5 Rules of Thumb From My Digital Camera Class

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Long, long time ago, I took a photography course.  And promptly forgot everything again, evolving into a lucky photographer.  I hung onto my trusty Canon Powershot S410 as long as possible because, I figured, my vacation shots from numerous visits to Asia, Africa, Europe, Antarctica were great.  Uh, no they weren’t, Patti, the places were great.

Now a food blogger, I’m working on my composition, food styling and cooking.  But what kicked me in the head was the constant rejection by Food Porn sites, which resulted in my competitive nature getting riled up – “Get better equipment, Patti.  And LEARN HOW TO USE IT, sheesh.” I guess potato salad really isn’t supposed to look blue (White Balance issue, amongst other obvious problems).

After due diligence, the Canon G10 appeared a solid match to my abilities, and last weekend’s digital camera workshop was a necessity.  I know what I want to achieve, I just need to remember all the steps to telling a camera how to get there.  AUTO is my friend, but not my only option.

Thankfully, the teacher was very clear in his instruction, so I’m sharing five of his helpful Rules of Thumb.  After these, playing with settings is encouraged:

  1. ISO 200 is a good all-around setting.  All cameras are tested at 200.
  2. Image stabilization assumes you are holding the camera; if you use a tripod, turn it off and photos will be clearer
  3. Shoot your first picture on AUTO WHITE BALANCE to set tell the camera accurate colors
  4. Shoot your first hero picture on AUTO setting, after that you can mess with the settings
  5. When adjusting a shot in an editing program, use a Control Shadows & Highlights feature, not Control Brightness.  Brightness tweaks everything, but Shadows and Highlights spot-tweaks.

Teacher really drilled down with our camera features and settings, it was a lot to absorb.  Meantime I must PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.  And keep planning for the upcoming Camp Blogaway Bootcamp for Food & Recipe Bloggers.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jada August 31, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Great post and congrats on the new camera! Canons are great!

2 Velva August 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

You mean potato salad isn’t blue? I am foodie blogger that has her camera wrapped around her neck most days. Your comment hit home…My photos are great, no, silly the places and the food are actually great. I have been considering a digital photography course to help me out with the technical arena.
Loved your post!

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