Digital
Photography
™
Just the Steps
FOR
DUMmIES
‰
2ND
EDITION
by Barbara Obermeier
Digital Photography Just the Steps™ For Dummies®, 2nd Edition
Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
www.wiley.com
Copyright © 2008 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without
either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance
Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be
addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, (317) 572-3447, fax (317) 572-4355,
or online at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.
Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for the Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way,
Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com, Just the Steps, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley
& Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission. All other trademarks are
the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.
LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES
WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED
OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE
FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING
LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES
ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A
POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE
AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS
WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ.
For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 800-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.
For technical support, please visit www.wiley.com/techsupport.
Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2008927013
ISBN: 978-0-470-27558-0
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Digital
Photography
™
Just the Steps
FOR
DUMmIES
‰
2ND
EDITION
by Barbara Obermeier
Digital Photography Just the Steps™ For Dummies®, 2nd Edition
Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
www.wiley.com
Copyright © 2008 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without
either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance
Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be
addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, (317) 572-3447, fax (317) 572-4355,
or online at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.
Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for the Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way,
Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com, Just the Steps, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley
& Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission. All other trademarks are
the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.
LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES
WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED
OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE
FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING
LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES
ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A
POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE
AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS
WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ.
For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 800-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.
For technical support, please visit www.wiley.com/techsupport.
Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2008927013
ISBN: 978-0-470-27558-0
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
About the Author
Barbara Obermeier is principal of Obermeier Design, a
graphic design studio in Ventura, CA. She is the author
of Photoshop CS3 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies,
coauthor of Photoshop Elements 6.0 For Dummies, and
has contributed as author, or coauthor, on numerous
books. Barb is also a faculty member in the School of
Graphic Design at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.
Dedication
I would like to dedicate this book to Gary, Kylie, and
Lucky.
Author’s Acknowledgments
I would like to thank my project editor, Becky Huehls,
who did an exceptional job managing this book;
Steven Hayes, a most excellent Executive Editor;
Michael Sullivan, a great technical editor; Becky
Whitney, who made my writing sound even better;
and all those in the trenches—the dedicated production staff at Wiley Publishing.
Publisher’s Acknowledgments
We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at www.dummies.com/register/.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
Acquisitions and Editorial
Composition Services
Project Editor: Rebecca Huehls
Sr. Project Coordinator: Kristie Rees
Executive Editor: Steven Hayes
Layout and Graphics: Stephanie D. Jumper,
Jennifer Mayberry, Melanee Prendergast,
Tobin Wilkerson
Copy Editor: Rebecca Whitney
Technical Editor: Michael Sullivan
Editorial Manager: Leah P. Cameron
Editorial Assistant: Amanda Foxworth
Sr. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case
Cartoons: Rich Tennant (www.the5thwave.com)
Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies
Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher
Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher
Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director
Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director
Publishing for Consumer Dummies
Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher
Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director
Composition Services
Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services
Proofreaders: Laura Albert, Joni Heredia
Indexer: Christine Spina Karpeles
Contents at a Glance
Introduction............................................1
Part I: Acquiring Digital Photos ...............3
Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories.........................5
Chapter 2: Understanding Camera Basics ...................................17
Chapter 3: Taking Digital Pictures ...............................................29
Chapter 4: Getting the Best Shot ..................................................41
Chapter 5: Capturing Your Subject...............................................51
Chapter 6: Transferring Your Images ...........................................65
Part II: Editing and Enhancing
Digital Photos .......................................75
Chapter 7: Quick-Editing Your Images ........................................77
Chapter 8: Correcting Content, Contrast, Color, and Clarity ....97
Chapter 9: Creating Selections ...................................................121
Chapter 10: Using Layers ............................................................143
Chapter 11: Adding Type, Blend Modes, Filters,
and Effects................................................................................157
Chapter 12: Getting Creative with Compositions ....................175
Part III: Managing and Sharing
Your Photos ........................................185
Chapter 13: Organizing and Managing Your Images ...............187
Chapter 14: Sharing Your Photos ..............................................197
Chapter 15: Printing Your Images..............................................207
Index..................................................219
Table of Contents
Introduction............................................1
