Learn Digital Photography – Photographing Garden Birds for Beginners

The great thing about photographing garden birds is that it’s much easier than going out to a reserve or park and therefore much simpler for beginners. When starting out with bird photography you want to minimise expensive equipment until you know that you enjoy it and are capable enough to pursue it.

Bird photography at home can be as simple as sitting in a lounge chair and firing away until you get your shot. I say can, but really you will get as much out of your photography as you put into it. So careful planning is going to go a long way to getting those beautiful shots even if it is in your own garden. Here are the basics of getting into garden bird photography.

1. Attract the birds

If there is one task you need to perform successfully with this genre of photography then its attracting birds. If you have a garden that is bird friendly, then you are away and ready to start. This is where good research begins. Either buy a local guide to garden photography, find someone else doing it from a local bird club or use the internet to locate some of the great websites dedicated to this genre. You need to understand what type of food they like and where they like to hang out together. This means going further than putting out their favourite food by planting the vegetation they like and even growing the food they seek out. Another tip here is to grow the vegetation near to where you will be shooting from. Create a dedicated area in your garden or outside a window.

2. Establish your location

Now this can be as simple as shooting from a window in your home to building a purpose-built hide somewhere in your garden near to all the best perches and food. It’s up to you as to how much effort you put into it. I have found that for people starting out a simple location is a bedroom or living room window looking onto a garden with plenty foliage and vegetation. This is a place where there is good potential with great lighting and places to perch.

3. Create the setting

This step is vital because you want the place where the birds will perch to be as close to the window or hide are setting up as possible. In this area ensure that there are places high enough for the bird perch and survey its surroundings for danger. Add an intermediate perch before the food source and have the food source at a reasonable height in order to shoot your images. Light is important as the better the lighting the less artificial light you’ll need and of course using a flash will disturb them. Be very aware of your backgrounds as these will make or break your final image. Getting the set up right is a large part of the final image.

4. Create the hide

As I said this is as simple as a bedroom or lounge or as complex as a purpose-built hide. To begin with I suggest using a room in the house. The glass forms a natural barrier and allows you shoot freely most times as the reflection hides you from the birds. Just make sure that the glass has been cleaned on both sides so that you don’t have dirty or blurry images. Inside the hide make sure that you have a comfy chair because you will probably have to wait a while until you know what the feeding and perching patterns are. Whatever happens you’ll need a fair amount of patience. Remember that when you move around inside to do it slowly because the birds might not see you clearly but will react to flashes of movement. Turn any lights off and close any other curtains to limit the light inside the room.

5. Set up your equipment

Of course in this situation you aren’t really limited by your equipment because most cameras will shoot reasonable images because you are close to the birds. What I mean by this is that the lenses won’t necessarily need to have huge focal lengths. Even most bridge or prosumer cameras will have sufficient focal length. Compacts may be a little wanting even in this situation. Remember you are trying this out to see if you can do it or even enjoy it. Whatever your equipment a tripod is essential and if possible a cable release or your shutter set to timed release of 2 to 10 seconds in order to minismise camera shake. Then another vital action to ensure success is pre-focus your camera, using the manual focus setting, on a well-used perch or branch, the bird feeder or feeding platform you have set up. This increases the chance of getting your shot instead of focusing wherever a bird lands and hoping for the best. Again, planning is a big part of a successful bird image.

6. Keep shooting

Don’t wait for the perfect shot just shoot as much as you can. Key at this stage is to get as many good shoots as possible. You can always crop the image later because you want good clear photos of the birds. If you focus on the perfect composition the chance of get good images will reduce. Remember that this is the beginning of you bird photography journey and there is lots of time to improve. There’s an old saying that says ‘nothing breeds success like success’. You need to be getting the shots to keep you motivated.

These are some simple steps to get you going and not turn you into a top bird photographer. They are some keys to getting into bird photography the easiest and simplest possible way. The bottom line is to have fun and continue having fun. I can assure you that when you start getting those great images you will not stop so make sure your bank balance is full because the expense starts here. Happy shooting!

Holding the Camera Right – A Tutorial For Beginners

Cameras are tricky. Some come with comfortable grips while others are smooth, leaving it up to you to decide what the comfortable holding position is. The problem is that being so many different cameras on the market, photography beginners can get the feeling that holding one right is some sort of rocket science.

It’s not. Holding a camera differs from person to person as each and everyone has their personal preferences, but there are some basic guidelines to follow so that your grip is good and your photographs blur-free.

