The Pros And Cons of Owning A Zoom Lens

In the old days of film photography, no one had any love for zoom lenses and that was because they just weren’t any good. In those days, everyone preferred the use of fast prime lenses. People typically selected  35mm as their wide angle lens, a 50mm as their standard lens, an 85mm as their portrait lens; lenses over 85mm were used for sports and wild life photography. Fast forward to modern times, where we are right in the thick of the evolution of digital photography and certain people still prefer fast prime lenses over zooms. What is different now is that zoom lenses are really great and no longer are they the evil step brother of primes.

There are even people who choose zooms over prime lenses. In this article we will give a sort of pro and cons of zooms vs primes and why you might want a zoom over a collection of prime lenses. This is not the bible on zoom lenses but it is information that we hope that you find useful. Let’s begin.

Pro: One Lens To Rule Them All:

Please forgive my nerdiness but I am a Lord of  The Rings Fan and I can’t help but to make a play on the saying,”one ring to rule them all.” In many ways, that saying is apropos to the discussion that we are having. It is relevant because with the right zoom lens, you can reduce the weight and bulk of your camera and lens kit. Instead of carrying around two to three lenses, you can carry just one really good zoom that covers all the distances and the depth of field that you enjoy shooting. You just might find that the perfect lens is a zoom because of what all it can do in one unit. Now with constant aperture zooms, you can have a really fast zoom lenses that has a very wide aperture at its longest focal length. Perhaps this is the right choice for you?

Con: It’s Too Long And It Weighs Your Camera Down:

We aren’t talking about super 200mm type zooms but even the average zoom is significantly larger than most prime lenses. Some will just say this is the price of having one lens to rule them all, and personally it is something that I could live with but it really depend on the camera I’m using. With some of the new mirror less digitals that have a large sensor (APS-C even full frame) some zooms see like they over power the camera and shift the weight really far forward. The solution just might be testing it for yourself and finding a zoom that fits the camera.

Pro: It Is Cheaper:

This is subjective and depends on the quality of lenses you buy. But you can save money by buying one zoom that is moderately fast and not investing in primes. It depends on fast the prime is, the brand, the lens coating and other factors. Sometimes the price might come out the same but the real savings is in weight and bulk.

Con: Primes Are Just Better:

Yes and No. It is very hard to beat the performance of a fast prime lens with a zoom, especially when you get into the longer focal lengths but truthfully this is all determined by how much money you have to spend on primes. If all that you can afford are entry level primes, then you might not be missing too much. If you are the type to own a 1.4 50mm or a 1.8 85mm, then you might not be happy with the average zoom.

Ultimately, it is all about compromise, utility and use. The compromise is that you will not have as large of an aperture with your longer focal lengths with a zoom, you will have a longer lens with a zoom but for some people one zoom gives them an overall smaller kit with not as many parts. I’m definitely a fan of using zooms for vacation shots, for saving money and bulk.

Develop your Skills by Attending Digital Photography Institutes

Develop your Skills:

Photography has become one of the most diverse fields around. From nature photography, to fashion photography, to family portraits, there are so many different aspects to specialize in.

Not only is photography diverse, but it has become extremely competitive as well. With the advent of digital photography, it is now more important than ever that an aspiring photographer is educated in the new software, technology, and techniques. Otherwise, how are they to compete within the field?

How does one gain the knowledge and expertise necessary to make it big? The first step is to find digital photography institutes located near you. While on the job experience is also an important aspect of a career in photography, attending digital photography institutes will allow you to learn the principles of photography, such as composition, theory, and production.

The Top Digital Photography Institutes:

It is sometimes difficult to find digital photography institutes in your area because the schools don’t receive very much publicity. If you are having difficulty locating digital photography institutes, then try finding a local art institute. An art institute will usually offer a course or major in digital photography. Three of the top-rated, highly praised digital photography institutes are: Brown College, Harrington College of Design, and The Arts institutes.

Located in Maine, Brown College is a fantastic digital photography institute. With accelerated programs, focused curriculum, and a devoted staff, Brown College is an excellent school to help you attain your goals in the photography field. They offer both a Bachelor and Bachelor of Science degree in the field of Digital Photography, allowing the student to take their education to the next level.

Since they were established seventy years ago, Harrington College of Design has prided themselves on hiring instructors with both teaching and real-world experience in over one hundred design-related fields. This allows them to provide their students with a wide range of curriculum and knowledge. Located in Chicago, Illinois, the school offers both an Associate Degree and an Associate of Fine Science Degree in the Digital photography field.

