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Experiment with Exposure: Digital cameras typically work best in sunlight, just like film cameras. Once you step inside or into dim light, things get a bit more difficult just like with film cameras. Experiment to know how to handle these situations.
If you can shoot your subject from different angles, with different lighting, do so. If your camera allows you to turn off the flash, try it. If your camera allows \”fill flash,\” try that, too. Sometimes a perfectly exposed picture is made even better with fill flash. Sometimes turning off the flash and leaving the subject somewhat underexposed adds drama.
You can take the same photo three different ways using three different exposure options and the result will be three totally different pictures. What\’s even better is that all three can look good, but you have to experiment.
If at all possible, bracket your shots, with one shot slightly underexposed, one slightly overexposed, and one \”just right.\” Some digital cameras will do this automatically, but even then you need to practice. If you are expecting the camera to shoot one frame and it shoots three, there is an excellent chance the last two will look like they were taken by a very surprised photographer.
Special features Many digital cameras have some interesting in-camera special features. Some will allow you to take short QuickTime clips, some will allow you to record sound annotations, and some will allow you to experiment with special effects, such as shooting black and white or sepia-tone images. Ignore the special features until you learn the basics.
Many of the special effects offered by digital cameras can be done without them. Software such as Photoshop can quickly and easily change your normal color image into a perfect black and whit or sepia toned copy. The reality is that if you can do it easily in Photoshop, concentrate on taking a good color photo and let the program take care of the special effects.
This does not mean that you shouldn\’t try out some of the other special effects. For example, if you pan your camera to track a car moving at high speed, the car will be in sharp focus but the background will be blurred, creating an interesting picture. Or you can do the opposite: focus on a particular stationary object such as a child flying a kite, or a freshly-painted fire hydrant and let a speeding car to enter the frame. You\’ll then have a sharply focused center of attention with the added advantage of motion.
Silhouettes are another nice special effect. Try taking a photo with your subject in shadow, eclipsing a brightly-exposed object in the background. Now try the reverse, a brightly exposed subject against a dark background. Although different, both can be interesting. Getting a good silhouette with film is expensive: you shoot a lot of frames with little or no reward. With a digital camera, however, the only cost is your time and patience, and your patience will be rewarded.
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