Here are the important things to check when taking your shots:

  1. Right hand holding the camera and controlling the settings
  2. Left hand supporting the weight of the camera
  3. Elbows tucked close to your body
  4. Camera close to your forehead for a viewfinder or not too far from your body for and LCD display
  5. Make sure the camera strap is around your wrist in case your grip is not that great yet!

Remember photographs are best taken when the camera is held with both hands and your body is in a steady position. With your right hand make sure your index finger is directly above the capture button. Your thumb should be at the bottom of the camera for support, and your other fingers curled around the front – making sure you haven’t covered the lens.

Your left hand can either be used to keep the camera steady or to control the lens depending on whether or not your camera needs you to manually adjust the lens. Also ensure that you are not blocking the flash if you are using it.

When using the view finder or the LCD display screen, make sure the camera is close to your body. If the camera only has an LCD display you have no choice but to hold the camera at a certain distance when taking a shot. Make sure that the distance is far enough for you to see and compose your image properly, and that your grip is firm. If your camera does have a viewfinder, place the camera firmly and comfortably against your face. For both the LCD and the viewfinder your elbows need to be tucked close to your body.

Portrait shots require that you hold the camera slightly differently. You will need to hold the camera in your left hand and support it with your right hand keeping your right index finger on the capture button. Be careful not to cover the flash as this is a common error especially with portrait shots.

Keep snapping and remember practice is all you need!

Some Photography Tips for Beginners

Photography may seem to involve highly complex and technical details but you cannot deny that some of the best photographs that have won international awards are those that are spontaneously ‘clicked in the moment’ bringing out the essence of the subject and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Of course, it helps to have the latest equipment and accessories in hand, but all that you require is that moment before each shot when your thought flow is in sync with the image you are capturing.

There are no doubt many guides and animated tutorials that can take you through the entire process; in general there are a few useful tips to keep in mind that can make an ordinary photograph a better one. Here, it should be understand that these tips are suitable mostly for beginners and non-technical camera people who like to take pictures to keep a travelogue or record images of vacations, family occasions and trips etc.

The basic premise of shooting photographs is to:

• Preserve pleasant memories of travels and vacations,
• Compile albums of family, friends, colleagues and pets,
• Get that adrenaline rushing through on seeing a well-taken photograph, and
• Just enjoy the feel of the camera in hand.

1. The first and foremost tip is to ‘be as close to the subject as possible’: often we see a photograph of a sunset which is the original intended subject, but because the distance was too much or the reach of the camera was too far, other objects appear in the frame that were not intended to be there. Finer details are more important as compared to overall views and the subject of the photograph must fill the frame as much as possible.

2. Speed and ‘quick to the draw’: “Shoot first ask questions later” is an oft repeated motto. That applies very well to photographing live subjects. Children, pets, wildlife and many others can get fidgety and dart around or not be interested in posing for that “perfect shot”. Sometimes candid shots like a laughing, pouting, somersaulting child or a leaping pet make beautiful memories and the best tip for someone choosing to shoot photographs in situations like these is always being ready and prepared to click at a moment’s notice.

3. Get the composition right: Nothing is more balanced than a picture in which all the elements are in place. Composition involves following the eye along the lines and contours of the subject and background, keeping a level horizon and taking out the extra elements that can skew the balance and symmetry.

4. Being selective: it may not always be possible to get the best shot in terms of symmetry and focus; in which case, the best option is to use the main subject as the pivot in the picture and blur out anything from the frame that doesn’t need to be there.

5. Focus and depth-of-field: some basic knowledge about different apertures helps to get good results. For example, pictures of people, children and pets stand out clearly against a blurred background using smaller depth-of-field whereas landscapes and outdoors turn out better when greater depth-of-field puts everything from the closest tree to the farthest one in the frame focused clearly.

6. Shutter Speed: Shutter speeds help take photographs of moving subjects by helping slow down time or catch split-second motions.

7. Be aware of the light conditions – direct or blazing light go well if bold colors and subject are in sync, indirect or subdued light provide soft and warm glows, side lights give silhouettes and provide dramatic relief.

8. The weather plays an important role: deep blue skies puffed with white fluffy clouds are always a delight as the colors turn out perfectly, so do rainy days in a black and white detail.

9. Keeping camera settings simple: If you are shooting mostly outdoors, tweak settings and keep them as simple as possible. Here’s where semi-automatic programs that allow aperture control and shooting.

10. Be bold and experimental: photography guides can only teach you so many things. Being imaginative, creative and playing around often brings more joy than just shooting perfect pictures.