The Art Institutes are well known for their extensive curriculum, but their main advantage is their many locations throughout the United States. With multiple locations throughout the states of Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, California, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Minnesota, Illinois, and Massachusetts, it is not difficult to find a campus near you.

Jump Start Your Career:

Whether you earn your degree or simply take a few classes, experience at any of these fine digital photography institutes will enhance your resume and make you more appealing to potential hirers.

Creative Ways To Use Your Digital Camera – Learn To Never Leave Home Without It

Most people buy a camera to take pictures – which is what it is for. Photographs of family members, portraits, landscapes, animals, magazines, newspapers, etc. are the main purposes, to either put on the Web, business purposes, or just family stuff. However, there are many other ways and purposes the camera can be used – and lots more fun.

One of the innovative ways the digital camera can be used is for many areas of education purposes. Lectures use them for discussion clarity, such as traveling to Italy or to see the inside of a chemical. Many digital photos are used for medical teaching, such as diagnosis and treatments.

Insurance companies use digital photography techniques for substantial savings. When their field inspectors go out for claim inspections, they take photos with their digital cameras. After this, they immediately download them into their laptop computers, tagging each photograph with text information, including the policy and claim numbers. When this is done, they send the information back through a wireless server, where the server confirms their receipt and closes down. Next case is on board for the inspectors within minutes. Statistics show that field inspectors who use digital cameras increase their caseload by 40%, with a savings of 70% in film and developing costs.

The possibility of taking digital photos of the home, trailer, or apartment, that is either for sale or one that has been damaged, is endless. The photo will reveal the actual need for repairs or replacements to the home insurance field agent, while also providing important locations of valves, location of utilities, or the general operations of things. If the front porch needs to be repaired, with estimates from carpenters, photos can be shot of the porch, while e-mailing them to several carpenters without leaving the home. You do not have to wait for them to visit you.

They can even e-mail the estimates back after looking at the pictures. When something major has occurred to the home – a hurricane or a flood – have the inspector arrive at the damaged property. Photographs can be taken by the inspector or by the homeowner of visible damaged areas, accessible items, heating systems, central air condition systems, plumbing, etc. upon which a hard copy of the inspection report will be handed over, corresponding to the matching photographs.

Try using the digital camera as a copier or scanner, with high-resolution camera for documents, important paper work, pictures, etc. If needed, use a tripod and lots of lighting to ensure the works will be clear and legible. To remember the address, or phone number on a billboard or yard sign, you can click a digital photo.

Using the digital camera for memory work, back ups, or proof and verification adds more value to the camera. It will also take time off insurance paper work for auto wrecks, home repair, or important paperwork if lost. It is simply a matter of getting into the habit of using it for personal benefits, instead of just leisure. The digital camera is not just another pretty face!

Cleaning You Camera Like A Pro – Digital Photography For Dummies

If you have been using your DSLR camera for some time, you may notice a difference in quality of the latest photos taken with it. This is because dust, dirt and sand can easily get into the camera and cover its sensor, and begin marring your beautiful photos. The inside of your DSLR camera is a veritable dust magnet. Each time you swap lenses, you are inviting dust particles inside your camera. The electronic charge inside the camera would stimulate dust particles to be attached to the mirror, body chamber and even the camera’s sensor. This article provides a comprehensive overview of cleaning you camera like a pro.

There is no better time to give them a clean than the spring time. A DSLR camera will mostly be used during summertime. Hence, it should be cleaned and ready for optimal functioning during such time. This is why it is important that you clean the camera before summer arrives. Hence, the best time to do it is spring time. When cleaning something like a delicate photographic kit, it is important that you remove the dirt or grit with an air blower or small brush. This is the first thing that should be done before using any cloth or tissue. It will help avoid dirt being trapped in the cloth, and scratch the surface of your camera. It is extremely important that you clean the camera in a safe and efficient manner since you have paid good money to purchase it. This is why it is important to maintain the camera in good condition in order to extend the lifespan of it. Here are some important steps that you should take when cleaning you camera like a pro.

If you are using compressed gas aerosols to clean the camera, it should be done with utmost care. They should be held in a perfectly upright position at all times. If not, the spray can contain propellant which can damage the lens. Also, the high pressure can be difficult to control at times. It is best to try a blower like Giottos Rocket-air blower or just use a soft brush for the cleaning process. Never put the cleaning solution on the lens directly. Always put it on the cleaning cloth or tissue. Make sure you use the cleaning solution sparingly. This will help prevent the excess liquid from getting into the camera lens, which may cause catastrophic results. If you have been on the beach or a sandy place, it is essential that you give a thorough clean up to your camera bag, too. If not, all your hard work in cleaning the camera will be wasted.

