A brief introduction to digital photography
Digital photography is quickly becoming more and more popular as digital cameras become more affordable. Until recently, digital cameras, particularly at the cheaper end of the price range, have not always fulfilled their promise of producing prints that are equal in quality with standard photographic prints from a conventional film camera. However, newer models are closing the gap and the quality of digital prints are now becoming exceptionally good.
Why take up digital photography?
The benefits of digital photography are fairly obvious.
1. You can view the results instantly
2. No more repeatedly buying rolls of photographic film
3. No more developing costs (Although you can still use a local photo service to produce your prints if you prefer)
4. Very easy to transfer your pictures for use in a variety of ways such as using your images in printed documents and on websites.
5. Easy to rectify pictures with poor colour and contrast using suitable photo/graphic software.
6. You can also create an amazing variety of special photographic effects with appropriate software and your home computer.
7. Very simple to crop and resize your digital images to get the best composition or remove unwanted features
8. You can store thousands of pictures on a few CD roms or DVD disks andfind them quickly and easily
9. You can make multiple copies and back-up pictures with ease
Perhaps one of the most popular reasons that people are now changing to digital photography is the ease at which you can send your pictures by email to friends and relatives around the world.
Choosing a digital camera
The heart of a digital photography system is the digital camera. To produce high quality prints you'll need a digital camera that provides an image resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels or higher. A 2 megapixel camera can provide images that will produce acceptable small prints but for larger prints of around A4 size you will need to consider a 4 megapixel camera or better.
When taking digital pictures you should set your camera on the highest resolution possible to get the best results. You may not get as many pictures as you would using lower settings but if you want to produce good quality pictures then always use the highest setting. Consult your camera manual to determine how many pictures you can record on the highest setting. If you need to take more pictures than you can achieve with a single memory card/stick then always carry spares.
It’s not essential for you to have a computer to produce prints from digital photographs, you can have prints made through a photo lab, but since you may be reading this on your home computer then you already have the next most important item in your digital photography system. With a good selection of software you can easily produce high quality pictures that will be suitable for all your needs. You will also need a good printer of course if you want to make your own prints or create documents. Most new colour inkjet printers produced by the major manufacturers will give good results.
After downloading your digital pictures on to your computer’s hard disk you can then open them up in a program such as
Adobe Photoshop Elements and start getting creative. The professional’s choice Adobe Photoshop CS will enable you to manipulate and do practically anything you want with your digital images.
The book The Photoshop CS Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby is particularly good for anyone interested in getting creative with their digital photographs using Photoshop and has been described by one reader as being “a treasure trove full of techniques that you can use to work with your digital photos.... far more useful than a reference manual”
If you want to get serious about digital photography the list of books listed here will teach you everything you need to know about digital photography and how to get the best out of your new hobby.