Let’s look at some of the key features that spoil good picture:
• Noisy snowy pictures?
• Badly lit?
• Off colour?
• Too light or too dark?
• Subject too far away?
An out of the box Bachmann 3MT. This has been shot under the
layout's own built in flu lighting which gives nice even illumination.
Before we take any pictures, we need to be sure that what we record has the potential to be the best quality possible. Always use the finest and biggest – it really does matter! If you’re taking pictures for the printed page, always shoot at the best quality jpeg. The computer screen is quite forgiving, the printed page isn’t. If you’ve leant the camera to the kids or Aunty Mabel, the ‘ordinary’ quality will be fine, after all there’s no point in filling up precious memory with stuff you’ll probably delete anyway (with apologies to any Mabels out there that are top photographers). For serious photography, only ‘Superfine’ (this term may vary depending on camera make) will do. You’ll know when you’ve found it, because it will be the setting that gives you the least number of pictures on your card. Good things come at a price!
Size does matter!
Keep the camera still, the slightest movement
during exposure will spoil the shot
Noisy snowy pictures?
With the flash turned off when in dark places, you might well find that you get snowy noisy looking pictures? This is because your camera has automatically boosted its sensitivity. Whilst this may be fine for that boozy snapshot down the pub, you probably won’t want to see this effect in your pictures. Check your camera instruction and you should be able to adjust the camera’s ISO, this being the international standard used to rate digital cameras and film’s sensitivity to light. Simply speaking, the lower the number (ISO) the less noisy or grainy the picture will appear. For this reason we need to ideally select the lowest ISO.
A small bean bag is a great tool. It stops the
camera from damaging the layout and keeps the camera
nice and still
• Fill the frame!
• Keep the camera totally still, rest it on something, tripod, bean bag? Use the ‘self timer’ for hands free operation.
• Select ‘macro’ for close up work.
• Turn that flash off! Light your subject properly, daylight is free and ideal! Experiment with your layout’s own lighting too.
• Check your white balance, ‘auto’ may not always be best – experiment with other settings.
• Use the lowest ISO to minimise noise.
• Always use ‘superfine’ and ‘large’ – size really does matter!
• Get rid of that dust and thumb print on the lens!
• Make sure your subject is clean dust free!