CONTENT

Speaker @AdobeMAKE IT Australia

Sudhir was invited as one of the guest speakers at Adobe MAKE IT, an annual global event held at Sydney, Australia on August 2nd and 3rd 2017. His session was about how technology aids in Wildlife photography. The overall event was attended by more than 2000 people and had an online viewership of more than 50,000 people from the Asia Pacific region. The event boasted some of the biggest international names in the design and creative imaging industry, and Sudhir was one of two Indians on the panel as speaker.

Sudhir led an enthusiastic group of photographers in a photo walk, where he demonstrated to them how to overcome some of the common challenges of shooting outdoors. He gave them practical tips on how to employ the equipment and its numerous features to one’s advantage. This presentation was extremely well received, so much so that the participants later confessed to Sudhir that they were unaware that their cameras even had so many features and settings!

Sudhir at the event!

The conference room all set for Sudhir’s workshop:

Participants of the photography workshop at the Sydney Zoo.

A view of the Sydney harbour where the event was held:

CONTENT

Talk @ National Academy of Direct Taxes, Nagpur

It’s not exactly pleasant news when the taxman asks you to speak up. But Sudhir did speak up, addressing not one but a whole class of in-training taxmen. The prestigious National Academy of Direct Taxes at Nagpur is the apex training institution of the Indian Revenue Services. Sudhir was invited to be a part of their annual cultural fest, ANUBHUTI 2017.

Anubhuti 2017
National Academy of direct taxes
National Academy of direct taxes

He conducted a photography workshop for the numerous photography hobbyists and enthusiasts there who were keen to learn some tricks of the trade from him. The workshop included a presentation on wildlife photography in general, Sudhir’s journey as a hobby to professional wildlife photographer/teacher, and tips and tricks of wildlife photography on August 29, 2017. This was followed by a short field outing the next day, where the trainees got a hands-on experience of shooting outdoors.

Sudhir with trainees

It was as much an honour for Sudhir to address such an accomplished group of youngsters as it was enjoyable for them to learn from their favourite photographer. By the looks of it, he will be pulled up every now and then by these taxmen.

Everyone shooting in the field outing

CONTENT

Land Rover Discovery With a Purpose Feb 2018 – Part I

Land Rover – Discovery With A Purpose Expedition to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

Jaguar Land Rover India and Conde Nast Traveller India announced an initiative, ‘Discovery With A Purpose’, to spread awareness about India’s endangered wildlife. India has a great diversity of wildlife across several thousand species. However, many of them are under threat of extinction and thus need to be protected. The ‘Discovery With A Purpose’ initiative is aimed at bringing forth the species that face such a threat and thus create information and conversations around areas where our collective help and support may be needed.

31 Jan: Arrive in Dibrugarh
The entire team of Land Rover, the video and still crew and of course Environmental Writer and Photographer, Arati Kumar-Rao and Wildlife Photographer, Sudhir Shivaram arrived at Dibrugar on day 1 of the expedition.
Overnight at: Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow + Hotel Tea County

1 Feb: Flag-off and depart for Miao
We all met at Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow for a flag-off ceremony. JLR brand director Ankur flagged off the journey. We then departed for Miao (166km; 8 hrs).
Overnight at: Namdapha Jungle Camp + Tourist Lodge Miao

Late in the evening we reached Miao and spent the rest of the evening flaunting the all new Land Rover Discovery on the banks of the river.

2 Feb: Day-trip to the Namdapha forest reserve – I
Depart at 5.00am and drive to Deban Forest Camp (25km; 2 hrs). After breakfast, head for a guided trek into the forest. We kept our eyes peeled and fingers crossed for the red panda, but no luck. Later we return to Deban Forest Camp by 2pm for lunch. Departed for Miao at 3pm.
Overnight at: Namdapha Jungle Camp

3 Feb: Day-trip to the Namdapha forest reserve – II*
We followed the same schedule as above. Today, we took a different trail into the forest. Along the way, meet staff at the forest reserve + Phupla Sinpho, an elder from the Singpho clan and founder of SEACOW (Society for environmental awareness
and conservation of wildlife). We had a brief talk with him on their efforts and challenges of conservation in that area.
Overnight at: Namdapha Jungle Camp

4 Feb: School activity + Drive to Roing
After breakfast at 7am, we drove for around 10 minutes to a secondary school. Here, we handed over a set of textbooks + some stationery to the students. We spent 2 hrs with the students, engaging with them over wildlife and environment. Activities include a little drawing session, and a show-and-tell around wildlife photography and conservation.
We departed at 10am for Roing (150km; 7 hrs).
Overnight at: Yatri Niwas, Roing