About This Book ........................................................1
Why You Need This Book .........................................1
How This Book Is Organized ....................................2
Get Ready To . . . ........................................................2
Part I: Acquiring Digital Photos ...............3
Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories . . . . .5
Check Out Camera Features......................................6
Examine Image-Capture Features .............................8
Determine Your Needs ..............................................9
Understand Resolution............................................10
Choose the Right Camera........................................11
Evaluate Lenses ........................................................12
Look at Zooms.........................................................13
Choose Flash Features .............................................14
Look at Storage Media.............................................15
Pick and Choose Accessories ..................................16
Chapter 2: Understanding Camera Basics . . . . . . . . . .17
Understand Exposure ..............................................18
Set the Shutter Speed...............................................19
Know about Aperture ..............................................20
Understand ISO Settings .........................................21
Use Exposure Compensation..................................22
Set Image Quality ....................................................23
Set White Balance ....................................................24
Nail Your Focus........................................................25
Use the Zoom Feature .............................................26
Match Your Meter to Your Environment................27
Use EXIF Data ..........................................................28
Chapter 3: Taking Digital Pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Use Filters .................................................................30
Set Up a Tripod ........................................................31
Use Reflectors...........................................................32
Use Diffusers ............................................................33
Light Your Subject....................................................34
Shoot in Auto Mode ................................................35
Shoot in Manual Mode ...........................................35
Take Close-Ups in Macro Mode..............................36
Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode ............................37
Bracket Your Exposures ...........................................38
Work with Depth of Field .......................................39
Work with Camera RAW Images.............................40
Chapter 4: Getting the Best Shot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Find a Focal Point....................................................42
Compose with the Rule of Thirds ..........................43
Avoid Mergers ..........................................................43
Find Leading Lines...................................................44
Use Framing .............................................................44
Shoot from Unexpected Angles ..............................45
Create a Mood with Distance .................................45
Reduce Background Clutter.....................................46
Look for Balance ......................................................47
Keep the Horizon Straight.......................................47
Use Contrast.............................................................48
Find the Light...........................................................48
Watch Movement In and Out of Frames................49
Choose a Depth of Field .........................................50
Use Texture and Shapes...........................................50
Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Chapter 5: Capturing Your Subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Take a Portrait ..........................................................52
Get That Group Shot ...............................................54
Capture Animals ......................................................55
Capture Action or Sports.........................................56
Shoot Landscapes ....................................................58
Take a Night Shot ....................................................59
Shoot in Bad Weather..............................................60
Shoot Food ...............................................................61
Photograph a Wedding............................................62
Shoot for Online Auctions......................................63
Chapter 6: Transferring Your Images . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Transfer Images from a Camera or Card
Reader to Your Computer .....................................66
Transfer Images from a Camera or Card
Reader in Elements................................................67
Import Images from Your Hard Drive
into Elements.........................................................68
Import Images from a CD or DVD
into Elements.........................................................69
Scan an Image ..........................................................70
Scan Negatives and Slides .......................................72
Capture a Still Image from a Video........................73
Transfer Mobile-Phone Photos to Elements ..........74
Part II: Editing and Enhancing
Digital Photos .......................................75
Chapter 7: Quick-Editing Your Images . . . . . . . . . . . .77
➟
viii
Prepare to Edit .........................................................78
Choose Image Modes ..............................................79
Choose among File Formats ...................................80
Establish Color Settings ..........................................82
Work with Resolution and Dimension ..................83
Crop Your Photo......................................................84
Resize Your Canvas ..................................................85
Change Image Bit Depth.........................................86
Divide Scanned Photos ...........................................86
Straighten a Photo ...................................................87
Edit in Quick Fix Mode ...........................................88
Use the Auto Fixes ...................................................90
Enhance with Cloning.............................................92
Tone with the Dodge and Burn Tools ....................93
Saturate and Desaturate with the Sponge ..............94
Blur and Sharpen Small Areas ................................95
Smooth with the Smudge Tool...............................96
Chapter 8: Correcting Content, Contrast,
Color, and Clarity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97
Correct Camera Distortion......................................98
Use Adjustment Layers ..........................................100
Adjust Lighting and Color with Smart Fix............101
Adjust Lighting with Shadows/Highlights............102
Correct Contrast with Levels .................................103
Remove Color Casts...............................................104
Use Hue and Saturation ........................................105