When you are cleaning the body of the camera, you need to have the lens attached to it. If not, dust and dirt particles can escape into the camera. First remove the dust or dirt from outside the camera and the lens. Use a soft brush for this purpose. Pay close attention to some of the inaccessible areas like the memory card slot where most of the dust can get accumulated. Once the outside of your camera is cleaned, turn your attention to the viewfinder. Remove the rubber eye-cup and brush off any dust in a gentle manner. Thereafter, use a soft cloth or tissue to carefully clean the glass of the viewfinder. Do not use the same cloth that you used to clean the lens and outside the camera.

Next, you need to switch to the screen. LCD screens are usually covered with dust. Use another piece of cloth or tissue to clean the LCD screen of the camera. You should also clean the screen protector. The lens filter should be cleaned thereafter. Use a brush or blower to remove the dirt and grit first. Then, use a small amount of lens cleaning fluid on a clean cloth or tissue to clean the lens. Gently wipe the surface of the lens or filter. Use a dry piece of cloth or tissue to wipe off any remaining residue from the lens.

Child Photography Tips That Make Sense

The techniques used in most other fields of photography do not always apply in child photography. The phrase “hold it” or “freeze” carry very little weight with children. They typically do as they please and if they please. Your assignment is to anticipate what a child may be about to do and capture it.

YOU can turn this into your advantage: Since children don’t always do what you want them to do, or what you expect them to do (actually they rarely do!). A solution often is: don’t expect them to become a cooperative little adult merely because you want to take their picture. Trick them – expect them to act like children. Don’t expect anything in particular. DO this and you can enter the fun and profitable field of child photography.

Know your stuff – Before you start booking sessions with children you must know exactly what you are capable of doing – what your camera is capable of doing – what all your equipment is capable of doing. Operating your camera and equipment must be second nature. Have your style of photography down pat, so when you start a session your mind is on the children). This takes your complete focus. This is not the time to be fiddling with you camera, or trying to figure out your light setup. Children take 100% of your concentration. For some children the entire shoot may only last 10 minutes – though you feel you have just run a marathon – so you have to be able to get in position , get the most cooperation from the child, get great shots. At times, this has to be done very quickly, BUT you cannot make the child feel they are being rushed.

Know your subjects – With children, you must expect the unexpected. At different ages children are capable of doing different things. The more you know what they typically do during some of these stages, the better images you are going to capture. And the happier you make your clients – which, in turn, makes you financially happy.

During a session photographing children you can get a variety of poses, expressions and antics. In no other field of photography are you liable to get such variety. The more you learn about little ones the better child photographer you will be. Children are not just children until they become adults -they come in all sizes. Between four months and four years you can place them into quite a few categories: 4-6 mos, 6-12 mos, 12-18 mos, 18-24 mos, and then you can lengthen out the age span. Awareness of these ages are needed to help you – the photographer – be aware of the limitations children (especially little ones) have.

Listening to the parent can help toward a successful session. You can learn specific things about their child that will make it or break it: Are they afraid of certain things or sounds? What are their special likes? Do they like books? How comfortable are they with a stranger approaching them? You do NOT want to spook a little one; the scheduled time may not allow for you to win their confidence.

Be ready with that camera when you first introduce something new -you do not get a second chance to get first reactions!

In most areas of photography a tripod is great for sharp photos. However with child photography you do not always have such a luxury. Once they reach the moving around stage, a tripod limits your ability to capture expressions and poses. Be mindful of your camera settings – keep that shutter speed fast enough to prevent blurring – and be ready to move quickly!

Child photography allows for close-up portraits as well as the child engaged in some activity – taking their socks off – in a box / tub with toys – climbing on or out of something. There is really no limit. As you continue to gain experience in working with children of various ages you will become more adept at learning what typically works with different age groups.

Child Photography Tips

Child photography is a challenge – but don’t worry sometime it turns into children photography. Mom has twins – big brother / little sister – maybe three little cousins. The list goes on! Imagine two sister and they both have triplets! Other than the obvious difficulty of getting multiple little subjects in any semblance of position, conducive to a memorable photo you need to bring everyone’s eyes to a central focal point. Tricky, but not impossible. Adding something NEW to catch their attention, at the moment you press the shutter, can work. Use this sparingly, because when child photography turns into children photography getting all their attention on the same thing is quite a feat. The beauty of digital is no limits to the exposures you take and you can take a quick peek on the spot.

