Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nikon Nightcap

The other night I was at a social event taking some pictures. There were other people with cameras as well. I talked at length about photography with a friend who had a Nikon compact - the model doesn't matter. She was expressing some frustrations with her camera. I thought I might recap some of those discussions.

To start with she felt she had the vision for the kind of image she wanted to make. From our conversation, I believe she has great ideas and the eye to see the result in her mind  This is the most important thing.

Read your manual. You need to know how to use the equipment. You can't translate your vision into reality unless you know how to use your tools. There are other ways to learn: trial and error, personal trainer, courses, books, etc, but if you have it, start with your manual.

Pop-up or built-in flashes can be real difficult to work with. If that is all you have and really need it as a primary light source then so be it, but if you have any other options give them a try. For example use an external flash that you can bounce of a ceiling, hold it to the side (and up), or use a reflector, turn on more lights,  increase your ISO, open up your aperture, or move to a different location.

All gear has limits and compromises. Learn what they are for your gear and how to work around them. In her case her camera suffered from CCD blooming; a bright point source light in the frame caused a bright vertical line through the image. The solution for her is to find a different framing that eliminates the bright lights and then the lines will go away. Which in the end might not be so bad 'cause you probably don't want them in the frame anyhow.

By the end of the night I perhaps helped her understand her camera better and in exchange she helped me take better portraits.[Thanks Bev.]

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