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Special Situations

You can use lighting, movement and focus to create different moods in a photo. Here are a few suggestions to achieve special effects:

To show movement, use blurring on purpose

In some scenes, like waterfalls or rivers, we often want a very crisp background, but allow the flowing water in the picture to become blurred with a longer exposure. This will convey the impression of movement.

To take this type of photo, move the Shutter Speed slider to the left to allow for a slower photo (1/5 sec or slower, a tripod or a stable surface is typically required), while moving the Depth-of-Field slider to the right to ensure the entire scene is in focus (f16 or higher). Use the ISO slider to ensure that the photo is properly exposed. If the ISO and f-Stop sliders are maxed out and the photo is still overexposed, a camera filter can be used to cut down the incoming light.

To freeze motion, use high speed photography

By shooting moving subjects at high speeds we can uncover details that our eyes are normally unable to capture. Use high speeds (1/600s or higher) on subjects like falling water, action sports, wildlife, etc. Since most cameras take too long to auto-focus on these subjects, make sure you pre-focus the camera using a different subject at the same distance and just complete the shot at the right moment.

Most cameras automatically trade speed for depth of field, though, so when selecting a high shutter speed make sure there is still enough depth-of-field to guarantee that your subject will be in focus. If the depth-of-field is too small, use a higher ISO number to increase it.

To highlight the subject and avoid distracting surroundings, blur the background

To focus the viewer's attention on the subject of the photo and avoid distractions in the background, use a low f-Stop number. As you lower the f-Stop slider, watch the depth-of-field range change and keep it as tight as possible to ensure that only your subject remains in the range displayed. Remember that normally about a third of the range will be in front of the point where you focus and two-thirds behind it.

To avoid washed out colors indoors, do not use flash

When shooting indoors, most cameras will automatically try to use the flash. Although appropriate for some settings, in many cases using a flash is intrusive and takes away from the mood of the moment. It also makes the color tones of the photo much harsher.

Using a high ISO number (400 or even higher) and a low f-Stop setting, you can normally achieve decent shutter speeds even in low light conditions. Remember to take many pictures so you can capture the right moments!

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