Parents can be quite helpful during the photo session. Children often are more confident with a parent nearby. Also, do not overlook the value of older brother and sisters. They have a relationship with the little one like no one else! Often they can get their little brother or sister to giggle, make faces, hold things and a host of other things that may be exactly what you need. Plus, you have the opportunity of including more subjects in the photos, which translates into a larger photo package for the customer!

As you advance in child photography you will want a lighting setup and a backdrop. A three light setup – consisting of a main light fill light and a background light – is ideal. However if you are just beginning you can do great photography with a lot less. Experiment, and add as needed. If you are using a backdrop keep the child at least four feet from the backdrop (if possible). This eliminates shadows and prevents the backdrop from competing with your subject.

Take your act on the road – You can do child photography at the park – on the beach – in the backyard, just as easily as in a studio or home – maybe more so – and nature will take care of the lighting for you, as long as you select open shade.

How Many Mega-pixel Do You Need?

Is ‘mega-pixel’ the most overused word in the language of digital photography?

Tell anyone you are thinking of buying a new digital camera, and the first question they will probably ask you is “How many mega-pixels does it have?” In my gallery I often overhear comments like “I would love to take better photos, but my camera doesn’t have enough mega-pixels.”

Like computers and the Internet, digital photography has bred two types of ‘expert.’ There are people who know a lot. Then there are the people who know just a little, but think they know everything. Many of these people have been persuaded (most likely by a salesman trying to increase his commission) that the key to good photography is a high mega-pixel rating. By clinging to this notion, they may well be ignoring more important factors that could help them become better photographers.

The number of pixels in a photo determines how much you can enlarge the picture without losing image quality. The more mega-pixels, the bigger the print. But how important is this really, for most photographers in today’s digital world?

Let’s forget about the size of the enlargement for a moment. How many photos these days are ever printed at all, let alone enlarged to poster size? Gone are the days of shooting photos on negative film, and printing them to see the results. These days we see the results immediately in the camera, and can look at them in better detail on the computer screen. In fact, by eliminating the cost of film and developing, more people are taking more photos than ever before.

But back to the question: how many of these photos ever get printed? Most pictures live their lives on a computer screen, where we see a small version of a photo at 72dpi. In fact, if we want to share them in emails or add them to webpages, we have to make them even smaller to travel in cyberspace.

Of course there are people who print a lot of their photos. I encourage everybody to print their best photos, frame them, hang them, give them as gifts…after all, what is the purpose of all these photos if we don’t do something with them? But do we need a lot of mega-pixels to create a good print?

In most cases, the answer is no. The vast majority of printed photos are 6×4 or 5×7 inches, and very occasionally 8×12 inches. Very few photographers (apart from professionals) will ever print a poster sized enlargement. They might think they will; but almost certainly, they won’t.

So, do we really need all these mega-pixels? I equate it to buying a car than can travel 200 kilometer per hour in a country where the speed limit is 100. The power is there, and it may give some inward pride to know it is there…but it is wasted power all the same. Apart from bragging rights, in some ways you equally well served by an old hatchback that just gets you from Point A to Point B.

You can produce good, high quality prints up to 8×12 inch (20×30cm), and probably larger, with a five mega-pixel camera. This is not a compromise; I doubt you would see any improvement in print quality taking the same picture on a ten megapixel camera. Certainly you would see a difference if you enlarged the photo to poster size, but (as we have discussed), very few people reading this article are likely to do that.

Please do not see these comments as negative. I would never suggest that anyone who has bought a more powerful camera has wasted their money. Your upmarket camera probably came with an extra feature or two that adds to the fun you can have with photography. And of course, it is nice to know you could make giant prints from your photos…even though we both know you possibly never will.

Rather, I want to encourage all those people who didn’t buy the top-of-the-range camera and wish they did, or are currently agonizing over how much to spend on their next camera. If you want a camera that takes a decent photo, for use online or to produce small and medium sized prints, you don’t need to overextend your budget. Buy the camera you can reasonably afford and be happy with it – it will do the job for you.

If there is one important buying tip that is more important than the mega-pixels, it is to find a camera with a good quality lens. If your photos are not crystal clear and sharp when they are small, they are not going to improve by being blown up to larger sizes. In fact, all you would achieve is to make your blurry photo bigger and blurrier.

