Very often, we are often faced with dilemma of choosing THE right camera. Yes, the market today is saturated with different kinds of digital camera that we are often spoilt for choice!!

And, here are some pointers you may want to follow as you are looking to purchase a camera.

#1: When you are deciding on a digital camera to purchase, there are a few key considerations that you may want to take into account first. The first decision is in regards to your overall camera needs. You have to think of how often you will be using the camera and where you will be taking the majority of your pictures. Also, you need to think about how discriminating you are when it comes to things like picture composition and resolution.

#2: After you’ve established your basic picture taking needs, you can turn to price and size considerations next, since you know that these will severely limit your options a bit it will be worth it. Many online retailers offer services that are geared toward helping their customers balance camera needs with camera costs properly.

#3: Finally, when you have narrowed the pool down to only a few key choices, you will want to think about finer details such as megapixels and other camera features.

There are so many features that are out there that you can definitely find the perfect camera. Some come fully loaded with modern technology whereas others come with specific features.

All you really need to do is asses your needs and desires, and if need be, get the help of a professional to choose the perfect bit of equipment for your digital imaging. It’s that easy! :D

My favorite place to find good equipment is Radio Shack or the Future Shop. Best Buy is pretty good when it comes to prices as well as Staples. You can search online, and visit camera review websites. I find it to be extremely useful when I am looking for a good camera. Anw, what better way to know more about a camera than to hear from the users themselves!

Get the latest and comprehensive camera reviews here

Check out this website for the most up-to-date and comprehensive reviews that will not overwhelm you with technical terms that you do not understand.

Photographers Secrets to Taking Family Photographs - Cheaply & Easily

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I was just looking through photos of my friends and family the other day and I realized that somehow those candid shots that I or we have taken of each other be it un-glamourous, funny and amusing ones, seem to bring back so much more heart warming memories of the past and left me reminiscing of those fun and happy moments, compared to those shots that appear posed with forced smiles on the people’s faces.

Very often, it is the intangibles in those candid shots, that pulls us back in time, that makes these photographs memorable and much more cherished. Its is inequivocable that most of these candid shots may not turn out as ‘neat’ or perfect as those that are posed, but the purpose of photography is to evoke emotions in the viewer rather than serve to be merely aesthetically pleasing (at least, that’s what i believe it should be )

That said, here are some ways to take candid shots of your friends and family =)

# 1:

Take your camera with you and don’t stop snapping! Sounds like a no-brainer? No. Because many of us do not do this. I used to find it awkward or rather self-conscious when i was hanging around with people to always carry my camera around with me and shoving it in people’s faces when i tried to take photographs, afraid that they might get offended. However, the trick here is to take pictures subtlely rather than shoving it in people’s faces. And this brings me to my second point…

#2:

Try to be sneaky when you are taking pictures! I feel almost like a private investigator sometimes when I’m trying to take candid shots. But then again, the whole point of taking candid photographs is to capture your subjects when they are not conscious of the camera.

Hence, the one obvious thing you SHOULDN’T do is to go around and say ‘Come let’s take a picture!’ or ‘CHEESE!’ while you snap your camera. Instead, try to hold your camera at your hip and take your shots from the hip rather than putting the camera to your face and looking through your camera viewfinder.

I had troubles doing it the first few times but you could try practicing that and soon it’ll be pretty much easy for you to take a good shot without even having to look through your camera viewfinder!

And one more thing………. turn off that damn flash! :)

#3:

Take your shots from a distance and make use of your zoom function. If you have a advance digital camera that has a superb zoom function, great! If you don’t… no worries, you can always take great shots by being near your subjects as long as you try to follow the above tips and take your shots without attracting too much attention from your subjects.

#4:

Use the half-press shutter technique. Your subjects are probably having a ball of a time or just being themselves. More often than not, they are always on the move or rather, since you are taking candid shots, they will not actually stop and pose for the camera. Hence, you may get some blurry pictures. One way to overcome this is to first press your shutter button halfway, to get your camera to fix the focus on your subjects, trail and pan their movements and wait for the right moment/ expression/ gale of laughter and hit your shutter button.

Since we are on the topic of being on the move while you’re taking your candid shots, you might want to switch to the Sports Mode which has a faster shutter speed. This will help prevent blurry pictures too.

And there you have it! I assure you that not only will you have a great time looking back at those candid shots but you will also have a great time taking them too. It ain’t that tough, ain’t it?! Go snap those shots today! :D

Photographers Secrets to Taking Family Photographs - Cheaply & Easily

http://takefamilypictures.com/

Vintage is the new black. We’ve been hearing and seeing alot of those preppy old-school cameras but what exactly are they?

Fisheye Camera

Fisheye cameras feature special built-in wide angled lenses (also known as fisheye lenses) and shoot fisheyed-distorted pictures as though you are looking through a glass spherical globe.

