You are previewing The Shot Doctor: The Amateur’s Guide to Taking Great Digital Photos.
O'Reilly logo
The Shot Doctor: The Amateur’s Guide to Taking Great Digital Photos

Book Description

The Shot Doctor is a new kind of digital photography book that focuses on the “how-to” and less on the “how it works” or the technology behind the camera. This book is designed to be small enough to fit in your back pocket or in a camera bag. It is aimed at everyday parents, students, sporting enthusiasts, and average joes who just want to take decent pictures at their kids’ soccer games and dance recitals and who don’t aspire to make digital photography a hobby.

• Easy-to-follow when-why-how “recipes” help you set your camera to get great shots right away

• Beautiful full-color interior

• Step-by-step instructions for conquering everyday photography challenges, including sporting events, school recitals and performances, vacations, babies, children, and special events

• Simple explanations of camera controls help you understand when to use them, why they work, and how to use them

• Compact, stays-open design means you can carry it everywhere and refer to it while you’re taking pictures

• Visual before and after examples of common photography problems help you choose the right solution for your photography challenges

Mark Edward Soper has been using adjustable cameras since 1971 and digital cameras since 2000, for a total of more than 37 years as an enthusiastic and serious amateur photographer. Mr. Soper’s when-why-how approach to photography, which combines picture-based methods (take a picture, change settings, see how the picture improves), has been tested through years of teaching photography as well as by the hundreds of photographs he has taken for many of his books. Mark is the author of Easy Digital Cameras and Unleashing Windows Vista Media Center, as well as books on corporate and home networking, PC upgrades, home automation, and PC troubleshooting.

