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Getting Incredible Photos With A Basic Digital Camera

By:   |   Jul 08, 2018   |   Views: 15   |   Comments: 0

Learn How to Get Great Photos, Just Like the Pros!

What sort of investment in camera equipment does it take to deliver photos that excel most amateur offerings? Well first off, I never liked the term amateur when it relates to creativity. Anyone can be creative with a basic camera if they just understood some very basic principles.

Capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments requires the complete attention of the photographer. You simply have to be cognizant of your surroundings by divorcing yourself from the reality of the moment. Concentration is a difficult thing to master since most of us are so entangled in our jobs, families and daily lives that we don't take the time to smell the flowers--much less see them. I have been directly and indirectly involved in photography for nearly 40 years, but I readily admit that I am still involved in the learning cycle. I hope I never "know it all." The learning process is a journey that delights me every day.

A really creative photographer sees life with the same vision that all "sighted" people have. The difference is how the brain interprets the scene. Can you be conditioned to reach that point? I believe you can. How? Well a good starting point is to master the camera to the point that it is merely an extension of your eye. If you aren't thinking about aperture and shutter settings, depth of field, ISO and all of the other complications attendant to camera operation, your mind is free to grasp and absorb the scene around you.

As Shakespeare wrote,
"Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

If only we could do that in most of life's situations--find good and beauty in everything: See that precious jewel instead of an ugly, venomous toad. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. Look for the good, see the beauty in the simple things.

Photographs can document a life. My mother had an clumsy box camera. The only controls it had were a shutter release and a knob to advance the film. I still have some of the black and white images she captured of my brother, sister and me. Many were taken just before and during World War II. She wasn't a skilled professional, she was a mom who loved her children and wanted to preserve the way we were.

Well isn't that what we try to do today--capture the moment? If I had to list the most important things necessary for professional quality shots, they would include:

1. Don't get carried away with your own self-importance. When your only purpose is to please others with your work, your work will improve!

2. Master the camera first. Know what every switch, knob and button causes to happen.

3. Keep an open mind. Overpower the situation--don't let the situation overpower you.

4. Allow your living subjects to just be themselves. Smiles should be natural--not coersed.

5. Don't meddle with nature. Capture the beauty as it is.

6. Learn and remember that photography can't be accomplished in total darkness. Light has a greater influence on your results than any other feature.

Recently I was faced with a challenge. I have been working as a technical writer and commercial photographer for the past 10 years. I learned digital photography the hard way, I was given a camera and a photo editing computer program, and then they turned me loose. My photos of the products I wrote about were properly lighted, properly exposed and in good focus. There was certainly nothing dramatic about these shots. Drama wasn't on the storyboard.

And then another challenge was thrust upon me. A family member was getting married--a truly low-budget wedding so Grandpa Don was asked to cover the photography. Well, Grandma Margie, and Uncle Rob set off to capture this special event. Between the three of us we shot nearly 500 images--none of which would be considered for awards. But the couple was happy with them. With that experience behind us it looked like I could slip back into retirement, but another family member stepped up with her wedding plans.

I suggested to Grandma Margie and Uncle Rob that we resurrect my former wedding photo business. Well, we created over 700 images at this wedding and I spent countless hours removing the lens flare from many of the images we got during the outdoor wedding.

During a post nuptial meeting, we decided that my two partners could use some professional help. Why not see what we can find on the internet. It's loaded with with tips and tutorials. I did find a lot of useful information but what I wanted to accomplish was to instill in my  partners a sense of creativity that I felt powerless to teach. They needed to hear it from another source. After a number of Google searches I found a very impressive website loaded with some of the best shots that I've been privileged to see. The heading on the website began with:

"At Last! How To Take The  Digital Photos You've Always Wanted, And Finally Have Them Turn Out Like A Professional Photographer Has Taken Them...Even If You've Never Used A Digital Camera Before And Don't Know Anything About Photography."

My first thought was this is just more Internet hype. As I read on I realized that I had found what was needed for my partners and, to myself I thought, this wouldn't hurt for me to get involved in this course too. You see, I do believe you can teach an old dog (like me) a few tricks.

Digital photographer, Amy Renfrey from Queensland, Australia has put together a definitive text that will benefit the "amateur" as well as an old codger like me. Her webpage is punctuated with some of the most stunning shots you'll ever see. And Amy took these shots with a five year old Sony Cybershot three megapixel camera. I currently use a brand new Canon 50D and I was envious of this young whipper-snapper's ability.

Check out Amy's website and see if you don't agree. This lady knows what she is talking about and has the visuals to prove it. I strongly recommend "Digital Photography Success." It is a winner!


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