Considering A New Camera?

March 1, 2010

So far we have been looking at how to use your camera, and most of you may have a point-and-shoot camera. These are great cameras, particularly given the advancements in technology today. Many functions previously unavailable on compact cameras are now there, giving you more options to get great photographs.

But perhaps you are thinking about making a change, an upgrade to a camera with more flexibility than your current camera. Here are some questions to answer when considering a new camera:

Putting some thought into answering these questions can help you decide whether upgrading from your present camera makes sense for you. And keep in mind there are lots of choices ranging from Digital SLR cameras for a few hundred dollars to high end cameras costing thousands of dollars.

The amount you pay for a camera does not necessarily mean that the camera will take better photographs; remember, the single most important element in producing great photographs is – you, the photographer!

If you have to choose between taking a course in digital photography like 123di, or purchasing a new camera like the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS
I recommend taking the course first. Your camera is a tool to use but the artistry, the ability to see and create great images, comes from the photographer – you!

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

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Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Camera Review

February 3, 2010

My son is a mechanic for a charter airline, and his job is one of being what they call a “roadie”. What this means is that he travels with the airplane because a lot of places they go in the world there are no mechanics, facilities or services. Often times he has to work on the aircraft out on the ramp.

He flies on Douglas DC-8s and Boeing 767s, and has been all over the world. Some time back he asked me to recommend a camera to him, and upon my recommendation he purchased a Canon SD PowerShot SD780 IS. As a novice photographer he has found the camera easy to carry and use, and has downloaded a number of photographs on the places he travels to.

Today he happens to have flown from Norfolk, VA to Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba), and I am sure he will have some great photos to share with me when he returns. That little Canon 780 IS works very well for him, fitting easily into a pocket, easy to use, excellent image quality and a good battery life.

Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Digital Camera

This wonderful camera may just be the slimmest ELPH yet, but it packs a lot of power. Its original design matches Canon’s most innovative camera technology, and even when the conditions for taking a picture are not ideal you have Canon’s technology on your side and you will be getting HD photos that are unforgettable.

The CanonUSA Customer Ratings for the PowerShot SD780 IS camera are as follows:



Overall this little camera scored 5 stars 5-stars from CanonUSA, and

What’s In The Box

Ultra slim and a hip design in 4 vivid colors, this compact yet feature rich 12.1 megapixel dynamo with HD movie shooting capabilities and large, crisp 2.5″ LCD make this camera easy to use, handy to tote and priced to delight.

If you are looking for a great little point-and-shoot digital camera this Cannon PowerShot SD780 IS ELPH Digital Camera will serve you well.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Latest News If You Are About To Purchase A Canon Digital Camera

January 28, 2010

If you’re thinking of buying a new compact digital camera, then you might want to wait a month and check out the very latest models to be released then by Canon. They have updated their Powershot A-series with several new features and are offering four new models which cover the entry level budget photography sector pretty comprehensively. We have been using Canon for years and love the reliability, ease of use and good quality lenses that they are renowned for. So if you too want to purchase a Canon digital camera check out their latest models:

The new Powershot A495 and A490 replace the popular Powershot A480, as a budget, very user-friendly compact digital camera. They both have 10 megapixels and a 3.3x Canon optical zoom lens. With Smart Auto modes, face detection technology and a new low light mode as well as smart flash mode, these little cameras do all the work for you, so that you really do just have to point and shoot. They also have great video capabilities and a new software option that allows you to upload video directly to YouTube. Retailing at $129.99 and $109.99 respectively, these compact cameras are a very affordable choice for the teenager in your life, or if you want a pocket camera as a back-up to your SLR, so that you never miss a shot of your kids when you are out and about.

The Canon Powershot A3100IS and A3000IS replace the current Powershot A1100 IS, both have a 4x optical image stabilized zoom and a large 2.7” screen. The A3100 has 12 megapixels and the A3000 10 megapixels and they are the first of the A series cameras to have Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries, instead of using AA battery cells, which should extend battery life to around 230 shots per charge according to Canon’s tests. Both cameras have the Smart Auto functions, Face detection technology and Smart Flash exposure as well as video capabilities. They retail at $179.99 and $149.99, respectively.

Two new creative modes have been added to all the new Powershot models: a new poster effect mode, to create retro poster style images on camera and and Super Vivid to add saturated color to dull images and bring a picture to life with rich color.