Category: Digital Photography

Covers: Digital Cameras

User Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Table of Contents

  1. The Shot Doctor
    1. About the Author
    2. Acknowledgments
    3. We Want to Hear from You!
    4. Reader Services
    5. Introduction
        1. A Better Book for Everyday Photography
    6. I. Solutions to Common Photo Problems
      1. 1. Quick Reference to Common Photo Problems
      2. 2. Quick Tour of Typical Digital Cameras
          1. Nikon Coolpix L3
          2. Canon PowerShot A580
          3. Kodak ZD8612
          4. Canon Digital Rebel XTI/EOS 400D
    7. II. Easy Camera Settings and their Limitations
      1. 3. Top Ten Problem Photo Situations—and How to Get Better Photos
          1. Snow/Beach/Water
          2. Graduation
          3. Birthday Candles
          4. Sparklers and Celebrations
          5. Concerts and Stage Shows
          6. Children at Play and in Groups
          7. Sidelighting and Backlighting
          8. Wedding Day
          9. New Baby
          10. Sports
      2. 4. What You Can (and Cannot) Do in Auto Mode
          1. Selecting Auto Mode
          2. What Auto Mode Does
          3. When Auto Mode Shines
          4. When Auto Mode has Problems
          5. Evaluating Your Photos
          6. Going Beyond Auto Mode
      3. 5. Using Scenes
          1. Understanding Scenes
            1. Types of Scene Settings
          2. How to Use Scenes
          3. Sunrise, Sunset
          4. Night
          5. Snow
          6. Interiors
          7. Other Scene Modes
          8. What Scenes Can’t Do
    8. III. Recipes for Better Digital Photos
      1. 6. Recipes for Better Indoor and Night Pictures
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Choosing the Right ISO
          3. Choosing the Right White Balance
          4. Using Electronic Flash
            1. Too-Dark Flash Photos
              1. Shooting at a Distance too Far from Your Subject
              2. Using Auto ISO or an ISO Below 400
            2. Too-Light Flash Photos
              1. Focus on the Background, Not the Subject
              2. Subject at Angle to the Camera or at Different Distances From Camera
            3. Off-Color Flash Photos
              1. Wrong White Balance Setting
              2. Mixed Lighting
          5. Available Light at Home
            1. Birthday Candles
            2. Group Activities without Flash
            3. Group Activities with Flash
            4. Playtime
          6. Window Light at Home
            1. Dealing with “Spotlight” Effect from Direct Sun, Dark Background
            2. Dealing with Backlit Subjects
          7. Indoor Sporting Events
            1. Prefocus on Where Your Subject will be Instead of Trying to Track Them
            2. Use Panning If You Can’t Use a Really Fast Shutter Speed
            3. If You Have an Add-On Flash, Put It to Work
            4. Choose the Right Autofocus Method to Track a Moving Subject
          8. Night Sporting Events
            1. Look for Shots that Capture the Mood If You Can’t Capture the Action
            2. Prefocus on the Playmaker
            3. Use Manual Focus If Your Camera Supports It
          9. Churches and Museums
          10. Concerts and Performances
          11. Fireworks
          12. Portraits
          13. Campfires
          14. Pets
          15. Mixed Lighting
      2. 7. Recipes for Better Daytime Pictures
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Choosing the Right Aperture
            1. Portraits
            2. Landscapes
          3. Choosing the Right ISO
            1. When to Use a Higher (Faster) ISO
            2. When to Use a Lower (Slower) ISO
          4. Choosing the Right White Balance
          5. Choosing the Right Shutter Speed
          6. Landscapes
            1. Directional Lighting
          7. Buildings and Architecture
            1. Why Details Matter
            2. Shooting From the Inside to Capture Special Details
          8. Children
            1. Get Closer...and Use the Right Framing
            2. How to Unclutter the Background
          9. Shooting at Dawn and Dusk
            1. Sunrise, Sunset
            2. Buildings at Dusk
          10. Better People Photos
            1. Avoid Overhead Lighting
            2. Backlight Is Flattering, But Watch the Exposure
            3. Distracting Background? Blur It Away
          11. Action Air-Land-Water
            1. Using Smoke
            2. Using Panning
          12. Vacations
            1. A New Take on Disney World
            2. At the Zoo
      3. 8. Recipes for Better Event Pictures
          1. Weddings
            1. Before the Wedding
              1. Capturing the Scene
              2. Moving from Outdoors to Indoors
              3. Preparations for the Ceremony
            2. Shooting the Ceremony
            3. Shooting the Reception
          2. Holidays, Showers, and Birthdays
          3. New Baby in Town
          4. Baptisms and Christenings
          5. Reunions and Meetings
            1. Restaurants and Dining
    9. IV. What Makes the Recipes Work
      1. 9. Introduction to Creative Control Modes
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Benefits of Creative Control Modes
            1. Better Colors in any Light
            2. Just-Right Exposures in Tricky Lighting
            3. Control What’s in Focus
            4. Control How Action Is Captured
            5. Control How Photos Are Stored
          3. Using Program Mode
            1. When to Use Program Mode—and Why
            2. How Program Mode Works
            3. How to Use Program Mode
            4. Program Mode Photos
          4. Using Shutter Priority Mode
            1. When to Use Shutter Priority Mode—and Why
            2. How to Use Shutter Priority Mode
            3. Shutter Priority Mode Photos
          5. Using Aperture Priority Mode
            1. When to Use Aperture Priority Mode—and Why
            2. How to Use Aperture Priority Mode
            3. Aperture Priority Mode Photos
          6. Using Manual Mode
            1. When to Use Manual Mode—And Why
            2. How to Use Manual Mode
            3. Manual Mode Photos
          7. Viewing Photos
            1. Photo Viewing Modes
            2. Why Use Different Viewing Modes?
            3. Using Standard Viewing Mode
            4. Viewing Photos in Other Modes
          8. Storing Photos in JPEG Format
            1. When to Use JPEG Format—and Why
            2. Selecting JPEG Size Settings
            3. Selecting Quality Settings
            4. Comparing JPEG Image Size and Quality Settings
          9. Storing Photos in RAW Format
            1. When to Use RAW Format—and Why
            2. How to Use RAW Format
            3. RAW Format Photos
      2. 10. Improving Exposure
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Using Exposure Lock
            1. When to Use Exposure Lock—and Why
