Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week
For indoor/party night photos, just say "no" to on-camera flash if your camera has good low light performance. Since flash light is coming from the same position as the camera, there are no shadows to "model" faces. Light from a point source like the on-camera flash falls off as the square of the distance from the source. That means things close to the camera will be washed-out, the subject on which you focussed will be properly exposed, and the background will be nearly black.

Virtually all point and shoot/SLR cameras allow you to control the on-camera flash. What you want to do most of the time is press the tiny lightning bolt button until the "no flash" symbol is displayed. The "no flash" symbol is usually a lightning bolt with a circle around it and line through it. Now the camera will never strobe the flash and will leave the shutter open long enough to capture enough ambient light to make an exposure. Additional skill as following:

* look for some light. Move your subjects underneath whatever light sources are handy and see how they look with your eyes.
* set a higher ISO sensitivity, e.g., ISO 400 or ISO 800 or leave it Auto
* steady the camera against a tree/rock/chair/whatever as you press the shutter release
* leave the camera on a tree/rock/chair/whatever and use the self-timer so that the jostling of pressing the shutter release isn't reflected on film. This works well for photographing decorated ceilings in Europe. Just leave the camera on the floor, self-timer on, flash off.
* use a little plastic tripod, monopod, or some other purpose-built camera support

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