CHAPTER 11-: This is the eleventh chapter of “A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Professional Photographer.” – Do you want to learn what it takes to become a professional photographer? If YES, here are 7 digital photography imaging & sizing basics and tips for beginners.
Setting the image size of the camera is a concern that is exclusive to digital photographers. There is no concept of changing the size of the image in film photography. Since adjusting the image size settings is often considered to be quite complicated and a form of nuisance, a lot of aspiring professional photographers believe that sticking to film photography is easier and less troublesome than digital photography. If you are of the same belief as them, then you have bought yourself into a huge fallacy.
Digital Photography Vs Film Photography – What’s the Difference?
If you really want to know which one’s better, you need to first understand the primary working mechanism of both these kinds of photography. In digital photography, the pictures that are taken in your camera are transferred to a computer or a memory card instantly instead of being stored on a film.
Now it may seem that there isn’t much of a difference between storing pictures in a storage device instead of a tangible film but this simple change in the storage process gives digital photography tons of advantages over film photography.
For one, disks or memory cards can be reused and can be recorded over an infinite number of times unlike films which have to be thrown away after being used and washed. In addition to that, saving, printing, editing and transferring pictures online are much easier with digital cameras than with film cameras.
Given the current global conditions, it is also worth noting that digital photography is more environmental friendly than film photography which is known to contribute to environment damage in one way or the other.
- The Image Size Dilemma
So the next time someone tells you that film photography is better than digital photography, kindly ask them to remove the rose tinted nostalgia glasses from their eyes and embrace the technological revolution that is being stirred up by digital photography.
There is no denying that digital photography is the way to go if you want to start a career in professional photography in this age. However, before you can unleash your potential in this field, you need to concentrate on solving the biggest problem faced by digital photographers, and that is figuring out the image size.
Finding the right image size is of the essence in digital photography. This is because changing the size of the image has a direct effect on the size of the digital image file that is stored on the memory card or the computer. In other words, the size of the image is indirectly proportional to the number of images that you can store on the computer or the memory card. This puts a lot of photographers in a dilemma. Some want to retain the quality by compromising the quantity while others simply need a big stock of photos to let their work shine through.
- The Size and Space Equation
The size that is being talked about here is defined in terms of computer memory and storage and expressed in the units of kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes. Similar to other digital devices, the digital files that are created by digital cameras require a certain amount of space in which to be stored and used for later purposes.
By selecting various image settings, you can alter the size of the resultant image file produced by your digital camera. If all of this information is going over your head, then you are advised to think of the entire situation in terms of the number of pictures that can be accommodated in all the available space of your memory card.
It is actually a pretty simple equation. If you decrease the size of the image, then you will increase the number of pictures that will be stored in the memory card of the camera or in the storage space of the computer where you will be uploading the resultant image files. As mentioned before, it’s all about prioritizing between the quality of the image and the quantity of the images produced. Priorities differ from one photographer to the other.
Learning the Art of Digital Photography Imaging & Sizing
a. Use Your Conscience
Most beginner photographs try to accommodate more pictures into a single memory space by lowering the image size and hence disrupting the quality of the picture. This may work under certain circumstances but you have to remember that as a professional photographer, you must aim for high quality images in order to have your work recognized and appreciated by the people.
In most cases, you will have to put the quality of the image ahead of the quantity of the images taken. There will be exceptions, but it is on your shoulders as the professional photographer to figure out which scenario demands quality and which one demands quantity. These are pieces of advice that you will not find in any ordinary manual for photographers. Use your judgement and conscience to make a reasonable decision.
b. Understand that Size Is Not Everything
It is very important to understand that the size of the image alone does not determine the quality of the picture produced. There are several other factors at play here, and you need to take them all into consideration before passing judgement or a prediction on the quality of the image that you have taken. It all boils down to having a clear conception about what a “better image” is.
Just because a picture is larger in size does not necessarily mean that it is more vibrant, lively and attractive than photos of smaller dimensions. It’s almost like comparing the value of meals. It is not every day that you judge the value of a meal by the portion of food served. You have to take into account the freshness of the ingredients, the excellence of the cooking procedures and the creativity of the flavour combinations.
Similarly, when it comes to photos, simple things such as reproduction of colour, the image noise that is dissipated by the camera or the level of distortion that is created by the lenses play a major role in deciding how technically superior a picture is from the other. In most cases, pictures that have all the little technique boxes ticked are more visually appealing than others which have shortcomings in several technical aspects. Two completely different cameras can produce two images of the same quality that have a contrasting difference in image or technical quality.