While there are no user reviews available yet, as the cameras will only be released in late February 2010, it could be worth waiting to buy a new compact camera, so that you get the very latest in technology. Alternatively if you are a bargain hunter, you might well find the previous models that are about to be replaced being sold at discounted prices as the new models come in to take their place.

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Valentines Day Is Coming

January 22, 2010

It’s almost upon us – Valentine’s Day. Everywhere I look I see pink and red, hearts and flowers. The candy makers are in full swing with their advertising, and the minds of gals are filled with thoughts of romantic times with their significant others.

Candy and Flowers

The only problem with candy and flowers is once they are gone – their gone! Not only that if you have kids there is always competition for the candy, and if the gift is flowers then you need to take a photo of them before they wilt and die.

Oh, sure, you can take one of the roses, stem and all, and press it into a book while later adding it to your scrapbook. But flowers are biodegradable, and soon enough will wither into dust.

So What To Do?

Well, pink is the theme of the day, so let me suggest a Cannon pink digital camera. Now, before you think it is too expensive, let me show you one you can get for little more than a Benjamin.

Even if you have another camera or two around, this is one that is sure to please. It is about the same size as a deck of playing cards, can slip easily into any shirt pocket, or can be carried by a strap on your wrist.

It produces beautiful images, is easy to use with lots of shooting modes like Auto, Program, Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3200, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot, Digital Macro, Long Shutter and Movie. Yep, that’s right – you can even take movies with this slick little camera.

A Camera For All Occasions

With all of those shooting modes you will always be prepared for any occasion, and it comes with all of these items:

The Right Color

It even comes in the right color!

Cannon Pink Digital Camera

Cannon Pink Digital Camera

If you need more information you can check out my review of this camera at Cannon SD1200 IS Camera Review.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Cannon SD1200 IS Digital Camera

January 9, 2010

If you are looking for a cool looking camera that is smaller than a pack of playing cards, then you have found a great “fit” for your pocket. This pocket point-and-shoot camera is approximately the size of a flip cell phone and weighs only 4.23oz.

The SD1200 IS comes with 10.0 mp (not to worry – that’s plenty of pixels, believe me!), Cannon’s new DIGIC 4 processor and is perfect for taking pictures at any casual occasion. It has a number of features making it easy to use, just like all Cannon cameras.

The combined zoom gives any photographer between 35mm and 105mm with the 3x optical, 4x digital and 12x combined zoom feature.

While this is not a lot of zoom oomph, it is plenty for the average photographer. To add to the pleasure the camera has a great 2.5″ widescreen LCD screen, making it easy to view your shots and then show them off to your friends. In addition it has an optical viewfinder.

To add to the fun you can choose from any of the following colors:

Click On Image For More Information

Click On Image For More Information

Click On Image For More Information

Click On Image For More Information

Click On Image For More Information

Click On Image For More Information

The linked optical viewfinder is a better substitute for the LCD for framing your shots, and was stuck at the top of the camera limiting the size of the LCD space. Today most people use the LCD for framing shots, but anyone who has experienced camera shake knows an optical viewfinder can really help.

Priced competitively you can get more information at Buy An SD1200 IS here.

Remember, take lots of photos of your little ones often – you will be glad you did!


Top Tips for Buying a Digital SLR Camera

December 29, 2009

TonjaWhat style of photographer are you? When you come up with the answer it help determine what you are looking for in a camera. If you would like to have more control over your pictures, then a buying a digital SLR camera is right for you. D-SLR stands for digital single lens reflex it uses a mirror behind the lens to direct the light to the viewfinder when you are taking pictures. Now that you have decided to buy a d-SLR camera, what do you need to consider when comparing cameras?

Digital SLR cameras have a variety of features to offer, but you do not have to have a camera with all the features to have fabulous pictures. One item you hear a lot about is mega pixel. Mega pixels are the amount of data captured by the camera’s sensor; this does not measure the quality of the picture. Image quality needs to be addressed when discussing mega pixels, because the larger number of mega pixels does not always mean it is better. Most digital cameras will produce the quality and sharpness that the general public would be satisfied with when printing the most common size photos. Do you plan to take action or sports photos? You will want to take continuous shots so look into how many frames per seconds. The greater the number of frames per second the more pictures you will able to take in a small amount of time. Make sure the camera or the lens have image stabilization to help prevent blurry pictures from what is called camera shakes. In low light situations your lens is open longer to capture more light, this allows more time for the camera to be moved causing blurred pictures. Some cameras now offer the ability to shoot video; I personally would not use this option, so this would not be a determining influence in my purchase. I would review the software included with my camera for editing photos.

