Digital Photography, Friend not Foe

By: David Peters

If you want to skip the middleman and print out your own digital photographs, you can! It may seem a bit overwhelming, but just about anyone can get the hang of it pretty easily. With the proper equipment and knowledge, you can print out your own pictures and save yourself a little money in the process! If you don't already know, here is a very good piece of advice: take good pictures to begin with! With a digital camera, it is very easy to see the progress of your photos as you take them. If an image is not attractive to you, just erase it and then start over! You won't have to develop any picture that you don't like, either. With a digital camera, you can pick and choose which images you want to reproduce, so you have the freedom to make the editing process as painless as possible. If something doesn't look right to you, just erase it and do it all over again.

Photo printing uses a lot of ink. "Borderless" printing means that the page is 100% covered with ink. Print cartridge life estimates are created using text printing with 5% or 15% coverage, depending on the type of printer being rated. So when you switch from printing text to printing photos, cartridge life will be reduced: If a cartridge is good for 400 pages of text, it may only be good for 20 pages of photos, depending on photo size. Dedicated photo printers are rated differently, as they are intended to print this way. The situation is even worse if the printer uses multi-color cartridges, and using all your red ink ends the cartridge life with other colors still half-full. The best type of ink system for photo printing is definitely individual tanks; the reduction in waste can be considerable.

A few problems that everyone has with their printers can be quite frustrating, running out of ink or something annoying along those lines. Problem: Missing colors or incorrect colors are white and black images, which is often what a photographer does not want to see. I want my picture in color! Solution: Make sure that the settings for ink are correct. You want the ink settings in color format. Renew the inks if the ink is low. Use your cleaners to clean the heads. Check with your manual to learn more! Problem: Smearing and blurring print is one of the most frustrating appearances that come out of a printer. Solution: You want to make sure the type of media is correct. Next, you can verify that the paper is facing up and position correctly. Refer to your user's manual for more details.

Most of digital cameras now on the market come with editing software. They provide basic editing tools including a red-eye reduction and cropping. Some have instant fix tools that are intended to correct color and lighting, but they can damage your photos with irreversible correction where you have not saved a RAW file to return to if need be. To make the most of your photos you will need to invest in a graphics software program. There are a variety of digital editing software packages on the market that vary in quality. The software should include basic tools like cropping or cutting a portion of the photograph in one easy step. There should be a tool to combine various elements from different images to make a collage. It is essential to have a manual adjustment tool for brightness and contrast. You will need a software editing tool that allows you to adjust the color balance and saturation. Filtering tools will ideally include custom, CC or Wratten filters. The tool that allows you to convert the image color to black and white should include several editing options.

Most editing software's or at least a lot of them will automatically adjust brightness and contrast by using filters. The downside is the computers can't read a picture as you can read it, and will adjust the photo to its own liking, which is often not to your liking. Therefore, you want to get out your thinking cap, since you are going to manual adjust your own brightness, contrast and shadow if you like. Assuming you are using Photo Deluxe imaging manipulators, we are going to check out the commands brightness and contrast. Once you select the commands, you will notice a dialogue box appearing in the window. The box should have sliders. With your mouse, click on the brightness slide and move it left or right, depending on what you are seeking to achieve. If you want less brightness, move the slider to the right. Do the same, dragging the slider to the left if you want a darker image. If you notice in the dialogue box, there is a little white box with numbers showing. You can use this box to select your own level of contrast or brightness if you know what you are doing. Likewise, to achieve contrast effect, move the slider either left or right.

If a picture of a celebrity is valuable, it's usually because it's rare. If it's rare, it's usually because they don't want to be photographed. If they don't want pictures taken, and you take them, you may be sued. Remember, a millionaire celebrity doesn't have to win the case to outlast a beginning photographer in court. Whoever you're taking pictures of, you should try to be aware of the laws of the state you're in. Some states, for example, have passed laws against using hidden cameras or microphones, partly to reduce the conflicts that often result from ambushing public figures. Celebrities aside, private places in general can be tricky from a rights perspective. Usually if something can be seen from a public place or if you are invited to a private place, photographs are okay, but it's always best to get written consent from someone who has authority - a property owner or manager.

Have you taken a picture of the most beautiful sunset, only to find that when you check it over in your viewfinder, that it appears dark and off color? Well, the reason for this is that your white balance is not at the proper levels. With a digital camera, pretty much every scene you capture will involve many forms and levels of white balance. If you are taking a picture of the sky, what appears white to your eye, may have a bluish tint in a digital camera. How do you correct your white balance? With a digital camera, you can control the white balance more easily than a traditional film camera. You will need to adjust your white balance to every different lighting condition you encounter. In most digital cameras, the white balance will be automatically adjusted for you. There are models, though, that allow the user to set the white balance manually. You will need to check your camera's manual to be sure where the white balance setting is located, if you can manually adjust it.

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