Fun Photo Effects

Shooting Lightning – Isn’t it amazing how photographers are able to shoot lightning? Well the process is really simple. All you just need is a wide – open landscape with lightning strikes, a tripod and your camera

Long exposures are required to capture lightning as it passes through the atmosphere. Well, some photographers are comfortable with really long exposures (some lasting between five to seven minutes)

“Cut” the exposures into bite-sized pieces (about 30 seconds each). Combine all the photos were you recorded the featured lightning strikes and combine them all into one photo. This can be done with Adobe Photoshop if you are comfortable with it.

You could still get good photos if you are not comfortable with image editing software. Just get a good tripod stand to keep your camera still during the exposure to reduce image noise to a minimum. Image noise is a fact of life you can’t remove completely.

Blurring and Dynamic Movement – Blurring is disliked by many, but when well used as an image effect could look very cool! Motion blurs could be accomplished by using a tripod stand and reducing your shutter speed.

As most DSLR cameras have a pre-set shutter speed of 1/100 or 1/250, try cutting down the shutter speed to just 1/50 and see what happens. With a good background and a moving subject, you could easily achieve a motion blur straight out of the camera.

You could achieve cool effects by placing your camera on a tripod and rail system so that it can move along with your subject. With the right timing, your subject will be clear and highly detailed, while the rest of the image will be blurred by the motion of the camera. Do not forget timing is important and don’t be afraid to make mistakes when trying out motion blurring.

I can understand your disappointment when you take pictures of waterfalls and other bodies of water that feature a lot of movement, just to get a still photo without life and without subject justice. To be able to create an illusion of movement in our photo, all you have to do is focus your camera and increase the exposure time. Blurring will be created easily within 30 seconds and there you are enjoying your output.

Waterproof Digital Camera Review

An underwater camera allows you to capture parts of the world most people only see on screen savers. The photos taken from below the water line (or AT the water line) make for a great photo album, scrapbook, etc. They add tons of color, depth (literally AND figuratively!), and spark a whole different level of nostalgia in the memory when recalling the unique experiences shared in marine situations. But since most cameras you’d have on vacation can’t handle more than a few drops of sea spray, why should the whole poolside/underwater/starboard-side portion of the trip settle for living solely in your mind’s eye due to your existing non-water-compliant camera’s technological shortcomings?

If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to carry as little around as possible when going on a vacation, especially one where a lot of time will be spent by the water. Many people usually lug around a digital camera for pictures above the water and a separate underwater camera for capturing shots of the beauty below the surface. In most instances the underwater camera is bulky and awkward, and takes up lots of unnecessary space. Price and quality are reflexive properties too for these specialized cameras, and pictures taken with disposable cameras are very poor quality. This doesn’t have to be the case!

There are several finalists in the search for an underwater camera that doubles as an everyday digital camera. These cameras perform well underwater and are the same compact size as your traditional digital camera. I am very particular in choosing a reliable waterproof digital camera, and have done the legwork for you. After all, I want to make sure the photos from MY vacation are as high in quality as my memories will be, without spending next year’s vacation money on the camera itself! I ended up purchasing what I believe to be the best camera for wet and dry use: the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000.

I was drawn to Olympus for the reliable brand name and competitive pricing their cameras offered. Personally, I have had luck with this brand, and I am more likely to trust electronics that come from more well-known brands, as they tend to have better customer satisfaction rates -and better warranties.

There were many reviews available on the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000, which is the predecessor of the Tough 8000. All the reviews I read on the Tough 6000 seemed to be much better than what I read about the other all purpose, underwater digital cameras. Why did I not go with the Stylus 6000? Well, other than the fact that the Tough 8000 was newer, shinier and more recent, the 8000 had something to offer that its papa didn’t – DEPTH!!

While sounding like an amazing camera, the Stylus 6000 is rated to a depth of 10 feet. This is perfect for many average vacations involving water, like playing in the shallows at the resort pool, or puddle-jumping on an ATV tour. It’s also great for kayaking, general swimming, shallow snorkeling and taking pictures in the rain. As an avid snorkeler & free diver I needed something that could go deeper. The Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 is capable of going down to 33 feet with no special case or underwater housing, just the camera itself, AS IS! Most cameras with this capability are much larger and bulkier, which brings me to the next deciding factor for my purchase: SIZE!

Having an all in one camera was essential to my decision. I did not want to have to lug around two cameras, nor did I want some giant beast of an underwater camera. After all, I’m not filming a National Geographic special; I just want a compact camera that takes quality photos above and beneath the surface. Size-and-specs-wise, Stylus 8000 suited my needs just fine. The camera itself is 2.4×3.7x.85, and weighs 6.4 ounces. Photo image quality can be set up to 12 megapixels, which offers a lot of versatility, depending on your intended use. (Note: At 12 megapixels, you will have the opportunity to blow up that once-in-a-lifetime-I-can’t-believe-we-saw-this shot to poster size and show it off withOUT any blurriness or loss in detail!)

