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DSLR Guide News - How to Break Photographer's Block
September 01, 2009
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Digital SLR Q & ALast month I launched my new Digital SLR Question & Answer page, and the submissions have been non-stop ever since.
My apologies if you've been waiting for awhile for me to answer your question - I'm trying to get to each one in turn.
For the readers of the newsletter, I've decided that it will be helpful to feature a new question each month.
Sometimes I will have already provided an answer of my own, but sometimes I won't - if I don't know the answer to your question, there might be someone out there who does.
Whether or not I have provided an answer to someone's question, I encourage you to add input of your own. Anyone can comment on a question, and the response of the community will be far more valuable in the long run that just my own opinion.
This month's question is a good one, since it gets right to the heart of the 4-step process that I recommend when you're searching for the best digital SLR.
In step 1, I suggest that you take some time to consider what you want to photograph with your camera. Still life photographers don't need the same features as action photographers.
But what if - when it comes to photography - you'd like to "do it all"?
For those who are undecided about just what - or who - they'd like to photograph, this question is for you: What if I can't pick a photography style?
New Article: Canon T1i 500D Guideread the entire article - but I'll also take this opportunity to quickly summarize my impressions of this camera.
First and foremost, the Canon 500D is really for people who want video with their stills.
If you have no desire to capture video, then stick with the perfectly capable Canon XSi 450D. I see few reasons to spend the extra money on the 500D.
If you do want to capture digital video with this camera, be prepared for the enormous file sizes that are created by even a short video segment.
You'll need large, fast SD memory cards, a modern memory card reader (for faster transfer speeds), and a computer with plenty of free hard drive space.
If you'd like to upload the videos you capture, be prepared for long waits even with super-fast Internet connections.
For still-image photography, the Canon T1i 500D is a solid performer - autofocus is extremely fast and quite accurate (even under challenging conditions) and images captured by the camera are sharp and colorful.
The 500D produces very little noise, even at very high ISO settings, making it a good choice for photographers who often shoot in dim available light.
The live view mode is slow, but this is pretty much true for all of the digital SLRs of 2009. One notable difference from other cameras is that the 500D uses a separate button to autofocus in live view (rather than the standard shutter release button) - this can throw you off when you're used to pressing the shutter release to activate autofocus.
I was impressed with the quality of images captured with the kit lens, and found it useful for both landscape and portrait photography.
One great thing about the T1i 500D is how small and light it is - when the camera first arrived in the mail I thought something was wrong...the box it comes in is way too small.
This isn't a bad thing - it's just evidence that both the camera and kit lens are compact - this makes the T1i 500D a great choice if you want to tote your DSLR everywhere you go.
The Rule of ThirdsI spend a lot of time in these newsletters talking about the technical side of digital SLR cameras - how to leverage settings like aperture, ISO, white balance, etc.
But I realized that I have not devoted any time to the other side of photography which is equally important: how to create interesting compositions.
It's pretty easy to get caught up in the marketing hype that surrounds the release of any new camera - it's also easy to be awed by the feature set offered on any particular model.
But here's a fact, and this one has been true for a LONG time: a cheap camera in the hands of an experienced photographer will capture better images than the world's most expensive camera in the hands of an amateur.
This is because a lot of what makes an image interesting to look at is how the photographer chose to compose it.
A plain composition won't be that interesting to look at - regardless of the camera used to take the shot - while a dynamic composition will hold your eye for a long period of time.
So how do you create dynamic compositions that are interesting to look at?
The first step is a technique called the Rule of Thirds.
To apply the Rule of Thirds, mentally divide the image you see in the viewfinder (or on the LCD) into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.
The dividing lines will create 9 individual "boxes" in the viewfinder - instead of placing your subject within the boxes, place your subject along the imaginary lines.
Let's see how this concept can be applied to different types of photography:
When you're photographing small subjects and people, you have an opportunity to place the most important part of the photo at the INTERSECTION of the lines which is a subtle yet powerful way of drawing attention to a specific part of the image.
If you look at a lot of photos taken by professionals, you won't see the Rule of Thirds applied with any sort of consistency.
This is because the Rule of Thirds really is a starting point for further exploration of composition. Pros have taken enough photos to know when they can break the Rule of Thirds and still capture an image with impact.
But for anyone just starting out, the consistent application of the Rule of Thirds will yield a better-looking image just about every time.
Other Photography Sites
Great Photo Blogs
Recommended Digital SLR Retailers(These are the three online stores that I use to purchase all of my digital SLR photography gear)
In ConclusionIt's a shorter newsletter this month thanks in large part to the work that I was doing to complete the Canon T1i 500D guide.
I'm going to take a break from camera guides this month to turn my attention to the pages of the site that haven't been updated in some time.
I'll announce updates as they happen on the Digital SLR Guide's Facebook page, but will also present a summary of changes in next month's newsletter.
Until then, happy picture taking!
--Chris Roberts, Your Digital SLR Guide
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