Digital Camera Projects

Practice New Skills and Use New Features of Your Camera

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January 28, 2005


This project's goal is to capture a silhouette - any kind will do. It can be a building, a person or any other object with a unique outline.

You want your subject to appear completely black in your photograph. For many digital cameras, this is not as easy as it sounds.

Their sophisticated metering systems do not want to let you take a photo like this one. Typically, the buildings would be properly exposed and the sky would be over-exposed.

Here a way to get around this: point your camera at the lightest part of the image (in the example above I pointed the camera at the clouds). Now hold down the shutter halfway. This will lock the exposure so that the light part of the image is properly exposed.

If the lightest part of the image is properly exposed, it makes any object in shadow appear completely black: and there's your silhouette.

Posted by Chris at 01:01 PM

January 05, 2005

Exposure Bracketing

over exposure

This photo was over-exposed
by almost 2 stops

Today's project focuses on exposure. The idea here is to play around with your exposure settings and try to get some photos that are intentionally over and under-exposed.

Why do this? Shouldn't all photographs be exposed so that colors are balanced and there is detail throughout the picture? Most of the time the answer is yes.

That stunning landscape should be properly exposed. So should the pictures that you take on your next vacation. Photos of your child's birthday party will look odd if they are all under-exposed.

But every so often you are going to want a different look. Something that makes an ordinary photo extraordinary. You can get this look if you bracket exposures.

Here's how it works. Set your digital camera to its manual setting. Adjust the shutter speed and aperture so that the scene is correctly exposed (your light meter will let you know when it is). Take a photo.

Now, over-expose the photo by two stops. Many cameras will indicate this by displaying a +2 symbol on the LCD. Take a photo.

Under-expose by two stops. The camera should now be showing you a -2 on the display. Take a photo.

Change your subject and repeat.

More often than not the results won't be very interesting. That's why 9 times out of 10 you want to properly expose your photo. But every so often, especially with portraits of people, you might be very surprised by the results you get.

The great thing about working with digital photography is that you can experiment like this and no one ever has to see the crummy photos you take. Save one brilliant one, and take that to share with your friends.

Posted by Chris at 07:57 PM