How to Choose the Best DSLR Camera

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to shift to using a DSLR from a point and shoot digital camera. These reasons could range from wanting to get better image quality in your pictures to having the option of manual controls. Also, with photography becoming a more affordable hobby since the advent of digital cameras, it has also drawn more people towards it. After achieving a level of proficiency with digital cameras, most amateur photographers would want to use DSLRs. But how do you choose the best DSLR for beginners and what are the factors that need to be kept in mind? In this article, we give you tips that will help you choose out the best device fit for your needs.

Choosing the Best DSLR

Without beating around the bush, let us take a look at those factors that will help you decide which is the best DSLR for the money that you are spending on it. All the different features that you need to look out for in a camera to indulge in your interest of photography are listed out below.

Need
One of the most important factors to consider while buying a camera is what you are going to use it for. This is also probably the question that the salesperson at the store is going to ask you. Answer this question by figuring out what kind of photography you want to indulge in. Do you want to buy a camera to shoot pictures while going about life or do you want to specialize in sports or wildlife photography? Do not answer this question with what you would want to do in your fantasy land, but anchor the answer in reality.

Cost
Most of us have a fixed budget when we go out to buy a camera. This will be an important deciding factor when it comes to buying a camera. The price range where DSLRs are concerned is quite wide with basic models available for as less as USD 400 and going up to thousands of dollars. Setting a budget will ensure that you do not get confused with the variety you have at hand. Remember that your budget will also have to include the cost of lenses (in case you are planning to upgrade them), memory cards, camera bag, batteries (a rechargeable battery is a must have), and if the company offers an option for the same, then extended warranty for the device.

Tech Specs
Manufacturers often overemphasize the number of megapixels that a camera has. While important, this is not the only prominent feature. If you have the concept of megapixels explained to you, you will realize that higher megapixels does not necessarily mean that the image quality is better. A good resolution is definitely a must, but high number of megapixels are needed only if you need to print huge sized images. Another important factor to keep in mind is the image sensor size. The bigger your sensor size, the more the number of pixels it can accommodate, hence bettering the image quality. But then again, the need for this depends on what use you are going to put the camera to. If you are looking at buying one for sports photography, then look for one that has a very high shutter speed. Similarly, burst mode will enable you to shoot a series of images by just pressing down on the shutter release. Image stabilization or anti-shake as the feature is better known, is also an important feature. Other considerations are the range of ISO settings, the LCD size, so that you can view the images you click, and the flash which the camera provides. While cameras for professionals do not have a built in flash, most beginner level DSLRs for digital photography come with a built in flash.

These were some of the important factors to consider while choosing a DSLR for your use. Other factors to consider include the size of the device, as these cameras are not as light as point and shoot ones, so if you are looking for a compact sized device, you will have to search hard, as digital SLRs are generally weighty. If this is not your first DSLR, then check the previous gear you have and decide on your upgrade accordingly. If you had an SLR previously there is a possibility that the lenses you have are compatible with the new one that you want to buy. The same can be true for a memory card which may be compatible with both DSLRs and point and shoot devices. Also consider the possibility of a future upgrade, as this may be something that you need to keep in mind.

Some of the digital SLRs available in the market today are the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi Digital SLR, Sony Alpha Digital SLR-A300 Digital SLR, Olympus Evolt E-510 Digital SLR, Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR, and Olympus E3 Digital SLR. You can also take a look at the different charts of comparison available online to help make your choice. At the end of the day, the final choice can be made only once you have taken a look at the different models for yourself.

Tips to Clean Your Digital SLR Camera

Owning an SLR camera gives you the opportunity and the tool to click some stunning photographs, but you also need to maintain your camera properly and clean it from time to time so that the quality of the images that you click does not suffer. People who use their cameras outdoors a lot will soon find that their picture quality is dropping, and this happens because of dust, grime and other particles that get attached to the sensor of the camera itself. Cleaning your SLR camera is something that you should undertake at least once a month, and if you are an outdoors person, then the frequency of this process should be even greater.

How to Clean Your Digital SLR Camera

SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex, and this is a technology that manipulates the light around the subject so as to give a crisper and clearer image from the camera. Without going into the technicalities of the way this technology functions, it should suffice to say that cleaning the body and the lens of the camera is imperative to continue getting high quality images from the SLR camera that you own. When it comes to maintaining SLR cameras, it is always better to prevent dirt from touching the camera rather than cleaning it later. All camera stores have a lens filter that they sell, and this will protect your cameras lens when it is not being used.

Additionally, the bodies of most SLR cameras soon get smudged with fingerprints so it is advisable to wipe the body once every few days. Even though fingerprints on the body of the camera do not affect the quality of the images that you click, doing so will grant you peace of mind that your camera is actually quite clean. You can either rub the body gently with a soft piece of cloth, and you can even use a canned air duster to clean all the gaps and crevices in the body. Now, the most important part of your SLR camera is the sensor of the camera, and this is the part that needs to be cleaned with precision and care. A clean sensor will absolutely improve the quality of the images that you click.

Cleaning the Sensor and the Lens

The sensor itself is actually quite sensitive, so only someone with a very steady hand should attempt to clean it. What you can do instead, is clean the low pass filter that is located in front of the sensor, in order to get the same results. The best way to do this is to either use methanol, or a liquid that comes as a part of any camera cleaning kit that is easily available in the market. You need to wet a small piece of cloth, or cotton, with the liquid and then slightly swab the filter. In order to locate the filter on your SLR camera you should refer to the handbook and instruction manual that came along with it.