5 Feb: Drive to Pasighat
We left at 8am for Pasighat (96km; ~5 hrs). The plan was to arrive by 1.30pm and spend the rest of the day at leisure. This was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever done. Arunachal Pradesh is absolutely beautiful. We need to be proud of our landscapes and the habitat and do whatever it takes to protect them for our future generations. The river crossing we did on the way was quite adventurous and we took some shots from the drone.
Overnight at: Hotel Serene Abode, Pasighat

6 Feb: Drive to Majuli
Leave at 7am for Majuli (295km; 9 hrs). Arrive before sunset and bed down for the night.
Overnight at: Dekasang Majuli

7 Feb: To Kokilamukh, then Kaziranga
We left at 6am for Kokilamukh (35km; 1 hr). A drive, a car ferry across the gigantic Brahmaputra and a 45-min walk later, we arrived to meet “Forest Man of India” Jadav Payeng, and visit the river island he has afforested. We had a long fruitful discussion with Payeng where he explained the issues of the current schooling system and emphasised about the need for better education on conservation awareness. We later departed for Kaziranga National Park (100km; 3 hrs) and arrived at Iora.
Overnight at: IORA-The Retreat, Kaziranga

8 Feb: Around Kaziranga, then Nameri
At 6am, we headed into the reserve on a jeep safari and explored the Eastern range of Kaziranga. At 11am, we departed for Nameri National Park (100km; 4 hrs). We then visited the pygmy hog conservation centre at the park.
Overnight at: Nameri Eco-Camp

9 Feb: Around Nameri, then Guwahati
We briefly headed into the park for bird sightings—the hornbill and the white-winged wood duck, potentially. Also visited the golden mahseer conservation centre. Later visited the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark set up by Balipara Foundation at Wild Mahseer lodge.
At 2.30pm, departed for Guwahati (175km; 4 hrs).
Overnight at: Radisson Blu, Guwahati

10 Feb: Depart for home
After a good night’s sleep, next morning we headed to the airport to catch the flight home. A trip I will cherish forever.

The lead instructors from Land Rover:

CONTENT

Land Rover Discovery With a Purpose Feb 2018 – Part II

You can read the Part I of the blog here

Here is the main video shot as a part of the 10 days expedition to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in the all new Land Rover Discovery:

Here are all the other videos:
Discovery With A Purpose | Dibrugarh to Miao:

Discovery With A Purpose

Discovery With A Purpose | Majuli to Kaziranga

Discovery With A Purpose | Passighat to Majuli

Discovery with a Purpose | Miao to Roing

Discovery With A Purpose | People of Namdapha

Discovery With A Purpose | Forest Man of India

Discovery With A Purpose | Children of Namdapha

CONTENT

Condé Nast Traveller FB Live

In a run-up to the #ShareYourDiscovery event in collaboration with Land Rover, Condé Nast Traveller’s Salil Deshpande interviewed Sudhir live on Facebook. This engaging conversation had Sudhir talking about his most intriguing experiences in the wild and the valuable lessons learnt. About how his journeys to discover the wild invariably turn into enriching inward journeys of self-discovery.

A little more about it:

#ShareYourDiscovery is a unique adventure-conservation initiative by Land Rover in association with Condé Nast Traveller. This voyage of discovery aims to bring to the fore the challenges confronting the state of wildlife in India; specifically, the highly endangered red panda and black-necked crane and their habitat in northeast India.

Come January 2018, Sudhir drives through the hinterlands of India’s northeastern regions alongside other influencers in the wildlife/journalism space.

Condé Nast Traveller have set the ball rolling by asking their readers to share the most interesting, memorable, valuable discoveries they have made, out there in the wild. One among these will get the chance to accompany Sudhir on the journey of a lifetime.

The Jaguar Land Rover website carries their interview with Sudhir on his experiences in the wild and the lessons learnt therein. Here, Sudhir talks about his connect with India’s northeastern region, where he has travelled for his wildlife photography. He also talks about what he looks forward to, in this upcoming road trip.

Here’s an excerpt of Sudhir’s interview:

“The wild reminds you that only the fit will survive.

