If you are looking for a new way to boost your photography portfolio’s impressiveness you may want to consider looking into buying new lenses or filters. These add ons can range in price from $10 to thousands of dollars but there are a few “must have” add ons for your digital and film cameras.
While these are not necessary add ons to increase the quality of your work, if you’re getting bored of the current photographs you’re taking these camera add ons can create a dramatic difference and help re-inspire you to get out there and take photographs.
Polarizing filter: the polarizing filter is very cheap and can often be picked up for $10 - $30 for a starter filter. What the polarizing filter does is helps takes the glare out of non metal surfaces and it helps exaggerate the blue of a blue sky. You’ve often seen photographs that look absolutely spectacular with their fluffy white clouds and brilliant blue skies. This effect was created with a polarizing filter and no photographer should leave home without one.
Wide angle lens: this lens can often be purchased for digital cameras as an “accessory lens” which simple means that it isn’t a proper attachment in and of itself, but instead attaches onto a pre-existing lens to create a similar effect of a traditional wide angle lens. Alternatively if you have a digital SLR (DSLR) or a regular SLR (Single Lens Reflex) you can but high quality wide angle lenses that can help fit more of your foreground and background into your photographs.
The polarizing filter and the wide angle lens are two add ons that will inspire even the most burnt out photographers to keep taking new pictures on a daily basis. They are also to the two lenses that have dramatic effects while still ensuring the photograph remains “real” looking. Not only this but based on current rating systems on internet photography websites it seems that audiences rate photographs taking with cameras that use the polarizing filter or wide angle lens very highly.
Most digital cameras have ISO speed control built within them. In film cameras ISO speed is a gauge of a films sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO number the more sensitive the film is. This is why photographers will use lower ISO Speeds such as (100 or 200) when shooting outdoors in bright conditions but use an ISO of 800 when taking photographs at night.
However, higher film ISO speeds often lead to a ‘grainier’ look due to a difference in film construction. Often this look is desirable and adds to the overall feel of a higher ISO speed photograph if the photographer is using film.
With digital photography a higher ISO speed also allows you to take photographs at night making the CCD chip in your camera more sensitive to light. And like film cameras the digital camera which uses a higher ISO speed will also have a ‘graininess” look to it. The major difference with digital photography graininess is that it looks terrible. If you were to enlarge a photograph which was taken with a high ISO speed from a digital camera you would notice that the graininess isn’t so “grainy” at all. In fact, it looks like little bunches of random pixelated colors. It’s nothing more than picture distortion.
For the highest resolution possible using digital cameras (even cameras with a low megapixel count) try using the smallest ISO speed possible to ensure you get rid of this color distortion.
As a photographer you need to make quick decision. Lower ISO speeds are not always possible in low lighting situations. Sometimes you’ll just need to use higher ISO speeds in order to make your CCD chip more sensitive to light. The alternative is using a lower ISO speed and using a longer shutter exposure time. This obviously won’t work if you’re trying to capture a moving object but it will be helpful if you’re trying to capture a static object by allowing more light in to “expose” your CCD chip for a longer period of time.
I hope this helps.
(The first image is an ISO 50 image and the second was taken in the same lighting but used ISO 800. Both photographs are blown up 500% to help show the effects of ISO speed).