Remove Color.........................................................106
Replace One Color with Another .........................106
Correct with Color Curves.....................................108
Fix Skin Tones ........................................................109
Defringe to Clean Up Edges ..................................110
Adjust Color with Color Variations .......................111
Adjust Color Temperature with Photo Filters ......112
Eliminate Artifacts and Noise ..............................113
Heal Wrinkles and Blemishes with the
Healing Brush ......................................................114
Eliminate Red Eye ..................................................116
Repair Quickly with the Spot Healing Brush .......117
Table of Contents
Blur for Effect or Elimination................................118
Sharpen to Improve Focus ....................................120
Chapter 9: Creating Selections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
Select with the Rectangular Marquee ...................122
Select with the Elliptical Marquee ........................123
Apply Marquee Options........................................124
Select Straight-Sided Polygons..............................125
Create Selections with the Magnetic Lasso ..........126
Wrangle Pixels with the Magic Wand...................128
Brush with the Selection Brush ............................130
Freeform Select with the Lasso .............................132
Select with the Quick Selection Tool....................133
Use the Cookie Cutter...........................................134
Eliminate with the Eraser......................................135
Pluck Out an Element with Magic Extractor .......136
Delete with the Background Eraser ......................138
Modify Selections ..................................................139
Transform Selections .............................................140
Paste into a Selection.............................................141
Save and Load Selections ......................................142
Chapter 10: Using Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143
Get Familiar with the Layers Panel.......................144
Convert a Background into a Layer ......................145
Create a New Layer ................................................146
Duplicate a Layer ...................................................147
Copy or Cut to Create a Layer ..............................147
Drag and Drop a Layer between Two Files ..........148
Select a Layer..........................................................149
Delete a Layer.........................................................149
View and Hide Layers............................................150
Rearrange the Stacking Order of Layers ...............150
Rename a Layer ......................................................151
Link Layers..............................................................151
Lock Layers .............................................................152
Select the Contents of a Layer...............................152
Transform a Layer ..................................................153
Adjust the Opacity of a Layer................................153
Simplify a Layer .....................................................154
Merge Layers...........................................................154
Flatten Layers .........................................................155
Chapter 11: Adding Type, Blend Modes,
Filters, and Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
Add Type ................................................................158
Edit Type ................................................................160
Create Paragraph Type ...........................................161
Simplify Type .........................................................162
Create a Type Mask................................................163
Adjust Type Opacity ..............................................164
Apply Text Effects...................................................165
Mix with Blend Modes ..........................................166
Apply Photo Effects ...............................................167
Add Filters ..............................................................168
Modify a Filter’s Effects .........................................169
Use Liquify .............................................................170
Apply Layer Styles..................................................172
Chapter 12: Getting Creative with Compositions . . .175
Make a New Color Photo Look Old ....................176
Combine Color and Grayscale Layers ..................178
Produce an Angelic Glow......................................179
Construct a Panorama...........................................180
Create High-Contrast or Posterized Art ...............182
Photomerge a Group Shot ....................................183
Create a Photomerge Faces Image ........................184
➟
ix
Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Part III: Managing and Sharing
Your Photos ........................................185
Chapter 13: Organizing and Managing
Your Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187
Open the Elements Organizer ..............................188
Add Files to the Organizer ....................................189
View Files in the Organizer...................................190
Create Catalogs ......................................................191
Create Albums .......................................................192
Find Files in the Organizer ...................................193
Sort Images with the Timeline..............................194
Create and Tag Images with Keywords.................195
Add a Caption........................................................196
Chapter 14: Sharing Your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . .197
E-Mail Photos or a Slide Show from Elements ...198
Send a Photo Using Photo Mail in Elements ......200
Upload to an Online Sharing Site ........................201
➟
x
Burn a Slide Show to a CD or DVD
by Using Elements...............................................202
Publish to a PDF Slide Show ................................203
Publish to Video ....................................................204
Send Photos to a Mobile Phone...........................205
Add Photos to a Blog.............................................206
Chapter 15: Printing Your Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207
Prepare Images for Printing ..................................208
Print a Single Photo from Windows .....................210
Print a Single Photo from a Mac ..........................212
Specify Color-Management Settings .....................213
Print a Contact Sheet in Windows........................214
Print a Contact Sheet from a Mac.........................215
Create a Picture Package in Windows...................216
Create a Picture Package from a Mac....................217
Submit Files to a Service Provider ........................218
Order Prints Online ...............................................218
Index..................................................219
W
elcome to the exciting world of digital photography! Whether
digital photography is a new interest of yours or it’s your passion, Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies has something just
for you.
