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Family Portraits by Hannah Morris Photography Isle of Mull
Hannah Morris Photography
family portraits mull Hannah Morris
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Digital cameras now completely dominate photography. The majority of us have abandoned film cameras in favour of newer technology that lets us view images straight away, frame photos with the screen and re-use memory cards. There is also a vast number of features on digital cameras that you can't get on a film camera.

However, nearly all of us just switch the camera's settings to auto and leave it there. It is often a lot easier to do this than to try to work your way through a jargon-filled manual. This is a sadly missed opportunity. Even basic digital cameras offer a wealth of features that can be used to improve all your photos. For example, the kind of indoor lighting that can cause film photos to come out looking orange or green can be compensated for using digital cameras. And while camera film is available in a variety of sensitivities, you have to finish the roll before you can change it. A digital camera lets you switch to a higher sensitivity for just one shot at a time if you wish, before switching straight back to normal again.

Here we'll explain the benefits of the digital photography revolution and how to make the most of your camera. We'll also tell you how to take more creative photos, controlling the exposure, depth of field, and using the flash for special effects. So please try to break away from Auto and find out what you and your digital camera are capable of.

The term megapixel means one million pixels. It is calculated by multiplying the number of horizontal and vertical pixels in one image. So if an image has 2,816x2,112 pixels, for example, it will have 5,947,392 pixels in total, or around six megapixels.

An 8-megapixel image will have 3,264x2,448 pixels, while a 10-megapixel image will have 3,648x2,736 pixels. In these two instances each additional two million pixels is equivalent to having around 400 extra pixels horizontally and 300 extra vertically.

These extra pixels will allow you to zoom in on your subject or make larger prints without reducing quality. So-called 'photographic quality' prints from labs require 300 pixels per inch, so a 6-megapixel image with 2,816x2,112 pixels which can be enlarged to around 9x7in before it loses any quality. Increasing the image to eight megapixels gives you an extra inch in height, and 10 megapixels give you another inch yet again.

More megapixels are not always better, though. In theory they should be, but if a manufacturer increases the resolution without making the sensor larger, each pixel will therefore become smaller. This makes them less sensitive to light and more susceptible to random speckles of electronic noise, especially in dim lighting. The finer the pixels, the better the lens will need to be.

This is why digital SLRs, with their physically bigger sensors, produce much much better-quality images than compacts with the same number of megapixels. It is also why the tiny sensors and lenses in mobile phone cameras typically provide poor-quality images regardless of the number of the megapixels.

If you have never owned a digital camera and you're wondering what all the fuss is about or how the technology actually works, then it's worth finding out more information before you spend hundreds of pounds or dollars on a camera. Although digital camera prices are falling all the time, they are still quite an expensive purchase. Find out clearly and concisely how the technology works, what its benefits are and how you can get the most out of a digital camera,

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