Modern cameras are incredibly sophisticated pieces of equipment, but it’s still possible to get disappointing results from them. Producing great photographs still requires some knowledge and skill. The following are some of the common problems which photographers experience, and suggestions for quick fixes which can resolve them.
There’s nothing worse than a blurred image to spoil a great picture. Potential causes can be a dirty lens, lack of focus or subject movement. Cleaning lenses at regular intervals is something many photographers fail to do. Digital SLR cameras can be fooled by some subjects, so it’s worth switching to manual mode if a subject looks blurred. Ensure you use an appropriate shutter speed for any pictures where a subject is moving.
When using wide-angled lenses, the straight lines of some subject elements may appear to be bowed or curved. This distortion is caused by slight changes in magnification of the image across the picture frame. The problem can be fixed by using image-manipulation software after taking the picture. Alternatively, switching to a lens of longer focal length will produce straight lines in the image.
Pictures taken in certain lighting conditions can take on a distinct colour cast. For example, pictures can appear unnaturally warm-toned if taken in artificial light. Most digital cameras are capable of correcting the colour balance automatically. In some situations, however, you need to present the camera with a neutral colour and set the white balance manually.
Controlling exposure correctly is one of a photographer’s core skills. Modern digital cameras will expose correctly in most situations, but difficult lighting conditions require manual intervention. Many cameras use a centre-weighted measurement system, and this will fail to expose scenes with high contrast correctly. For example, a sunset photograph may be under-exposed and appear too dark. Switching to manual to override a camera’s automatic system is generally the best solution.
Many people complain that their nose or ears look too big in photographs! This may actually be true, and is caused by distortion of features closer to the camera lens making them appear more prominent. The first solution to this problem is to simply stand a few steps further back from the subject. A better option is to switch to a lens of longer focal length which will flatten the facial features.
Auto-focus cameras don’t produce perfect results every time. One of the common problems is that of the camera focusing on something other than the subject the photographer wants. For example, a camera may focus on a tree behind a person rather than the person who is the desired subject for the photograph. Switching to manual focus is one solution, but many photographers now rely on auto-focus modes. Understanding the focus points your camera uses when it operates in auto-focus mode will also help to stop this problem.
Red-eye is caused when you use flash to light a photograph. Direct reflection of the light back from the subject’s retinas gives their eyes a red appearance. Moving the flash away from the lens using an extension cable is one solution. If it can’t be avoided in this way, image processing software allows easy removal of red-eye.
A common theme for many of these issues relates to understanding your camera. Take the time to read instruction manuals and guidebooks, and you will notice a marked improvement in your results. There’s no substitute for knowing the controls and tools your camera offers.
By: Jillian Hayes (aka AtlCanonGirl)
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