Just as importantly, once you have your camera, learn to use it. Most digital cameras come with manual settings that allow you to be truly creative once you know the basic photography techniques. If you look at the results of most photo competitions, you will usually find that the winner did not have the most upmarket camera. Invariably, it is the person with the imagination and skills to get the best out of the camera they have.

Photography Advice For Improving Your Shots

Would you like to begin your own photo concepts? Do you have an idea of where you need to start? What do you think will work best for the kinds of shots you want? This article will help you find answers to those questions and many more!

Use photo manipulation programs to create images that would have been impossible with ordinary film only, including those that resemble watercolors, pencil sketches, and oil paintings. There are a variety of photo editing programs out there, but all the cool kids use Photoshop. After choosing the medium you desire and hitting the filter button, you can instantly turn photographs into wonderful pieces of art.

Different locations and lighting situations call for varying shutter speeds to produce the best results. Photography lets you capture moments in a split-second and allows you to blur together time periods that are large. The quicker the subject of your photo is moving, the faster your shutter speed needs to be and vice versa.

Avoid taking pictures under an overcast, cloudy sky if possible. If too much gray sky is in your picture, it will look muted and bland. If the sky is overcast, perhaps you should shoot the photograph in black and white. However, if it is a cloudless day, feel free to include as much of the sky as you desire.

A DSLR is an essential tool if you seek to take more professional photographs or to seriously embrace photography itself. SLR is short for “single lens camera.” This type of camera allows you to see exactly what the camera sees as you take your shot. Digital SLRs, or DSLR, also allow you to see the finished photo immediately so that you can determine whether the photograph was successful. The larger the camera’s frame, the better it is for budding photographers. Try a full-frame camera so that you can get the exact images you want.

Make sure you have a good sense of depth when shooting landscapes. Establish a sense of scale by placing an object within the foreground of your picture. A small aperture, usually smaller than f/8 in many digital cameras and f/16 for SLR’s, allows greater sharpness throughout the entire picture.

Play around with the settings on your camera and create different compositions for your photographs. It is possible to take very interesting, high-quality photographs without focusing on traditional subject matter. Great photographs can be made by taking a picture of something that isn’t usually interesting and making it interesting. Experiment with your photos until you discover your personal style.

Ensure you have an extra charged battery so you do not miss the greatest photos. When you use the LCD on your camera or the flash, your camera drains power quickly. If not fully charged, you may miss out on some great shots. Another great idea would be carry an extra set of batteries for the camera so you don’t miss your shot.

You should always enjoy taking pictures. It is an invaluable tool for capturing a moment in time that could otherwise be forgotten. Have a good time while you take your shots and you’ll find that the joy you feel comes through in the pictures you take.

Allow your camera to automatically focus on the subject, then move slightly in such a way that the subject is no longer in the center of the frame. Centering has come to be expected, and can seem rather boring to many. You may create more interest by focusing on what wouldn’t normally be considered the subject in your photograph.

Find a good balance between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The three features together determine the photograph’s exposure. Avoid overexposed pictures or underexposed ones unless you are looking for a particular atmosphere. Experimentation with these features and how they work together will lead you to the perfect combination.

Most photographers wish for their subjects to look into the camera. Have the subject of your photo focus their eyes on a distant object, rather than the camera. Or, you could have your subject focus their gaze on something or someone else in the frame.

Viewers should be able to clearly see the subject of each photo you take. Your camera must be in focus at all times to ensure that you retain a well-composed image that reflects the true intentions of your shot. When you are just getting started, keep your subject centered in the picture and in view. Let your background be what it will be.

You need to decide if you want to use highlights or shadows in photos. Use photo editing software to put two photographs together and make them the perfect picture!

If you’re serious about photography as a hobby for life, it’s important to find out which equipment works best for you. Many professional photographers prefer a specific name brand, but there are several other brands that provide consistently good results as well.

Red-eye, while seemingly a tiny flaw, can make a photo appear un-frame worthy. Avoid your flash to prevent this, though if you must use the flash, do not have the subject look directly at the camera. There are cameras available on the market that come with a red eye feature.

You should know how your camera lens focuses, and where the sharpest zone of focus lies within your camera’s frame. As a rule, this sharply focused part of the photographic image will be in its center. The image is more blurred around the edges of the frame.

How would you do with the questions from the beginning of the article now? Where will you begin with your own concepts in photography? Can you now find a place to begin? Have you figured out how to better compose your shots? If you have the answers to these simple questions, then you now have a grasp of the tips you were presented and will be able to take excellent photographs.