Also, the lithium-ion rechargeable battery is majorly impressive in terms of long battery life and short recharge time. It was used in and out of the water repeatedly throughout each day with no low battery problems. A major improvement from typical AA battery cameras. Also, the low battery level indicator gives you plenty of warning, so you have a chance to either get to a charger or become picky with when to turn the camera on so you don’t miss out on the most special shots.

A final but VERY important factor I feel I should mention when talking about owning a reliable digital camera, whether intended for use above or below the water, is ease of use for others. Yes, this camera has a great timer for self portraits – even a self-portrait mode – and the owner will usually be the photographer, but it’s nice to have the option to hand that camera over and say cheese once in awhile. With the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000, point and shoot is easy to do with little technological background. The screen is a nice size for previewing (2.7 inch LCD display), autofocus is effortless, and the shooting button is right on the top! For more ambitious portrait-takers, the 3.6x optical zoom is easy to maneuver, and there are many picture modes, including Portrait, Sunset, Indoor….even Panoramic. There is even a Face Detection function that will autofocus figures in the picture – just in case Aunt Ruthy had a few too many when she was lining up the family table shot at Thanksgiving!

Make Breathtaking Photos

Pick Your Spots Carefully

If you take your time to review the stunning photos captured by your colleagues, you will start to discover certain patterns. There is a particular one that emerges from the pile of the miscellaneous others – unique perspective.

You can easily notice that some of the photos of world-famous architectural masterpieces are simply more stunning than others. Why? Because a photographer picked an interesting spot to take photographs from.

Practice Composition

Every great photo follows the rules of great composition. If you are completely unfamiliar with composition in photography, the first thing you should learn is the rule of thirds. You should look at your photo as if were a tic-tac-toe (3×3) board. If you check the work of your colleagues, you will soon discover that they place interesting objects on the intersection of these lines.

This bit takes a lot of practice. Start by using the grid system most DSLRs and smartphones already have. After some time, you will develop an instinct to place the objects of your photography spontaneously in these spots.

Play with Lighting

Lighting is also one of the factors that plays a crucial role in the making of a stunning photo. If you are a beginner photographer, you should start by learning a few tricks, such as when to position the object behind and in front of the light source, how to leverage lighting to emphasize something on the photo, etc.

If you like to take photos of landscapes and city scenes, try focusing your photography efforts on taking pictures during the golden hours. During the early morning and evening, the light is perfect for photography, and there are many pro photographers who swear by this rule. If you take photos indoors, you will have to invest into some lighting equipment to play with.

Photo Editing is a Must

All of the stunning photos that have been captured in the modern history of photography were tampered with. Lightroom and Photoshop can make a stunning image out of the ordinary and “meh” photographs. You should definitely start post processing your photos if you want to end up with diamonds in your hands.

On the other hand, many photographers don’t have time or simply don’t want to get involved in image editing. If you belong to this group of people, you can outsource your image editing to professionals with years of experience in image post processing software.

Compose A Great Photo

Rule Of Thirds

Compose your photo using the rule of thirds. Divide the picture area in to nine squares. Supposing you are taking a photograph of a landscape then the top one-third should be of the horizon and the bottom two-thirds should be of the scenery closer to you. You can also use this to compose the picture of a person by placing them in the central two squares and the back ground in the rest of the area of the picture. If it is a river or mountain in the background then place the person in the right or left bottom two squares of the composition while the river or mountain is placed on the side in the background.

Golden Triangle

When there are strong diagonal elements in the subject, divide the scenery into three triangles. A right-angled triangle occupies one half of the photo with the leading edge of the triangle running from one corner of the picture area to the other. The other half of the picture frame is divided into two right triangles by drawing a line from one corner to the diagonal. This draws attention to the strong elements in the bottom half where the two triangles are present. The other half is devoted to the background like a dark sky or a misty mountain.

Leading and Converging Lines

Here you take some lines like a road, a pathway edged on both sides by trees, a bridge leading towards the other end and composing a photo by drawing in the viewer’s eyes into the different elements that you want to highlight. Diverging lines distract the viewer away from the photo. So, take care when composing these photos.

The Fibonacci Spiral or Golden Spiral

Arranging the photographic elements in a Fibonacci spiral dramatically leads the viewers into the vortex of the picture. Take a spiral staircase or a whorl of a snail or a leaf delicately curled up and you get an idea of how this picture can be composed.