Six Important Things I’ve Learned About Digital Photography–Part II

If you missed Part I of this post, click here to read it.

Memory Cards Are Cheap–Buy Extras

memory cards, digital cameras, digital photographyWith the cost of memory cards that hold roughly a bajillion high-resolution images being about the price that a couple of rolls of film cost, why skimp?  If you’re going on a trip, start out with clean cards and take along extras.  I’m one who prefers to use more smaller cards at important events in case my card goes south. If I’m using several cards I won’t lose everything.  If you’re one of those people who is afraid to ever download and clear your card, go buy a couple of extras. Why risk running out of photo space during your baby’s first birthday or your son’s high school graduation when for less than $20 you can have space for a ridiculous number of new images?  Buy extra memory cards.  Sometimes they go bad so don’t be fooled into thinking they’re a good permanent home for your pictures.  Download them, throw away all the bummers and print the wonderful ones.  Put the rest on your Facebook page or your photo sharing site so we, too, can be amazed that he actually made it through high school.  And that leads me to my next point. . .

It’s Ok to Delete Lousy Pictures and Duplicates

The number of pictures being taken have skyrocketed since the advent of digital.  And why not? One of the coolest things about digital is that you can push that shutter button to your heart’s content and you only have to pay for the pictures you love.  I know I experiment a lot more since I went digital.  This has been good for my learning curve, but not so good for drive space. The easy answer? Delete everything you don’t love. Blurry photos, bad crops, over exposure, under exposure, lousy expressions and duplicates. Yes, duplicates.  How many of us don’t take two or three pictures of our son in his cap-and-gown or of the kids in front of the Christmas tree? Do you really need all three?  Pick the one you like the best (yes, we will make allowances for funny out takes) and delete the others.  I hear people tell me all the time they need to keep them “just in case.” Just in case of what–a sudden bad picture contest?  They really do have those, but they’re aimed at funny out takes, not technical or subject failures.

And in case you’re wondering, subject failure is what we call it when the person in front of the camera screws it up; technical failure is when the camera screws up (we photographers never make mistakes, right?–ok, technical failure is really when the person behind the camera–yep, that would be the photographer– or the camera screws up the picture).

So, ditch the stuff you don’t want to share with the world, and along with it, ditch the guilt over throwing away valuable bits of history. Not.

More Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Better

This applies to everything from prints to photo books to cameras. Yes, you read that right. An $8000 camera isn’t necessarily going to give you better photographs than an $800 one.  If you know how to use it and the features are necessary to the type of photography you do, sure, you will probably get something more salable than you will with a cheap, crummy camera.  But are you planning on selling your photographs?  Within nearly every budget range, you can find a camera that will take good pictures and give you quality prints.  If you’re in the market for a new camera, consider first what you want to be able to do with that camera.  What features are important? What kinds of photographs will you be making? Will you need to control all the camera’s functions manually or do you just want to be able to push the button and have it capture memories for you?  There are many brands, many quality levels and many, many variables that affect the quality of your camera.

Buying an expensive camera will not guarantee your pictures will come out looking like Ansel Adams’ or even like mine, for that matter.  Quality photography is a matter of study and practice and skill, not brand names and price tags.

So, there you have it. I’ve really learned about a million other things, but this will do for today.

What have you learned?

 

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