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Impressing folks is a snap when you take digital pictures using the tips and tricks in Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That. . . . Inside you'll find loads of ideas and advice that will show you how to create high-quality photographs and projects that will have 'em "Ooohing and Ahhing" for days. You'll also find a companion CD loaded with a full version of Adobe ...
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Impressing folks is a snap when you take digital pictures using the tips and tricks in Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That. . . . Inside you'll find loads of ideas and advice that will show you how to create high-quality photographs and projects that will have 'em "Ooohing and Ahhing" for days. You'll also find a companion CD loaded with a full version of Adobe PhotoDeluxe (a $49 value) for both Windows and Macintosh, plus other valuable software and plug-ins.
Stop Monkeyin' Around and Get the Most Out of Your Digital Pictures.
"Gee Whiz" pictures are at your fingertips. You can tackle everything from learning about the camera's memory to morphing your images. Fix those pesky red eyes, employ cool picture tricks, and uncover the mystery surrounding prints. You'll also find loads of ideas for projects and crafts that range from practical to just plain fun.
Go Bananas—Create Eye-Popping Digital Photos.
Let your imagination run wild; inside you'll learn how to:
The enclosed CD is loaded with a full version of PhotoDeluxe ($49 value) for both Windows and Mac, installers for major site upload software, RealSlideshow, animation software, filters, plug-ins, and much more!
For instance, how you will use a camera directly influences the camera type you should buy. Will you use it primarily outdoors or in a studio setting? For family shots or for business? Consider how rugged you need your camera to be. Is waterproofing important? The answers to each of these questions will affect your choice.
When you shop for a camera, you'll find the phrase "Megapixel" bandied about. This refers to how many image elements your camera can produce in a single picture. A one-megapixel camera creates images with approximately one million pixels. This offers basic-quality consumer-grade pictures, and should cost below $300. Middle-grade cameras provide two and three million pixels. These cameras cost between $300 and $1000. As of today, better quality cameras offer four-megapixel resolution, typically running over $1000.
Pixel count greatly influences image print quality. As a rule of thumb, you can always make big pictures smaller but you cannot effectively make small pictures bigger. The more pixels you print per inch, the better any image will look. 300 pixels per inch (ppi) produces the best-quality images. For a 4 x 6 picture, that comes to 1200 x 1800 pixels. If your camera does not support that resolution, don't despair. Even 100 or 150 ppi images look pretty good when printed to commercial grade silver-halide paper by a photofinisher. That comes out to 400 x 600 or 600 x 900 pixels-less than even one megapixel. More pixels just give you more flexibility and quality.
If you're aiming to put pictures on the Web, you can think even smaller. Web resolution typically ranges between 60-80 ppi, with 72 ppi as the most common resolution. Even an inexpensive (below $100) camera provides sufficient image resolution for Web-based imaging.
Many people consider portability to be a prime element of camera selection. Small is good. People like to stuff a camera into their pocket or handbag, pulling it out to capture that special shot. Many manufacturers now cater to this, producing cameras that are ever smaller and more powerful.
Ruggedness is another aspect of portability. Water resistance, and even waterproofness, allows you to take your camera into less civilized terrains. If camping, hiking, and snorkeling are up you alley, look for a camera that can take the punishment you're bound to inflict on it.
A last element of portability concerns battery life. Many cameras balance weight and price with battery duration. When you take your digital camera out to the hillside or on vacation, make sure that it can support long-life batteries.
Optics and Adaptability
Optics are a key element to think about, whether you're buying a digital or a traditional camera. The better the optics, the better your pictures will turn out. Look for high-quality lenses and hardware on your unit. In general, you will pay more for higher-quality components. In the long run, you'll be happy you did. These pay back for themselves in terms of peace of mind, general satisfaction, and excellent pictures.
I'm obsessed with built-in zoom. Zoom is probably the single feature that people most use on their cameras. The better the zoom, the more flexibility you'll have while taking pictures, both in terms of composition and depth of field. A good high-powered zoom can really sell a camera and I suggest you look for a digital unit that provides a wide range of zoom settings.
I will never buy a camera that does not provide an onboard LCD and flash. I recommend the same to you. As with zoom, these two features are invaluable. Other features I look for include a video-out port and an A/C adaptor port, so I can plug in my camera and save batteries. I like Compact Flash image storage, although I've known people who've been happy with both Smart Media and Memory Stick.
Better cameras offer lens threads to add-on filters and other components. When choosing a camera, look at the range of accessories offered. Many digital camera manufacturers choose odd-sized thread sizes (such as 14-mm for my Nikon Coolpix). When I buy standard filters, I use a step-down adapter so that the components will fit onto my camera. Although the Nikon-brand filters fit perfectly, they are quite expensive and don't offer the wide variety of the more standard sizes.
