Welcome all, to my collection of favorite shots. You will find here the selected set of pics which i took since i got my first digital camera in 2006. Below you will see some of the recent posts but more are available upon click of labels or archives. If you have any opinion about the photos i request you to leave your valuable comments to the posts. Positive or negative it will surely help to improve my skills and encourage my passion. Thanks again for visiting this page, happy browsing...
~ Sree


Tips n' Techs

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I am not sure if I can call this section Tips and Techniques or just my notes. Below are few notes based on my findings in the photography field. I have also included some of the notes from my research about photography.

a) Basic Tips
b) Composition Techniques
c) Lighting
d) Manual Adjustments

Trial and Error:Trail and error is a technique used by many beginners. This helps one to improve the photography skill by analyzing the photos every time you take it. You can make any number of retakes for a still object to improve the framing skills and understanding the camera. You can use this technique for scenery, landscape, macro etc. But do not try this when you are taking a portrait or a group photo as you may irritate the object. For moving objects, if your camera supports multi-frame photography use it so that you can analyse your photos and choose the best one.

View Finder: Sometime the picture which is seen in the digital screen of a camera may not be framed same as what you plan to capture. Its always better to see the frame through the view finder of your camera. This also gives a support to the camera and reduces shaking. Hold the camera solid so that it does not move when you press the capture button.

Focusing: Focusing helps to get the intended object sharper and clear. Most of the digital cameras has auto focusing. To try auto focusing, first check if the camera has auto focus off feature. Make it ON before you try it. Click the capture button half way and you will notice the lens focusing the objects which it thinks best based on many facts. For the SLR cameras looking through the view finder helps you to adjust or tune the focus manually after auto focus. Non SLR cameras you will have to slightly change the position or try half press of capture button so that it finds the next object. 

Comfort: To a major extend the comfortable position of the photographer helps to get non blurry image. Try to get to an comfortable position while framing the scene. Its always better to use the tripod for night shots, darker  atmosphere, chapels etc. This helps you to worry less about the shaking and to think more about framing. 

Handling and Care: Handling and caring the camera and tools is one of  the main things to do as a photographer. Give respect to your camera and take care of it by regular cleaning, safe keeping etc. I use the lens cleaning liquid with the microfiber cloth to clean the lens and camera outer surface. While saying that keep in mind that you don't have to over clean too. To much cleaning can also cause scratches on the the lens. You can use lens cleaning spray, microfiber cloth, cleaning blower, cleaning brush etc for this purpose. 

UV filter: UV filter is used for getting better photo by reducing the UV light being captured. Filtering the UV helps to reduce the blue cast to the photos. Other than the UV filtering, one of the major use of this filter is to protect the lens. This filter comes cheap compared to the price of a lens. Installing a UV filter on top of your lens reduces the risk of getting scratches to the lens.  

Composition is a skill developed based on experience, but it is always good to remember some of the basic rules which gives a good start for capturing good pictures.

Simplicity: Be clear on what the objective of the picture is. Taking random shots focusing nowhere is not going to be any help to improve the skills. Be it a beautiful object or an ugly one, keeping the objective of photo always helps. Once objective is clear focus on the object (by zooming-in, if required) to remove unwanted garbage from the photo.This technique helps to get a better shot during macro photography or while capturing a moving object or sometimes even a portrait.

Grid Rule: Every photo can be split into nine zones each zone is created by a division of equally distributed 2 parallel horizontal and 2 parallel vertical lines. While capturing a static object to get more attention to the object and to have a photographic look, focus the object by keeping it on either of the 2 vertical line and not at the center of the photo. This technique helps to get shots of a static object like a house in a field, a flower in the garden or a scenery where a specific object is on focus. This technique is also known as rule of thirds as you are dividing the picture by 3 sections vertically and horizontally. 

Foregrounds and Backgrounds: While taking the picture of an object or a horizon(scenery), having more than 1 foreground gives a better picture with a feeling of depth in the 3 dimensions. Focusing only one of the object is the key in these pictures. Selecting the best background for a given object also makes a very good photo, but most of the times selecting a background is not under the control of the photographer especially during the scenery/landscape photography. Background should give a contrast to the foreground to get more sharper feel to the viewers eyes.

