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How do you take better pics?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
yes, that is my question. My pics are not so good at all. I would like to take some more pics and better pics. I don't have a fancy digital camera - pentax optio S30. What would you suggest?
post #2 of 16
Lighting has alot to do with it. Good natural lighting is best. So is a still subject which can be hard with animals. I think those are the 2 biggest things aside from camera quality. But a 5mp camera should be more than enough for good home shots.
post #3 of 16
Also, keep in mind the surroundings (background), and since you have a digital, take lots of pics from different angles, etc. and you will start to see what works with your cats . Also, investigate what settings you have on your camera, and experiment with them. And don't take my pics here as a good example- I tend to be a "I don't care if she is sitting on your dirty underwear- look at that precious expression on her face" and "Yea, yea, I know the sun shining in the lens, but I just wanted a picture of the moment!" kind of person, while my DH and my MIL (who took a photography pic or two ) get great pics that take forever to set up (to me! ). Good luck!
post #4 of 16
My first 'real' camera was a Pentax ME Super 35mm. I say 'real' because before it, I had only used the 110 cameras...which you might not even be familiar with...they're pretty old. Anyway, with my Pentax I was able to take some amazing shots! Lighting does have a lot to do with it as well as your subject being still for you...but I've taken awesome shots where the lighting was at a minimal and the subject not so still.

I think it depends more on what you mean by ''better pics''. Are your pics blurry? Is the main subject off-center? These are easy fixes. To avoid blurry pics...make sure you keep your elbows in to your sides when taking the shot...sometimes I take a deep breath and hold it when I press the button too. As for your subject being off center...if it is something that is not going crazy running around (like say...a cat!)...then take take to look into your viewfinder and pay attention to what is surrounding your main subject. If you don't like the background or where you main subject is located...then try shooting it from a different angle.


Good luck!
Hilda>^..^<
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirst View Post
yes, that is my question. My pics are not so good at all. I would like to take some more pics and better pics. I don't have a fancy digital camera - pentax optio S30. What would you suggest?
Turn the flash OFF on your camera. The picture below was taken with the flash OFF. Having the flash on is what produces the red eye in your cat or completely washes out your cat's eyes. IMO a cat's eyes are what produces a good picture or a bad picture. Almost all bad cat photos are those that have problems with the cat's eyes and these problems are almost always caused by using flash. In the picture below, I took the photo with NO flash, and then used my photo editor to add the flash (brightness/contrast) later. This also allows you to leave distractions in the background dark so that they do not take away from the focal point of the picture. So, try using available light and then adding the light you want and where you want with your photo editor AFTER you take the picture. In this manner, you will never have washed out or red cat eyes. Almost every camera comes with some type of free photo editor that will allow you to do this to some degree. My photo editor has the option of a "light studio" that allows you to add spot or flood lighting AFTER the picture has been taken so that you can get the lighting effect you desire without using flash.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
So im guessing looking through the viewfinder is the best way. Well I have a little problem that causes me shake when holding something small steady, like a camera. I love my camera is so compact i can carry it anywhere. I have had for about 3 years and it is only 3.2MP. I will take the advice here with a open mind and i better get practice and hopefully i'll get better with time.
post #7 of 16
I think the best thing about digitals is that you can take lots and lots of pics.
You are bound to end up with one or two really good ones and delete the rest
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirst View Post
So im guessing looking through the viewfinder is the best way. Well I have a little problem that causes me shake when holding something small steady, like a camera. I love my camera is so compact i can carry it anywhere. I have had for about 3 years and it is only 3.2MP. I will take the advice here with a open mind and i better get practice and hopefully i'll get better with time.
If you have a problem holding the camera steady (I do too) try to find something solid to rest on.
post #9 of 16
Natural light pictures always turn out better than my flash pictures.

I Don't have a very good camera though either.
post #10 of 16
I always keep the flash on. I have a 5MP Kodak and unless there is alot of light and unless I'm REALLY still (my hands always shake) the pics come out either dark, blurry, or both if I don't have the flash on. If you have photo editing software you can always fix kitty red eye.
post #11 of 16
It's possible to get a good picture with a flash -- but in my experience, it's very, very rare. I'd much rather have a natural-looking photo that's a little bit dim than a stark, bleached-out picture that looks like the kitty is witnessing a nuclear blast!

One thing I've tried occasionally is taping a small piece of tissue paper over the flash on my camera. The tissue reduces the amount of light that reaches the subject, and also diffuses the light a little bit, so the effect isn't as intense.

But if you try that, you have to bear in mind that the camera's auto-exposure feature "thinks" it's getting the full amount of light the flash generates, so the shot will be underexposed -- which means the technique is not useful in very low-light situations. But if you just need a little more definition in the shot, or if your subject is moving a lot and you just need the faster shutter speed the flash gives you, this can work very nicely. The relatively slight underexposure can almost always be compensated for in Photoshop or another software editing program.

(By the way -- please don't take my sig as an example of my idea of a good photo. It's just the best I have available on this computer... I haven't transferred all my data from the old one yet.)

I don't have a digital camera myself, so I don't have the luxury of taking lots and lots of shots -- but as Anakat said, that's really the way to go. Just keep snapping as the cat moves, and you'll eventually capture something wonderful!
post #12 of 16
I very rarely use the flash on mine, and when I do, I can tell how bad the pics look compared to non flash pics.

You can use natural light, which I find makes the kitties eyes 'pop' but indoor lighting (compared to a camera's flash which also tends to make the cats close their eyes) can also be ok

To give you an idea, these three pics were taken at different times (and therefore light) but he is kinda in the same area

with indoor lights on & no flash

and in daylight


with flash (angled at the floor not at Scully)


The one with indoor light doesn't wash out his features, but it isn't as crisp after being lightened using photoshop, and some cheaper versions of software look a lot more 'pixely' with lightening than photoshop does.

The natural light pic just 'pops' the colours stand out much better and the picture is sharper

I have many washed out pics of flash as I am sure everyone does, but you can take a semi decent pic with flash. Personally, I much prefer taking pics without it, but if you angle the camera at the floor in front of the kitty, or off to the side, you can crop the pic to the area you want, get the extra light you need and get an ok photo.
post #13 of 16
When you get your next camera , get one with image stablization- it's great! And it comes on the mid priced cameras now (mine retails for around $270, but I got it on an exceptional clearance, as it was the floor model and someone threw away the box with all the stuff in it ). Having had it and gotten to play with it now, I would have paid full price . The cats broke the zoom button on my last one...

I also have a portable tripod from Walmart for about $14, for low light shots, and it's pretty easy to use and tote about- it folds up to about a foot long.
post #14 of 16
Icklemiss, what a great post! And your three shots are perfect illustrations of your point. The natural light shot is just gorgeous...

By the way, the avatar you used to use, of the kitten licking the screen -- I loved that kitten! But I'll be happy to Think Pink until the kitten comes back...
post #15 of 16
Everyone has given such great advice. I can only agree that I like to take pics of the cats with NO FLASH in bright natural light whenever possible. Of course, we know that's not always possible.

And thank you for the tip about the tissue paper over the flash, I'll have to try that!
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Icklemiss, what a great post! And your three shots are perfect illustrations of your point. The natural light shot is just gorgeous...

By the way, the avatar you used to use, of the kitten licking the screen -- I loved that kitten! But I'll be happy to Think Pink until the kitten comes back...
Thanks It helps that my cats think they should be on Americas Next Top Model and pose for pics too

I will bring the kitten back just for you
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