Photography Tips for Temari
Though digital photography has
pretty much taken over these days, there are still some people that
enjoy using 35 mm film. For 35 mm film photography, use the fastest film
that you have available; 800 speed or equivalent is excellent. The
faster speed films will allow more natural light to take over rather
than more flash. If you can bounce a flash (if you have to use a flash),
all the better. Many times, a diffused or bounced flash helps even in
natural light. Use macro or close-up lenses (be aware that they need
more light), and use a tripod to get steady detail. Strong reflected
daylight will give the best results. A neutral density filter or
polarizer will help eliminate glare. In lieu of close-up lenses you can
also use telephoto to take zeroed-in shots, and usually you don't need
as much ambient light. Telephoto shots also allow you to be farther away
from the ball, which will help to cut down on reflected glare from the
flash on the ball, which happens if the flash is too close.
For digital photography, most
of the same tips apply, although you usually have more options to
control unwanted effects from the electronics in your camera. First and
foremost, be sure to read the guide that came with your camera, and
spend time playing with the camera to become familiar with what you
camera offers. There are usually many built-in presets for various
subject matters, as well as various flash settings. If there is a macro
(closeup) function by all means take advantage of it - otherwise rely on
the zoom power to get the closest-looking shot while being the farthest
away from the ball (again to reduce reflected flash). You can usually
adjust the flash strength and exposure level electronically, which will
also help. Like 35 mm cameras, you can get neutral density or polarizing
filters and they offer the same advantages as in 35mm photography. Try
to rely on daylight rather than flash if possible for the majority of
light, but reflecting or bouncing a soft flash can help.
It's very important to learn to control the size and resolution of your
image. These options depend on what you are going to do with the images.
If you are primarily going to email or post the images to a web site,
use the smaller image sizes and a lower resolution. Monitors can only
handle image resolutions up to 200 pixels; using a higher resolution
only wastes file size (the higher the res, the bigger the file).
Likewise, the image size is much smaller when it's only going to be
displayed on a device rather than be printed. Use the email or web image
function on your camera (there usually is one), or manually adjust the
settings to 200 pixels, and an image size of no more than 600 x 400
pixels for general use.
If you want to print the images
you take with your digital camera, then shoot with a higher resolution
(like 300) and the images size that corresponds to the print size you
desire. You can either print the images yourself on glossy photo paper,
or have them printed professionally on regular photographic paper with
professional techniques by uploading your images to an online printing
service. Be aware that home-printed images will not usually have the
durability over time that professionally printed ones will. There are
many options now to either upload digital files or take a memory card to
a kiosk to have standard prints and enlargements made.
For both types of
photography, if you have difficulty with dark exposures and bright flash
reflection, consider removing protective or neutral density filters from
your camera lens - they can have an impact on the amount of light
reaching the camera for the image which means you need to be supplying
more ambient light and it may also force you to use a flash. They can
also reduce image detail capture on the image - but you will have to
more attendant to glare. I know it was recommended above to try using
them, and it's just that - try. Every camera and situation is different.
What works in one place at one time may not in another.
Digital cameras usually
always have both optical and digital zoom capabilities, as do some SLR
35mm cameras too have digital zoom features. Usually this is a great
advantage, but digital zoom is never
as clear and sharp as pure optical zoom. Optical zoom relies only the
actual optical camera lens and is a pure image. Digital zoom is being
created within the camera's computer chip using the optical zoom image
and then artificially "cranking it up". For many zoomed shots this may
be fine, but if you are indeed trying to capture fine detail it is not
as sharp and accurate. Given the option, stay within your camera's
optical zoom range, or consider using macro or telephoto lenses rather
than using the digital zoom feature. Usually you will need more ambient
(room) light for optical closeups, with or without macro or telephoto
lenses. You will also see much better results if you use a tripod for
closeups since a closeup shot is much more sensitive to the most minor
movement of the camera. Small table-top tripods are easily available and
not expensive. They are universally sized and fit all cameras, usually
cost less than fifteen dollars, and it will be the best investment
Lighting is important. Try to use
bright natural light as much as possible, but not direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight tends to be harsh and can scramble color interpretation.