These kits also provide a sensor brush that can be used to lightly dust off the sensor itself, and they also provide in depth instructions on cleaning an SLR camera. As already mentioned, this needs to be done very carefully and with a steady hand, or the sensor can get displaced and ruin the camera completely. Cleaning the lens is also advisable in this situation as this will also lead to better images, and this is even more essential for someone who changes their lenses a lot. Removing a lens and reattaching it leads to the lens mount gathering dust, and this area also needs to be cleaned gently with a microfiber cloth. Both sides of the glass of the lens should be dusted, and this can be achieved with the help of an air blower and the cloth. Remember that the air blower should never be used, and you should never touch the mirror that is located near the sensor as well. Some new SLR models have an automatic sensor cleaning technology, and for these cameras you simply need to work on the body and the lens of the camera.

In order to avoid cleaning your camera too often, always keep it in vacuum bag and clean the body and lens as often as possible, especially if you are clicking images outdoors a lot. Use the lens cap when the camera is not being used, and if you are changing the lenses, do so quickly. Additionally, if you feel that your images are drastically suffering due to dirt and dust, then give your camera to a professional camera store and pay them to clean your SLR effectively.

How to Resolve Troubleshooting your Digital Camera

Digital cameras have seen a great boom since the invention of Polaroids. Almost every household has a digital camera these days. Perhaps that’s not the case with you and you just bought yourself a new digital camera. You’re excited about taking pictures and follow all the steps in the manual properly. But something goes wrong when you’re actually taking a picture or maybe it didn’t come out the way you wanted. Now what? First thing would be to check the important troubleshooting section in the manual provided with the camera. If you still can’t fix the issue(s) with your digital camera, take a look at these quick fixes to any problems you may encounter.

Troubleshooting your Digital Camera

Before you get more frustrated and regret buying your digital camera, try out the functions cited below.

  • If you feel that the image quality is not good, you might want to check the lens for dirt and clean it thoroughly with the kit that is available in the market. Also check what settings are selected.
  • The camera stores images in the memory cards. Make sure that the card is formatted before clicking pictures and the memory card is in the camera while taking pictures.
  • Charge your camera properly. If the battery goes low while processing the picture, chances are that the picture or the video may not be stored in the card. That’s one of the common errors that occur while taking pictures.
  • If you are unable to take pictures at times, make sure that the mode is set properly and it is not in the playback mode. Make some space in the memory card before you start clicking. You can transfer the pictures on the computer.
  • If the flash on your digital camera doesn’t work, check the batteries and wait for the flash to charge.

Troubleshoot Problems With Your Digital Camera

If you have any technical difficulties, there are techniques you can use to fix them before you rush to your nearest digital cameras help desk. If you are interested.

  • At times, many of us forget to charge the camera completely. If the camera is not turning on, make sure that the batteries are charged fully. And if that’s not the case, connect the camera to the AC supply or the adapter of the battery.
  • If your camera gets wet, turn the camera off. Make sure you unplug it from the power supply, remove the batteries and the memory card. Let the camera dry for at least a day before starting the camera again.
  • If you feel that the camera is using a lot of battery, try to minimize the usage of LCD and use the view finder. Since, LCD uses a lot of battery power, make sure you have long-lasting and durable batteries that suit your digital camera. Regular batteries don’t work as much as the ones recommended by the manufacturer or the heavy duty ones.
  • Due to low battery or improper focus, the screen might keep turning off on its own. If the battery is low, replace or recharge them and check the focus settings. During winter, also try warming the battery in your pockets or the palm of your hand, and then insert them into the camera and start clicking.
  • If you are unable to connect the camera to the computer, try using the AC adapter when you are transferring the pictures directly to the computer. On the computer, make sure you have updated version of the software and the drivers. If you are connecting via serial port, make sure there are no conflicts. If your camera connects to the computer via fire wire, first, turn the computer on and then the camera. Next, attach the cable from your camera to the computer. Make sure that you don’t turn off the camera while the cable is still attached to it.
  • If the camera is unable to recognize the memory card, make sure that the card is not corrupt and is properly inserted. Also check if the memory card is not write-protected.

    These were some helpful tips to solve any errors or issues in your digital camera. If there are any other problems besides the ones mentioned above, you can refer to the forums on the manufacturer’s website. Or else, take it to an authentic service center for repairs to check for any damages.

Tips Before You Buying Camera Bags

A camera bag must provide adequate protection and space to the expensive gear it carries. Thus, the rule of thumb to follow while going through myriad of options is to go in for a camera bag that meets these two criteria above all else. Thereafter, you must consider the design and accessibility, additional storage space, weather protection, weight, cost, and the ease with which you can carry the bag. Some brands you can trust are Lowepro, Tamrac, Crumpler, Kata, and Boda camera bags.

Know the Types of Camera Bags

There is a plethora of options when it comes to such camera bags; however, you must go in for a bag that is weather-protected, has plenty of external compartments, and lots of space to store the camera inside.

  • Camera shoulder bags are perhaps the most popular choice among both amateur as well as professional photographers. These bags are very comfortable to carry and can be slung around the neck and arm, thereby, allowing the photographer to move and run more easily. Such bags also accommodate laptops and chargers.
  • Camera backpacks are mostly used for storing a lot of camera gear; however, such bags are not easily accessible and are thus, not preferred by most professional photographers.
  • Lens bags are extremely useful for protecting camera lenses. Being the most important part of a camera, the lens is often extremely expensive and hard to replace. Securing the lenses in a sturdy bag can go a long way in increasing the life and durability of your camera gear.
  • Waist pack camera bags are perhaps the least popular and used bags among the lot. Using such a bag makes sense, if you’re carrying a small camera and wish to keep your hands free most of the time. Those carrying a large camera may use a waist pack for carrying smaller lenses, memory cards, and other knickknacks.
  • Camera hard cases are equipped with several compartments and are preferred by traveling and media crew photographers. The hard case ensures that the expensive and delicate camera gear stays safe. Such cases are able to withstand rough handling and falls.
  • Camera pouch bags are designed for storing pocket-sized digital cameras and come in an array of colors and designs. Larger alternatives can be found with zips and extra compartments for storing memory cards and cords.
  • Camera rolling bags, on the other hand, are more like backpacks on wheels. These camera bags are intended for carrying a lot of camera gear without having to actually carry it. Some cameras and the additional equipment can become extremely heavy, and using a rolling bag makes the task a lot easier.
  • Camera tripod/monopod bags ensure that the gear does not lose its stability or get damaged during transit. These bags are longer and are usually weather-protected to prevent moisture or dust from affecting the gear within.

