One of the top complaints from amateur photographers is that their images have come out blurry. The simple answer to this problem usually is that there isn’t enough light reaching the sensor, so the camera struggles to take a sharp image. Various ways to solve this issue include using a tripod or a monopod (a must in low light conditions!), choosing a higher ISO setting for faster shutter speeds or using flash to freeze any movement.
Too Much Contrast
A photograph with too much contrast has a strong difference between light (highlight) and darker (shadow) areas of the image. This is very apparent in photographs taken on a sunny day. Use flash to fill in the dark shadowy areas of the image and try underexposing the image by one or two stops to see the difference it makes.
Although red-eye can easily be corrected with an image editing software, it’s a great idea to know how to prevent it from occurring. Red-eye appears commonly in light-eyed people when the camera flash reflects off the retinas in their eyes. You can prevent red-eye by avoiding your camera’s built-in flash whenever possible, also many cameras have an automatic red-eye reduction mode. Another technique is to have your subject look away from the camera for the photo, in order to avoid the reflection in their eyes. One last trick is if the room can be made brighter to allow maximum light into the subject’s eyes, their pupils will shrink due to the brighter light. Though for most situations, this may not be practical.
Off-colors, or color casts are a well known problem in digital photography. In digital imaging we can use the white balance (WB) settings to deal with this problem. Choose “auto” or the proper WB settings for the scenario. For example, an indoor photograph tends to look orange because the incandescent (tungsten) light bulb emits “warm” or orange light. The tungsten setting devised for this scenario will add blue to balance it out.
Less is More
When framing and composing our photograph, we want to create something interesting for the eye but at the same time avoid excessive distractions. Normally, one main focal point or area is enough. If you have a focal point in the background and a distraction (like rocks) in the foreground, crop the image by zooming in to avoid the distracting item. This effect also may be done later with your image editing software. The point is to have a photo where the eye is drawn to the main attraction.
Subject is Too Far
In every photograph we shoot, we want something engaging in the frame. If your subject is too far away, it will not make much impact. You can move closer by using a good quality telephoto zoom lens or we can crop the image later with your image editing software. Remember to shoot the image at the highest resolution possible because cropping reduces the quality.
Shooting at a low resolution may allow you to store more images on your memory card, but it is a bad idea. Using a low resolution setting means that the image quality will suffer, and you won’t be able to print large photographs without noticing the pixels. Additionally, every time you save a jpeg file it loses some quality. If you start off with a small file, your editing options will be very limited. Buy additional memory cards and take your photos with higher resolution and avoid low quality files!
Too Much Noise
Digital noise is analogous to grain on a film photograph, those unsightly little speckles on your image. The higher the ISO the more noise will appear, and the more you enlarge the image the more you can see noise. Night time images are prone to noise as the camera struggles to record detail. To reduce noise, use the largest image quality setting and always use a tripod so that you can choose the lowest ISO setting without causing blur.
An underexposed image is one that is too dark because there wasn’t enough light reaching the sensor when the image was taken. If you see on your LCD screen that an image looks too shadowy and underexposed, you can try opening the aperture to allow more light in. You can also adjust the exposure on a DSLR, selecting the ‘+’ to add more light, usually in ½ stop increments.
If your photograph is too bright and lacking in detail, then it is overexposed. This means there is too much light hitting the sensor. Overexposure can be particularly bad on bright days or with light colored subjects. To correct for overexposure, you can try underexposing the image by choosing -0.5 or -1 and seeing if more detail has been retained. Additionally, use spot metering for accurate results – pick a grey mid-toned area in your image as the guideline.