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Getting Proper Exposure With a DSLR Camera

Photography by Lisa Hopkins
Those who have only used a point and shoot in the past are now turning to DSLR cameras to get more control over the quality of their photos.  Still, without proper knowledge of your camera, you won’t be able to unlock the full capability of it.  The most common error that photographers make is either overexposing or underexposing their pictures.  With DSLR cameras becoming more user friendly, you will find that it’s easy to manually control the exposure of your photos.

It doesn’t take a trained eye to notice when a photo is over or underexposed.  Just about anyone can see these faux pas.  In photography, exposure refers to the amount of light that is captured by a camera.  When too much light is let through the lens, it creates an overexposed photo that appears washed out.  When a photo is underexposed, it will appear too dark and its detail will be lost in the shadowed areas.  The goal of the photographer is to find just the right amount of light to achieve the proper exposure.

A properly exposed photo can be achieved in three ways: changing the aperture, the ISO setting, and the shutter speed.  The aperture measures how wide the lens opens when the camera takes a picture and is a large factor in how a picture will turn out.  It is measured in numbers called F-stops that determine how wide the lens needs to open for a properly exposed picture.  For instance, an F-4 aperture will let more light in than an F-16.  When shooting a bright scene, you will need to set your aperture to a high setting for the picture to turn out right.

The ISO setting represents the sensitivity of the image sensor.  For instance, a high ISO will be able to capture every droplet of water falling from a waterfall, whereas a low ISO will show the water as a blur.  Though the ISO setting will have the least effect on exposure out of the three, in low light, a high ISO is preferable.  Still, this setting should be used with caution as the higher the ISO, the grainier your picture will become.

The shutter speed affects the amount of time perceived in a photo.  A long shutter speed will blur any movement, whereas a short shutter speed will take a picture with a crisp scene.  The shutter also affects the amount of light that is let through the lens making it important for proper exposure.  In terms of exposure, a long shutter speed will let more light through the lens than a shorter shutter speed.  The longer that the shutter is open, the more shakiness and movement will be in the picture.  The best way to overcome this is to use a tripod when you are taking photos with a long shutter speed.

The key to taking a great picture is being able to accurately adjust the settings of your camera to ensure that your photo is properly exposed.  Though it may take some time to become familiar with the way that the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed affect different settings and lighting conditions, understanding these settings will greatly improve the look and clarity of your photos.  Unless you are playing with exposure for artistic purposes, these tips will help keep you from unintentionally overexposing or underexposing your photos.

Canvas Printing

Printing on canvas is incredibly versatile and a great way to create a ready-to-hang image or artwork. Every canvas that we print  is protected with a UV coated acrylic finish to guard the print from dust, moisture and fading. Do you want your canvas stretched on bars or non-stretched? Framed or unframed? Customize the work to make it truly your own.

Art Prints – How are they made?

Photography by Laurie Barone-Shafer
Nowadays just about anyone can take a good quality photographs with a digital camera. Or take a few hundred pictures and the chances are few will be good, and even one or two outstanding.

Here are a few tips, tricks and techniques on how to make art print poster ready photographs and print ready digital files. Don’t get overwhelmed, there is a lot of information here, but a lot of it is just intuitive. Well, a bit of patience will always help.

First thing – Photo Size

If you taking a digital photo of you family or friend the largest size you would print is usually 5 by 7 inches, maybe 8 by 10 at the most. Even small size digital photographs (2MB or less) are ‘good enough’ to create a decent print. But if you want to create prints that are 16 by 20, 20 by 24 inches or larger you need more pixels (in pixels 20 by 24 inches photo is actually about 40 times larger than 3 by 4 inches photo assuming they have the same resolution).

Learning to Paint Watercolors

Watercolor is an easy, fun medium for creating art.  Color theory, composition and design can be explored freely with watercolor paint, paper, and brushes.  Several techniques may be used with watercolors for varying effects including painting wet on wet, wet on dry, layering washes, and more.

Watercolor paper comes in cold press, hot press, and rough.  Rough paper has the most texture, and its hills and valleys can result in interesting effects when paint is added.  Hot press is the smoothest and has the finest texture.  Cold press has a moderate amount of texture and is the paper most commonly chosen by watercolor artists.

Watercolor paper comes in several weights ranging from 90 lb. to 300 lb. based on the pounds per ream of paper.  Most artists prefer to use at least 140 lb. paper.  Papers vary somewhat between manufacturers, so sampling different papers is advisable.  Paper can be purchased in pads, in blocks or in large sheets.  The large sheets are usually the most economical and can be torn into whatever size is desired.

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