Cost and Reviews
After sorting through camera types and determining your needs, you'll typically be left with a few models to choose from. At this point, you'll want to start a full investigation. Get on the Internet and search for those model numbers. You'll find endless sites with a variety of user tests and feedback. This knowledge can prove invaluable in making your decision. I particularly like the reviews at the Digital Camera resource site (www. do resource. com).
After settling on a model, take time to search around the Internet and find a good price. Some retailers, such as Sears, will price match online sites. If you're willing to take the risk, and order online, pick a dealer with a good reputation, such as B&H Photo (www. bhphotovi deo. com) and make sure to pay with a credit card, to maximize consumer protections. If you're a bargain hunter, stop by the Anandtech forums (http : //forums. anandtech. com/ categori es. cfm?cati d=40) to search for a hot deal on your digital camera.
A Power-Source Bestiary
You can power your digital camera in many ways. Over the past few years, new battery types have entered the marketplace. These batteries offer alternatives and features far beyond old-fashioned AA batteries. Most digital cameras accept a wide variety of battery types. This creates a broad spectrum of, ahem, "power tools" to choose from.
NOTE With the exception of generic batteries, most manufacturers' warranties require you to use designated proprietary power sources. Doing otherwise may void your warranty and cause problems down the road. Check that your camera's voltage and amperage requirements match your power source before you plug in and power up.
Alkaline batteries are a type of non-rechargeable power cell. They are the most commonly available batteries. Unfortunately, alkalines drain very quickly under the demands of most digital cameras.
You can pick up a set of alkaline batteries at nearly every Mom-and-Pop store in the country. They are freely available at drugstores, groceries, and so forth, at very reasonable prices. You can expect their shelf life to run for about five years, making for excellent backup power. Consider keeping a set on hand for emergencies. The bad news is that alkaline batteries do not perform well in most digital cameras. They drain rapidly, and you can't recharge them. Using your camera's LCD screen means an almost-certain quick death for your alkaline cells. Alkalines are not recyclable and must be disposed of with care.
NOTE When your alkaline batteries seem to run out of juice, you can usually squeeze out an extra shot or two. Just tum off your camera and let the batteries cool down for five or ten minutes. Turn the camera back on, and you can often take one or two more photographs before the batteries truly die.
Lithiums are a type of non-rechargeable power cell. They provide greater power and endurance than alkalines but at a greater cost.
More and more stores have started to carry long-life lithium cells. Although they're not cheap, lithium battery prices are dropping. You can probably pick up a set at a Radio Shack near you.
Lithiums provide excellent performance in digital cameras and will not drain quickly, as alkalines do. They have an astonishing ten-year shelf life, which means that they make a superb backup power source. They give steady and dependable power output throughout the life of the battery.
Among all of the battery types, lithiums perform the best in cold-weather conditions. Other batteries fail at near-zero conditions; lithiums provide dependable power in subzero temperatures as low as -40 E Environmentally, lithium batteries produce fewer hazards than alkalines do. They also weigh in at the lightest weight of all of the battery types.
Unfortunately, lithiums are still about five to ten times as expensive as alkalines. Also, like alkalines, they cannot be recharged.
Nickle-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
Looking for the digital camera power source of choice? You'll find it in NiMH batteries. NiMHs (pronounced "nimms;") are a type of rechargeable cell. NiMH batteries offer the best renewable power source available today.
NiMH batteries provide environmentally friendly, reliable power for your digital camera. You can charge cells up to a thousand times, furnishing years of use. You can also recharge them after a partial drain without creating a charge-level "memory" which might otherwise limit their power capacity.
However, NiMH batteries do have a few disadvantages. They may cost slightly more than the other types of power cells. Their shelf life is limited to a few weeks, usually less than a month. Also, NiMHs can be damaged by overcharging and overdischarging. Make sure to juice up your batteries on a regular basis, following the manufacturer's instructions for maximum charge time...
