Taking Clear Digital Pictures

As some of you may remember, back when microwaves were first available for purchase, many thought they would never need to use their ovens again. As you may also know, people still use their ovens, and furthermore ovens are known to produce better tasting, healthier food.

So what does this have to do with digital cameras? Well, to throw an analogy out there, microwaves are to ovens as digital cameras are to traditional film cameras. Although digital picture capturing technology has come a long way since it’s inception, and become much more affordable, with the digital medium, certain qualities of pictures are generally lost. The difference, however, between the microwave and the digital camera, is that these things can be regained through technique and post-capture editing, unlike the microwave which along with its convenience comes loss of quality.

The key to any picture is lighting, since a photo is basically the exposure to light. While digital cameras work differently from traditional film, the principle remains the same. Too little light and the picture will not show; too much light and it will wash out the image being captured. The difference, however, between digital and film, is that with digital, the amount of light can effect the sharpness of the image, where with film, movement is the key attribute of blurring or out of focus pictures. It should be noted that motion will also effect digital photography, and to a greater degree.

It is a good chance that most people own basic to novice level digital cameras, where as a smaller percentage have purchased a higher quality camera which allows for change in settings like f-stop, aperture, and so on. All these things can change the quality of a picture, so it is important to read the instruction manual which came with your camera in order to understand how all of its features work.

Going on the assumption that most digital camera owners bought their device with family pictures in mind, also making a safe bet that no one is snapping action shots of pro-athletes diving on the turf, simple point and shoot is as simple as these three steps:

  1. Hold the camera still for the entire shot, until after the picture has been taken. Use a tripod if possible. This avoids any motion blur and allows the auto-focus on the camera to function properly prior to capturing the image.
  2. Be conscious of light sources and types. Even if the room appears to be bright enough for a clear picture, different types of lights (incandescent, fluorescent, etc.) can “fool” your camera into setting itself up for a higher or lower exposure. This may also cause the flash to go off when it is not needed, or vice-versa. Rooms with many light sources can commonly cause pictures to wash or fade. A good example of this is a room with no natural light, and many fluorescent lights, like an auditorium. You may notice an overall yellow or blue hue to all your pictures in such cases.
  3. Natural light is best. It isn’t too hard to capture great quality digital photos indoors, but the sun provides the best kind of lighting for digital cameras. While some events may not give you the option to snap outdoor photos, any moment that can be taken outside for pictures is best for the quality of pictures captured by a basic digital camera.

Of course, most digital pictures that turn out less than optimal can be later edited in a photo-editing program, which gives digital photography the advantage over print, since no scanner is needed to transfer the pictures to the digital medium. Additionally, anyone who is serious about taking high quality pictures should invest in a higher quality camera with more manual settings. Auto settings on basic digital cameras can be very convenient, but for the serious photographer, setting these yourself on location is the best way to ensure a clear digital picture.


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