Tips for Buying a Camera Bag

  • Appropriate Size
    You will need to place your camera in the bag and see if it fits snugly without sliding or rolling to the sides. The camera and its additional gear must all fit into their individual compartments. Therefore, you may consider going in for a bag that has internal padding that also act as compartments. Choose a bag that has a lot of pockets, where you can keep everything you need while photographing, without having to use another bag as a standby for extra items. That being said, you must always travel light and avoid carrying the gear that you never really use.
  • Weight and Portability
    The bigger your camera, the more it will weigh. Therefore, choose a bag that has thick adjustable straps that won’t rub against your skin and cause discomfort. It can get extremely annoying to constantly adjust a bag strap, while you’re busy trying to take rapid camera shots and at fluid angles. The weight of the bag also needs to be considered if you plan on carrying your camera rather than using a monopod or alternative stand. The bag must make it easier for you to carry the camera and not add to the overall weight. It must also be extremely portable and preferably must have a handle. When it comes to hard cases and roller bags, go in for one that is sturdy, lightweight, has smooth wheels, and a strong handle that is comfortable to use.
  • Sufficient Padding and Durability
    The camera bag you select must have adequate padding within the bag to protect the gear from crashing into another or cracking from impact. Your bag must be able to withstand a fall or two, if ever it slips off your hand. Therefore, it must have adequate padding on its exterior as well. The second important criteria you must keep in mind is that the bag must be designed to last for several years to come. The seams of the bag must be well-stitched, and the material used must be durable, waterproof, and resistant to tearing and damage. The lining of the bag must be soft so that the fiber does not scratch the lenses. Do not opt for bags that look fancy and stylish, but fall short of providing adequate support and protection to your camera gear.
  • Secure System
    Before you buy the camera bag, make sure that you check its zippers, locking system, buckles, and Velcro. These features must work perfectly in order to ensure that the contents of your bag stay secure and do not slip out. The main pocket that contains the main gear must ideally have a flap that provides additional coverage.

The cost of the camera bag must also be taken into consideration. The more features the bag has and the better the material and design, the more expensive the bag is likely to be. Therefore, assess your budget and determine the features of the bag that you can and cannot do without.

Tips for Buying a Used DSLR

Digital Single Lens Reflex or DSLR cameras are best-suited for aspiring photographers and photography enthusiasts who want to progress to the next level and do more than just point and shoot. These cameras come with a variety of lenses with different focal lengths, that provide superior quality images. All those upgrading from their P&S (point-and-shoot) cameras will be amazed with the quality of images taken from a DSLR, in low-light and fast-action conditions. As these devices cost more than point and shoot digital cameras, opting for a used DSLR is the right choice for someone who isn’t willing to spend that much. But, it then becomes necessary to inspect and select the right DSLR, free of any defects. We, at Buzzle, have listed down a few points that you need to check that will ensure you get a good deal.

Shutter Count (Actuations)

There are a finite number of shutter cycles for a DSLR camera, which means its life is fixed. Once this limit is crossed, you need to replace the entire shutter mechanism. The shutter count will give you a clear idea about the number of clicks done by the camera. It is also known as actuations. The seller can tell you the exact count, if he/she have kept a track of the same. If he has no idea about the same, then carry out the following steps to determine the exact actuations.

  • If both photos look anything like either of the two images (see figure), your camera is working fine.
  • If both the photos look the same, there is no problem with the camera.
  • Lens mounts and contact pins should also be checked for dents, scratches, or bends. If there are visible markings on the mount, it is clear that the seller must have used a heavy lens or dropped the camera. You can negotiate the price on this point.

Auto focus Accuracy

The camera’s auto focus can be checked by focusing on a particular object with and without the AF feature. Start by focusing on the main object in the manual focus mode. Now, do the same in the AF mode. Transfer both the images on your computer and view them in 100% zoom.

  • In case the seller hasn’t used the camera for a long time, chances are high that it was packed in a bag. There can be fungus deposits on the lens surface that could damage the glass beyond repair.
  • If there is an aperture ring, check its motion and folding of blades. Check for dents or scratches on the lens barrel.
  • Take into account the regular print size (that you might print your images in), at the regular 300ppi resolution. This should give you a clear idea about the camera pixels. So, if you plan to print your shots in 6×4″ size, a 2.1 million pixel resolution is enough. However, to print in A4 or A3 sizes, you will need a 14.2 million pixel sensor resolution.

Lens

Depending on the DSLR that you intend to buy, you may or may not get the lens kit included in the camera price. Mostly, sellers give away their entry-level DSLRs along with their lenses. If you are among the lucky few, it is necessary to carefully check the front and rear elements of the lens for scratches.

  • I may sound a bit blunt, here, but if you are rarely going to print your shots, I would suggest not buying a high sensor resolution camera, as you will never use it to its full potential.
  • In case of dust issues, get it cleaned by using a lens cleaning kit, but if there are scratches on the sensor, reconsider before buying the product.
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    Sensor Resolution

    Even though you have zeroed in on the camera model, it is good to consider the sensor resolution of the camera. It is always better to have a higher resolution sensor.