Regardless of how you answered the above questions, one tip still remains stick to your budget. Your budget needs to take into account the camera body, lens, batteries, memory card, camera bag, and if your budget allows a tripod. Depending on how you will use your camera, an extra set of batteries could come in handy since digital cameras drain batteries. Make sure the camera fits nicely in your hand and the buttons are easy for you to navigate. If you are uncomfortable with your camera, the less likely you will use it.

Purchase Back-Up Batteries for Your Digital Cameras So You Don’t Miss A Shot

December 8, 2009

Picture the scenario: it’s Christmas Day. You have all the family gathered together from far flung states for this one day. You grab your trusty digital camera to take a group photo of everyone to remember this special time. You set up the shot carefully, test the flash and look at your camera. There is a warning light. The batteries need replacing. You search your camera bag, but you know that you forgot to put camera batteries on your Christmas shopping list. There were so many other things to remember. If you’re lucky, someone else has spares for you to use. But otherwise your chance of a special family photo is lost.

To save yourself from this unthinkable fate for a keen photographer it makes sense to always purchase a back-up set of batteries, or even two for your digital cameras. The more advanced the camera, the more it uses up battery power, especially if you are using the camera flash. You can go through a set of batteries in no time, especially on festive occasions when you are trying to record every moment and get portraits of everyone present.

The best way to solve the problem of fading batteries is to invest in several sets of rechargeable batteries and a good quality battery charger. They don’t cost too much and it really is a worthwhile investment as it will save you a lot of money over time. Look for battery chargers that charge rapidly, as well as ones that can select two or four battery charging settings. They should also take various battery sizes for versatility. You can even get chargers that plug into the car cigarette lighter for when you are traveling.

On days when you will be taking a lot of photos you can have one set of batteries waiting fully charged in your camera bag, another set in your camera and a third set charging, so that you will never run out of power and miss an important shot. Make a habit of checking your batteries before you set out for a day of photography and double checking that you have a spare set with you.

Another useful gadget is a multimeter or voltmeter, so that you can check that the batteries are fully charged. Rechargeable batteries don’t last forever and if just one loses its charge it can stop the whole set functioning properly. By checking the batteries regularly you can save yourself a lot of lost photo opportunities on special occasions.

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Put the Best Compact Pocket Camera On Your Christmas Wish List

December 1, 2009

The Christmas shopping rush is on now, but have you made out your own wish list and let important people in your life know what you really want for Christmas? It may be more romantic to let them surprise you, but what about if their idea of a great gift, isn’t yours… you could let them know exactly what you want and save them too much trouble by sending them a link to where they can buy it online! If, like me, your compact digital camera is more than three years old, you may be looking wistfully at all the latest digital compact cameras being released with new features and better lenses, so this could be the perfect gift for you.

Even if you have a digital SLR camera for your creative photography, it’s still a good idea to keep an up to date compact camera on your equipment list. Think of all the times you rush out of the door without your camera bag, because it is too heavy, or you don’t want to risk taking it with you at a crowded public event. A small pocket camera is perfect in these circumstances. You can always carry it with you, as it is really light, and tucked into a pocket or handbag you’ll hardly even notice the difference.

The newest compact cameras are lighter than ever before and still manage to have good sized clear screens, like the Canon Powershot SD1100 IS Digital Camera. It also has a great zoom and image stabilization, so is perfect for catching candid pictures of your kids when you’re out and about. You can snap a photo of your son’s football team, catch a funny moment with your toddler at the playground and take it hiking or to the beach, where you might not want to risk your SLR. You’ll still use your SLR for all your creative photography and portrait work, but a compact does give you the benefits of spontaneity, which is important when you are documenting the life of your children and don’t want to miss a moment.

If you do get lucky and find that your partner has taken your hint and put this great little camera under the tree for you, think about passing your old compact digital down to your children if they are old enough. My nine-year old has inherited an old Canon digital compact from my mother and is loving having her own camera to start recording her own version of our family history.

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

More Tips For Great Group Photos With A Digital SLR Camera

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!
To make the most of the holiday don’t forget to take some wonderful group photos of your family to remember this day. Read the photography tips in the first article and then keep going with these ones. And get out your digital SLR camera and enjoy recording this special occasion for your family.

6. Use a Tripod
Using a tripod frees you up a lot when taking group photographs. You can set up the camera, so that it frames the group well in the location you have chosen and is correctly focused with the aperture selected. You can do a test shot and know that everything is ready before getting everybody together. You can also look directly at the group and talk to them, releasing the shutter at just the right moment without having to check your framing and settings each time.