            2. How Exposure Lock Works
            3. How to Use Exposure Lock
            4. Before and After Exposure Lock
          3. Using EV Adjustment
            1. When to Use EV Adjustment—and Why
            2. How EV Adjustment Works
            3. How to Use EV Adjustment
            4. Before and After EV Adjustment
          4. Using Spot Metering
            1. When to Use Spot Metering
            2. Why Use Spot Metering?
            3. How to Use Spot Metering
            4. Before and After Spot Metering
          5. Using ISO Adjustments
            1. When to Use ISO Adjustments
            2. Why Use ISO Adjustments?
            3. How to Use ISO Adjustments
            4. Before and After ISO Adjustments
            5. Don’t Use Too High an ISO Setting
          6. Improving Exposure in Histogram View
      3. 11. Improving Color
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Why Use White Balance Settings?
          3. How to Change White Balance Settings
          4. Using Daylight White Balance
            1. When to Use Daylight White Balance—and Why
            2. How to Use Daylight White Balance
            3. Before and After Daylight White Balance
          5. Using Incandescent White Balance
            1. When to Use Incandescent White Balance—and Why
            2. How to Use Incandescent White Balance
            3. Before and After Incandescent White Balance
          6. Using Fluorescent White Balance
            1. When to Use Fluorescent White Balance—and Why
            2. How to Use Fluorescent White Balance
            3. Before and After Fluorescent White Balance
          7. Using Cloudy/Open Shade White Balance
            1. When to Use Cloudy/Open Shade White Balance—and Why
            2. How to Use Cloudy/Open Shade White Balance
            3. Comparing Daylight, Cloudy, and Open Shade White Balance
          8. Using Custom White Balance
            1. When to Use Custom White Balance—and Why
            2. How to Use Custom White Balance
            3. Before and After Custom White Balance
          9. Using Color Settings
            1. When to Use Color Settings—and Why
            2. How to Use Color Settings
            3. Color Settings Compared
      4. 12. Stopping Action
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Shutter Speeds 101
          3. Avoiding Camera Shake
          4. Selecting the “Right” Shutter Speed
            1. Candids and Portraits
            2. Sports and Action
            3. Water and Rain
            4. Ice and Snow
            5. Children Playing
            6. Amusement and Theme Parks
          5. Selective Blur
          6. Panning
          7. Capturing Peaks of Action
          8. Using Continuous Shooting/Burst Mode
      5. 13. Using Electronic Flash
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Using Built-in Flash
            1. When to Use Built-in Flash
            2. Controlling Built-in Flash
            3. Why Use Built-in Flash?
            4. How to Use Built-in Flash
          3. Using Fill Flash
            1. When to Use Fill Flash
            2. Why Use Fill Flash?
            3. How to Use Fill Flash
            4. Before and After Fill Flash
          4. Using Add-on Flash
            1. How to Use Add-on Flash
          5. Using Bounce, Swivel, and Diffuser Options
            1. When to Use Bounce, Swivel, and Diffuser Options
            2. Why Use Bounce, Swivel, and Diffuser Options?
            3. How to Use Bounce, Swivel, and Diffuser Options
            4. Before and After Photos (Bounce, Swivel, Diffuser)
          6. Using Flash Exposure Compensation (EV)
            1. When to Use Flash Exposure Compensation
            2. Why Use Flash Exposure Compensation?
            3. How to Use Flash Exposure Compensation
            4. Before and After Flash Exposure Compensation
      6. 14. Controlling What’s in Focus
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Understanding Depth of Field
          3. Using Focus Lock
            1. When to Use Focus Lock
            2. How to Use Focus Lock
            3. Focus Lock Photos
          4. Using Different Autofocus Methods
            1. How to Use Face Detection
            2. How to Use Multiple Area Focus Selection
            3. Using User-Selectable Focusing Zones/Points
            4. Different Autofocus Modes
          5. Controlling Focus with Aperture Selections
            1. When to Use Wide Apertures
            2. When to Use Narrow Apertures
            3. Selecting Apertures
            4. Wide Aperture (Selective Focus) Photos
            5. Narrow Aperture (Deep Focus) Photos
          6. Using Depth-of-Field Preview
            1. When to Use Depth-of-Field Preview
            2. How to Use Depth-of-Field Preview
          7. Using Manual Focus
            1. When to Use Manual Focus
            2. How to Use Manual Focus
          8. Preventing Camera Shake
            1. When to Use a Tripod or Tripod Substitute
            2. Using Tripod or Tripod Substitutes
            3. Using a Self Timer
      7. 15. Using Zoom and Interchangeable Lenses
          1. Why You Need this Chapter
          2. Zoom Lenses
            1. Zoom Ratios
            2. Optical Versus Digital Zoom
            3. Zoom Lenses with Variable Apertures
          3. Using “Normal” Zoom Lenses
          4. Using Medium Zoom Lenses
          5. Using Long Zoom Lenses
          6. Shooting Portraits with Zoom Lenses
          7. Using Fast Lenses
          8. Shooting Ultra Close-ups in Macro Mode
          9. Using Filters
            1. When to Use UV and Skylight Filters—and Why
            2. When to Use a Polarizing Filter—and Why
              1. How to Use a Polarizing Filter
              2. Before and After Polarizing Filter
            3. When to Use Neutral Density (ND) Filters—and Why
            4. Adapting Filters to Your Point-and-Shoot Camera
          10. Using Anti-Shake Technologies
    10. V. Appendixes
      1. A. Glossary
      2. B. FAQs
          1. What Do the Buttons on My Camera Do?
          2. Why are some Buttons Marked with more than One Symbol?
          3. I Can Store more Pictures by Selecting a Smaller Image Size. Should I?
          4. I Can Store more Pictures by Selecting a Lower-Quality Setting. Should I?
          5. Should I Shoot in Widescreen or 3:2 Modes?
          6. Why Should I Set the Date and Time on My Camera?
          7. How Can I Find Out What Settings were Used for a Picture?
          8. How Big a Memory Card Do I Need?
          9. Can’t I Just Fix Bad Pictures with My Computer?
          10. Why Do Cameras with the Same Megapixel Rating Cost Different Amounts of Money?
          11. My Camera Keeps Turning Itself Off. How Can I Stop this from Happening?
          12. How Can I Remove Red Eye After Taking Pictures?
          13. Should I Use Rechargeable or Throwaway Batteries?
          14. Should I Use My Digital Camera to Shoot Video?