  • You can click a picture of any bright object with the lens aperture reduced to the minimum. Maintain adequate light conditions while doing so. Transfer the photo on your computer, and then magnify the image to see any visible dust spots.
  • You can check the manufacturer’s website for the shutter count limit, and if the said device has crossed the limit, it is better to leave the camera then and there, as there is a need to replace the unit.

Sensor

The next entry in your checklist should be looking for dust on the sensor unit. You can check for physical damages to the sensor by lifting the mirror release. But if you simply take off the lens, you cannot see the sensor. Use the camera’s menu to lock the mirror, and then lift it to view the sensor.

  • For Nikon camera’s, find out the shutter count here. As far as Canon cameras are concerned, you can download EOSInfo utility on your system, so as to get the exact number.
  • There are third party programs available on the Internet where you simply have to upload a picture taken from that camera, and the software will calculate the shutter count for you.
  • You can look at the file numbering on the device, which tells you the exact picture count. However, you cannot rely completely on this method, because the file numbering can be reset.
  • But when one photo looks like one image (from the figure) and the other photo like the other image, we have problem.
  • To check if you have a problem with the lens or camera body, try this solution.

    Mount a different lens, click a photo of the same object, and transfer the photo to your computer. If you have a repeat of scenario 1 or 2, your lens has a problem. You can safely buy the camera, but without the lens. But, if you have a repeat of scenario 3, the camera body has a problem. You would be well advised to look elsewhere for your camera.

Screen

The LCD screen of your camera needs a careful examination too. Look closely at the screen for dead and stuck pixels.

  • To check for dead pixels, point the camera at the sky with Live View on. The dead pixels will show up on the same place every time you move the camera. Apart from this, you can click several photos with different colors. Examine the images closely at 100% zoom and if you spot a pixel appearing in the same place, you have a dead pixel problem.
  • To check for stuck pixels, you can set your camera to Auto or Aperture Mode, then turn on Live View. Now, if you point your camera and look through the viewfinder, and observe a pixel that never moves and retains its color, no matter where you point the camera, you have a stuck pixel problem.
  • In case the device that you are interested in has two or three dead or stuck pixels, you can still buy the camera, but at a reduced rate. But if there are a lot of these pixels, it is better you don’t buy the camera.

Wear and Tear

The camera body condition says a lot about the handling and usage of the camera. While looking for a used DSLR, you are bound to come across cameras with scratches and dents. Minor blemishes are acceptable, but if there is significant damage on the exterior, it is clear that the camera would have been dropped.

  • The working of the shutter buttons and dials should also be checked for any defects. Press each of those buttons and check if any of them are getting stuck, or you are finding it hard to press. If this is the case, you can ask the seller to replace the button or reduce the price of the camera.
  • The neck strap shouldn’t have any material peel off and the lens cap shouldn’t have any clearance while fitting on the lens. If this isn’t the situation, you can always ask the seller to replace them.
  • Next, click pictures by changing the camera modes, especially the program mode or auto focus mode. Check their clarity on the LCD screen. Also, record a video to check its operation.
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    Hot Shoe

    The adapter where the flash is mounted is the hot shoe. Many a time, we fail to check this part of the camera for its fit.

  • Mount the flash on the camera, and give the camera a gentle shake. If the flash rocks, ask the seller to fix it before you buy it.
  • If there is no rocking of the flash but your flash doesn’t work, the camera might have a faulty flash switch. If you see an Error 05 popping up on the LCD screen, the flash switch is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Add-ons

Add-ons like battery charger, interface cables, body caps, etc., should be checked for defects and malfunction.

  • Plug the battery into the charger unit and check whether it is getting charged. If not, you have a faulty charger or battery. Though these are easily replaceable, you need to shell out money for buying them, and its replacement cost can be deducted from the overall cost of the DSLR.
  • If you are lucky enough, you might get lens filters, tripod, card readers, and extra batteries along with your purchase. You can click a few pictures with the lens filters on, and by transferring them on your computer, you can judge the image quality.
  • Check the tripod screws. Place the camera on the tripod to check if it can withstand the camera’s weight. If there are any loose screws, you will immediately be able to spot them. Adjust the height of the tripod at various positions. If this operation is smooth, you have a great deal on your hand.

Warranty

In case you are purchasing the used gear from a store, you might get warranty on its parts. However, if you are buying one online, do not expect to receive any such offer.

  • If the seller is selling off his new camera, you can always transfer the current warranty on your name. For doing so, you will need the original purchase receipt.

Landscape Photography Tips

A landscape photograph is a photograph in which the main subject is nature. The purpose of a landscape photograph is to capture the beauty of a natural landscape, and this is the reason landscape photographers do not include people as their subjects. Landscape photography, just like wildlife photography, is not easy as it requires a lot of time and effort. There are three styles of landscape photography: representational, impressionistic and abstract. No matter what your style is, the following tips on landscape photography are sure to help you.

Useful Tips for Landscape Photography

Just like any other art, there are certain landscape photography techniques that you should follow if you wish to click some awesome shots. If you have tried your hands at portrait photography before, you’ll find that these tips are different from tips for portrait photography for the fact that these are two very different styles of photography.

Use a Wide Angle Lens
The ideal lens for landscape photography is a wide-angle lens. Using a wide-angle lens allows you to capture more of the breathtaking view in your shot. Also, using a wide-angle lens for your shot gives you the option of converting it into a panorama, with the help of editing software. You can experiment with different angles for the shots and also with lenses of different focal lengths.

Maximize the Depth of Field
Increasing the depth of field of the photograph means a greater part of the photograph is in focus. To do this you need to decrease the aperture of the camera. However, decreasing the aperture size means less light reaching the image sensor, which needs to be neutralized by increasing the shutter speed.

