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Top Ten Tips for Great Pics! Simple steps to better pictures page 2

Holiday Photo Fun Be prepared when it counts. page 4

Special Holiday Edition

New Year’s Resolution After you take them, make sure to display them. page 6

Holiday Gift Guide Check out the some create gift ideas using your precious memories page 8

digital 101
Not that you don’t already have enough to do this holiday season; fighting the crowds, sitting in traffic, and attending family gatherings are just a few things that come to mind. This season, be prepared before the hustle and bustle of the holidays and get familiar with your digital camera. If necessary, dig out your camera’s user guide to learn some of its features that might help make your memories a little brighter, or at least more focused.



Issue No. 1 Winter 2005

Be prepared this holiday season with your digital camera in hand. Take a few minutes to discover a few features on your camera to make the most of your holiday memories. by Jennifer Smith

The one thing you have to remember when changing the camera settings is that they do not change back to the default settings automatically. Be aware of the camera settings before taking pictures and adjust accordingly for different lighting and subjects. Make sure to test out the different features before the special event so you prepared when the time comes. For starters, here are few features that might come in handy.

Picture Size
Set the picture size to the largest size. Although it cuts down on the amount of pictures you can take, it allows the pictures to be nicely enlarged to at least an 8 x10. (Based on most cameras). It also gives you flexibility to crop without losing picture quality.

Flash Settings
If your digital camera has flash compensation, you can change the settings to increase or decrease flash output. This helps even out the lighting based on your subjects and available light. Test different settings until you like what you see.

White Balance
Digital cameras automatically set the white balance, but there are times when the white balance needs to be changed to match the available light. The settings usually include daylight, cloudy, indoor (incandescent), and fluorescent.

Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005


Top Ten Tips for Taking Great Pictures

1 2 3

Ten Great Pics! Tips for
Look your subject in the eye
Direct eye contact can be as the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on. You may have a choice of fill-flash mode or full-flash mode. If the person is within five feet, use the fill-flash mode; beyond five feet, the full-power mode may be required. With a digital camera, use the picture display panel to review the results. On cloudy days, use the camera’s fill-flash mode if it has one. The flash will brighten up people’s faces and make them stand out. Also take a picture without the flash, because the soft light of overcast days sometimes gives quite pleasing results by itself.

Do you wish you were a better photographer? All it takes is a little know-how and experience. Keep reading for some important picture-taking tips. Then grab your camera and start shooting your way to great pictures.
provided by

the picture. If you don’t want a blurred picture, you’ll need to first lock the focus with the subject in the middle and then recompose the picture so the subject is away from the middle. Usually you can lock the focus in three steps. First, center the subject and press and hold the shutter button halfway down. Second, reposition your camera (while still holding the shutter button) so the subject is away from the center. And third, finish by pressing the shutter button all the way down to take the picture.

Don’t like the light on your subject? Then move yourself or your subject. For landscapes, try to take pictures early or late in the day when the light is orangish and rakes across the land.

But don’t get too close or your pictures will be blurry. The closest focusing distance for most cameras is about three feet, or about one step away from your camera. If you get closer than the closest focusing distance of your camera (see your manual to be sure), your pictures will be blurry.


Top Rated 4 Megapixel Digital Cameras

Go vertical
Is your camera vertically challenged? It is if you never

Lumix DMC-FZ15
While the 4MP Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ15 can’t quite match the 5MP DMC-FZ20 when it comes to image quality, it still takes good pictures, and its f/2.8 long zoom lens and short recycle times make this the best all-around superzoom when it comes to shooting action.

turn it sideways to take a vertical picture. All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture. From a lighthouse near a cliff to the Eiffel Tower to your four-year-old son jumping in a puddle. So next time out, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical

engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person’s eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.


Move it from the middle
Center-stage is a great place

feet away.

