If a photo is too light or dark you can either delve through the dozens of scene modes that are available in modern point-and-shoot cameras, or simply dial in a bit of exposure compensation. The mirror arrangement in a DSLR usually prevents you from viewing the scene on the screen before the photograph is taken. However, many newer DSLR models now have a live preview feature, allowing the LCD to be used as a viewfinder in the same way as a compact digital camera, although with the optical viewfinder disabled. I hope these digital camera basics have helped you to compare cameras, clarify your needs, and make a purchasing decision. TIP: Visit each site above and print these out, laminate, and stick them inside of your camera back for easy access! More people are taking more photos than ever before, and they're sharing them online with friends and family in record numbers. Great for use at zoos and sporting events, a monopod is supplemented by your two legs in order to add stability to your camera—without the sometimes-cumbersome setup and breakdown required with a good tripod. The short story is that the light that is reflecting from the scene you are shooting passes directly through the lens, and is bounced off a mirror onto a prism, and then reaches your eye through the viewfinder. If you like to be able to drop your camera in your purse or pocket, you may not want to lug around a DSLR, lenses and a tripod. You have more controls to master if you want to take full advantage of all the features available to you. When interchanging lenses, sensor dust may get on the sensor, and need to be carefully cleaned off.
It's easy to place the blame on the camera (or your smartphone) if your images aren't as nice as some others you see online, but by following a few guidelines you can improve the quality of your snapshots—without having to shell out big bucks for a new camera. The heart of a photograph is its composition—the position of different elements in a frame. As long as you aren't shooting in full manual mode, your digital camera is making decisions that determine the exposure of a photo—in English, how light or dark the shot appears. Your camera is likely to have scores of shooting modes, ranging from fully automatic operation to very specific scene modes. Pay attention to how much light you have and where it's coming from when taking your photos.
If dialing down flash power isn't an option, you can also add a diffuser to help spread the light out.


Your camera will try and set white balance automatically based on the type of light in which you're shooting.
If you're in the market for a new camera, check out the Digital Cameras Product Guide for the latest reviews, and The 10 Best Digital Cameras, for the top cameras we've tested. Generally speaking, a camera looks at a scene and tries to determine the appropriate exposure based on the correct lighting of a gray card, which is why there are special scene modes for snow—without them, the camera would try to make the white snow gray. If you're shooting outdoors, be careful not to take photos of a person when the sun is at their back. If your friends and family look like Casper the Friendly Ghost when you photograph them, chances are that you're too close when snapping your photos.
Smaller flashes aren't able spread light across a large surface area, giving your subjects a deer-in-the-headlights look.
Different light casts different types of color—sunlight is very blue, tungsten lighting is yellow, and fluorescent is a bit green. Either will allow you to crop, color-correct, adjust exposure, remove red-eye, and perform other basic editing tasks.
At that point, the mirror is raised, and light from the scene projects directly onto the sensor to make the image. And if you have any tips that have helped you take better pictures, please share them in the comments section. In lower light you can use Aperture Priority ("A") mode to make sure as much light is entering the lens as possible, or if you're shooting landscapes on a tripod you can close the lens's iris to increase depth of field, keeping everything in sharp focus from the foreground to the horizon.
If you're grabbing a photo in front of a monument or landmark and don't have the flexibility to adjust your position you can use the camera's flash to fill in shadows. In many cases, the camera will automatically detect what type of lighting you're under and adjust the color in photos so that they look natural. You can get away with an inexpensive tripod if you're a point-and-shoot user, although spending a bit more on a brand like Manfrotto or Gitzo will result in much less frustration than with the bargain brands that you'll find at the local five and dime.
You should spend some time going through your photos so you can eliminate redundant shots and discard photos that may be out of focus or poorly composed. Some point and shoots are better than others in this regard, although none will match a DSLR. Try and align the subject of your photo along these lines and intersections and imagine the main image divided over these nine boxes.


If you're a D-SLR shooter, you're more likely to use the A or S modes, while point-and-shoot cameras will often feature more specific modes that cater to activities like sports, low-light use, or landscape shooting. You may have to manually activate the flash, as there's a good chance that the camera will think that it's unnecessary on a bright day. But when White Balance isn't right, you can get results like you see above—the image on the left is correctly balanced, and the one on the right is way off. D-SLR users should definitely put care into selecting a tripod, as a set of legs and a head that are sturdy enough to hold the camera are paramount.
It's better to post a few dozen great photos by themselves rather than the same good photos hiding among hundreds of not-so-good ones. Cropping a bit can help with composition, and you can also rotate a photo so that horizon lines are straight.
This gives you a more dramatic, visually interesting shot than one where you subject is located dead center.
Many cameras allow you to adjust the power of the flash, which can help to add better balance to your flash-assisted photos. If you're shooting under mixed lighting, or if the camera is just having a hard time figuring things out, you can set the white balance manually. Getting your photos right in-camera is the larger goal, but there's no harm in a bit of retouching. Adding just a little bit of light makes it possible to fill in shadows, resulting in a more natural-looking photo.
If you don't have any film canisters lying around, try asking at your local drug store or department store minilab—they're bound to have dozens sitting in a drawer, and will gladly part with one.
On most point and shoots you'll have to dive into the shooting menu to adjust this, but many D-SLRs have a dedicated White Balance button, often labeled "WB." You can correct color in iPhoto or Picasa later on, but you'll get better-looking photos if you get the white balance right in the first place.
If making your own diffuser doesn't sound like your cup of tea, consider the Gary Fong Puffer, a $22 accessory that will look a bit more professional when mounted on your camera.



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