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 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 you'll make.

        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 off.

        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 results.

        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 afterwards.

        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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