7 Digital Photography Imaging & Sizing Tips for Beginners
1. Effect of Image Size on Resolution
The reproduction of the colour, the image noise that is produced by the camera and the level of distortion created by the lenses are not affected by changes in the image settings whatsoever. You can alter the size of the image to your heart’s content but none of it will cause a dent in any one of the above mentioned features.
This is quite strange because all of these components are very important when it comes to determining the technical quality of an image. There is one thing that does get affected by a change in the image size settings and that is the resolution of the photo captured and produced by the camera. The word resolution is a term that is commonly brought up when comparing the specifications of cameras, both DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras.
People often opt to buy cameras that tend to have a higher resolution. This is where most people go wrong. Buying a camera with a very high resolution does not guarantee an impressive performance from the camera. This misunderstanding stems from the lack of knowledge that people have about resolution.
As a professional photographer, you cannot afford to make the same mistakes as the casual users of cameras. You have to know about resolution and other features that define the quality of a picture, inside out. Your depth of understanding and knowledge will go a long way into shaping you up as a talented and successful photographer of the future.
2. Understanding Resolution
So what exactly does resolution mean? The ability to see or resolve the finer details in a printed photograph is what is meant by resolution. In a high resolution image, you are likely to notice far greater detail that you do in a low resolution image.
In other words, the images will appear sharper, brighter and more realistic than in images which are labelled as those with a low resolution. This is perhaps the reason why resolution is such a hyped up feature cameras. The manufacturers of cameras hardly ever advertise the other features of their cameras as much as they promote the resolution.
The brands are well aware of the fact that resolution defines the technical quality of the picture in a very simple way, simple enough for consumers who are uninformed about cameras to digest the information and process it as a yardstick for judging cameras and their functionality.
3. Resolution and Image Size Relation
Resolution and image settings are two peas in a pod. As a matter of fact, you would not be at fault to call the image settings of your camera as the resolution given the strong relation that they have with one another. The relation between the two can be understood once again with a very simple equation.
The larger the size of the image, the higher will be the resolution and the smaller the size of the image, the lower will be the resolution of the image. You can also relate this to previous equation that was discussed and come to the conclusion that high resolution pictures occupy more space in your storage devices or memory cards than low resolution pictures that you do.
This is why, when people are running low on memory in their photos, the resolution of the images taken by their phone camera are reduced either automatically or manually. Picture with low resolution can occupy the memory space in greater numbers.
4. Resolution and Image Viewing
This ability to resolve finer detail is only taken into account and considered as “resolution” when a digital photograph is printed and not when it is viewed in the monitor screen of your computer. When you are viewing a high resolution picture on the screen, you will have the option of zooming into the picture and picking up the finer details that may have gone unnoticed if the size of the picture was not increased.
Once you zoom out the picture and adjust the settings so that the image fits perfectly with the frame of the screen, the resolution of the image that you will see before you cannot be increased any further. This allows people who only view their photos on their computers and never have them printed, to put into use their camera’s small image size setting and reap the advantage of stuffing a greater number of pictures into their memory cards without compromising the quality of the picture to a great extent.
As a professional photographer, you cannot rely on this trick that is mostly used by hobbyist photographers and casual users of the camera. You will be required to print out your digital photos on a number of occasions.
5. Largest Image Size In the Camera
The whole idea of fixing your camera’s image setting may sound a little too complicated but you need to approach it with a clear mind that is eager to absorb information. The basic idea is that when it comes to setting up your camera, the actual largest size is rather quite irrelevant.
What you need to be concerned about is the largest size that is available from your camera. This setting can be used to print massive photos and also to carry out a number of different editing works such as cropping and printing out one single selected portion of the picture. This particular editing technique comes in handy when you are trying to create fancy and flamboyant pieces of art with your photographs.
6. Check the Image Settings to Find Your Match
If you have not checked the size setting on your camera yet, then you are highly recommended to do so now. In most cameras, you will be presented with a choice of small, medium and large for the size of the images, the medium being the default setting.
Although the camera manufacturers will tell you that this image size setting is just about perfect for any situation, experts believe that you need to switch and swap the sizes every now and then to come up with the best photographs.
For instance, if your camera is of 8 megapixels, then a medium setting will set the resolution to 4 megapixels. This is a little too large to be viewed on the screen without decreasing the size of the image, and in most cases it turns out to be a monumental waste of your memory card space. As a professional photographer, you have to be a keep a watchful eye on the space available in your memory card to avoid disasters.
7. Thumb Rule of Image Size Settings-: The thumb rule is to set the camera at the minimum size for viewing and emailing while increasing the size settings to the maximum when editing or printing larger than usual photos.