|Preface to the Second Edition|
|Composition, Lighting, and Posing: Some Tried-and-True Advice||1|
|1||Compose Your Shot with Care||2|
|2||Use Light Effectively||16|
|3||Understand Depth of Field||32|
|4||Achieving Natural Poses||35|
|5||Tips of the Trade||41|
|Manage Your Digital Camera||45|
|6||Choosing a Camera||46|
|7||Batteries and Power Cells||48|
|8||Care for Your NiMHs||52|
|9||Power Source Tips||53|
|10||Your Camera's Memory||54|
|11||Memory Card Care||60|
|13||Memory Management Tips||67|
|14||Use Memory Cards outside Your Camera||71|
|15||Optimizing Your Camera's Optical Components||73|
|Enhancing Your Images with PhotoDeluxe||83|
|17||PhotoDeluxe: A Quick Tour||84|
|18||Basic Photo Fixes: The Get & Fix Photo Menu||88|
|19||Advanced PhotoDeluxe Skills||95|
|20||Editing Portions of an Image with Selections||102|
|Just for the Fun of It: Digital Photo Projects||117|
|21||Welcome to PhotoIsland.com||118|
|22||Stretch, Tweak, and Wiggle with iWarp||121|
|23||Blend Images with iMorph||123|
|24||Create a Montage with iMontage||125|
|27||Whose Head Is It Anyway?||130|
|28||Make "Funny Money" with Your Photos||133|
|29||Create Travel Photos without Leaving Home!||134|
|Fix Your Digital Photo Problems||137|
|30||PhotoDeluxe's Instant Fix Tools||138|
|32||Remove and Replace Unwanted Elements||144|
|33||Alter Photo Backgrounds with PhotoDeluxe Tools||148|
|34||Fix Facial Blemishes||153|
|35||Improve Focus with a Sharpening Filter||154|
|Cool Picture Projects||157|
|36||Launch Someone into the Clouds||158|
|37||Animate Your Slideshow with a PhotoParade||162|
|38||Create a Coloring Book from Digital Photos||165|
|39||Feature Your Photo on a Calendar||167|
|40||Add Animation to Your Photos with GIF Animator||169|
|New Viewpoints: Postprocessing Your Images||179|
|41||What a Vista! Create Panoramas||180|
|42||Create 3-D Images||190|
|43||Blow Up Your Images||197|
|Digital Camera Crafts||203|
|46||You're Such a Card!||212|
|47||Get Organized with Photo Labeling||215|
|48||Capture Digital Photos from Old Prints||217|
|49||Make a Photo Mood Wheel||220|
|50||New Materials for More Photo Projects||221|
|Digital Camera Versatility||227|
|51||See the Unseen||228|
|52||Acquire a Photographic Memory||230|
|53||Expanding Communication: Pictures Instead of Words||232|
|54||Take Your Show on the Road||234|
|55||Take Notes with Your Camera||238|
|56||Take Your Camera Shopping||240|
|57||Moving Day Made Easier||243|
|59||Create an Insurance Inventory||246|
|60||Fun and Games||247|
|Some Day My Prints will Come||249|
|61||Know Your Printer||250|
|62||Know Your Paper||252|
|63||Print 'em Up||255|
|64||Race to the Finnish Line||260|
|Share Your Pictures||267|
|65||Use Your Camera's Video-Out Port||268|
|66||Make a Video Using Screen Mirroring||271|
|67||Create a Picture CD (and Web Page, Too!)||273|
|68||Create as VCD Slideshow||279|
|69||Create Your Own DVD with iDVD||284|
|70||Create a Slideshow to Share over the Internet||291|
|71||Protect Your Pictures||296|
|72||Ceiva Picture Frames: Sharing with the PC-Less||302|
|Field Guide to Online Photofinishing and Album Sites||311|
Hardly a week passes without my parents seeking advice for some friend or another: "The grandkids are coming next month to visit the Schnurrs (or the Bloggs, or the Goldsteins, etc.) and they want to buy a digital camera before they get here. Which model should they get?" When technology hits the retirement community, it hits hard and fast, particularly when it is targeted towards grandkids or golf.
The digital camera has become the small businessperson's best friend. With a digicam and a Web site, more and more people are moving their local shops online. Specialty stores, in particular, profit from the wide exposure that the World Wide Web offers. Digital photography can quickly put inventory online and in front of a huge audience of shoppers.
Within the last year, most barriers that kept digital cameras from home use have fallen away. Prices have dropped, optics have improved. For just a few hundred dollars, consumers can buy a camera with excellent zoom and superb picture quality. And now, you can take your digital pictures to Wal-Mart or the corner drugstore and walk away with prints in an hour, for about the same cost as film. You'll never know the difference in the prints.
The biggest difference between this year and last is how so many people now understand why digital cameras are so exciting. You can snap lots and lots of pictures without guilt-there's no film to waste. You only print the pictures you like, and you can improve them before you print. You can share your pictures over e-mail and the Web. You can create lasting keepsakes like personalized ties and coffee mugs. You can save your pictures to CDs and DVDs and play them back on your TVs. The potential truly is unlimited. Digital photography has brought picture-taking into a whole new realm of possibility and product.
