Top 7 Digital Camera Newbie Mistakes to Avoid

By: Gary Hendricks

Digital photography is taking the world
by storm. Just look at the number of
digital cameras and related equipment
flying off the shelves. While digital
photography opens up a new world of
technology, eliminating the need to
develop film, there are also many
pitfalls and mistakes that newbies and
even proficient film photographers may
make. This article aims to highlight
these mistakes so that your digital
photography experience is much more
smooth sailing.

1. Using the camera's digital zoom
feature.
The so-called digital zoom
marketed by most digital camera
manufacturers is one big gimmick. Don't
be fooled by it. You see, digital zoom
simply performs an in-image crop to give
a 'zoom' effect. However, in doing this,
the image quality will definitely
suffer. I never use digital zoom in
shooting my digital photos.

2. Using too much in-camera compression
to reduce memory use.
Most cameras out there allow you to
specify the amount of JPEG compression
to be applied to your digital photos.
Applying some amount of compression
makes your pictures look nice and small
so you can fit more on your storage
card. However, using too much
compression will result in poor quality
images (which cannot be repaired).
Always consider this when choosing your
in-camera compression setting - aim for
the best compromise between image
quality and file size.

3. Using low resolution to reduce memory
use.
Another mistake made by newbies is
to reduce the resolution of images taken
from the digital camera. Doing this
reduces the size of the digital photos,
allowing more shots to be squeezed into
one memory card. However, I always
recommend that you shoot at the highest
resolution your camera allows.

Remember,
a digital photo is the only document of
your life that is passed on to the
generations that follow you. Use your
camera's highest resolution to preserve
that history with as much detail as
possible. Just buy a higher capacity
memory card if you need to.

4. Settling for the software that came
with the camera.
Another thing I see
newbies do is to keep using the bundled
software that comes with the digital
camera. While this is good enough for
basic tasks, they are hardly sufficient
for full blown editing and organization
of photos. Do yourself a big favor and
upgrade your photo software. That way,
you will truly enjoy the full potential
of digital photography. Two types of
software you should upgrade come to mind
- a good photo editor (e.g. Ulead
PhotoImpact) and a good photo management
software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop Album).

5. Sending enormous files by email.
This is one of the most common mistakes
made by new digital photographers. Emailing
huge digital photos will clog up your
email server and give the recipient a
hard time downloading the file. What you
need to to do before emailing is always
to cut down the file size of the photo.
You can read my guide to emailing
digital photos to learn the right way to
do this.

6. Failing to back up your photos.
Maybe it's due to the convenience of digital
format, but some people never take care
to back up their digital photos. They
simply snap and snap away and soon they
drown in a sea of digital photos or
worse, lose original copies of the
images. Contrast this with the
traditional film negatives which we save
for generations! So do remember, always
back up your photo collection
(preferably on CD or DVD) whenever you
can. You never know when your hard disk
or memory card will crash.

7. Not taking time to learn the
equipment.
I'm ashamed to say I'm guilty of this
as well. More often than not,
many of us spend hundreds of dollars on
a new digital camera and accessories.
You get home and immediately toss the
user manuals aside (for good). My advice
is: read through those user manuals.
Yes, it can be boring sometimes (you
just want to play with your camera
instead), but a little knowledge of your
equipment and general photography can go
a long way toward improving your
picture-taking skills. I'd even
encourage you to go further than the
manuals and pick up some good books on
digital photography in general. Then
keep practicing and experimenting.

Conclusion
I hope this article has gone
some way in educating you about the
common mistakes made by newbies digital
photographers. Digital photography can
be overwhelming initially, especially if
you don't have any background in
computers of photography. However, if
you follow the above tips, I guarantee
that your digital photography skills
will improve sooner or later. So the
next time you're shooting picturesFree Reprint Articles, keep
the above tips in mind and try to avoid
the mistakes.

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