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By: Danette Mckay
Digital cameras are becoming more and more sophisticated. On one hand they allow high quality automatic point and shoot. On the other hand they allow full manual control of their settings. Regardless of the mode you use there are some scenes that require special care. Without such care your digital photos will be of poor quality regardless of how sophisticated and automatic your camera is.

New digital cameras include sophisticated hardware and software that allow a simple point a shoot usage and result in high quality digital photos. Such high quality digital photos are achieved in most scenarios but in some scenarios solely relying on the cameras automatic feature is not enough. In such scenes the camera hardware and software will make the wrong decision as to the optimal camera setting for the best digital photo. The result will be a poor quality photo.

Being aware of such scenarios can help in avoiding such poor quality digital photos. When you identify such a scenario you can use some simple techniques, by manually setting the camera, by changing the photo shooting angle or by manipulating the scene.

One of the common problems with automatic digital camera photo shooting is digital photos that are out of focus. An out of focus photo looks blurry and has low contrast. Usually such a photo is useless and there is no way to correct it using software on your home computer. Most digital cameras can automatically set the focus for you and in most cases they choose the right focus for the scene. Some scenes however are harder to focus on and can fool even the most sophisticated high-end digital camera’s auto focus mechanism. Moreover with most digital cameras excluding digital SLRs you can not really confirm the focus quality. The reason is that the viewfinder is not connected to the actual lenses and the preview LCD screen is too small to really allow correct focus appreciation.

If you are using an SLR camera you can make sure that the objects are in focus by looking through the viewfinder. Most cameras sound a short beep when the focus is locked and also display a green rectangle around the area that they focused on. The first step to ensure correct focus is to make sure that this area is where the objects that you care about are. For example if there are two objects in the scene in different distances from the camera make sure that the camera focused on the object you want.

Extreme scenes are be harder to focus on. For example scenes that include a few objects that are very close to the camera and a few that are far or scenes that simply include very close objects. Such scenarios take special care to focus on. If your camera allows manual focus – try to manually focus to make sure that you got the desired focus. In any case when you identify a potential focus problem take more digital photos than you would usually take while changing the focus settings, taking a few in manual mode and a few in automatic mode, changing the shooting angle and the distance from the objects if possible.

The best way to learn how to avoid out of focus digital photos is by experimenting and practicing. Try to find scenes that will confuse the digital camera into taking out of focus digital photos. Take a few digital photos using the camera automatic mode and review the results confirming the expected poor quality. Now correct the problem and take a few more photos. Review the new digital photos and make sure that indeed the out of focus problem is gone. Practicing in a controlled environment will help you be prepared to quickly and efficiently handle such scenes in real time photo shooting.
Danette Mckay explains about this subject in more depth at snapfish
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