Use a Tripod Camera Stand and Remote
For the simple reason that you need to set the shutter speed as high, to compensate for a smaller aperture, it is extremely important that your camera is completely still while the shot is taken. If you hold the camera in your hand during the shot, chances are that it may get shaken, resulting in a blurred image. It is even better if you use a wireless remote instead of manually clicking the shutter with your hands as this way you’ll get really sharp images.

Use Filters and Polarizers
If you are taking the shot during the day, it is advisable to use graduated filters. This way, there will be a balanced exposure in the photograph right from the beginning without you having to spend hours on Photoshop editing it. There are an array of different filters that serve to enhance your shot in different ways. While density filters control the amount of light reaching the lens, color filters come in different colors, and add a touch of a particular shade to the photograph. Polarizing filters add saturation to your shots.

Choose the Perfect Timing
The quality of landscape photography depends a lot on what time of the day you take your shots. Experts believe that the best time to take your shots is either early in the morning or late in the evening. Sunrise and sunset add a special touch to your photographs and are termed as the ‘golden hours’. This is because the angle as well as the color of the light during these hours have been widely accepted as the best for landscape shots.

Follow the Rule of Thirds
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is helpful in creating a balanced composition, which is essential for landscape photography. According to this rule, you are supposed to divide any composition into three parts by imagining lines passing across it. Now, you have to set the frame such that the areas or objects you wish to focus on, lie on the intersection of these lines. This can be a useful tip for beginners in the field of landscape photography.

Capture Movement
The term ‘landscape’ generally brings serene images to our mind. However, objects in motion do form a part of many landscapes. Consider this. You climb a hill to capture the breathtaking view of the valley below. On your way back after having clicked some splendid shots, you suddenly come across a majestic waterfall. Being the nature lover that you are, would you not want to capture the beauty of its cascading waters? ‘But how?’, you may ask. Well, to capture moving elements in a landscape, you need to set a slow shutter speed. However, you must keep in mind that a slow shutter speed means more light reaching the lens. To counter this, you need to have a smaller aperture and use the right filters.

Be Patient
Patience is one of the key ingredients to stunning landscape photography. Rushing through the entire process would land you with images that might be good enough but never extraordinary. If shooting a masterpiece is what you are after, then you need to put in that extra effort. On reaching the location, just spend time in scouting for the perfect angle and wait for that time of the day when the lighting is just perfect.

Shoot in RAW Format
Whenever you shoot landscape, do so in RAW format. This is because images captured in RAW format not only portray the minutest details of the landscape but also give you a wider scope for manipulating and enhancing the image with the help of image editing software such as Photoshop.

Learn to Use Lines and Points of Interest
To make a composition truly interesting and visually appealing, you need to add something that holds the viewer’s interest and kind of leads him into the picture. To bring out this effect in your composition, all you need to do is add an object of interest which can be anything as varied as a strange-looking tree to a weird-shaped sand dune, or even a cottage in the distance. Another way to lead the viewer into the photograph is the use of ‘leading lines’ that end up at the point of interest or the focal point. You can use winding lanes, streams, railway lines, etc to direct the viewer’s attention towards the focal point of the composition.

Quick Tips for Landscape Photography

In addition to the most important tips given above, there are a few more quick tips and tricks that might prove useful.

Use the histogram feature on your camera to determine the perfect exposure required for the shot.
Experiment with different locations and do not hesitate to explore unknown or uncharted territory.
Try experimenting with the different features on your camera.
Try shooting in black and white.
Pay attention to the position of the sky and the horizon in your composition.
Learn from the works of master photographers like Ansel Adams.

This was all about some effective landscape photography tips that will help you click that perfect shot you have always dreamed of. However, it’s not necessary that you go by the rules every time. Put your own ideas to use and who knows, you might just end up with something truly appreciable and indeed unique. After all, as the most famous landscape photographer Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

Tips to Buy Cheap Camera

Some of the best companies which offer effective and budget cameras are Sony, Nikon, Canon, Casio, and Panasonic. Point and shoot models are going from cheap to cheaper, whereas entry-level DSLRs with lens are available at an affordable price.

Best DSLR Models

Nikon D3000
Nikon claims this model to be its ‘friendliest DSLR ever’. It has a sturdy body with a 10.2-megapixel sensor and a 3-inch LCD screen. The product package includes the body and an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. You may have to pay around USD 550 for the D3000, which is a good price for beginners.

Canon EOS Rebel T3
This is a newly launched DSLR camera from Canon. It has a 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 2.7-inch screen. It also has the feature to record HD videos, and edit them with the inbuilt movie editing function. The product pack comes with the device and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Type II lens. The estimated retail price is suggested to be USD 600.

Sony DSLR-A290 (α290)
When it is a matter of the best digital SLR cameras, Sony is not opted for that much as compared to its primary rivals, Nikon and Canon. However, it is known to come up with an impressive range of DSLRs. The Sony α290 is the most inexpensive one from the brand, which carries a 14.2-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, and a long-lasting battery for a total of 500 shots in the optical viewfinder mode. At just about USD 420, you also get a 18-55 mm zoom lens with the package.

Best Point and Shoot Models

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310
Two of the major positive things about this model from Sony are that it produces high-quality pictures and also comes pretty cheap. In just about USD 100, you get a 12-megapixel picture resolution with 4x optical zoom, a 2.7-inch LCD, the Smile Shutter, and Face Detection functions. It is believed that when it comes to the best point and shoot cameras, Sony models top the list.

Nikon COOLPIX L24
Nikon is another reputed brand to produce affordable point and shoots. A good example is its new COOLPIX L24, which boasts of a 14-megapixel CCD with 3.6x optical zoom. It has got a 3-inch TFT-LCD for image viewing. Other good features include the Vibration Reduction (VR) Image Stabilization system and red-eye reduction. Nikon is offering this digital camera for around USD 120.

