photography 2: progressing with digital photography

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This course follows on from Photography 1: Introduction to Digital Photography and examines in greater depth the special procedures and shooting and software techniques that will help you realise the full potential of this medium.


C us sm l or a p e e

Photography 2: Progressing with Digital PhotographyWritten by Michael Freeman

Open College of the Arts

Open College of the Arts Michael Young Arts Centre Redbrook Business Park Wilthorpe Road Barnsley S75 1JN

Telephone: 0800 731 2116 E-mail:

Copyright OCA 2004; revised 2006 Document Control Number: Ph2pwdp_121108.doc

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise - without prior permission of the publisher (Open College of the Arts)OCA is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England under number 2125674. Registered Office, Open College of the Arts, Michael Young Arts Centre, Unit 1B, Redbrook Business Park, Wilthorpe Road, Barnsley, S75 1JN, United Kingdom

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About the author

Michael Freeman is one of the worlds most highly respected professional photographers. He is widely published, with more than 80 books to his credit including the classic 35mm handbook (over 1.5 million copies sold). His publications include Spirit of Asia, Angkor: Cities and Temples (both Thames and Hudson), Japan Modern and The Modern Japanese Garden (both Mitchell Beazley). Michael has also produced a unique series of guide books for the digital photographer and this is published by ILEX, who are digital media specialists. He has worked on commissions for many well-known publishing clients, including Time-Life, Readers Digest, Cond Nast Traveller and GEO. He is also the principle photographer for the Smithsonian Magazine.

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Open College of the Arts


ContentsYou and your courseBackground A photographic revolution Whats in your course pack Basic minimum equipment and software The course Starting the course Your portfolio Your logbook Student profile On completing the course About printing Project and tutorial plan


Full colour controlDynamic range Project 1: dynamic range Measuring the image qualities Project 2: understanding the histogram Project 3: a variety of lighting conditions Working with colour Project 4: your cameras colour performance Project 5: a personal range of colours Memory colours Project 6: measuring colour Fine-tuning colour Project 7: altering colour with levels Project 8: altering colour with hue/saturation Assignment 1: seasonal colour changes

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Image combinationEnlarging and reducing images Project 9: resizing Combining layers Project 10: blending modes Same scene, different light Project 11: high density range Project 12: changing light Selection Project 13: selecting an object Project 14: adding an object Project 15: adding a new sky Assignment 2: a day in the life of


Photo-realistic retouchingBrushwork Project 16: extending an image Project 17: retouching a face Project 18: gradient filter Project 19: focus blur Shadows Project 20: adding shadows Assignment 3: a critical review


Degrees of alterationEnhancing colour Project 21: a stormy sky Project 22: an improvement in the weather Changing shape Project 23: facial distortion Project 24: extreme distortion Surrealist images Project 25: blending body parts Assignment 4: a linking theme

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New worlds of imagingSequence in time Project 26: a sequence in one image Immersive imaging Project 27: a 360 panorama Cubism and mosaics Project 28: digital mosaic Project 29: a composite, multi-facetted view Unreal colour Project 30: strange food Assignment 5: in the style of your chosen theme

Your portfolio At the end of your course Appendix A: if you plan to submit your work for formal assessment Appendix B: information concerning the proper use of materials and equipment Appendix C: OCA colour chart Further reading

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Open College of the Arts


You and your course

BackgroundSome of you will already have a background in traditional film photography, and naturally will want to make comparisons, particularly in image quality. Others will be coming fresh to photography, un-influenced by experience with negatives and slides. In either case, its important to remember that the technology of digital cameras is new. It is also evolving.

A photographic revolutionAt a mechanical and operational level, there is a lot to learn, but once you have become familiar with the principles of digital imaging, the techniques and procedures will quickly fall into place. One of the things I want to stress in this course is that if you understand the basics - which include pixels, how a sensor captures an image, and how digital colour works - then the jargon used by camera manufacturers and software suppliers will become recognisable, and the apparent brand differences will disappear. Above all, you need to become completely familiar with the capabilities and limitations of your digital camera, and appreciate what it is capable of. This will give you the confidence to get the most out of digital photography. There is a strong element of convenience in digital photography, and one of its most obvious attractions is that the images you shoot are available to use and print cleanly and instantly. The middle step of processing is removed, which saves time, money and the risk of the film being damaged or misplaced. Ultimately, however, the exciting opportunity that digital cameras offer is that they can allow you to improve your photography and to explore new kinds of imagery.

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There are many exotic techniques that you can apply to images, most of them coming under the heading of Special Effects, and it is arguable that there is nothing in principle inferior or false about doing this. Indeed, this course looks in detail at some of the most interesting of these. Being able to alter and manipulate photographs blurs the distinctions between photography and painterly art, and while this does not please traditionalists, it opens up broad new avenues for creative expression. Nevertheless, there is so much to learn about the digital approach to regular photography that these more unusual procedures should be a second step. The job here in this course is to become thoroughly proficient with taking images of the real world, and doing so with a level of mastery over the quality, colour, tone and even the geometry of the view that has never before been possible. Even within straight photography, digital techniques open up wonderful possibilities. You can, for instance, achieve exactly the colours that you would like, perhaps enhancing the green of a plant, or muting the hues in a landscape for a gentle, pastel effect. More than this, to my mind, digital photography makes it possible to undertake shots that you might otherwise not have attempted. Lighting conditions, particularly indoors or at night, may be so dim or unpredictable that with a film camera you might simply not bother. Digital cameras are far more adaptable. For instance, if you enjoy reportage photography - people behaving naturally, un-posed and going about their normal activities - the choice of sensitivity and colour balance in a digital camera extends the occasions on which you can shoot. Also, any uncertain picture situation, whether because of light, fast action or the unpredictability of what is happening, can now be checked and tested. The results are instantly viewable, and you can adapt your technique for the next shot if you need to. For me, this extra capacity for making images is the most valuable feature of a digital camera. Quite simply, it can help you to take a vast range of images, irrespective of the conditions. This surely is what a creative tool ought to do.

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Whats in your course pack

This home study manual CD-ROM

The CD contains sample digital images that are referred to in the manual, and which you can copy and use on your own computer. The folders in which these images lie are organised in the same order as the course and projects.

Basic minimum equipment and softwareTo meet the needs of this course, a certain amount of equipment and software is needed. Digital camera This should have at least 3 megapixels and the capacity for different focal lengths (meaning either a fixed zoom lens or an SLR with zoom or wide-angle to telephoto lenses). The actual range of focal lengths is not particularly important. Memory card(s) One or more cards with sufficient capacity for at least 20 large, highest quality images (the size of these will depend on your camera). Camera-computer connection The means to transfer images from camera to computer - either a connecting cable (usually USB) or a card reader that plugs into the computer. Tripod Used to keep the camera steady during long exposures, or to aid horizontal panning when creating a panoramic image (to maintain a level horizon).

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Desktop computer with monitor, or laptopThis should be to the following minimum specifications: Windows

Intel Pentium processor Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 or Windows XP 64 MB of RAM 125 MB of available hard disk space colour monitor with video card supporting 16.7 million colours (that is, 8 bits per channel, which is 24 bits in total) monitor resolution of 800 x 600 or greater CD-ROM drive (and CD-R writer, otherwise a separate unit - see below).


PowerPC processor Mac OS software versions 8.5 or later (including OS 9 and OS X) 64 MB of RAM 125 MB of available hard disk space colour