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Creative Tips For Compact Cameras

Hampton Photo, Art and Picture FramingCompact Cameras are great, their small size makes them more portable than DSLRs and their relatively low cost makes them accessible to a wide range of costumers.  While most people will use their compact cameras to document family trips and take snapshots of their friends, smaller cameras still offer enough control over their settings to allow users to take creative and beautiful photographs.

Most compact cameras do come with built in shooting modes to make sure you take the best picture possible.  Your camera's Macro Mode setting will allow you to take great close up photos.  This mode is perfect for taking close up pictures of flowers, insects or other small objects because it allows the camera to focus in on fine details.  If your subject is a bit larger, however, you may want to use your camera's Landscape Mode to make sure you focus in on details that are a good distance away.  The Low Light setting on your camera will allow you to take great photos indoors and at night while it’s Portrait Mode will use the best settings for a picture of your friend.  Even though compact cameras come with built in shooting modes their versatility doesn't end there.

A good compact camera will offer you a few options as to how it uses it's autofocus, generally these settings are Multi, Center, and Spot Autofocus.  Multi Autofocus will make the camera focus on a few elements in a photo ensuring that the majority of the photo will be in focus.  This mode is good for taking pictures of rooms, people, scenes and anything else that might require you to focus on objects that are different distances from the camera.

If you are taking a photo of a single object and want to draw attention to it then the Center Autofocus is your best option.  Centering the subject in the viewfinder and holding the shutter button down half way will cause the camera to focus in on that subject leaving it's surroundings slightly out of focus.  This is great for photos where you want the viewer’s attention focused in on a single element such as a wine glass or a bouquet of flowers.

The Spot Autofocus setting on your camera increases your control over the way the camera focuses even more.  This setting is much like the Center Autofocus but it tightens the area that the camera focuses on.  Spot Autofocus is ideal for situations where you want to focus in on a certain part of a single subject like the title printed on a book or food on the end of a fork.  The Spot setting is also great for smaller objects that don't require the use of the camera's Macro Mode.

In addition to different focus settings a good compact camera will offer you the same amount of control over the way the photo is metered.  Metering refers to the way the camera decides the proper settings for the aperture and exposure times.  In the days of film cameras a photographer had to manually adjust these settings to achieve a certain result but compact cameras speed this up by doing it automatically.  The two most useful metering modes for creative photography are the Center and Spot Metering Modes.  These work the same as the autofocus settings and will allow you use the best exposure settings for each photo.

While most of these settings work on elements that are close to the center of the frame you may find that you want to focus in on something that is closer to the left or right side of the viewfinder.  If you are using the Spot or Center Autofocus Mode then all you have to do is center the object or element in the viewfinder, press the shutter button down half way and hold it.  Doing this will lock the camera's focus on the object and allow you to move the camera without having it refocus on a different object.

This technique also works for the Spot and Center Metering Modes.  Lets say that you are taking a photo indoors with the sun shinning in the windows.  If you wanted to emphasize the light shinning in then pointing the camera at a darker area, like a shadow on the wall, and holding the shutter button down half way will set the camera's meter for a low light situation.  When you take the photo you will notice that the windows are bright and the light shinning in appears strong.  This technique works well for photos of candles or of small lights like on a Christmas tree and will give the lights a nice glow while still allowing you to capture darker details.

Compact cameras will allow you to mix and match different autofocus and metering modes to help you achieve very creative and artistic results.  Center Autofocus and Spot Metering would allow you to take a close up shot of lights on a tree while keeping part of the branch in focus and giving the lights an attractive glow.  Multi Autofocus and Center Metering would allow you to take a great photo of a dark room while keeping most of the room in focus.  When using custom settings it’s usually a good idea to take a couple shots using different settings to find out what works best for any particular photograph.

DSLR cameras may be known for having a large collection of adjustable settings but compact cameras offer enough control over their own settings to allow you to take stunning creative photos.  Most compact cameras have a lot of settings that are adjustable and some have special modes specific to that camera alone, it is important to always read your camera's manual and become acquainted with the different modes and settings it offers.  With the right settings you can take photos with a compact camera that are as good as any photo from a more expensive DSLR and still enjoy the benefits of it's small size and low cost.

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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