Canon PowerShot A800
The A800 is a new launch from Canon, which has a very affordable price tag of just about USD 90. Even at such an inexpensive price, it produces crystal clear images using its 10-megapixel sensor. It has got all that is required out of a point and shoot pocket camera. The 3.3x optical zoom contributes to clear snaps, whereas the 2.5-inch TFT screen makes viewing pleasurable.

Waterproof Camera Reviews

Clicking pictures near or underwater is certainly not possible with the standard camcorder or camera. For clear pictures, near or underwater you need to have a durable waterproof camera. The good news is, reputed brands like Canon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Nikon and Sony have brought out some amazing waterproof cameras in the market. Buying these products and their accessories might be a little expensive for some but one cannot deny the importance of these cameras when you want to click pictures near or underwater.

Waterproof cameras have been in the market since 2002 and their demand has only increased. They share the same features like any other digital camera with high-resolution LCD screens, faster processors, wider angle lenses, built-in image stabilization and high-resolution sensors. The only difference is, waterproof cameras have non extending lenses and internal zooms which ensure no water gets inside the camera and some models are even shock resistant and dust proof.

Reviews on Waterproof Camera

It doesn’t matter if you are in diving in deep waters or skiing on snow, the following cameras work just fine under both scenarios as they are water and freeze proof. However, it is recommended that you test them before making a purchase and remember to clarify the maximum depth that the camera would work underwater if you go for scuba diving or snorkeling.

Canon D10
Specifications

  • Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
  • Digital Zoom: 4x
  • Total Pixels: 12,400,000 pixels
  • Effective Sensor Resolution: 12,100,000 pixels
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
  • Shooting Programs: Night Snapshot, Beach, Sunset, Stitch Assist, High Sensitivity, Underwater, snow, Fireworks, Foliage, Portrait mode, Self-portrait, Sports mode, Night scene, slow shutter, Landscape and Text
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/1500 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 15 sec
  • Digital Video Format: H.264
  • Still Image Format: JPEG
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: Every second 30 frames
  • Memory Card: Yes
  • Camera Flash: Built In
  • Self Timer: Yes
  • Underwater Depth: Up to 30 ft
  • Minimum Operating Temperature: 14°F
  • Maximum Operating Temperature: 104.0°F

Nikon COOLPIX AW100
Specifications

  • Resolution: 16.0 megapixels
  • Digital Zoom: 4.0x
  • Total Pixels: 16,790,000 pixels
  • Effective Sensor Resolution: 16,000,000 pixels
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
  • Shooting Programs: Underwater, Portrait mode, Self-portrait, Museum, Report, Surf and snow, Landscape, Text, Flower, Pet, Natural skin tone, Fireworks, Frame composition, Sports mode, Night scene, Soft and Kids
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/1500 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 4.0 sec
  • Digital Video Format: H.264, MOV
  • Still Image Format: JPEG
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 7.1 frames per second
  • Memory Card: Yes
  • Camera Flash: Built In
  • Self Timer: Yes
  • Underwater Depth: Up to 30 ft
  • Minimum Operating Temperature: 14.0°F
  • Maximum Operating Temperature: 104.0°F

Pentax Optio
Specifications

  • Resolution: 7.0 megapixels
  • Digital Zoom: 4.0x
  • Total Pixels: 7410000.0 pixels
  • Effective Sensor Resolution: 7000000.0 pixels
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
  • Shooting Programs: Underwater, Museum, Report, Surf and snow, Natural skin tone, Fireworks, Frame composition, Portrait mode, Self-portrait, Sports mode, Night scene, Landscape, Text, Flower, Food, Pet, Soft and Kids
  • Max Shutter Speed: 0.00050 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 4.0 sec
  • Digital Video Format: QuickTime
  • Still Image Format: JPEG
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: Every second 30 frames
  • Memory Card: Yes
  • Camera Flash: Built In
  • Self Timer: Yes
  • Underwater Depth: 5 ft
  • Minimum Operating Temperature: 32.0°F
  • Maximum Operating Temperature: 104.0°F

Panasonic TS1
Specifications

  • Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
  • Digital Zoom: 4x
  • Total Pixels: 12,700,000 pixels
  • Effective Sensor Resolution: 12,100,000 pixels
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
    Shooting Programs: Candle, Party/indoor Night Portrait, Beach, Sunset, Stitch Assist, High Sensitivity, baby2, baby1, Underwater, snow, Fireworks, Foliage, Portrait mode, Clipboard, Aerial Photo, Starry Sky, Scenery, Self-portrait, Sports mode, Night scene, slow shutter, Landscape and Text
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/1300 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 60 sec
  • Digital Video Format: QuickTime and AVCHD Lite
  • Still Image Format: JPEG
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 10 frames per second (3MPix),
  • 6 frames per second, 2.3 frames per second and 1.8 frames per second
  • Memory Card: Yes
  • Camera Flash: Built In
  • Self Timer: Yes
  • Underwater Depth: Up to 9.8ft
  • Minimum Operating Temperature: 32°F
  • Maximum Operating Temperature: 104°F

Fujifilm FinePix XP30
Specifications

  • Resolution: 14.2 megapixels
  • Digital Zoom: 6.8x
  • Total Pixels: 14,700,000 pixels
  • Effective Sensor Resolution: 14,200,000 pixels
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
  • Shooting Programs: Natural light, Snow, Beach, Underwater macro, Underwater wide,
    Natural light with flash, Underwater, Sports mode, Night mode, Flower, Sunset, Portrait enhancer, Motion panorama, Text, Party/indoor, Night (tripod), Portrait mode and Landscape
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 1/4 sec
  • Digital Video Format: MJPEG and AVI
  • Still Image Format: JPEG
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: Every second 0.8 frames
  • Memory Card: Yes
  • Camera Flash: Built In
  • Self Timer: Yes
  • Underwater Depth: Up to 15 ft
  • Minimum Operating Temperature: 14°F
  • Maximum Operating Temperature: 104°F

