Category Archives for Beginning Photography

Optical Zoom vs Digital Zoom – What’s the difference?

This week on the blog I did a review of the Nikon P100.  I was inspired to do so because of a video my dad , Joe made about it at Diamond Imaging.  You can check out the video here and see him do a hands on review of some of the best features of this camera.

One of the most powerful features that struck me is the size of it’s Optical zoom lens.  You can see the pictures we took with the camera, standing from the same spot and you’ll notice how much you can see with that optical zoom lens without loosing any quality  – it’s pretty cool!

Nearly every digital camera has some form of an optical zoom lens these days and it’s almost something that we have come to expect.  It’s rare to see a compact camera with a fixed focus lens – usually this is left up to the camera phones although these are even beginning to have zoom lenses too.

Most camera have both an Optical Zoom lens and a Digital Zoom lens – so what’s the difference?

Optical Zoom Vs Digital Zoom

Nikon P100 Zoom An Optical Zoom lens will allow you to take subjects that are much further away without loosing any quality.  The camera uses the true optical capacity of the cameras lenses to magnify you subject hence rendering a clear crisp image.  You’ll see the size of the optical zoom of your compact camera denoted somewhere on your camera body or perhaps on the side of the lens e.g. 3X Zoom, 5X zoom, or in the P100’s case 26X Zoom.

A Digital Zoom is quite different  Instead of using the optics in the camera lens to bring you closer to your subject, the digital zoom simply digitally magnifies the image that you already can see through your viewfinder.  This has the same effect as what happens if you zoom in on a picture on you computer, in effect magnifying the pixels.  You loose resolution or picture quality.  Lot’s of compact cameras will boast a large digital zoom but in reality this means little to what your camera can do.

Most compacts have a combination of an optical and digital zoom.  When buying a new compact camera always be clear if the zoom size advertised on the box is the true optical zoom or if iti is in fact the combined size of the digital and optical zoom.  Some manufacturers have been known to use this misleading marketing ploy.

How do I know which zoom is working?

You can see which zoom is in operation on your camera by one of the following methods:

1. Listening – You can usually hear the mechanics of an optical zoom in action.  A digital zoom is silent.

2. Look at your lens in the front of the camera – is it moving in and out? -If yes then it’s the optical zoom lens in operation. No movement while you zoom usually means you are now using your digital zoom.

3. Look for the icon on the back of your camera that indicates that your zoom is in operation.  This is usually a scale with a bar illustration from W – T.  (W meaning wide angle and T meaning Telephoto.)  Sometimes when you begin to use your digital zoom the color of this bar will change to red.  And sometimes there’s an indicator on your camera LCD screen like a dividing line showing you that you are now in your digital zoom area.  Check out your own camera manual to see which one applies to you.

I always suggest to my students, to turn off the digital zoom capabilities of their camera so that they will not be tempted to use it and hence loose quality.  You can do this simply by going into your cameras set up menu and turning off the option for Digital zoom.

All in all a digital zoom really doesn’t add any value to your pictures with the exception of that one time where you really just want to see what’s going on really far away from you.  You might be able to make out the scene but the resulting picture will not be too hot.

My advice – if you really need to get closer then firstly – Move Your Feet!

Happy Snapping!

Picaboo Calendar Giveaway!!


This week I have something special for all my readers here on the blog.  My friends over at Picaboo.com have given me a free 11 x 14 Premium calendar to give away to one lucky ready  – a retail value of $29.99!  I’ve been a fan of Picaboo and creating photobooks there for a while now and their calendars are a great way to try out their services.

With more than 40 themes and hundreds of backgrounds to choose from, and the ability to create your own from scratch, Picaboo makes it easy and fun to create gorgeous calendars that will make it hard to resist flipping to the next month. Photo pages are completely customizable allowing you to move photos and captions anywhere on a page – so easy to do. They recently added editable calendar grids, which allow you to personalize special dates with important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, or anything else you want to be sure to remember 🙂  I think this is a super cool feature and makes your calendar truly unique.

The Premium calendar features 12 laminated, glossy photo pages that give your pictures a little extra pop, and matte date pages allow for easy writing.  Use photos from 2010 to create the perfect gift that is enjoyed every day of 2011!

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How to win:

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment below telling me you’d like to win – How’s that for easy?!