The northeast has always had a special place in my heart due to the rich biodiversity, the bird life, and the culture. It’s been a long time since I visited the region. I hope to meet the locals, talk to them, try to create awareness among the youngsters on the issues concerning our environment and finally to rediscover the beauty of the northeast.”

Here’s what Rohit Suri, President and Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover India Ltd. (JLRIL), has to say about this initiative:

“India’s rich wildlife is battling extinction and needs our help. We need to care about it, but more than that, we need to act. During the ‘Discovery With A Purpose’ drive we intend to raise awareness on the need to preserve our wildlife. What better way to do this than to go into the wild with a known authority on the subject, Conde Nast Traveller, and tell a story with pictures and videos along with leading experts from this field. And we have a perfect companion for the journey as well, the soon to be launched, All-New Discovery.”

Divia Thani, Editor, Condé Nast Traveller India, is of the opinion that:

“Travel is all about discovering new things, so we are delighted to have the support of Land Rover on this initiative. During our seven years in India, Condé Nast Traveller has been a committed supporter of wildlife conservation and safari tourism. And we’re particularly passionate about travelling in the Indian Northeast, a region of incredible beauty, culture and nuance.”

Watch the video here:
Part 1 of #ShareYourDiscovery:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcntravellerindia%2Fvideos%2F1632321003478976%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Part 2 of #ShareYourDiscovery:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcntravellerindia%2Fvideos%2F1632356823475394%2F&show_text=0&width=560

CONTENT

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND SUDHIR SHIVARAM'S PHOTOGRAPHY LEARNING TOURS

Guest post by Camilla Malvestiti
www.tigersinthewild.org

A few years ago, the tiger changed my life. The call of the jungle, the sheer thrill of tracking the most elusive of cats and an innate stubbornness made me realize that it was time to leave my routine as a vegan chef in Paris and move to India. 

Sudhir Shivaram Photography
Junabai Cub at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

It all started with a personal project on writing and photography : Tigers in the Wild.

In January 2017 I saw my first wild tiger in Ranthambhore and got hopelessly hooked on both stripes and long tele lenses. 

Very soon, I was in one of Sudhir Shivaram’s photography learning tours in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. Little did I know that it would only be the starting point of a great learning experience with one of India’s most talented wildlife photographers and an amazing teacher. 

So why should you attend one of Sudhir’s workshops ? 

  • 1. Let out your passion for wildlife photography and get carried away
Sudhir Shivaram Photography

Sudhir started his professional journey after deciding to quit his corporate job to follow his passion for wildlife photography. 

Not only this passion shows, it’s also contagious. 

By signing up for one of his workshops you’ll surely end up with all the technical information on how to become a confident photographer, as well as getting inspired to follow your dreams. 

  • 2. Visit some of the country’s best wildlife destinations with experienced drivers and guides while making new friends
Sudhir Shivaram Photography Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Sudhir with Gudda (Naresh Singh), one of the best drivers / naturalist at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Sudhir organizes intense learning workshops which require a lot of work but are also great fun. 

Believe me, you won’t mind the 4:30 am wake up call to be first in line in front of Bandhavgarh’s hottest gate for tiger spotting. Nor you’ll be able to withdraw from passionate evening discussions after having enjoyed amazing food. 

Sudhir Shivaram Photography Bandhavgarh
Always leave early to be the first in the line for the safari

While driving in the park, you’ll experience the skills of some of India’s most experienced drivers and guides. In their hands, the game of tiger tracking is as smooth as it gets. Let the magic of the forest unfold under your eyes and concentrate on making images.

Sudhir Shivaram Photography Kanha
Tigress MB3 with her cub at Kanha Tiger Reserve. Photo by Camilla
  • 3 – Learn how it works, but most of all start finding your style

One of Sudhir’s most famous catchphrases is “Move away from taking images to making images”.

Learn all about technical principles, the paradigm of photography theory, master the rules. Then break them. Experiment. Rules are there to be smashed. Just saying.

  • 4 – Step out of your comfort zone, in a safe environment

Learn how to critique an image and give valuable feedback. Sudhir organizes a healthy photo competition during each workshop. While finding time to review the images taken during the day might be a daunting task for those who tend to overindulge on the blasting of their shutterspeed, an honest peer-to-peer evaluation will give you invaluable insights on your photography.

Sudhir Shivaram Photography
A healthy competition is organised among participants of the workshop.
  • 5 – Be part of an active, benevolent online community

Let’s keep in touch. How many times have you heard or told this phrase but haven’t really followed up ? Life kicks in and with it all the time-consuming daily activities. Sudhir’s team devotes quite a huge part of their working hours to the animation and maintain of his online community. They encourage WhatsApp and Facebook groups, theme competitions and an overall active dialogue to clear all your doubts and help you continue learning even after the workshop has ended.