About This Book
This book is for those of you who don’t want fluff — just the information to get your answers and go back to shooting or editing your photos. The book wasn’t written in a linear format, but completing one
chapter before you begin another can be helpful. Don’t worry: I let you
know when that’s the case. When you need an explanation or want to
get something done, follow these simple steps:
1. Pick the task. Check out the table of contents or the index to find
what you’re looking for.
2. Find it fast. This step is easy because tasks are grouped logically
into parts and chapters.
3. Get it done. Follow the steps, look at the figures, and move on to
the next task. No fear, no fuss.
Why You Need This Book
Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies gives you just what you
want — and nothing more. Why wade through dry user manuals
(unless it’s absolutely necessary) and 800-plus-page books when all you
want is a quick answer to your question or a snappy solution to your
problem? Direct steps and figures are all you need, leaving you precious
time to go out and use that digital camera.
➟
Introduction
Conventions used
in this book
➟ Menu commands use the ➪ symbol. It tells
you to click your mouse on the menu command in front of the symbol and then, when
the menu choice behind the symbol appears,
click it: for example, File➪Save.
➟ Web site addresses appear in a monospace
font to make them easy to identify. Type them
exactly as you see them: for example, www.
dummies.com.
➟ Because the range of cameras and software is
so diverse, I give you only general instructions.
When your instructions may be different,
consult your user manual.
Look for this icon throughout the text to
find helpful insights, explanations of difficult concepts, and ways to save time
and trouble.
Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies, 2nd Edition
This book takes you through the world of digital photography
from preparation to post production. You start out by examining equipment, proceed to discovering a little about photography, and move on to composition and capture. From there,
you find out how to edit and improve those captured images
and then to organize, manage, and share your photos.
Part III: Managing and Sharing Your Photos
How This Book Is Organized
After you clean up and organize your images, what good
are they sitting on your hard drive? Get them out into the
world! Share your photos with friends and family in a
variety of ways — online sharing sites, CDs, photo books,
PDF slide shows, and prints, for example.
Digital Photography Just the Steps For Dummies is divided into
three parts.
Part I: Acquiring Digital Photos
This part starts out with brief information on equipment and
accessories and photography basics. From there, you find valuable information on composition and capturing specific types
of subjects. I round out this part by assisting you in getting
your photos from their original source, whether it’s your camera or scanner or other means, onto your computer for editing
and storage.
Part II: Editing and Enhancing Digital Photos
Trying to capture the perfect image is an ideal worth striving
for, but in case you fall short, plenty of tools can help you edit
and enhance your photos in postproduction. A popular choice
is the inexpensive yet powerful Adobe Photoshop Elements,
which is the program I use for the steps in these chapters. If
you don’t have Elements, don’t worry: Many general concepts
covered in this part are universally applicable.
➟
2
Don’t get caught with the digital version of the proverbial
shoebox overflowing with photos. Organizing and managing your photos isn’t hard, or even that time consuming, if you can embrace it from the get-go and implement
it as part of your digital photo workflow.
Get Ready To . . .
Look over the table of contents or index to find an
answer to a burning question about digital photography.
If you don’t have one yet, get out and shoot! I’ll be here
waiting for you if you need me when you return.
