Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

DPA Magazine

How the “Aperture Priority” camera setting can transform “snapshots” into compelling images that tell a story.

How the “Aperture Priority” camera setting can transform “snapshots” into compelling images that tell a story. The aperture setting controls the “depth of field,” i.e., how much of the photo will be in focus, and how much will be blurred. “Small” or “Narrow” aperture (e.g. f 22) = a deep depth of field “Big” or “Wide” aperture (e.g. f 4.0) = a shallow depth of field Below are two examples of shallow and deep depth of field photos: f 4 – the area in focus is shallow So, foreground is rendered sharp and background is blurred f 22 – the area in focus extends from front to back – i.e. deep Below are two more shallow depth of field photos (“large” e.g. f 4.0 aperture). WHAT is in focus (that is, the foreground or the background) is determined by what the photographer focuses on. If he focuses on something in the foreground, the shallow depth of field created by the large aperture will necessarily blur the background. Conversely, focusing on the background will blur the foreground elements. TIP: This effect is most effectively achieved: a) With your camera set to aperture priority (“A” (Nikon) or “AV” Canon), select the widest aperture available (e.g. as close to f/2.8 as possible), b) Position yourself (and your subject, if posssible) so that the foreground and background elements are not too close together, and c) Use a telephoto lens, or if a zoom lens, zoom it OUT to its longest focal length (e.g. zoom your 35-100 mm lens to 100m) The combination of these three things will give your camera the best chance of capturing this effect, i.e. “isolating” the subject in a shallow depth of field. UNDERSTANDING AND MASTERING THIS SIMPLE TECHNIQUE WITH A BIT OF PRACTICE WILL MAKE A VAST DIFFERENCE IN THE QUALITY OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES


REMEMBER--PIXELS ARE FREE Rebecca Bozarth  attended a session led by DPA Instructor, Ken Ross, at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and beautifully exemplified the old Photo Adage, that "Pixels Are Free" so take as many images as you can, from every angle because you may not have another chance!! In fact, as we should have guessed, Rebecca is not the typical Digital Photo Academy student. She is a professional photographer in Atlanta, Georgia, who owns her own design company, Fotografia Film & Design  She is a SCAD Atlanta graduate, and specializes in photography, videography, graphic, and web design. Great opening image with colorful floating orbs in the foreground to anchor the eye of the viewer and lead first to the Chihuly glass structure with adequate attention to the waterfall and of course the magnificent plant lady. The entire scene is upon us without too much focus on a detail or too far away so the impact of the scene is lost. Remember, either with your lens or your body or both, get closer. In this case the image is still anchored by the floating orbs but not all 4 and there is greater emphasis on the chihuly AND waterfall. The plant lady is left in the shadows. Now after closer go further back. The plant lady is shown in the context of the broader setting and creates a different perspective of the way she dwarfs the Chihuly. Interesting perspective. The colorful flowers in the foreground, green leaves included add a brightness to the overall image and compliment the Chihuly. Now back even closer than before to isolate the Chihuly and its relationship to the waterfall, grey stone to accentuate the artwork, with drama added with a shutter speed priority to catch the water in midstream. Even closer to allow the viewer to make a comparison and closer still. This one would might be favored by Chihuli himself even though a portion of his work is cut off. Now an emphasis on the plant lady in a vertical, enabling the viewer to take greater note to the water from the lady's hand. Chihuly is nice but the image works without its presence too. Same notion but this time horizontally and the photographer has a choice as does the viewer of the photo. This time the colorful orbs are missing and it is a study in green, enhancing the focus on the lady's face and arm. Another vertical with some complimentary yellow in the hair and closer look at the face of the lady This Chihuly might even be a completely different display but why not add it in to show the Art Deco, opaque whimsy of the man's creation.

Rule of Thirds Approach of Composition As Well As The Camera Control of Aperture Priority

Rule of Thirds Approach of Composition As Well As The Camera Control of Aperture Priority Greg Miller, one of the Digital Photo Academy instructors in the Hudson Valley chose to create the illusion that the sail boat, which was actually about 150 feet from the shore, was much further away and created an ethereal peaceful scene using the Rule of Thirds approach of composition as well as the camera control of Aperture Priority. But remember to move around a lot because there is always another compelling image in every setting. For example, student William Wilmot bided his time and focused closer on the boat, snapping the shutter just as the sun quickly winked at it. Additionally, he framed his main subject with the leaves in the foreground.

Even In Poor Lighting Conditions, Always Try. Pixels Are Free As They Say!

Even in poor lighting conditions, always try. Pixels are free as they say! With Landscape photographer, Greg Miller, Nana Greller was wandering beneath a thick canopy of trees amidst the soft light behind West Point Foundry, Preserve in Cold Springs, NY. It was a rainy Sunday, kind of low light that seemed to show no real promise, wondering of the possibilities for any photo worth keeping. Greg disagreed in regard to the potential and Nana came away with this lovely image, which is actually a fairly anemic waterfall, at least on that day, maybe not so piddly every day. The leaves frame the main subject nicely and the slow shutter speed priority renders a haunting version of the cascading water. Good job Nana.

Washigton, D.C. DPA Instructor Jim Tetro Shows Us Great Iphone Images Are Possible!

