Coly Computer Help


Digital camera files. Your camera normally saves photographs as jpg files, these files are compressible and jpg is the most useful format. Do not save photos as RAW files, these are usually too big and the RAW file format is not standardised properly. If you take photos at your camera's best definition your memory card will quickly fill up and the photos will be enormous. Use a high definition if you want A4 prints, for other photos reduce the definition. Photographs intended for a website can be low definition.

Always store photos in the My Pictures folder of your computer. Software provided by digital cameras can be complicated and can load pictures into an obscure folder instead of into My Pictures. Set your camera's computer software so that it downloads into the My Pictures folder. Create a new folder within My Pictures for each batch of photos. Copy the photos from the camera to your new folder.

Rename each photo by right clicking a photo and then select Rename. Type a name and then press the Enter key.
The file name must not include the following characters:
  * / \ > < ? " : or |
Say you took photos of snow in December 2006; create a folder called SnowDec06 and fill it with the photos, then rename them Snow1-06.jpg, Snow2-06.jpg and so on.
If you do not follow this procedure you end up with hundreds of photos called something like, R000123, R000124, R0000125, R0000126...

To see how to print pictures using Windows XP click here

Although camera manuals can be daunting, after you have used the camera for a week or two, read through the manual again, it will then seem more meaningful and you can try additional tricks and tips. Read through again a month later and try a few more of the features on your camera.
This re-read and try advice applies to all software or computer manuals (including these Computer Help articles).

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Camera shake Taking a picture: I often see people using the LCD screen on the back of their cameras as a view finder. This drains the battery fast and practically guarantees blurred pictures because of camera shake. Always turn off the viewing screen and use the optical view finder. The LCD screen was never designed to line up a shot, use it only for checking whether a picture is satisfactory. To examine the picture(s) you have taken, find a bit of shade and set your screen to the lowest practical brightness to save draining the battery. If your camera does not have an optical view finder, then you will have to put up with fast draining batteries and camera shake.

Some low price cameras do not have an optical view finder, in which case it is Hobson' choice, try to minimise the inevitable camera shake, by holding your breath during the final press down on the shutter release. Better still, lean against a wall or rest your elbows on something solid.

Most digital cameras have a two-position shutter release button. For better quality pictures, press the button down half way and pause for a second, you will then hear the camera automatically set the correct exposure and the focus. Then press the rest of the way down to take the picture. To prevent camera shake  hold your breath during the final press down on the shutter release.

For the cheapest prints, use a high street developer; a single 6 x 4 print may cost about 18p, the price drops for multiple copies. You have full control over quality and photo editing if you use your computer and printer. But this can cost between 30p and 60p per 6 x 4 print (using photo paper).

Back lit subjects (sun behind the subject): If a situation means you are forced to take a picture against the light, use forced flash instead of auto flash. Remember the built-in flash on a camera only reaches to about 6 to 8 feet.

Emailing pictures. Always reduce the file size of a picture before sending it via email. It is very bad form  to send pictures without reducing the file size, many friendships have been ruined by 30 minute downloads.
Click Here to see how easy it is to reduce the file size.
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