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Our blog contains news and snippets of some wonderful weddings and portraits we have been privileged to photograph. Also included are photos from our everyday life and interests. Enjoy browsing!

Towards understanding Aperture and Shutter speed settings

It’s time to Pay it forward again with another photography tip.  Settings your DSLR camera to auto or ‘P’ mode may be fine if all you want to do is get reasonably good photos and snap shots without much fuss and bother. However, if you desire to improve as a photographer and enhance your skills and expand your creativity, then you will definitely need to spend some time learning how to use the various features of your dslr and explore the way ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed can vary the look and feel of the photos you take.  Sometimes the subject, the light conditions, the nature of the event may require greater control to get the shot! For example, if you are shooting in auto mode and your subject is standing in front of a very bright sunlit window, the chances are they will be underexposed and very dark compared to the brightly lit background. To overcome this, you need to learn how and when to use some fill flash or change the exposure (see the fill flash tip below). Thankfully there are plenty of helpful tips and tutorials freely available on the internet – including the RSS feeds on our Pay it forward page under Enhance you photography with David Ziser, Neil van Niekerk and The Digital Photography School.

One great website I would like to highlight in this post is camerasim.com which has a nifty and very helpful DSLR camera simulator which let’s you see how changing such things as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length effects the images you capture. A good place to start is The SLR camera explained interactive page which explains how a DSLR works. It is a step-by-step walkthrough of what aperture, shutter speeds, and ISO settings are all about. It only takes a few minutes to complete.

The next page to move onto is their DSLR Camera Simulator page (a live link to the simulator is embeded below). This is a virtual camera where you can play around with the different settings and combinations. Click the blue “i” (the help mode) to learn about the camera controls. Tweaking the various controls and then clicking the shutters shows you how the photo of the little girl will look. You can also check the tripod option to see how it can help to get sharper photos in some situations. Dave Johnson of PCWorld has wriiten a very useful article which walks users through the various ways to use the simulator (although it refers to a previous version without the tripod option, the tutorial is still worth reading).

Enjoy learning,

David :)

 

 

What’s with the Pay It Forward link?

We have had a few questions about our Pay It Forward blog entries and menu link.  So for folks new to our site and curious, the Pay It Forward blog entries are just a small way of sharing what we have learned over the years – ‘paying forward‘ what we have freely received from others.  We plan to include, as time permits, entries on websites, blogs, books, videos, tips and tutorials, etc. which help enhance our creativity, photographic skills and use of essential software (e.g. Photoshop).  Hopefully there will be something here for both beginners and advanced digital photography enthusiasts.  We make no claim to being original, and where possible, all sources are acknowledged.

The ‘Pay It Forward’ theme was inspired by the Pay it forward photography resource blog at: www.pifphoto.com

I have deactivated the links to this site as it is currently being flagged as a suspicious site – possibly due to an attack by hackers (last checked June 12, 2012).

www.pifphoto.com logo

In the words borrowed from the Good Book: “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller” (Proverbs 11:24, The Message).

David :)

Learn to love Photoshop actions!

Photoshop actions - Shaggy Dog ProductionsThe digital revolution has brought numerous creative opportunities and workflow challenges for photographers who have switched to digital. In this Pay it forward entry we share three photoshop actions from our digital workflow and offer some links to websites which provide some terrific photoshop tutorials on actions – some even offering free actions to download.

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Fill Flash – so obvious yet often overlooked.

Fill Flash - Shaggy Dog ProductionsFill flash has to be one of the best kept secrets in photography. When outdoors, using fill flash can dramatically improve the quality of our photographs. Unfortunately this is a rarely used technique even though it is available on virtually every camera. Whether an expensive DSLR or a point-and shoot digicam, all you need is the built-in flash in most cases.

Many people, quite understandably, avoid flash photography because of the unnatural and unflattering look it can often create. This need not be the case and there are several factors which we will hopefully get to address in future entries. But for this Pay it forward entry, let’s look at how to use your flash to enhance the natural beauty of an outdoor scene.

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What camera do I buy?

What camera do I buy?This a a question we are often asked. But the answer is far from obvious. Buying a camera is a personal choice and it is very hard to make generalisations about what sort of camera someone should buy. The ‘right’ camera can depend upon a number of factors, including the type of photography envisaged (snap shots, travel, landscape, action), the size (fit in a coat pocket), level of skill (beginner, enthusiasts, pro) and so. The choice of cameras available can also be quite bewildering, and the rate at which new models are released doesn’t help the situation.

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Calibrating your display

Calibrate your display - 1To get the best viewing experience when looking at photos on your display, it is important to make sure the computer’s display is properly calibrated. The best way to calibrate a display is with some dedicated hardware, like the Xrite Colour Munki, or ColorVision Spyder. These do cost money and are well worth acquiring if colour accuracy is important to you or your business.

That said, you can do a reasonable job at calibration by simply using your eye and following a few simple steps as you view the following patterns on your display.

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