Filters and polarizers can help, but they can also hinder - you really
do have to try and play a bit with them. Digital cameras generally have
multiple presets for various lighting conditions, and they can produce
remarkable results (another reason why it's good to get to know your
camera). If you need to apply artificial light, try "natural daylight"
bulbs (such as Ott) along with a reduced flash. This will help produce
true colors in the photo image. If you are having trouble with lighting
and glare, consider trying a light-box. While these can be purchased as
"kits" consisting of a pop-up square tent, background drape, usually a
pair of pretty intense lights, and a small tripod, you can also make one
out of an appropriate sized cardboard box. The other items are easily
obtainable. The light box allows for diffused light - that is, it is
filtered through what the box is made of, so that the source is strong
but then softens when it reaches the object. Therefore, be careful with
it - the lights needed are intense and get hot. Don't leave them on and
don't allow them to touch the parts of the box or tent. Don't touch the
light holders while on, or until they have cooled after turning them
In addition to lighting, the
background is just as important to your images, regardless of whether
you are shooting 35 mm or digital. However, there are additional
considerations for digital. Overall, you want a standard contrast...
darker backgrounds for light balls and lighter backgrounds for darker
balls. However, try to avoid stark white, as it will usually set
up a glaring contrast that is not too pleasing to the eye. If you are
taking digital photos, very dark backgrounds will add to the file size
(and drink ink when you print the images). In both cases, keep the
texture of the background neutral - no obvious textures or patterns
(even something like creases in a sheet of fabric, or the texture of a
bath towel will kill an otherwise good photo). I've personally found
that "Polar Fleece" and the equivalent works great, and I have pieces in
off white, gray, navy and black. Don't forget nature: not only will you
have the benefit of daylight, pebbled pathways or driveways, green
grass, cozy spots in the garden, perched on the fence railing or on the
rock wall can give wonderful results. Just be sure, no matter where you
are staging the photo that you check and check again for "contaminants"
and off kilter things... which very often you don't see until you look
through the viewfinder or review the photo itself. Don't break down your
photo staging until you have checked everything and are happy with the
If you have 35mm prints and
need to scan them to digital images, most of the rules about resolution
and image size from digital imaging apply. Remember to use the scaling
feature on your scanner as you make the scan to reduce the image size
from the original, as you will have a better quality image if the
reduction is done as the scan is made, rather than reducing the image
Digital and scanned images
can have wonderful things done to them by using any of the great imaging
or photo editing software titles that are available, and there are
several very good open source products that are free downloads. There
most likely was some sort of image editing software included with your
digital camera and/or scanner. This software is your friend - get to
know it. Most of the time you will be cropping and resizing, but
you can do great touch ups, color and exposure balancing, and add
special effects to your images also.
A word of caution about repeated
editing in photo and image programs after you have the image in your
computer: don't. Save a master copy, ideally in the native format of
your camera or scanner. However, native (original) file formats are not
compressed (makes them smaller and more compact) and they are large.
They will take up much more storage space on your hard disk, nor can
they easily be emailed. Save a master JPG if not the native format.
Then, save a working copy on your computer. Doing this
accomplishes two things - you will always have the original in case in
case your "editing" turns into disaster. More importantly,
repeated editing and saving of the file degrades the image quality, no
matter how successful the changes.
It's industry standard
(everyone uses it) to save photos in jpeg or jpg file format. This is a
file format universally used by most all digital cameras, scanners,
computers and image software so that person A can swap pics with person
B let alone post then to the internet and email them. One of the
good benefits of jpg format is that it is compressed - the file is
smaller than the same image saved as TIFF or BMP or raw format.
This compression happens every time you save the file. Because of this
there are a couple of drawbacks, most importantly is that each time
you save the file you loose a little detail because of the
repeated compression. So - the moral is use your original image and do
what you want or need to do within the first of second save. If you
don't achieve the results you want, then just start over with a copy of
the original again. If you repeatedly work on an image and save it over
and over no matter how good your image editing skills you will continue
to lose image quality. One way around this is to use the option in your
software (most have it) to SAVE COPY of the file rather than just SAVE.
The other thing to be aware of is that you do have control over that
compression factor - within your image editing software there is a
setting for compression factor on jpg files. The higher the compression
the smaller the file so the less space it will take on your hard drive
and the faster it will up- or download to email or the web, BUT at the
same time the higher the compression factor the more image detail is
lost. JPG compression works by the program looking at your image and
figuring out what pixels (the little dots of color that make up the
image) are "extras" and can be ditched without drastically adversely
affecting the appearance of the image. So - the higher the compression
factor, the more pixels are gong to be whacked out to reduce the file
size. This happens EVERY time you save the file to jpg so you now can
also understand why repeated savings of the same file eventually
whittles down the image quality even if you are not making major changes
to the file.
Another related tip - the
more times you "tweak" a file the more you will lose off of it too. For
example, if you are scanning a photo, use the options on your scanner to
scale or reduce size, crop, and adjust colors and brightness/contrast in
the preview mode before you run the actual scan, so that you are in
effect scanning the "finished" image. This is opposed to scanning the
photo as is and then working on the scanned image to reduce, crop, and
adjust. Each time you manipulate the scanned image you are going
to reduce image quality.
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