Extra Entry: “Like” CameraShy on Facebook and leave a comment below telling me that you did

Extra Entry: Subscribe to Snapshot – my Newsletter (see above right) and leave a comment below telling me you did

Extra Entry : Follow me on Twitterleave comment below letting me know you did

That’s 4 possible entries peeps!

The contest will end on Tuesday Jan 18th at 9pm EST and the winner will be contacted by email on Wednesday Jan 19th.

Please note that the contest is for a coupon  code which will allow the winner to create their own fully customizable Premium calendar.  It does not cover the cost of shipping.  The coupon will expire on 2/15/11 – this could be a great Valentine’s
Day gift for a friend or loved one! Order by Monday, 2/1 to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day with Ground shipping (within the continental US).

Good luck!

Ingrid

Picaboo

Introducing CameraShy’s Online Photography Courses

Online Photography Courses As you may or may not know I’ve been teaching Photography Courses in the  offline world for many years.  This year actually I’m celebrating my 10th year as a photography instructor.  Wow!  I hadn’t really thought about that until right now but that’s a LOOONG time!  Here in Atlanta I have the privilege of teaching students on a one-on-one basis and although I love doing this, I also wanted a way to share all the stuff that I teach with everyone, including people like you!  So over the last 6 months I’ve been creating my very own CameraShy University over at www.CameraShyClasses.com.

Access Material Online – Anytime!

So now you don’t have to be located in Atlanta to benefit from my training material.  By visiting www.CameraShyClasses.com you can check out some of the courses I’m currently offering (more being added all the time!)  You can take these courses online at any time that suits YOUR schedule.  If you like to access lots of information quickly, then all the material is available for you right from the point you sign-up.  Conversely, if you would like to absorb the information slowly, and take your time with the Action Points and Assignments, the material can be accessed for up to 6 months.

One of my most popular online photography courses is “Master your DSLR” which teaches you how to get a handle on your Digital SLR camera so that the basics of photography become second nature to you.  This is perfect for any beginners in photography or someone just starting out with a Digital SLR for the first time.

The material is designed to be completed in 5 weeks, each week comprising of a different topic.  Each week is further broken down into smaller sections so that you can learn the information in easy to manage, bite-sized chunks.  I’ve included several Action points throughout, which will help you put the theory into  – you got it – action!

Weekly Assignments

At the end of every week I’ve created an assignment for you to complete so that you can demonstrate what you have learned.  These pictures can be uploaded to the Flickr group so that the can be critiqued by others in the group and by me.  And of course,  I’m here via email to answer any questions that you might have throughout your course.

So if you’ve got a Digital SLR (DSLR) camera, and you know your only using about 20% of it’s functionality, if you want to move out of Auto mode and start shooting in Manual or if you want to begin to take your photography to the next level check out www.CamerashyClasses.com and sign up for a course today!

Happy Snapping

P.S. If you have questions about any of the courses, feel free to shoot me an email to ingrid [at] CameraShy [dot] info

Your Camera Mode Dial Explained

It’s been a while, I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you guys!  I’ve no excuses other than I’ve been super busy with my new online course “Getting to Grips with your DSLR” So I’ve decided that I’m going to make a better effort to post here at the blog and in particular, make some more videos.  I recently got an email from Katie, in Dublin who chastised me for not making more videos and I really feel like I’ve let you guys down.  So lots more to come – I promise…

In the meantime, check out the video below and leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts.

Your Camera Mode Dial Explained

What things do YOU want to learn about using your camera?

Me and DD enjoying being back home

Me and DD enjoying being back home

Hello from rainy Ireland! Yes I’m back in my homeland for a mixture of fun, weddings and workshops (and did I mention fun?!)  I’m having a blast over here, while still working away diligently and FINALLY I’m almost ready to launch my “Getting to Grips with your DSLR” Online course.  For all of you have already asked about it, I promise you will be the first to know the exact opening date.  AND there will be an extra special treat for you since you’ve all been so patient with me!   I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself 🙂

Now I have another wee favour to ask all of you – What specific things would you like to know about using your camera/photography?  Be as general or a specific as you like but please leave a comment below and let me know.  I’m really striving to make this blog a place that is jammed pack with interesting a relevant information for YOU so now’s your chance to let me know how I can help you!