Part I
Acquiring Digital Photos
Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories . . . . .5
Check Out Camera Features......................................6
Examine Image-Capture Features .............................8
Determine Your Needs ..............................................9
Understand Resolution............................................10
Choose the Right Camera........................................11
Evaluate Lenses ........................................................12
Look at Zooms.........................................................13
Choose Flash Features .............................................14
Look at Storage Media.............................................15
Pick and Choose Accessories ..................................16
Chapter 2: Understanding Camera Basics . . . . . . . . . .17
Avoid Mergers ..........................................................43
Find Leading Lines...................................................44
Use Framing .............................................................44
Shoot from Unexpected Angles ..............................45
Create a Mood with Distance .................................45
Reduce Background Clutter.....................................46
Look for Balance ......................................................47
Keep the Horizon Straight.......................................47
Use Contrast.............................................................48
Find the Light...........................................................48
Watch Movement In and Out of Frames................49
Choose a Depth of Field .........................................50
Use Texture and Shapes...........................................50
Understand Exposure ..............................................18
Set the Shutter Speed...............................................19
Know about Aperture ..............................................20
Understand ISO Settings .........................................21
Use Exposure Compensation..................................22
Set Image Quality ....................................................23
Set White Balance ....................................................24
Nail Your Focus........................................................25
Use the Zoom Feature .............................................26
Match Your Meter to Your Environment................27
Use EXIF Data ..........................................................28
Chapter 5: Capturing Your Subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Chapter 3: Taking Digital Pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Chapter 6: Transferring Your Images . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Use Filters .................................................................30
Set Up a Tripod ........................................................31
Use Reflectors...........................................................32
Use Diffusers ............................................................33
Light Your Subject....................................................34
Shoot in Auto Mode ................................................35
Shoot in Manual Mode ...........................................35
Take Close-Ups in Macro Mode..............................36
Shoot in Aperture Priority Mode ............................37
Bracket Your Exposures ...........................................38
Work with Depth of Field .......................................39
Work with Camera RAW Images.............................40
Transfer Images from a Camera or Card
Reader to Your Computer .....................................66
Transfer Images from a Camera or Card
Reader in Elements................................................67
Import Images from Your Hard Drive
into Elements.........................................................68
Import Images from a CD or DVD
into Elements.........................................................69
Scan an Image ..........................................................70
Scan Negatives and Slides .......................................72
Capture a Still Image from a Video........................73
Transfer Mobile-Phone Photos to Elements ..........74
Chapter 4: Getting the Best Shot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Find a Focal Point....................................................42
Compose with the Rule of Thirds ..........................43
Take a Portrait ..........................................................52
Get That Group Shot ...............................................54
Capture Animals ......................................................55
Capture Action or Sports.........................................56
Shoot Landscapes ....................................................58
Take a Night Shot ....................................................59
Shoot in Bad Weather..............................................60
Shoot Food ...............................................................61
Photograph a Wedding............................................62
Shoot for Online Auctions......................................63
Purchasing a
Camera and
Accessories
K
eeping up with technology is a never-ending story. Just when you
think you have a decent handle on it, a new and improved product
hits the streets. No worries: Really, the best way to determine which
kind of camera you should buy is to first determine your needs. Ask
yourself the vital questions listed in the first section of this chapter.
What’s your budget? How often will you use the camera? What kind of
photos will you mostly be taking? And so on. After you determine your
needs, take your time researching and then shopping for the right
choice. Talk to people, read reviews, and even take a couple models for
a test drive. You want to make sure that the investment you make yields
the camera that best suits your needs.
Obviously, if you’re already a proud and satisfied camera owner, you
can skip this chapter and dive right into the topic of your interest.
➟
Chapter
Get ready to . . .
1
➟ Check Out Camera Features ........................6
➟ Examine Image-Capture Features ................8
➟ Determine Your Needs ................................9
➟ Understand Resolution ..............................10
➟ Choose the Right Camera ..........................11
➟ Evaluate Lenses ........................................12
➟ Look at Zooms ..........................................13
➟ Choose Flash Features................................14
➟ Look at Storage Media ..............................15
➟ Pick and Choose Accessories ......................16
Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories
Check Out Camera Features
Feature
Description
Size
Your options range from a small (compact) model with limited features and low cost to a large DSLR with professional photography
features and a four-figure cost.
Image processor
This type of camera electronics helps color fidelity and overall
image quality.
DSLR
The high-quality digital single-lens reflex camera migrated from
SLR film cameras. It has detachable lenses and full manual features, as shown in Figure 1-1.
LCD
The liquid crystal display uses, on consumer cameras and some
DSLR cameras, a 2 1⁄2- to 3-inch display to frame the subject. Most
DSLR cameras use the optical viewfinder to shoot an image.
Sensor cleaning
This higher-end feature vibrates the sensor to remove dust.