Sony CyberShot DSC-TX10
Specifications

  • Resolution: 16.1 megapixels
  • Digital Zoom: 5.1x
  • Total Pixels: 16,400,000 pixels
  • Effective Sensor Resolution: 16,100,000 pixels
  • Shooting Modes: Frame movie mode
  • Shooting Programs: Underwater, Museum, Report, Surf and snow, Natural skin tone, Fireworks, Frame composition, Portrait mode, Self-portrait, Sports mode, Night scene, Landscape, Text, Flower, Food, Pet, Soft and Kids
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 2 sec
  • Digital Video Format: H.264
  • Still Image Format: JPEG
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 1 frame per second
  • Memory Card: Yes
  • Camera Flash: Built In
  • Self Timer: Yes
  • Underwater Depth: Up to 16.5 ft
  • Minimum Operating Temperature: 32.0°F
  • Maximum Operating Temperature: 104.0°F

Camera Buying Tips

Now that some specifications are clear, readers might at least have a rough idea about their desired product.

  • The most important thing while buying a waterproof camera is to check its sealing. If you see any broken seals never buy such pieces.
  • Having a decent resolution is a must for waterproof cameras. Buy a camera with minimum 5 megapixels for better image quality.
  • Check the style and shape of the camera and buy the one which actually suits your requirements. For most people a compact camera is enough, also inquire about all the accessories that you get with the camera.
  • These cameras have a depth rating related to water pressure and it’s necessary that you stick to it. Don’t pressurize the camera gaskets by taking it deep into the water. Last but not the least, check the warranty terms and services.

Don’t expect SLR like speed in these cameras. Even with the quick succession mode, clicking multiple pictures at a time is something which should not be practiced. Also it is a good idea to have a nesting for your camera, manufacturers make some good bags or plastic holders which they sell with the camera or as a separate accessory.

How to Starting a Photography Business

Many people with an eye for beauty, judgment of light, and ability to capture the moment undertake photography business. Those who have made a name for themselves in this field are earning extremely well today. This is because there are three things which matter the most for the success of this business: right composition of elements in the photograph, right opportunity, and right networking.

Undertake Professional Courses

Even if people say you are a ‘pro’ at photography, it is highly advisable that you undertake professional courses to hone your talent. Getting a certification in photography or attending courses will give your work a professional perspective. Needless to say, your work will be taken more seriously on competitive platforms. It will also teach you to work with many photography software, the knowledge of which has become indispensable today.

Mentor

Is there a photographer whose work you look up to or appreciate? You may be in awe of how he has carved a niche for himself in the field of photography. You may even be a pure admirer of his art. Meet that person and speak to him about your aspirations. Request him to teach you ‘tricks of this trade’ and guide you in your work. Having a mentor can not only help ameliorate your work, but it can also get you good business contacts.

Hands-on Experience

Merely spending a few hours in photography classes is not going to make you an ace photographer. Apart from continuously clicking photos of various objects, models, monuments, nature, etc., you will have to do an internship with an able photographer. This will actually help get a preview of how your business will operate. Learn as much as you can about camera, equipment, posing, makeup, models, objects, light, etc. Even if you earn only a few dollars for this work, take it, as you will learn a lot.

Be an Expert

In the initial days, you can try your hand at different kinds of photography. However, it is advisable that you specialize in a particular field later, like wedding photography, fashion photography, industrial photography, travel photography, object photography, wildlife photography, food photography, portraits, etc. This will help in establishing yourself as a capable and creative photographer.

Build a Portfolio

Build a creative portfolio of your photographs which will help showcase your talent in front of clients. They will get an idea about your work and give you more business. They may even refer you to their family and friends. Having a good e-portfolio will enable you to send your work to prospective clients in a matter of minutes.

Finances and Taxes

During the inception stage of your business, you may not have the necessary funds. Hence, it advisable to take a loan for the same. You can get an SBA loan easily, without much hassles. It is recommended that you carry your portfolio with you when you go to your lender to make a favorable impression. Also, hire professional services to look after your financial records and taxes. Maintain a record of all paperwork as it will be useful later on.

Source Equipment

Sourcing the right equipment is essential for your business. The quality of your photos will be highly dependent on the quality of camera and allied instruments you use. Hence, do not compromise on it. You will require a variety of instruments like camera, lenses, flash, flash cards, tripod, etc.
Speak to a senior photographer before going ahead and buying these things. Try to utilize online deals to get them at best bargains. However, buying secondhand equipment is not advisable, as they will cause you to spend a lot on repairs.

Hire a Studio

In the initial days, when you might have cost constraints, you may choose to shoot at locations decided by the client which may include their houses, lawns, convention halls, parks, etc. Some even create a temporary studio space in their home. However, renting a studio is also an option, if you have some extra money to spare. You may need to allot a place for a professional lab in your studio. Slowly, as your business will pick up, you can go ahead and buy a studio of your own.

Hire Help

As your business will expand, you will find it difficult to keep up with its growing demands on your own. Hence, it is advisable that you hire photography enthusiasts or students as interns to assist you with your work. This way, you will be able to get employees at a very lesser cost. In turn, the interns will also get hands-on experience.

Network

The right kind of networking is essential for being successful in this business. Attend photography conventions and visit galleries to meet other photographers. Mingle with other photographers so that you may get opportunities through their contacts.

Promote Your Work

It is important that you promote your work on a large scale. Start with having a website which will feature your work along with the price list. It’s great to have your (business) presence on all the social media forums. Print calendars with your photos and send them to your clients as New Year gifts.
Try to put your branding on your cards, envelopes, invoices, and album covers. You can even put stickers on your car. Enroll your entries in photography contests, and try to get your work printed in a magazine. This will help bring recognition and more business.