Know your flash’s range
The number one flash mistake

is taking pictures beyond the flash’s range. Why is this a mistake? Because pictures taken beyond the maximum flash range will be too dark. For many cameras, the maximum flash range is less than fifteen feet—about five steps away. What is your camera’s flash range? Look it up in your camera manual. Can’t find it? Then don’t take a chance. Position yourself so subjects are no farther than ten

for a performer to be. However, the middle of your picture is not the best place for your subject. Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture. Start by playing tick-tack-toe with subject position. Imagine a tick-tack-toe grid in your viewfinder. Now place your important subject at one of the intersections of lines. You’ll need to lock the focus if you have an auto-focus camera because most of them focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder.

Use a plain background
A plain background shows off

the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.


Move in close
If your subject is smaller than a car, take a step or two closer


Be a picture director
Take control of your

Canon PowerShot SD300 Digital Elph
The Canon PowerShot SD300 Digital Elph takes great pictures, despite its tiny size. It’s stylish, built like a very small tank, and fun to use.

picture-taking and watch your pictures dramatically improve. Become a picture director, not just a passive picture-taker. A picture director takes charge. A picture director picks the location: “Everybody go outside to the backyard.” A picture director adds props: “Girls, put on your pink sunglasses.” A picture director arranges people: “Now move in close, and lean toward the camera.” Most pictures won’t be that involved, but you get the idea: Take charge of your pictures and win your own best picture awards.

before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing. Up close you can reveal telling details, like a sprinkle of freckles or an arched eyebrow.

Use flash outdoors
Bright sun can create unat-

tractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten



Watch the light
Next to the subject, the most important part of every picture

Kodak LS743
The Kodak LS743 is takes extremely crisp, sharp pictures, sharper than many cameras with a higher MP rating. It’s slow to start and not the sexiest camera we’ve seen, but it’s easy to use and gives you great return on your money.

is the light. It affects the appearance of everything you photograph. On a greatgrandmother, bright sunlight from the side can enhance wrinkles. But the soft light of a cloudy day can subdue those same

Lock the focus
If your subject is not in the center of the picture, you need

to lock the focus to create a sharp picture. Most auto-focus cameras focus on whatever is in the center of the picture. But to improve pictures, you will often want to move the subject away from the center of

Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005

Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005


New Year’s Resolution:
Don’t let your holiday memories just take up space on your hard drive

Organize, Share and Print
Are you tired searching through countless pictures because you can’t remember what day a photo was taken or what folder it is in? You need to buckle down and organize to help you search, sort and edit your digital pictures. Although this may seem like a daunting task, it is actually quite simple. There are a number of software tools to help you organize and manage your digital files. One tool that is easy to use is Picasa, by Google. ( Picasa locates all of your
by Jennifer Smith


Printing your digital photos has

services. They offer online submission and the pictures are usually ready within the hour. With more and more options to print pictures, there are no excuses why those precious memories are stuck inside the computer. If you don’t have a print kiosk or store near by, there are also countless websites that print and ship your digital pictures right to your front door. Kodak ( and Snapfish ( are a few of the sites that offer online printing. Another site, Adorama (, provides a wide array of printing services and bulk discounts.

never been easier. Personal photo printers provide the ability to click and print right from the camera immediately after a picture is taken. If you don’t have a photo printer, simply upload, pay and go to your nearest store that has a photo printer. Now nearly every grocery store, drug store and retail store is your one stop shop for all your digital printing needs. Most stores now even provide online photo submission. You can upload, pay and pickup your digital photos with in an hour. Many retailers including Target ( and Costco (www. provide quality printing

Home vs. Retail
If you own a photo printer and don’t need to print the pictures immediately, it actually costs less to get the pictures printed from a dealer. After adding the cost of ink, paper, and wear on the printer, home printing generally cost more than advertised rates by the big retailers. The benefit of owning a photo printer is that you print the pictures on your time when you need them.


pictures on your computer and even automatically catalogs when new pictures are saved to your computer. Picasa makes it easy to organize, edit, share, print, backup your digital memories. Picasa also boasts a nice price tag of zero dollars. Another popular software package is Adobe Photoshop Album. ( ) Photoshop Album offers similar features to Picasa, but can be used in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop Album costs $50 from Adobe’s website.