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Figure 1-1: A digital SLR camera
Check Out Camera Features
Feature
Description
Output formats
JPEG: This lossy, compressed format is the most common format.
RAW: This higher-end feature saves data directly (unprocessed)
from the sensor. It has a significantly larger file size than other formats and is used by professional photographers and graphic
designers for maximum image quality and editing flexibility.
RAW+JPEG: This DSLR feature simultaneously saves an image in
both file formats. See Figure 1-2.
AVI: Most consumer cameras can shoot low-resolution half- or fullVGA, short-duration movies. Not applicable in DSLR cameras.
Power options
Lithium ion battery pack: Proprietary, rechargeable, high-performance, costly batteries. AA alkaline batteries: Common, easily obtainable battery. AA NiMh batteries: Rechargeable,
higher-performance AA batteries. AC adapter: Optional AC power
adapter.
Camera technology
Exif 2.1: Stores camera-specific information in addition to JPEG
image info. Exif 2.2: Adds header with printer info to Exif 2.1
data. PictBridge: Uses USB cable to connect camera directly to a
supported printer. PIM: Uses Proprietary Epson technology equivalent to Exif 2.2.
Figure 1-2: Output formats on the image quality menu.
Another feature to investigate is the camera-to-computer image transfer,
which performs transfers using a supplied cable. Older cameras may use
slow-speed USB 1. High-speed USB is the transfer method on on newer
models. A few models also support WiFi.
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Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories
Examine Image-Capture Features
Feature
Description
Resolution
Ranges from 6 to 14 megapixels (and climbing) and is based
on CCD/CMOS sensor capabilities. The bigger-is-better concept
lets you create larger prints without observable pixilation. A
14.2MP camera is shown in Figure 1-3.
Image stabilization
Compensates for camera shake. Very useful when not using a
tripod.
Frames per second
The speed at which a camera can shoot an image. DSLR cameras are significantly faster than consumer cameras.
Important when capturing a moving subject.
Modes
A popular feature for fixed, automatic camera operations.
Modes include Macro, Burst, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Stitch
Assist, and Special Scenes. Select Manual mode to focus manually and set the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and white
balance.
Face detection
A type of camera electronics that automatically detects faces
and corrects for face focus.
Red-eye reduction
Corrects red-eye by employing a preflash.
Figure 1-3: Product specs for a digital SLR camera
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Determine Your Needs
Determine Your Needs
Before you start looking at cameras, ask yourself these important
questions to determine your needs:
1. How much money is in my budget?
2. How often will I use my camera? Will I take occasional
family photos or become a proficient amateur
photographer?
3. What kind of photography am I interested in? Will I
shoot landscapes, portraits, my child’s soccer games, and
other fast-moving subjects?
4. What kind of lighting will I typically work with —
outdoors, indoors, or both? What about weather
conditions?
5. Which is the most critical criteria — portability (when
you need it small, like the camera shown in Figure 1-4)
or feature rich?
6. Will I print photos, and will I want to print large photos?
7. Can I use my existing equipment, which makes compat-
ibility important?
8. Am I willing to learn a little about photography so that
I can use a more manual mode?
If possible, test a camera before plunking down your hard-earned
dollars. Some camera stores rent cameras for a daily fee. If you
happen to have a friend or family member with a digital camera
you’re interested in, that’s all the better. Also, make sure to talk to
people who have digital cameras and read reviews in magazines
and on Web sites like www.dpreview.com.
Figure 1-4: Portability is an important consideration
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Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories
A megapixel is one million pixels and is the unit measurement for the
number of pixels a digital camera can capture. Pixel is short for picture
element, the smallest element in a digital image. The more pixels in an
image, the bigger you can print the image, as shown in Figure 1-5.
Understand Resolution
Number of
Megapixels
Image Size in
Pixel Dimensions*
Approximate Print Size
at 300 dpi
2
1600 x 1200
4x6
3
2048 x 1536
5x7
4
2464 x 1632
5x8
6
3008 x 2000
7 x 10
8
3264 x 2448
8 x 11
10
3872 x 2592
9 x 13
12
4290 x 2800
9 x 14
16
4920 x 3264
10 x 16
* Pixel dimensions may vary depending on the camera model.