Digital cameras are selling like hotcakes because people sense the awesome potential of filmless systems. Digital cameras are more than just cameras with chips inside them. They offer a different way of thinking about pictures and new ways of sharing them with friends and family around the world. Does your 35mm camera usually sit on the shelf except for during vacations and special occasions? You'll probably find yourself using your digital camera far more often.
In 1999, a major stumbling block was cleared. Prior to that time, many people rejected digital cameras because they couldn't create "real photos." Now dozens and dozens of photo-finishing companies offer digital photo processing that produces prints on real photographic-quality silver-halide paper. Depending on the quality of your digital camera, you can order prints that look as good as 35mm prints.
In the years since I bought my first Casio (a 320 x 240 pixel model that cost $1,000), I've stumbled across many wonderful projects for digital cameras. These have ranged from the playful to the serious, and from the home-based to the business-intensive. I think you'll enjoy trying these projects with your own camera. You don't need a special make or brand of digital camera for the projects presented in this book-any digital camera will do. They work equally as well on my Nikon CoolPix 800 (which sold for over $300 when I purchased it) as they do on my father's Little Tykes digital camera (which cost $12.50, including shipping). A handful of projects do require a video-out port or an onboard LCD screen, which are features that are not included on the Little Tykes model.
I've organized the projects into the following categories:
Manage Your Digital Camera Learn how to power your camera, add image memory, transfer your pictures to your computer, and use filters and lenses. The types of batteries and memory you use for your camera can make the difference between capturing that special moment or missing it because you ran out of power or storage.
Enhancing Your Images with PhotoDeluxe Acquire the essential Adobe PhotoDeluxe skills that will help you improve and manipulate your images. Many of the projects covered in this book make use of this software, which comes absolutely free with this book!
Just For the Fun of It: Digital Photo Projects Learn how to create photo fantasies, warp images, morph between photos, create photo montages, and much, much more. You'll have a lot of fun with the Web site-based and PhotoDeluxe projects covered in this part.
Fix Your Digital Photo Problems Learn how to correct image flaws such as poor contrast, low light, red-eye, and so forth. You can even get rid of unwanted background elements and improve your subject's complexion.
Cool Picture Projects Use your digital photos to create animated slide shows, coloring book pages, calendars, and more. These projects are easy and put your photos to good use.
New Viewpoints: Postprocessing Your Images Get a different view with your photos. You'll learn how to stitch together panoramas, assemble three-dimensional pictures, and blow up images to poster size.
Digital Camera Crafts Learn how to create craft projects with your digital images. From fashion wear to window decals, digital photo projects are fun, easy, and make great gifts.
Digital Camera Versatility Discover all the weird, wacky, and wonderful ways your digital camera can help you remember, document, and see things. The ideas in this part range from the serious (taking shots at the scene of an accident) to the silly (playing Face Bingo).
Some Day My Prints Will Come Explore how to make prints from your digital photographs. You'll learn how to print your photographs at home on your own printer, as well as how to prepare your digital photographs to send to a photo-finishing service for producing silver-halide prints.
Share Your Pictures Learn how to distribute your photos over the Internet. You can send photos by e-mail, create and share online photo albums, and use a digital photograph frame to send pictures to those without Internet connections.
Digital Photo Sampler Throughout the book, you'll see many digital photographs illustrating the projects. However, the black-and-white pictures cannot do justice to the full range of color and tone that you can capture with your digital camera. This 16-page color insert, which presents photographs that show how you can use your digital camera to produce fun, interesting, and artistic images, will give you an idea of the visual and emotional impact that color images can convey.
With PhotoDeluxe, you'll be able to see, manipulate, and edit your images with wonderful control and precision. Make sure to read through the "Enhancing Your Images with PhotoDeluxe" part of this book to learn more about how to use this powerful photo-editing software.
In addition to PhotoDeluxe, you'll find quite a few commercial demonstration software packages. These packages "expire" after a period of time, usually ranging between 15 and 30 days. Take advantage of this free time to test the programs, kick the tires, and see if they are worth your monetary investment to purchase a license. These are truly excellent packages that you'll probably want to make part of your digital photographer's toolkit.
Finally, you'll find a number of shareware programs. Unlike PhotoDeluxe and the commercial demos, these packages are not free. Instead, they allow you to try the product before you buy it. Shareware only works when people take personal responsibility and pay for the software they actually use. Be responsible. If you like the software, send the requested fee to the developer. This helps keep shareware alive and available for the rest of us.
Posted October 2, 2000