falling on the subject with the appropriate WB setting on their camera. Most photographers rely heavily on WB presets to do this. White balance aids, such as the Expodisc and ColorChecker Passport, are available for ultimate colour accuracy.
Accessories like this are most suited to studio and wedding photography. To prevent colour casts forming, match the WB setting with the lighting conditions. While AWB is capable of excellent results, it can prove inconsistent, struggling to differentiate between the colour of light and the intrinsic colours of the subject itself.
One method for guaranteeing accurate white balance is to bracket your WB settings. Bracketing is a term used when taking multiple photographs of the same scene or subject using different settings — most commonly your exposure settings see page However, the same principle can also be applied to white balance.
Some cameras have a function for doing this automatically. If not, simply alter the WB setting manually for each subsequent frame. However, Raw shooters need not worry about bracketing WB settings, being able to easily adjust WB to taste at the post processing stage. As a result, the scene is recorded unnaturally cool 1. The subsequent shot is far more faithful to the original scene 2. To do this, select a higher Kelvin value than the ambient light requires. For example, midday daylight is roughly equivalent to 5,K.
In contrast, a blue hue conveys a feeling of coolness and mystery and is well suited to misty, wet or wintry conditions. To create the effect, manually dial in a lower colour temperature setting. For example, in average daylight, a WB setting of 3,—4,K would create a cool blue colour cast. Whether you intend on warming up or cooling down your images, adjustments to WB should normally be fairly subtle if you wish to retain a natural feel to your shots.
Experience will help you to intuitively know when to manipulate WB creatively, but experimentation is the key. Warming up These two images were taken within moments of each other. Intentionally warming up or cooling down images for creative effect is a powerful and useful aesthetic tool. With the exception of photographers who shoot exclusively in a studio environment, sunlight provides the ambient light for the vast majority of images.
The quantity, effect and look of sunlight vary greatly, depending on the weather, time of day and also the season. Although photographers have no control over sunlight, a good appreciation of its many qualities will help you use natural ambient light to its best effect. Due to the changeability of natural ambient light, two identical compositions, taken just moments apart, can look radically different. This is particularly so on days when there is broken cloud.
The sun may appear for Lake Natural ambient light is in a constant state of transience. The light can appear radically different depending on the time of day, season and also the weather conditions. For example, these two images were taken of the same view at around 7am in the morning, but months apart. Timing is often key when working with natural light. I have previously mentioned how the quality of natural ambient light changes, relative to the time of day.
Typically, outdoor photographers favour the time around sunrise and sunset in which to take their images. The light is naturally softer and warmer. The longer shadows cast help create the perception of depth and accentuate form.
Windswept tree Natural ambient light can be used in many different ways. Sunlight is in a permanent state of transience and the time of year also has a dramatic effect. Week by week, the light is subtly changing. The days are either growing shorter or longer and the arc of the sun varies. As a result, the quality of light remains relatively good throughout the day, even at midday — traditionally the worst time to take pictures.
Thanks to the transience of natural light, a scene or subject rarely looks the same twice. However, it is often perfectly adequate for taking pictures indoors; for example, for shooting portraits or still life images. When using Evie Our eyes naturally neutralize the warm, lower colour temperature of tungsten lighting. While our eyes naturally neutralize this effect, a camera will record a warm, orange colour cast. Although this can prove attractive, often it will look ugly and unnatural and should be corrected using your WB setting see page Like tungsten, strip lighting produces a colour cast, unseen by the human eye.
Fluorescent light is typically brighter and is spread more evenly than tungsten. Also, you may be able to control the amount of ambient light by switching lights on or off or diffusing them. However, indoor lighting can be quite contrasty — for example, when your subject is close to the light source and well illuminated, but the surroundings are not. It can be angled manually to direct light onto the area you require, adding extra illumination to your subject and relieving harsh shadows.
It can then be used to angle light onto your subject. By carefully bouncing the light onto the subject, it is possible to illuminate the area desired. They are available in different sizes and colours.
A gold version will help add warmth to the subject. The colour is important: For photographers on the move, it is most practical to opt for a collapsible version that folds away and can be stored neatly. For example, sunlight can cast ugly shadows, particularly under the chin and neck. Fail to do so and you risk overexposure. As a result, it is possible to achieve better images than if you had simply accepted and worked within the existing conditions.
Remarkably, all this occurs within a fraction of a second: Therefore, while TTL metering is capable of excellent results, it cannot be relied upon in every instance. Barn owl Arguably, the most common exposure problem is a simple lack of light, preventing us from taking the images we want. The guide number can be used in two equations: With a high guide number of 40, it boasts an impressive operating range. Description The revised edition of this successful book has been updated and contains many new photographs.
It is an easy to navigate guide that includes extended information panels and exposure tips. This practical, handbook size, jargon-free guide will be your essential companion out in the field. Exposure is a fundamental part of photographic technique, but is often thought of as mysterious or difficult to understand. In this revised edition of Ross Hoddinott's successful book "Digital Exposure Handbook" the nitty gritty of this fascinating subject is unravelled and presented in a clear and easy-to-understand way.
This practical, handbook size, jargon-free guide will be your essential companion out in the field, so slot it in your backpack and start taking some stunning shots. Although the process of making a successful exposure is based on science, a photographer's individual interpretation means that creativity becomes part of the equation.
Digital cameras have brought a new dimension to exposure control, offering photographers the ability to review images in the field, as well as being able to change the sensitivity of the sensor from shot to shot.
This comprehensive book will give you the confidence to put theory into practice and enable you to achieve creative control over your images. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Ross has been working as a full time professional since , supplying imagery and undertaking commissions for a wide range of publications and clients. Based in the South West of England, Ross is best known for his intimate close-up images of nature, and for evocative landscape photographs.
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