Figure 1-5: Differences in resolution affect the size of good-quality prints
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Choose the Right Camera
Choose the Right Camera
Style
Cost
Description
Compact
$125 to $300
Easily slips into shirt pocket or small
purse. Uses fixed lens and internal
flash. Strict auto-functionality. Some
models have image stabilization. Good
ultracompact cameras are now entering the market.
Point and shoot
$200 to $400
Provides better performance than compact style, but larger. Uses fixed lens
and internal flash. Most models have
powerful image processors and image
stabilization.
Prosumer
$300 to $600
Has the power of a DSLR with the convenience of a point-and-shoot model.
Usually has a fixed, high-range zoom
lens with some lens attachment or
external flash interchangeability
options. Select manual or multiple auto
modes. Can shoot images as RAW files.
DSLR
$600 to $5000
Aimed for serious hobbyists and professional photographers looking for a midlevel camera, as shown in Figure 1-6.
Purchase as a camera system. Extensive
interchangeable lens and external flash
options. Shoots both RAW and JPEG file
formats simultaneously.
Some newer DSLR models allow the image to be framed in the LCD
display. If this is a desirable feature for you, look for it in the camera specifications.
Figure 1-6: Choose a camera according to your needs and your budget
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Chapter 1: Purchasing a Camera and Accessories
Evaluate Lenses
Feature
Focal Length
Comments
Focal length
N/A
The distance between the optical center of the
lens and the CCD/CMOS chip. Determines the
area of image coverage. Expressed in millimeters. Various lenses are shown in Figure 1-7.
Wide angle
14 to 35mm
A prosumer/DSLR lens that shoots a wide area in
a tight space. May produce distortion.
Normal
28 to 50mm
A DSLR lens; for full-frame sensor cameras,
50mm is considered normal. For a small-sensor
cameras, like Canon EOS or Nikon D series, 28 to
35mm is normal.
Telephoto
100 to 400mm
A prosumer/DSLR lens that shoot subjects at a
distance.
Macro
N/A
A prosumer/DSLR lens that shoots subjects up
close. On consumer cameras, select a mode for
close-up shots.
Zoom
N/A
Variable optical focal length, from wide angle to
normal to telephoto. Non-DSLR cameras also
zoom digitally; avoid digital zoom to preserve
image quality.
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Figure 1-7: Lenses are valuable accessories
istockphoto.com
Filters screw to the end of prosumer/DSLR lenses to protect the lens, filter
out UV light (UV), reduce water or glass reflections (polarizing), or obtain
a wider dynamic range (graduated neutral density). For details on using
filters, see Chapter 3.
In any discussion about using lenses with DSLR cameras you must consider the complex concept of the crop factor. Crop factor is a ratio used
to compensate for the fact that digital image sensors are smaller than
the 35mm film frame. Therefore, if you take a photo with the same lens
on a digital camera and a film camera, the digital camera shows a
smaller area of the image. And, when you use a lens on a camera with
a smaller sensor, the lens has a larger equivalent size. For example, a
50mm lens on a camera with a crop factor of 1.6 creates an equivalent
lens of 80mm.
Look at Zooms
Look at Zooms
Type
Factor
Comments
Optical
3x to 18x
Uses the lens mechanism to change the focal
length of the lens, allowing you to zoom closer
to or farther away from the subject. Non-DSLR
camera specs express zoom as a value of X. A
10X zoom is roughly equivalent to a zoom factor of 28 to 200mm.
Compact and point-and-shoot camera lenses
typically cannot be replaced. Prosumer cameras
have limited lens interchangeability options,
but usually have a built-in lens that can’t be
replaced. DSLR cameras have a wide variety of
zoom lens options. A DSLR with a zoom lens is
shown in Figure 1-8.
Digital
3x to 6x
Not applicable to DSLR cameras. Uses camera
electronics to zoom closer to or farther away
from the subject, after reaching your camera’s
optical zoom limits. Selects a portion of your
digital image and magnifies it while reducing
image resolution and adding noise. Easily
observable in your LCD display while zooming.
Avoid using digital zoom to preserve image
quality. Move closer to your subject, if possible.
Consider purchasing a telephoto zoom lens.
Figure 1-8: A DSLR with zoom lens
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