Once this rain stops I’m off out to get some nice landscape shots of the views around my mum and dad’s house.  Funny how I never appreciated them growing up… They’ll make a nice addition to the office wall back home.  I’ll share as soon as I can!

Happy Snapping

Sig

PS – Don’t forget to post your photography woes below 🙂

Stuck for Creative Photography Ideas?

Sometimes it’s hard to get creatively charged to get out and take some pictures.  I know I’ve felt it  – how many more photos can I take around the same environment!  I’ve completely exhausted all the possibilities  – right?  Creative photography ideas just are not jumping out at you right now?  It’s a bit like writer’s block, except its photographer’s block I guess!  Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way – I’ve found a few ways to over come it!

First of all,  I’ve been participating in (and helping to present) an awesome telecourse with Sheila Finklestein.  You can check out her course info at Through and From the Lens.  Sheila teaches how to see your world through fresh eyes and hence rejuvinating your photography skills.  I’ve certainly found that I’m starting to look at things a little differently.  Check out the faces I found in the trees in our yard.  I’ve been inspired to create a whole series of them.  (these guys have been around forever!)

Man Blowing Smoke

Man Blowing Smoke

I’ve been reminded to look at everything from different angles, close-up and at a distance.  Looking at color, texture and thinking more about light.  In these pictures I was looking for faces in nature.

Fishy Face

Fishy Face

Then this morning I discovered this new site thanks to the ever cool Photojojo –  Noticin.gs (see what they’ve done there?)  It’s a game really, played on Flickr.com.  “Noticings are interesting things that you stumble upon when your out and about”  You post your pics on Flickr and tag them with “noticings” and Geotag them with where they were taken.

You get points for noticing things like noticing the first thing in a neighborhood or noticing the same thing for a week.  Seems like a great way to get into the habit of taking pictures on a regular basis – one of the key ways of improving your photography.

So I’m headed out to get creative and find some noticings before the snow hits Atlanta 😉

Happy snapping!

sig

PS If your not on Flickr you really should be!  Connect with me there by adding me as a contact.  My Flickr Stream.

A little late but none the less – Happy New Year!

CameraShy Student at work

CameraShy Student at work

So how many of you got a new digital camera for Christmas? Judging by my inbox  – a lot of you!  That’s my excuse for not being blogging as much lately.  I’ve been out helping my clients around Atlanta get to grips with their new DSLRs.  It’s been great fun but I just realized that I had gone a month without posting here and I’ve been neglecting my readers.  So from now on I promise to write more regularly, with more tutorials, recommendations, reviews and all round great photography advice for beginners and anyone else who wants to listen!

So for this post I’m just going to try to encourage you to get out and start shooting and make 2010 the year when you really learn how to move out of Auto mode, get creative and really master your camera.  I’m planning on learning a few new techniques myself and I’m challenging myself to improve my skill set to bring my photography to the next level.  So let’s learn together  – it’s always more fun that way, isn’t it?

If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to book a One-to-One private instruction lesson with me email me for my availability and more info at ingrid@camerashy.info

Happy snapping!

sig

Welcome to Beginners Photography Blog!

Are you trying to get to grips with a new digital SLR? Are you trying to get a handle on photography basics without the waffle and jargon of those high brow forums? Welcome to Beginners Photography Blog! You’ve found a place where there is no such thing as a stupid question and we are all learning together. I’ve been teaching photography in the “real world” for over 10 years and been involved in the photographic industry for the past 20yrs. I love helping people get the most out of their cameras and improve their photography easily, sometimes by just knowing which mode to use! This blog will help you do that and more!

Beginners Photography - Welcome

Beginners Photography - Welcome

In my experience I’ve found that although there is a ton of photography information out there online, it can be sometimes difficult for a beginner in photography to know were to begin.  Maybe you can’t be bothered with that manual or perhaps you can’t make head nor tail what that camera icon is – I promise I’ve got you covered! Beginners Photography blog is a great place to get lots of tips and tricks that will help make your pictures pop without having to know the intricate workings of your camera!

So if you’ve already begun to learn photography or if you’re just thinking about buying a Digital SLR,  subscribe to our RSS feed to be sure you don’t miss any secret tips of the trade!

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