Everything you want to know about photography, but were too afraid to ask…

1. So all your pictures end up looking like some sort of DMV mugshot? If this is the case, the first thing to do is exhale and relax your eyes before the picture is taken. I hate it when my models have strange buggy looking eyes, so I make them do this exercise. For good self-portraits, get yourself a black piece of cloth. Place the cloth just beneath a well-lit window, but make sure light still flows in from the top. Put your camera on a stable surface or a tripod, and set the self-timer. And for crying out loud, remember to exhale and relax your eyes!!! The black background with natural light coming in makes faces very flattering. This is also a good technique for those of you who like to take pictures of your genitalia. I'm just sayin'…

2. Although technology is pretty good in dealing with digital cameras and printer inks etc., printer paper is not a good archival source. If you are printing your images this way, they won't last worth a crap. Take your digital images to a lab or service bureau and have them printed chemically. It's worth it if you want to save and display images without color loss.

3. So you want to take drunk pictures of your friends in the local bar, however the flash makes their drunkenness look more pronounced. Simply take a piece of napkin and lay it about 4 inches away from the flash. This diffuses the light and your drunk friends look hot again. Boo Yeah!!!

4. JPEG compression is lossy. This means that this process degrades images to some degree. The more compression used by the camera operator, the more loss there will be. Why would we want to shoot images with poor information? In some cases, like shooting for the web, we'll never enlarge an image large enough to be able to see the artifacts produced when lots of compression is used. RAW and TIFF compression is lossless. Lossless compression decompresses an image so its quality matches the original information the camera sensor picked up. Most cameras do this by using either RAW or TIFF file formats. When detail is important, lossless is the way to go. Now be good students and set up your camera the right way. You'll thank me when you try to enlarge a print…

5. It's now being said that burned CD's only have a shelf life of 5 to 7 years. If you are saving all of your beloved pictures this way, you may want to consider this. Invest in a small external hard drive, so you have a backup when the burned CD demons reclaim your images. They are hella cheap. No excuses!!!

6. If you are still working in an old fashioned, chemical darkroom, make sure that you place glow in the dark tape on sinks and other surfaces. While working in a darkroom in my undergrad years, I bent down and smacked my forehead on a metal sink and knocked myself out cold. I freaking saw stars!!! I lay there for hours before I was able to drag myself out and get help. My forehead was bloody from my glasses, which cracked into my face upon impact. Luckily I still look relatively normal. Learn from my mistake…

7. Natural light refers to the sun. Natural light at sunrise or sunset has a yellow orange cast. Natural light on a cloudy day has a soft blue cast. Fluorescent lighting has a greenish cast. Tungsten light (regular bulbs) has a strong orange cast. Keep this in mind, so you know how your pics will turn out, depending on the light around you. Use the white balance on your digital cameras to correct this, or filters on your regular camera.

8. Don't be so quick to delete images that you perceive as being "bad". Come back to them at a later date. Just think of all the funny shots your parents took of you as kids before digital came into play. All the awkward moments that you experienced during life. At the time, these images seem embarrassing. But later you may actually cherish them. Although I have a right to be embarrassed. Just how many naked baby shots did my mom really need of me? C'mon!

9. If you plan to publish or use images of other people, be safe and get a model release…or else, seek the wrath of Judge Milian on the People's Court…

10. If you want to see just how fast you can get police to come out to a location, just set up a tripod and camera in Beverly Hills. It works every time!!!


-The Captain...




I have two point and shoots that I just love.

1. Fuji Finepix Z series camera - These come in beautiful colors.  They are thin, yet they have a 10 Megapixels with a 5x zoom, so they are excellent for sneaking a camera into concerts or putting into a small purse.  I've had mine for over 3 years now, and I couldn't be happier.  They usually run between $225 - $250 dollars.  The only annoying thing is that it comes with a special holder to charge it or upload your pics onto the computer.  If you lose the holder, you are screwed.  I wish that the USB connection could be placed directly into the camera, but otherwise, this is really a great lil' camera to own...

2.  I recently got a Canon Powershot SX110 for my birthday.  It has 9 megapixels and a super awesome 10x zoom.  I was able to get a close up shot of a hummingbird in flight with this camera, while the bird was at least 40 feet away from me.  The only thing is that it's a bit bulky compared to most digital cameras that are currently being made.  However, it's easy to use and great for capturing video and images that are far away.  The downside of this camera is that it uses regular batteries.  It seriously eats tons batteries, and they must be replaced quite often.  It's good, however, since it does not have to be charged and batteries are easy to come by when you're out and about.  I paid $250 for mine on sale at Circuit City, however, this camera can run up to $299 if it's not on sale...


"She walks in a shadow of discontent...tear the roof off this mutha like Parliament" - Capt'n

Hey there, I know this question wasn't directed to me but I thought I'd throw in my two cents. Hope you don't mind, Captain!

I always like to refer to dpreview.com when comparing cameras. It has detailed information about camera features that you may be most interested in as well as a price range. My beginner SLR cam, after a lot of research and debate, is a Nikon D40 and I'm very happy with my choice. Before, I was just using a cheapy little Kodak easyshare... which is a good camera, don't get me wrong, but I wanted to take the next step and get a little more serious with my work. The D40 has been a great "teacher" and I've had so much fun experimenting and growing as a photographer. For anyone wanting to get into photography and is ready to move on toward a SLR, this would be my top reccomendation.

It put a hole in my wallet but it was worth it. :)


"It is bitter – bitter", he answered, "But I like it Because it is bitter, And because it is my heart." Stephen Crane

So... on the subject of photography... what would you consider a good camera?? I mean... I'm sure I could go out and drop a huge chunk of money and end up with a decent one... but since I don't know what the hell I'm paying for, what might you suggest is a good camera for the price?

Or maybe I should ask what one should look for in a camera.... I don't mean like... what's a good camera to toss in my bag and take to a party...  I mean more photography related for a beginner?


<---- *squeals* look what found for meeeee mwahahah!! *rubs hands diabolically*

It could be sooner than that.  Light fade and color quality greatly affect the shelf life of self-printed images.  A great test to do would be to print out 2 copies of an image.  Place one in a photo album and place the other somewhere in your house (or car) that gets a lot of light.  In a few months, you should be able to see how light fades water-soluble ink jet dyes.  Also, it's probably best to stay away from budget paper sold at stores like $99 Only.  They are pretty much worthless...


"She walks in a shadow of discontent...tear the roof off this mutha like Parliament"

Thanks for the tips! I'm a want to be photographer, lol. I love taking pictures of people, nature, things, and just randomness. I will def. put this in my favorites folder.

-Pain is weakness leaving the body- USMC OOrah!

Great tips!  I love taking pictures of people and just anything outdoors.  Good to know this stuff.  Thanks. 


"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."

i found numbers three and four particularly interesting.

keeper of the whip!I am Keeper Of The Whip! 

 Hey Captain, awesome tips. I love photography but I'm amateur at best. I'll definitely keep these tips in mind.


"It is bitter – bitter", he answered, "But I like it Because it is bitter, And because it is my heart." Stephen Crane

Good stuff. I've known that a home-printed photograph won't last forever, but I wonder just how long they have before they start to degrade? Years? I can live with that, as long as I have the digital originals saved on an external hard drive. Another good tip.

Thanks so much!  I'll have to try to remember some of these, especially the napkin trick.  I have very pale skin, and flash photography makes me look like a ghost sometimes!


"I flipped my channel back to CNN and I lit another cigarette"

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