Many people seem to feel that the only setting on a digital camera is the “Auto” setting and that everything else is just so much technical stuff they don’t need to bother about. While this is great in most instances, there are times when the result is not quite as good as you may want – faded colors, unwanted reflections and shadows can ruin a well composed picture. Taking control of your digital camera is not hard and if you follow these basic video production digital photography techniques you will have begun to realize the true potential of your camera.
Colors that lack warmth are a common problem with digital cameras – the white balance (the balancing of the colors) is the cause of the problem. When a camera is set to “Auto” the camera is programmed to balance the colors in a specific way and in the case of pictures taken in bright sunlight this may results in a balancing that makes some of the darker colors look faded. If you find this problem, change the setting from “Auto” to “Cloudy” – this will change the white balance setting and the camera will record deeper colors and richer tones.
Taking pictures in bright sunlight with the brightness varying in different parts of the frame can cause the photos to look unbalanced with dark patches – using a polarizing filter will reduce the dark and light contrast and allow for a more balanced and sharper image. Try using a polarizing filter and you will find that the color definition is sharper and there is more saturation in the colors – take the same image with and without the filter and see the difference. Polarizing filter work best when the sunlight is falling directly on the subject so try and take photos with the sun over your shoulder.
Shadows and bright sunlight in the same frame are a major problem with outdoor photography and the use of the flash can help to overcome this. Advanced digital camera will calculate the background exposure and will then add only enough flash to compensate for the difference light caused by the shadows. Most cameras will not allow the flash to fire if there is adequate light over the whole metering area, so the problem of overexposure is not something you need worry about. And if your camera does not have automatic flash compensation, you should still try to use the flash outdoors as an experiment and once you see where it can be used to reduce the effect of dark shadows, you will find yourself using it more and more.