Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding media, part of Introduction to Photography.
- We've already talked a little bit about storage, and you've heard me say that your image size and compression settings will impact how many images you can fit on a card. You've also heard me yell at you about formatting your card. As I said earlier, storage is cheap so there's no reason not to shoot at the best quality you can and simply carry a bunch of cards. Cards come in different physical formats. Most cameras these days use either compact flash, sometimes referred to as CF cards, or secure digital, which are usually known as SD cards.
SD cards come in a micro-format also, which tiny cameras and cell phones often use. Your main concerns when choosing a card are capacity and speed. Buy the largest capacity you can afford and then you won't likely have to worry about cards anymore. As for speed, you don't necessarily have to buy the fastest card available. Remember, media cards like these are not only used for still shooting, they're also used for video recording, audio recording, and many other functions. A super fast card may not get you any advantage because your camera may not be able to write fast enough to take advantage of it.
Also, if you don't intend to shoot video, or if you only intend to shoot HD video, then you may not need the fastest card out there. Faster cards are more expensive, so if you don't need the speed, it would be better to save your money or put it into more capacity. If, however, you plan on shooting sports or performances and so will be shooting bursts of images, then card speed will become important, but again, your camera won't necessarily be able to take advantage of the fastest cards available so you'll want to do some experimentation and research to figure out what the best option is for your specific camera.
Card speed also impacts transfer time when you're dumping images to your computer, but only if you have a computer and reader that are fast enough to support it. If you'd like to know more about card speed, check out this installment of my Practicing Photographer series. In the meantime, any card that works with your camera will be fine for the exercises we're going to perform in this course. Your camera needs power, of course, and that comes from rechargeable batteries. For the most part, this is something you won't have to worry about too much because camera batteries typically last a very long time.
That said, it's still important to check your camera's remaining charge before you head out on a shoot. If you plan on being out for many days of shooting and you won't have access to power, then you'll want to carry multiple batteries. Now, vendors will tell you that third-party batteries might damage your camera, but, I've never found that to be the case. Third-party batteries don't necessarily last as long as the camera vendor's batteries, but they're significantly cheaper, so, it's easy to buy enough to make up for the difference in capacity. The camera's LCD screen is one of the biggest power hogs, built in WiFi, if your camera has it is another.
As your battery gets close to dying, or if you want to be sure it will last as long as possible, then use those features as little as possible. From your camera's menu, you can probably turn down the brightness of the camera's LCD screen, and that will use less power. As you use your camera more, you're going to get a feel for how many shots you can expect to get from a single battery charge.
Then it's time to take to the field and examine the rest of the factors that influence the quality of your photographs, including light metering, focus, composition, and flash. Ben also introduces techniques for shooting portraits and shows what you can do with an image editor in post. Last but not least, he'll provide a roadmap for learning more with the lynda.com extensive library of photography training. The path to becoming a better photographer begins with the first step. Start here!
- Exploring cameras and lenses
- Understanding media
- Controlling exposure
- Composing with autofocus
- Shooting portraits
- Understanding form and geometry
- Exporting and editing digital images