Formalities

You
may have to register your business as ‘doing business as.’ Apart from this, you will need the necessary licenses and permits from your local and state authorities to start your business.
You may also need to avail the Employee Identification Number. Understand the prevalent copyright issues, and don’t do anything that will cause a legal offense. You may have to get a ‘model release’. This is a liability waiver which is signed by the subject of the photograph allowing the photographer to legally release the photo. It is also advisable that you get a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) membership.

Use Social Media

Nothing works well for promotion of photography business quite like social media. It is perhaps the best word-of-mouth source. You can blog about your work and communicate about it to the world. Utilize social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, etc., for marketing your work. You will be surprised to find so many people connecting with you through these platforms.

Keep Up with the Industry

Professional photography is perhaps one of the most dynamic of all the creative industries. You should also keep an eye on the developments in the photo editing software industry. There is a technological innovation after every few days, and clients will expect you to be abreast with it. Hence, you should take some time out for training and brushing up your talent.

Undertake Insurance

Undertaking insurance for the safety of your premises and equipment is a must. The last thing you would want is something to damage your costly camera. Accidents can happen anywhere, so insurance coverage is a must. For more information about insurance coverage, you can log on to the PPA website.
Offer various discounts and promotional schemes to your loyal customers so that they will spread the word about your services. Try to create a favorable reputation in the market by clicking stunning images. Do not leave a single opportunity to promote your work.

Tips for Wedding Photography

Unlike still life photography, wedding photography is an uphill task. You not only have to pay attention to the minute details, but also have to appease the bride and groom with satisfactory pictures. After all, the wedding pictures are not something everyone takes lightly. Besides, wedding photographs are the only means for a couple to reminisce their wedding day long after the actual day has passed. All this just points us in one direction―of getting the perfect shots during a wedding photo shoot. For this, you need not just a camera but a lot of other equipment as well.

Camera

One of the most essential equipment for wedding photography is a good full-frame DSLR camera. Wedding photography demands superior definition, detailing, and sharpness for which you need to possess a full-frame 5D camera. For obvious reasons, it is always better to carry an extra camera body with you at all times, especially for weddings. After all, you wouldn’t want to run out on business or customers because your primary camera decided to give way in between a photo shoot.

Cameras like Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D800, Sony a99, Nikon D600 among others can be your companion for photo shoots.

Camera Lenses

Owning a camera is not sufficient to call you a professional. You also need a variety of lenses to go with the main body of the camera. Candid photographs taken during receptions require long-bodied lenses that will be able to zoom into the subject without actually intruding. You will need wide-aperture lenses that will allow you to shoot at lower ISOs in low light settings. You could place your bet on a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8, for delivering perfect intimate details of shots taken both indoors and outdoors. You will also need macro and fisheye lenses for a couple of shots during the event.

Popular choices are the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens, and the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens.

Flash Units

Wedding photography calls for working with natural light settings; however, one cannot rely on natural and ambient light to click photographs. As a photographer, it is always recommended that you carry your own light source. You could breathe life into those pretty wedding portraits set in low light with an additional source of light. Use of digital flash or slave flashes along with your camera flash should effectively bounce the light and produce soft directional light. Besides, flashlights can effectively light up nooks and crannies that your inbuilt camera flash won’t reach, and effectively provide you with a side light for enhanced photographs. Shoe-mount flashes can rotate to any angle, thus, giving you the variation you need to get the best light. Slave flashes, on the other hand, can be connected to the camera using a cable extension. Needless to say, it is always better to have an extra flash unit in hand during wedding ceremonies.

When choosing a speedlight, rely on a SB-800/900 or 580EX II; however, even a SB-600 or 430EX II will do the trick. Canon 600EX-RT, Nikon SB-910, Sony HVL-F60M, Vivitar 285HV, Canon 580EX, Nikon SB-700 are some of the best flash units you can lay your hands on.

Flash Diffusers

Using flash units will allow you to take great pictures; however, the pictures could also include harsh shadows cast behind the subject and overexposed or unnaturally lit subjects. You could use different flash bouncing techniques and even control the flash output from the camera, but the easiest way to eliminate harsh lights is by using flash diffusers. Using a flash diffuser allows you to attain more natural-looking pictures by canceling out harsh lights and shadows that become a part of the picture when using flash. Depending on your needs, you could use flash reflectors, umbrella reflectors, and flip-up flash diffusers.

Battery and Charger

Attaching a flash unit to the camera is sure to drain out your camera battery faster. When shooting for grand ceremonies, it is always advisable to carry along extra batteries as well as a battery charger to immediately replenish the used up batteries.

Photo Filters

Photo filters alter the way your camera lens views the light. They can reduce glare, alter the hue, block out haziness, change the appearance of reflections, and will also protect the camera lens from scratches. You can sharpen those black and white wedding portraits and enhance the hues of colored photographs with colored filters. In short, filters will help you as a wedding photographer to add dimension to the photographs.

Memory Cards

Wedding photography employs taking loads of pictures for which you need to have a good storage capacity. It is imperative that you should have additional memory cards with you just so that you do not restrict yourself from taking great pictures. Remember, the more you experiment and go about taking natural pictures, the happier your clients will be.

If you are going to be experimenting with vintage cameras, it is imperative that you keep a couple of film rolls in hand. This will ensure that you do not run out on rolls and extra storage space at all times.

You Will Also Need

Wireless Flash Receiver
Remote Cord
Battery Grip
Photographer’s Bag

Do not forget to put in a tripod or monopod stand, as well as an additional battery grip into your kit. You would need a couple of super clamps to hold the slave flashlights in place. That about covers the essentials you need as a wedding photographer.