Shooting Angle: Trying to take the photos from different angle and observing the pictures to select best one will improve your skills. For example taking the pics from a vantage point like lying down and taking picture will give more attraction towards the subject in the photo similarly taking a subject or set of subjects from above the normal eye level will give same importance for all the subjects in the picture. These techniques are good to capture photos of forest, trees, playground, crowd etc. Some of the best shooting angles are as below:

a) Portraits - a side angle from the face of subject but in the same eye line of subject
b) Landscapes - slightly above the eye line of the photographer and with wider frame.
c) Group photos -  exact center of the group vertically and horizontally. Sometimes from a slightly below or upper angle based on the importance of background in the photo.
d) Forest/Trees -  From bottom towards the sky.
e) Beaches - Ground level or slightly above the ground level depending up on the horizon in the frame.
f) Flowers/Macro - Closer with a side angle to the subject.

Framing: This technique can be represented in 2 ways. First theory is to use surroundings of the main subject in the photo proportionality as a fame to give more importance to the subject. Second theory is to keep same distance for a wider subject towards the edges of the photo in a way to give more visual simulation of a frame sense. Both the technique gives an interesting viewpoint of the subject in the photo. Use of theory one or two is based on the subject and surrounding.

Photography is all about capturing reflection of the light on the subject. Hence having the correct amount of light is a major factor in the success of a photo. Understanding the right about of light required for the photo can significantly change the outcome.

Outdoor: Always try to get the pictures without the flash while its outdoor. By saying that you should choose the time at which the photo is taken, the angle to the sunlight etc into consideration. The only time when you might need a camera flash is for portrait photos when it is really dark or when there is a bright light against the camera like sun light. Even when there is a need of light it is always recommended to try capturing with a different angle or with the help of reflectors instead of flash especially during the portrait photos.

Indoor: Most need for artificial light source like camera light is needed for Indoor photography. Even then it is recommended to sunlight and room lights etc as the source of light instead of camera light. Having the light sources arranged in different possible angles to give more light towards the subject is a good choice.

Aperture, Shutter speed: In the cameras which allows manual control, adjusting the aperture helps to control the light flow to the camera while capturing photos during dark Aperture helps to widen the lens opening which allows more light to come inside the camera. Another option is to adjust the shutter speed. Setting the higher shutter speeds allows more time for the lens to capture the image with existing light. Both the option helps to get the better lighting than the normal. Only problem while adjusting these settings in the dark is, you might end up getting shaken blurry image. To reduce the shaking, use tripod or keep the camera on a stable flat surface. Using remote instead of manual capture also helps to reduce the impact due to the force applied during capture.

Below settings are for the cameras which allows manual adjustments to improve the depth, the light, or the feel of movement. This section explains the need for adjusting aperture, shutter speed and exposure.

Aperture: As explained in the previous section, by adjusting the aperture you can control the opening of the lens which then allows control over the light entering the camera. This adjustment is measured by aperture number or F-stop example F8, F11 etc. A higher number refers to less opening of lens which means less light goes inside and a smaller number refers to bigger opening which means more light enters the camera. Similarly smaller number allows shorter shutter speed which can be used for continuous shots for a faster moving objects or for action shots. Other than controlling the light it also helps to control the depth of the field. A smaller aperture allows to capture a wide range with more objects in focus (used for group pictures, or landscapes etc) and a higher number allows to capture shallow depth of multiple objects by focusing lesser number of objects(used for portraits or macro shots).

Shutter Speed: Even though aperture and shutter speed are related, adjusting shutter speed directly could give you more control over the moving objects. Faster shutter speed(shorter time) will give more control to capture the fast moving, action shots while slower shutter speed(longer time) will be helpful for a feel of movement in case of water falls, moving water stream, traffic on a road as well as to capture even the stars or milky-way in the sky.

ISO/exposure: These settings were originally made for film cameras which allows the photographer to control the speed of photographic negatives. Now introduction of digital cameras and the image sensors even uses the ISO to define the exposure of the photo.This defines how effective and sensitive the image sensors to the light is. ISO is measured as numbers like ISO200 or ISO800 etc. Higher the ISO numbers the more sensitive the image sensors will be with the light available. Adjusting the ISO also can impact change of aperture and shutter speed. Hence the correct combination makes the best shot. Higher ISO is used to capture the photos during night or when the light is low. Lower used when there is more light and you want to control the light on the photo.

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