After you organize your digital pictures,

to view, share and print from your albums. EasyShare Gallery is free to use but there are also additional services if you would like purchase more options. Another great site is PBase Photo Database ( PBase does not offer some of the features like purchasing prints online, but PBase focuses on online photo sharing. PBase allows you to control the colors and styles using stylesheets. PBase also provides up to 900 MB of storage, but not for free. PBase costs $23 per year for 300 MB and $60 for 900 MB.

it is time to share them with the world, or just the ones you love. Although most photo management software package come with sharing abilities, there are many online sites that let you upload your photos and share them with friends. Some sites even allow other people to order prints from your albums. Kodak EasyShare Gallery ( is a great online service for sharing your pictures. EasyShare makes it simple for friends and family

Editing Tips Before You Print
u If you are cropping a picture, make sure you leave enough room around the sides to account for a picture frame. u Use the color correction tool to enhance the picture. u Verify the size of the picture can handle the printing size.


Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005

Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005


h It’s amazing how many great photographers are rap tog ho reduced to taking snapshots on Christmas tP gh i dL morning. For some reason we’re not in ivi V by photographer mode, so when we get our d e vid pictures back from the lab, we’re less ro p than thrilled. So here are some simple tips for Christmas and New Years that will help beginners and experts alike enjoy the holidays a little more.


Holiday Photo Fun
5. Choose a faster ISO setting
Many digital camera owners forget that they can change the ISO setting on their cameras. Choosing a faster (numerically higher) ISO setting means faster shutter speeds and fewer blurry images. That means that there will be a lot more images that will be suitable for your desk and for grandma’s fridge!

7. Get the kids involved
Get the kids to take some pictures of you and of each other. This works especially well with digital cameras. You might be surprised at what they come up with. Kids literally have a different perspective on the world and their images may surprise you. This works especially well with digital cameras where they can see the results of their efforts immediately.

10. Do a Pre-flight Check
When you’re putting the toys together the night before pull out your camera and get it ready to go. That means charge the camera batteries or add fresh batteries, make sure red-eye reduction is turned on, and all the camera’s settings are what they should be. Do it the night before when things are quiet and it’s a lot less likely that you’ll forget something or accidentally choose the wrong settings. hiding in the quiet times. Keep the camera close by and loaded for these special moments

The pro tip here is that if you have flash exposure compensation as one of your camera (or flash) options you can get more natural skin tones by dialing down the flash by one stop ( -1 flash exposure).

8. Hook your digital camera to the TV
Want to capture the moment for when Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop arrive? Get all those great shots of the kids and then hook the video connection on your digital camera to your TV (or VCR/DVD player). Now when the grandparents arrive you can put the camera in play mode and let it cycle through the images from the morning’s festivities. This is a lot faster than getting prints made and waiting until New Years Eve to share them.

12. Pass the camera please
Christmas morning is not just about cathcing the kids faces, it also about capturing the memories of the day. Pass the camera around to make sure everyone is part of the memories. Take advantage of the timer feature to capture the whole family gathered at the dinner table or cuddled by the tree.

1. Get Down!
How many times have you seen Christmas photos where you get a great view of the top of the kid’s heads or their faces are frozen into fake smiles? How do you get candid professional looking photos? First set your camera to it’s widest aperture (smallest f-number) or choose portrait mode if you’re shooting in one of your camera’s auto modes. When the kids start tearing into the presents get down on the floor so you’re at their level. Now you can capture the looks on their faces as they open their presents - and those looks are priceless! Catch them now. They grow up way too fast.

3. Keep quiet!
As a parent it’s easy to fall into the trap of yelling at your kids to “look here!” After they look up and get a face full of flash a couple of times you’ll start getting photos of scowls instead of smiles. If they’re not looking directly into the camera the flash won’t be blinding and the kids will learn to ignore their goofy parents with their camera - and you’ll get better shots as a result. Remember Christmas is about the kids not the camera. Capture the moment quietly and let the kids take center stage - after all it’s their day.

