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Photography Question 
Glen F. St Jihn

My Minolta s404 camera

What settings do I use to take the best 5x7 or 8x10 picture of my family?

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11/23/2002 7:33:09 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy   Ok, one last time for the newbies out there. There is nothing magical about the "settings" on your cameras. All they are are dumby buttons for people who don't understand exposure principles. Rather than worrying about settings why don't you go to the bookstore and get a book on exposure. Your pictures will be a lot better if you understand how it works and are in control of it rather than letting your camera make all the decisions based on some arbitrary "setting".

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11/23/2002 11:58:50 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
I presume your s404 is the DiMAGE digital. First, use the highest possible resolution setting. From a fundamental technical aspect regarding digitals, and the image sizes you mentioned, recording as much image "information" as possible to work with is important. I consider the same thing using film and select the highest possible resolution film that can be used for the task at hand (working within other possible limitations).

Next, follow Jeff's advice in learning about exposure, but I'll take it two steps farther . . .

Learn about light, which includes exposure as a small part of it. As I just wrote in another posting that a photograph, digital or film, is nothing more than a light recording that is played back for viewers in some manner, and it's applicable here too. In your case you plan to do this this with 5x7 or 8x10 prints at a later time and most likely in a different place. Then learn about image composition to make visually pleasing and interesting images using light and what you know about it to "tell the story" you have decided you want to about the subject material, to the intended viewers of your photograph.

Not certain what you meant by "picture of my family" but to me it implies portraiture. The most important aspects of portraiture are lighting and posing, hand-in-hand. Critical focus is very nearly always on the eyes. If this is your aim, then get a book on its basics. It's a complex topic.

While a little terse, Jeff's fundamentally correct. There's no magical button you can push on a camera that will make "best photographs." There's a lot more to it than a single camera setting. You have much, much more influence about what a photograph looks like with your decisions about lighting and composition than a camera will ever have, regardless of how automated it may be. The most important piece of equipment a photographer has is found between his ears. The knowledge there is what makes "best" photographs.

-- John

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11/23/2002 10:45:45 PM

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