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Introduction to Digital Photography

by: Deborah Kilgaron

Digital Photography 101

If you own a personal computer you are already on the way to becoming an expert in digital photography. (Actually, you can dabble in digital photography even if you don't have a computer, but that would make it a bit harder.) You will definitely need a digital camera, of course. Pick one that suits your needs and sensibilities--they come in all shapes and sizes!

When buying, remember that the cheaper cameras are usually like cheap traditional cameras - okay for snaps but not much else. But you can get really good results with reasonably priced cameras, particularly if you want to show them on a screen or the Internet. In general you want a reasonably high number of pixels in a new camera - 3 Megapixels should be enough for beginners. More pixels is not always better, since the quality of the lens and so on still matters.

Generally speaking the well known brands make good digital cameras, but the market changes so fast you need to look at a few online reviews.

There is no doubt that digital photography is big. People who tried traditional photography and gave up are finding digital photography really rewarding. There are a few reasons for this, the main ones being cost, creativity and freedom

1) Cost. In the long run, digital photography is cheaper than the analog equivalent. Of course, you'll need to consider the camera itself, as well as the price of ink and paper if you wish to make prints. Also, you'll need to have a computer, or at least access to a computer. But the cost of getting prints professionally developed is so sky-high--and so many snaps turn out badly--that digital is cheaper. And before printing you can check on your monitor to see which pics are good--and which should get deleted. No more paying for rubbish snaps! Moreover, many digital camera users post their pics or show them to friends via email without ever printing them out.

2) Digital cameras give us a great amount of creativity. Traditional photography took away our own control--we had to pay professionals to crop, enlarge or reduce. But with digital camera software we can take care of all of those things for ourselves. You can crop, change colors, and much more. Software makes it easy to do all these things.

3) Digital photography frees us from the constraints of traditional photography because we aren't using up rolls of film. Instead of having to change the roll every 24 or 36 shots, we can shoot away with abandon, and without worrying about the cost to develop all these shots. And we don't have to wait until the film is developed to see if we got good pictures. We can simply look at the screen!

Now that you know the above, consider the following:

Be willing to experiment a bit. Once you spend money on a good digital camera you can stop worrying about all the cash you're wasting on film--so give yourself the freedom to experiment and just feel things out. Lay on the floor, take pictures at crazy angles, shoot from far away, zoom in incredibly close, and so on. Take pictures of anything and everything that interests you, as this is the best way to stumble across fantastic pictures.

It's not just the camera you'll need to experiment with, however. Learn how to utilize the accompanying software, too. Reading through the manual or taking the computerized tutorial is well worth it--you'll see an improvement in your pictures as well as an increase in your ability to fix them after the fact. The people you show your snaps to will certainly be impressed!

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