Fisheye Lenses

In photography, a fisheye lens is a wide-angle lens that takes in an extremely wide, hemispherical image. Originally developed for use in meteorology and astronomy and called “whole-sky lenses”, fisheye lenses quickly became popular in general photography for their unique, distorted appearance. They are often used…

Read the rest of it on Wikipedia here

Holga Cameras

Holga cameras are actually toy cameras (yes you heard me right) made in China, but they are becoming increasingly popular as they are cheap and yield pictures that have a certain grainy look on them which gives a vintage feel on your pictures.

THE HOLGA

Check Out These Holga Pictures

Lomography

The concept behind fisheye lenses and the popularity of vintage Holga cameras as well as polaroid cameras in these times is based on the increasing popularity of casual and snapshot photography, when over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, “happy accidents,” and alternative film processing are what makes pictures special and VINTAGE. These techniques are often considered part of the ‘Lomographic Technique’

Lomography Cameras

What is Lomography Again?

Lomography is the commercial trademark of Lomographische AG, Austria for products and services related to photography. The name is inspired by the former state-run optics manufacturer LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia. LOMO PLC created and produced the 35 mm LOMO LC-A Compact Automat camera

Read the rest of this on Wikipedia

Photographers Secrets to Taking Family Photographs - Cheaply & Easily

http://takefamilypictures.com/

Taking Group Shots

July 1, 2008

Group photos always end up posed, when everybody has a forced smile on their faces. If you would like to capture a candid shot of everyone, the trick is to NOT say ‘Cheese!” or countdown when you are about to take a picture. When everybody in place, but is not looking at the camera, quickly snap a picture to capture their expressions.

It can be real fun when you look back on those candid expressions. This method can be quite tricky as you may end up with blurry images when people are moving around to get into the right position or blinking when you snap the picture. You may want to set your camera to the burst mode or take a few shots at a time. Make a funny statement or a joke to make them laugh and at that moment, quickly snap the picture.

Photographers Secrets to Taking Family Photographs - Cheaply & Easily

http://takefamilypictures.com/

Photography is not only a technical hobby but also a mastery of artistry.

Let your creative juices flow as you take pictures. Before you even aim the camera, picture the scene you want to produce in your photograph in your mind.

Embrace different perspectives and points of view as you take your pictures. You could shoot as though you are overlooking someone’s shoulder or peeping through a hole or doorway.

Tip of The Day: Use unusual points of view such as the mirror reflection of your side mirror on your car, or more commonly, the mirrors of bathrooms when you are fooling around with your friends.

The camera is a magic window that transforms the world.Irving Pobboravsky

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On a side note, the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert last week was ROCKIN’!

Here’s my favourite shot. Awesome guitar huh! With the skills to match too..

Photographers Secrets to Taking Family Photographs - Cheaply & Easily

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As the name of my blog suggests, mastering digital photography is not all complicated and YES! you dont have to spend a thousand bucks to get a camera in order to take great pictures! Guess what, the pictures that I have taken so far are taken with a simple point and shoot camera (sony DSC t100) but of course it’s mainly because i dont have a thousand bucks and i’m only a college kid saving money to get the latest ipod or to go on a shopping spree -_-

Anyway I have researched on some of the best pocket cameras and here’s a simple summary of what I THINK. (Tom, this is dedicated to you. Sorry for taking such a long time to reply you)

SONY DSC T100

Aha! I would say this is my fav, but thats because ITS MY CAMERA and i’ve been taking it with me everywhere I go. However, the fact of the matter is, this little sleek machine is in a league of it’s own and slips snuggly into the back of your jeans and fits in your palm. It is small and compact with sharp features and easy to use interface, not to mention the large LCD. I love the ergonomics of the camera in a sense that you just have to slide down the lens cover to switch on camera so that you don’t have to fumble with the buttons to quickly switch on the camera and snap a picture. It shoots really fast and excellent for travelling or if you’re always on the go (again the sliding down of the lens cover adds to your convenience). And for that small little machine, the quality of the pictures is simply excellent. This camera has a video feature (like most digital cameras) but you will not be able to record sounds as it does not have an in-built microphone (just to let you know Tom!)

Sony DSC T300

Ahh this camera is similar to my camera (Sony T100) except that it’s on steriods, with more features (movie mode with sound), higher resoultion and of course..higher price. It is sleeker and sexier, with a touch-screen LCD and allows you to take videos at 30 fps (better streaming).

Canon SD870 (NO Optical viewfinder) $258

This camera is very simlar to the Sony T300, in a sense that it is equally small and compact with 8 Megapixels compared the Sony T300’s 10.1 megapixels (mine’s 8.1 megapixels) and has simlar video recording features (30 fps) . It is definitely cheaper than Sony T300 and hence it has great value for the price you pay is known for its good quality pictures as i found from many reviews. It would be my recomendation second to my camera as it is not too expensive but known for its great quality pictures from many reviews and enables you to take videos just like you have told me. However, note that it has no optical viewfinder (the tiny window that you use to peep through when you take your pictures) but i do not think that matters alot as the camera will have an LCD screen. The optical zoom for this camera is 3.8X compared to Sony T100’s 5X optical zoom.