Photography Tutorials For Beginners

One of the best ways to learn is from tutorials. That’s why I’m going to show you how to find the best photography tutorials for beginners.

However, before we get into that, it’s crucial that you have a basic understand of how the camera and composition works. Otherwise you would end up simply following the steps in the tutorial without really knowing what you do, or learn things that you don’t know how to apply in a real life situation.

What is the first thing I need to know?

The first thing you need to know is how to use your camera. Just knowing how to push down the shutter button is not enough.

If words like aperture, shutter speed or ISO sound like Greek to you, then these are the first photography concepts you need to master. For beginners, these terms often seem a bit complicated, but once you’ve learn what they do and experimented a bit with them, you will have the basic understanding to enable you to benefit from most tutorials.

Composition

Once you’ve mastered the camera, the next thing you need to learn is composition.

All though there are rules and guidelines for composition, the best way to learn how to compose a picture, is to take a lot of pictures. There is only so much you can learn from just reading about it.

To help you get started, keep the following things in mind:

– Avoid distractions in the picture that can draw the attention away from the subject

– Experiment by taking some vertical photos

– Remember that you can use software like Photoshop to crop your pictures on the computer.

Lenses

One of the greatest advantages by owning a DSLR is that you can easily change lenses. The reason why this is important is that the lens greatly determines how the image will turn out.

If you want to do landscape photography, you want a good wide-angle lens. If you’re more a fan of portraits, you should get a good telephoto lens. And if you want to get really close, like taking a picture of an ant, you need to make sure that your lens is capable of macrophotography.

However, even if you’re stuck with a fixed lens camera, you can still do some cool stuff.

Now that you know what you need to know to get the most out of photography tutorials for beginners, let’s get started.

Why Use Photoshop Software and Finding the Best Tutorial For Adobe Photoshop

This tutorial for Adobe Photoshop is ideal for anybody looking at the real advantages of using this Adobe software in order to edit your digital photos and images. If you are looking for a variety of tutorials for Adobe Photoshop, you way get overwhelmed by the millions of pages offered by Google search results. If you want a more defined Google search results for any tutorial for Adobe Photoshop, then use “” – for example “Tutorial For Adobe Photoshop CS5/CS4/CS3/CS2” etc. This way you will find what you are looking for a lot easier.

Photoshop is an amazing piece of computer software that allows its users to manipulate and create images. The use of Photoshop is pervasive throughout the professional worlds of photography and graphic design. The first version of Photoshop hit the market in 1990 as a Macintosh product; it is now on its eleventh release and compatible with any system. Why should you use Photoshop?

Photoshop gives you an enormous advantage over designing with a paper and pen. You can easily fix your mistakes without any messy erasing. There are a variety of templates for the less artistically inclined to choose from. Also, a finished Photoshop product invariably looks more professional than a hand-drawn product.

Once you have decided to invest in image editing software, you may notice that Photoshop is a very costly product. Current versions of Photoshop CS4 run between $500 and $600. It is possible to find much cheaper image editing software and some computers even come with a factory-installed program. However, there are four broad reasons why you should use Photoshop over other cheaper or free image editing software. These four reasons are: versatility, a user-friendly interface, easy access to training, and a variety of functions.

Versatility: There is very little that Photoshop is not able to accomplish for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur photographer who wants to do some simple cropping to family snapshots. Conversely, top photographers and graphic design professionals use Photoshop for image creation and editing.

User-friendly interface: Photoshop was designed with the consumer in mind. No specialized programming skills are needed and its drawing canvas, where images are created, is WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get. Many elements of Photoshop are similar to other computer programs. For example, the menu bar has the same file, edit, view, and help options as Microsoft Word. The tools in the toolbox modify your pointer so that you will remember what tool you are using.

Easy access to training: Because Photoshop is an immensely popular software tool, there are a plethora of books, online tutorials, and college courses available to train the new user in the workings of Photoshop. You can not only find information suitable for a beginner, but also a detailed description of some of Photoshop’s most advanced tools.

Variety of functions: Photoshop is able to perform an almost endless variety of image edit and creation functions.

Photo manipulation – take a downloaded or scanned photo and reduce red-eye and other imperfections, crop the photo, or change the sharpness or contrast of the image

Painting and drawing – use the drawing canvas and toolbox to create new images

Graphic design – take scanned artwork or artwork created in Photoshop itself and add layers, gradients, and much more to create graphic art that sells.

Typography and page layout – Photoshop allows you to manipulate both text and image on the same drawing canvas but in different layers. This allows you to create presentations and other projects that require a juxtaposition of text and image.

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