11. Watch for Quiet Moments
The kids will have their motors running on high for most of the day. Later on when their bellies are full and they’re winding down you’ll find some great moments

6. Choose the right white balance
White balance is a term that scares a lot of new digital camera owners. So most want to leave their digital cameras on auto white balance. But in most digital cameras, especially the point and shoot cameras, auto white balance won’t always correctly balance indoor lighting. Pull out the manual and change the white balance setting to incandescent or indoor lighting. It’s usually represented by a little light bulb symbol. Now the skin tones on those smiling little faces will look natural and you’ll look like the great photographer that we know you are!

9. Batteries, Batteries, Batteries
Make sure you have fresh batteries for your camera. If you have a separate flash unit make sure you have fresh batteries for it as well. If you’re using a digital camera with rechargeable batteries make sure you put it on charge the night before Christmas. “Twas’ the night before Christmas and all through the house, the batteries were charging…” Ok it was a stretch. Give us a break it’s the holidays.

A Pre-New Year’s Tip
Tempted to take your camera along on New Year’s Eve? This is one night you might consider leaving it home in favor of a disposable camera. New Year’s Eve is amateur night and people drink a lot more than they normally would. The resulting good times can mean that your camera winds up in pieces or floating in the punch bowl. If you take your digital camera, make sure to transfer all of the previous pictures to your computer in case the camera is lost or stolen. You don’t want to lose your camera and all the precious memories on the memory card as well.

2. Use a little fill flash
Very few homes are so brightly lit that you’ll get great detail on your kid’s faces as they’re tearing into those presents. A little flash will go a long way toward filling in the shadows so you can see detail in their faces. 4
Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005

4. Red eye reduction
It sounds simple but you’ll need to remember to turn on red-eye reduction so your kids and pets don’t look like aliens. Well OK some kids will STILL look like aliens but we can’t help that.

Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005


Holiday Gift Ideas
by Vivid Light Photography

Mugging for Photos
Most photo labs have a variety of novelty items that can be made with your photos. These range from coffee mugs, to t-shirts and mouse pads. These novelty items can make interesting holiday gifts for family and friends. Just make sure you allow yourself plenty of lead-time around the holidays since these are popular gift items.

late in the season though, so if you want to do personal photo cards you’d better get down to the lab right away!

Picture Collage
This is a great gift for mom or dad from the kids. Sit with the kids to pick out their favorite pictures and get them printed. Then have fun arranging and designing a custom picture collage. Using a shadow box is a great way to add some keepsakes to the collage. This a gift from the heart that the whole family can enjoy.
- JS

High Tech Picture Frames
A unique item that we first saw last year is the digital picture frame. There are a couple of varieties and manufacturers now. The idea is that they can store and cycle images either by the minute or daily. Some can even be hooked to a telephone

Pictures on Canvas
What better way to display the family portrait than printed on stretched canvas? Canvas is run through a special printer to get your image on the canvas. Check out for more details and pricing. There are several finishing options to jazz up the canvas portrait, even one to look like a painting.
- JS

Personalized Christmas Cards
Another popular item offered at photo labs the past few years are personal photo greeting cards. Take a picture of the family, the kids, or your poor dog wearing those silly reindeer horns and you can have it put onto greeting cards with a personalized greeting inside. It’s getting

line and they’ll connect to the Internet each evening and download any new images that you post to a dedicated Web site! You can send one to family members and as you get new photos of the kids just load them on the Web and your family will see them wherever you or they are in the world the next day!

Digital Photography Digest
Smith Photography Group 555 Design Avenue Hillsborough, NJ 08844 Professor Christopher Funkhouser C/O Humanities Department NJIT University Heights Newark, NJ 07102


Digital Photography Digest u Winter 2005