7. Be the Director
Taking a group photo can feel a bit like directing a movie. You have to take charge and keep communicating with everyone, coax smiles out of them, get a good vibe going, so that a happy atmosphere comes over in the finished photo. As it’s a family occasion with kids around, you also have to make it fun, as well as short and sweet, because the focus of the day is not the photo, it’s the meal and get together. So create some reasons to smile, or cheer or wave. Perhaps there are absent members of the family that you’ll send the photo too, so have everyone wave or smile at them as you take the shot.

8. Look out for the Light
If it is a sunny day avoid positioning your group so that the sun is shining in their eyes and making them squint into the light.
Flash can be harsh, especially for small children and babies, so if you have to use it, try to bounce it off a low ceiling or a white wall, and if at all possible use it as fill in combined with natural daylight. Practice using your SLR flash and these techniques beforehand, so that you feel confident on the day.

9. Position the Camera
When photographing a group, you want the camera to at least be on a level with the faces of those in the middle row if you’re creating a formal tiered group shot. You also need to make sure that it is in the middle of the group, so that the group is square to the camera. Of course you can be informal and create a fun group shot with everybody looking up at you, as you stand up on a ladder or halfway up the stairs – in that case make sure that children are standing on chairs or are lifted up in parents arms, so that their faces aren’t lost from this angle.

10. Choose the Right Lens
Avoid using an extreme wide-angle lens, or the faces at the side of the group will be distorted. The best lens for a group photo is a standard lens that gives you a reasonably small aperture, so that you can get as much in focus as possible.

Whatever you do, just make sure it’s fun. Smile lots yourself and your family will smile back at you and your camera!

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

Tips For Great Group Photos With A Beginner Digital SLR Camera

November 24, 2009

With the holiday season upon us, you probably have at least one family gathering planned. Perhaps you only meet up together once a year, or maybe you get together more often, but it’s always great to commemorate a special occasion with a photo of the whole family together. Even if you’re a beginner photographer with a new digital SLR camera you should be able to get some great pictures, but here are some essential tips to help you take a really successful group photo.

1. Preparation
Get everything ready before you call the whole family together. If you want a relaxed and happy picture you don’t want to keep everyone hanging about, as you change batteries and fiddle with the exposure, while the turkey needs basting and the cooks have a hundred other things to do.
•    Check your camera batteries, that there is room on your memory card and that you have your flash attached and charged if you need it.
•    Decide on a good location to take the photo in advance
•    Give everyone a five minute warning that you want to take the photo soon.
•    Pick your time well. You want everyone present and relaxed, so don’t drag the cooks out of the kitchen five minutes before the meal is due to be served, but you also don’t want to wait till the end of the day when the children will be tired and parents trying to get them off home. Try and find a good time near the beginning of your day when all the kids still look fresh and tidy and tempers haven’t worn thin!

2. Location
Choose a location that goes well with the occasion and has enough space both to fit everybody and for you to stand back from the group. A shot using a combination of natural light and fill-in flash works well. Perhaps you have steps outside the front door, with holiday decorations on each side, which would make an ideal spot to pose the whole family, or a porch with plenty of natural light.

3. Pose the group
It may seem obvious to put tall people at the back, kids at the front, but you are the one who has to make sure that you can see everyone and that no-one is peering over somebody else’s shoulder. Steps make a great natural stage for a group photo, but you can also create your own stage using chairs and tables for people to sit and stand on to get several levels. It is important not to make your photo too deep – i.e not to have too great a distance between the front and back of the group, as this makes it more difficult to get the light even and to have everybody in sharp focus.

4. Get in Close
Get as close as you can to the group without cutting people out of the photo, so that you get plenty of detail in the faces. If people are standing in too long a line, bring some of them to the front, creating several levels to your group photo. Get everybody to lean in close to each other, link arms and get children to lean in close to seated parents or sit on laps, so that you create a photo with an intimate feel of a close family.

5. Take Lots of Shots
Take far more photos than you think you need to. Once everybody is grouped, start taking photos as you talk to them and keep their attention on the camera. Then just snap away, one photo after another. Professional photographers will usually take at least twenty shots or more to get one that is just right with a happy, relaxed feel.

More tips on photographing groups will be posted on Thursday. Happy Holidays!

Mum and Photographer

Mum and Photographer

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