Washigton, D.C. DPA Instructor Jim Tetro Shows Us Great Iphone Images Are Possible!    

Composition Tips On Michael Willems’ Images

Composition Tips On Michael Willems' Images FRAMING the earth toned mall with the bold and contrasting red street symbol on the left where your eye is first drawn, then sending you across the street. It is enjoyable to study this image and note the details of the parallel street sign across, just above the traffic cop, who is looking at the man in the black shirt, as is the b/w street sign of a direction arrow. Continuing the man in the black shirt is looking back and upward toward the brown building that then takes you in to the recesses of the scene and back via the white truck. The eye and brain of the viewer are having a great time here. Another FRAMING Shot, exemplified by the arched entryway into the hall. PATTERNS AND COLORS are always visually pleasant. Note the added dimension with the green grocery flags at the top of the image. Another trick to create appealing images of produce is to go close up and fill the entire frame with the fruit or vegetable, turning the contents into a colorful abstraction. LEADING LINES of the produce draws the viewer in to the interior of the scene. LEADING LINES in this shot are combined with an ASYMMETRICAL focus on the strawberries in the foreground. Great way to tell the viewer what they are looking at by FRAMING the building with the sign on the lower left. So many composition options inside a church with stained glass windows. In this case work with PATTERNS and LEADING LINES PANNING to create the effect of speed and motion With a SIMPLISTIC red background this street portrait helps one to view the individual in an empathic way, particularly with the same red in the jacket. The dark shadow under the vehicle is also a PARALLEL in shape and color to his legs in black pants. He is leaning on a post that anchors the eye of the viewer into the narrative taking place to the left. The bird is flying away, and out of the frame but your gaze is anchored by the structure at the bottom of the image. The visual between the bird and the wall at the bottom can be referred to as NEGATIVE SPACE, playing the role of keeping your eye movement within the frame. APERTURE CONTROL, where the photographer focuses the scene, blurs the background in a dramatic and visually pleasing manner to create a focus on the bust. There is also a RULE OF THIRDS at play, creating a more dynamic layout instead of an image with the bust dead center. Sometimes an image with the main subject in dead center is exactly that, DEAD. Depending on SHUTTER SPEED, moving water can be captured as a smooth flow or a split second of action.

The Morning Light

Rick Gerrity, DPA Instructor in NYC and NJ, adding a splash of drama of this man on a horse. The morning light brought it home. 1. Time-Morning Light 2. Place of photo – Costa Rica 3. Name of Photographer and which Digital Photo Academy teacher is in-Rick Gerrity Digital Photo Academy instructor in NYC/NJ 4. f/stop-f 5.6 5. Shutter Speed-1/1600th sec 6.Back story- This image was made while leading a workshop with my business partner DPA Instructor, in Atlanta, Rob Knight in Costa Rica concentrating on freezing motion. 7. Lens- 35-100mm on a Panasonic Lumix GH4 8. How one might succeed with a version of the image if all they had was a cell phone- With a cell phone one may follow subject while pressing the shutter button creating a blurred background. A cell phone may or may not freeze the motion. Panning will ensure a sharp subject. 9. Photographer’s Strategy- Teaching the importance of lighting, being patient and getting the shot.. Composition regarding the rule of thirds..

Tip on Photographing the Hudson River

That photo was taken during the Sunday workshop and Long Dock Park. It was just a grab shot since I rarely shoot during a workshop. 24mm on full frame Nikon D810 camera, 0.6 second exposure at F18. Shutter speed was important to render the water texture just right, so shutter speed of 0.6 seconds was chosen, then F18 was chosen to render a good exposure. Exposure was intentionally 1 stop less than the meter reading. The camera meter wants to render the scene a middle gray, but at this time of day, the scene is darker than middle gray. Using the exposure meter’s setting would have caused the photo to be too bright. Story 1: The chap who sails this boat swims to and from it from shore. Note that the water temperature on April is still quite chilly. Story 2: Most photographers go to Long Dock Park at low tide to shoot the pilings in the river that are visible at low tide. This beautiful view south towards the Hudson Highlands near high tide is rarely photographed.  


BEAUTY IN THE EYE-Orlando Camera Club had a "Creative Macro" competition with results being presented this past Monday and David Montague walked away with the first place in this particular category. Says he, "I shoot with a Nikon D750 and used my 105mm macro lens.  I placed my son in a chair, underneath the lanai shade, and his wife more in the sun so she would show up better within his eye. Placed the camera on a tripod and positioned it within a few inches of his eye. Took quite a few shots to get the focus just right. As your aware, using a macro lens that tight is tough to get a sharp image unless everything is perfectly still."

Phone Apps Can Help You Create Great Effects With Your Phone

The photo is two images…the location of the moon rise while we were at Church Street Station was over a high-rise apartment building. So, we hoofed it to Lake Eola. To get it into position near the fountain wasn’t happening, and to get the exposure right for both wasn’t going to happen either. So, I shot the moon and fountain separately with this double exposure in mind. Attached is the picture straight out of the camera. ISO 100, 1/80, f/11 Canon 100-400L @ 400mm.   Note that I used a simple app called PicBender; it just puts one picture on top of the other. Photoshop requires many more steps. John Cullum, Jr., Orlando DPA Instructor

©2007-2016 Digital Photo Academy | How To Use Your Digital Camera