Welcome to your first lesson of
Better Pics for Business!
This lesson is all about laying down the basics and getting a short lesson on geeky stuff like cameras, accessories, settings, apertures, shutter speeds...
The course will be delivered by written word, video and audio - all depending on what needs to be said. Feel free to come back to lessons, break them up, and add your own thoughts/questions.
Homework will be given at the end of each lesson. Although you don't have to do it - it is a big part of the course. I believe that without practice you are not going to learn. I'd love for you to put up your results in our Facebook group, but if you freak out over others seeing it (at the moment) then feel free to email me during the next eight weeks for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, let us begin...
ALL ABOUT THE TOOLS...
which one is best for you?
*This lesson is primarily reading. I have also included the notes in audio for you to listen to while on your commute, exercising etc.*
What type of camera you need is partly up to what you need to photograph. It also depends on what you already have. Money can also come into the equation. And, of course, the camera can change for each situation. I use my iPhone for personal snaps and some Instagram, my DSLR for work and travel, and would love a mirrorless unit for travel and street work.
For basic photography, including updating your social media...
If you have an iPhone - use that. If you have a point and shoot compact - use that. If you have an SLR - then use that. If you have all, then you have the choice! You would presume I'd say use the SLR always, but I don't. Depending on what you are photographing will change my answer, so open up the discussion in Facebook. For example, if you are photographing sports - an iPhone isn't ideal because of lack of zoom and shutter lag (the time delay between when you press the shutter button and when the device actually records the image). If you are a blogger and don't want attention drawn to you, then a DSLR with all the bits is not going to be good for you.
Below is what I feel are the pros and cons of each.
‘the best camera is the one you have on you.' It is small and is always on/with you. You don't even need a bag for it - chuck it in your pocket.
Photos can be printed large when required, with care. I recently printed images from my iPhone for an Adelaide based 'Skrambled Eggs' exhibition at 50cm wide - exhibition quality. Of course, the light, composition and detail must be great to start with.
Un-obtrusive. No one looks twice when someone pulls out their iPhone for a photo but may start querying if you pull out a bigger camera.
Can get Apps to help with manual controls, slow shutter, etc.
Can upload directly and instantly to your blog, website, social media.
There are a tonne of Apps to get creative with.
Quality is not as good as a larger sensor device.
The dynamic range - the amount of dark to light in an image that is exposed correctly - is tight. An example would be taking a photo of someone standing against a bright background. If the camera exposes for the person, the background will be heavenly white with no detail.
You only have one lens. If you zoom in, you are digitally cropping the image. Using this feature means less resolution and quality in your image.
Everything is semi-automated which means lack of control. The iPhone will focus, expose and control colour temperature to what it thinks. This automation is fine in a bright and even lit scene, but not so good when you have different light levels or want to focus on something specific.
No RAW quality. The camera makes the decision in what information to keep or throw away when processing the image.
If you don't keep your phone cool, the sensor heats up and increases the noise in the photo. This means more coloured dots in your image that looks 'rough'.
Point and shoot/compact camera
Same pros as an iPhone
Better quality cameras have more features than an iPhone. Ie. RAW, different shoot modes including manual.
Still small enough to put in a handbag or pocket (sometimes).
Lack of control - some don't shoot manual or raw.
Quality is not as good as a larger sensor device.
Only one lens choice.
*Just to confuse you... there is a new breed of camera out now called Mirrorless. They sit on the ladder between the point and shoot and DSLR. Some mirrorless cameras rival the DSLR in quality while continuing to be a smaller build. I'm lusting after one or two at the moment.
Better quality image.
DSLR's will shoot RAW.
The control of shooting in Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority or Manual.
You can choose your file quality - Small JPG to RAW.
You can swap lenses for different purposes. Wide angle to mega zoom.
You can use a tonne of accessories including speed lights, studio lights, shutter releases.
The size and weight of the camera impact your decision to take it with you or pull it out for a photo in certain circumstances.
DSLR cameras can be expensive considering the variety of lenses and accessories you can purchase for it.
To get the full benefit of the camera, you need more knowledge to use it.
Where to go for more advice on cameras?
I am not, what I call, a tech geek. I don't keep up with all of the newest and greatest cameras and accessories available. There are pros for sales and advice. Nothing beats talking to someone who knows their stuff. I recommend...
Work out what camera you need (majority of time) for what you want to photograph. Let me know what you have chosen and why on Facebook. Tell us what sort of photos you plan to take with it.
While you are in Facebook, let us know what you photograph and why. Let's see where and what everyone is doing.
NEXT LESSON: TELLING A STORY THROUGH PHOTOS