Canon SD1100

This camera is smaller than the previous one. And here’s its plus point… the optical image stabilization! It helps prevent blurry images due to hand shake. A pocketable 8-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and a fairly inexpensive price tag is a good find. However the zoom may not be as sharp and the quality of the image may pale in comparison to that of Canon SD870 and the Sony cameras mentioned above.

The Verdict

Alright I would personally recomend Sony T100 (yea you knew it) mainly because i’ve tried it and it has never failed me. I think it’s excellent for a point and shoot camera and snaps pictures really fast and the plus point is that im in love with the slider as it allows me to switch on the camera just by sliding down the camera lens. there’s no need to fumble for that little power button. Why not Sony t300? Because it is slightly too pricey but if I am loaded it would be one of my choices. Second to that would be Canon SD870 for its value for money for good quality pictures and videos AND not to mention, several rave reviews. The only downside? no optical viewfinder. Though it personally does not really affect me.

There you go! I hope you now have a clearer picture of the SOME of the great pocket cameras in the market. there are perhaps alot more great cameras out there but these are just some of the models which caught my attention. Feel free to pop me any questions or feedbacks=)

Photographers Secrets to Taking Family Photographs - Cheaply & Easily

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Exposure: Photography for beginners
Exposure is often a very important aspect in photography as it can dramatically affect a finished picture. Yes it can either ruin a picture or make it breathtaking.

Hence in this article, I am gonna help you better understand the concept of exposure and hopefully help you master it! The key to mastering exposure is to practise practise practise! This is by snapping pictures, reviewing them, changing your camera settings again and reviewing them again. It’s an ongoing learning process and soon you’ll get the hang of it and know roughly what settings you should apply even before you take the picture.

Let me give you a brief explanation on exposure first to help you with that.

In photography, exposure is the total amount of light that is allowed to fall on the photographic film or digital image sensor when you are taking pictures. This is controled by manipulating the settings in the camera so that your camera controls the amount of incoming light that falls on the sensor.

The four main factors that affect exposure are light (of course), shutter speed of your camera, ISO, and the aperture of your camera. This can simply be illustrated by the famous exposure triangle you see in the diagram (Okay I left out light cus it’s obvious and it doesnt fit into my triangle).

Here’s a brief explanation on the four elements and why they affect exposure.

Light

Light is most probably the most important factor to exposure. Lighting to a camera is what water is to us human beings. There is a fine line between good and bad pictures and this fine line is actually the use of appropriate lighting itself. Learning how to manipulate light as well as knowing what good or bad lighting is, is part of the learnig process of photography and it takes lots of experience and time for even professional photographers to master it.

The point here is to understand the importance of lighting when you take photographs. Use a lens hood when you’re out on a sunny day and the sun is blazing above or make use of natural light like the sunlight from the window or flash when it’s dark indoors. Light can create different atmostpheres in the setting of your picture, by highlighting textures and colors and creating shadows. So be sure to make full use of it appropriately when you’re taking a picture. Do not be afraid to try different things by angling yourself in different positions to get the right lighting!

Shutter Speed

This brings us to our second factor, shutter speed. Shutter speed is a setting on your camera that controls the speed of your shutter(haha duh). The shutter of your camera determines the amount of light that reaches your film or digital sensor. See it as a window to your camera. The longer the window is left open, the greater the amount of light that goes into your camera. Hence the slower the shutter speed, the more light falls on into the camera, and the brighter your picture ends up depending on how you combine all these four elements to get the right exposure. For example, if you would wanna take a picture on a night, you can try using a shutter speed of 1/2 to 30 seconds.
Aperture

Now that you have a better understanding of manipulating your camera’s shutter speed for different scenes (remember to do lots of pratice and trial and error), let’s move on to aperture. Let me scrap using all that technical terms of f-stops and lens and explain in simple terms about aperture. Aperture controls the amount of light that is allowed into your camera. Remember the analogy of a window in your camera? While shutter speed controls how long the window is opened, aperture determines how wide or large your window is. A larger aperture means more light is streaming into your ‘window’ while a smaller aperture means less light is allowed through your ‘window’. The smaller the aperture value, the larger the aperture e.g f/2.8(large) vs f/14(small).

ISO

While aperture is the size of the window and shutter speed is the length of time the window stays open, ISO(International Organization for Standardization) is the blinds or curtains that you put behind your window. It determines how sensitive your film or digital sensor is to light. The common ISO ratings for a digital camera are 80, 100,200,400,800,1000. The greater the value of the ISO rating, the more sensitive it is to light.

With that you can now use what you have learnt and combine and manipulate these settings altogether and pratice! Write down a table of these four different values for some of the common pictures you would take so that you can review what you have done and learn from your mistakes. For example an approximately correct exposure will be obtained on a sunny day using ISO 100 film, an aperture of f/16 and a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. Soon you will not need to have this table and these values should be at the tip of your fingers when you see a great shot. All the best to your photography=)

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