Voilà, these are reasons which have made me a big fan of Sudhir Shivaram’s photography learning tours!

https://www.sudhirshivaramphotography.com/photography-courses/photo-tour/

Guest Post By Camilla Malvestiti
www.tigersinthewild.org

CONTENT

Asian Photography Awards 2020

We are delighted to announce that Sudhir has been declared number 2 amongst the 10 Most Influential People in Asian Photography Awards.

For the 5th time, he has received the prestigious reward that consecrates him as one of the most successful people in the industry.

Amongst the most sought-after trophies in the field, the Most Influential People in Photography is part of the Asian Photography Awards ceremony. 

Sudhir Shivaram Photography
Bhavya Desai, Chief Editor of Asian Photography Magazine at the awards ceremony

The category is meant to give official recognition to the leading people and institutions in the photographic fraternity of India, including the MDs, CEOs, Country Managers, Business Heads of various companies (like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Tamron), photography institutes and individual photographers.

Sudhir Shivaram Photography

For this award, the jury really looks out for special exploits and accomplishments. 

The nominees are judged not only on the basis of achievements, but also on their contribution and impact towards the industry in the last year.

This is the demonstration that with passion and hard work anything can be achieved. 

Sudhir Shivaram Photography
Sudhir Shivaram receiving the award at the ceremony

We at Sudhir Shivaram Photography strongly believe that relentless dedication, courage and motivation are the key to attain any objective. 

After a career in the corporate world as an engineer, Sudhir decided that it was time to quit his job and follow his dreams. That’s when he became what he was always meant to be: one of India’s best wildlife photographers.

Sudhir Shivaram Photography
Sudhir with Dabboo Ratnani, who was awarded as the No.1 most influential person

As Sudhir likes to say “Life is not about what you couldn’t do so far, it’s about WHAT YOU STILL CAN. Life isn’t about finding yourself, Life is about CREATING yourself.”

Thank you to the jury and to all the people who follow Sudhir on social media and otherwise.

Your encouragement is of great importance to us to always continue excelling. 

Sudhir Shivaram Photography

Looking forward to a fantastic 2020.

CONTENT

Basics of Photography – The Ultimate Tips for Beginners

Basic photography is not about what camera or lens to buy. It’s all about you as a photographer to understand the basics of photography and become a better photographer.
Photography is not rocket science. Anyone who has an intention to learn can start clicking great photos with knowledge of some basics. Let’s look at some of the basics of photography you need to know to get started. This is going to be your 101 photography guide for beginners
Consider this image:
Photography basics - Sparrow
This is the kind of image we all shoot as beginners in photography.
Not a great image.
Yes, this has been photographed by me.
But still not a great image.
This is one of my earlier images when I got started.
As you can see, even I used to click shaky, blur images.
In case you want to improve your photography, then you need to get the basics right. The basics of exposure triangle parameters which consists of aperture, ISO and shutter speed is what you need to understand. Let’s understand what it is.
Almost every photographer speaks about the same photography techniques.

Shutter Speed:

Shutter speed explanation by bubble
Shutter speed in simple terms is the duration of time the shutter is open for the light to enter and hit the sensor. It is expressed in seconds such as 1/15, 1/30 or 1/500 etc. This is one of the parameters which controls how much light should enter the camera.
Shutter speed is responsible for freezing the action or creating motion blur in the image. A faster shutter speed like 1/1000 or higher will freeze the action. It depends on how fast the action is happening. Whereas, a slower shutter speed like 1/15 will create motion blur. It is even responsible for the shaky image of hand when we shoot handheld. Snapshot team created a post on the wonders you can create with low shutter speed. This will definitely blow your mind off if you are not aware of the magic the shutter speed can do.
To know about the basics of exposure look at these 2 examples which shows what shutter speed can do to an image.
The below pic has been shot at a shutter speed of 1/500.
water fall image with fast shutter speed
If you observe the above image, it has frozen the water flow. Let’s consider another possibility of the same image when shot with lower shutter speed.
The below pic has been photographed for 20 seconds.
water fall image with slow shutter speed
This image has created the nice silky flow of water. As a photographer, you will have to decide what shutter speed you want to use.

Aperture:

Aperture
Aperture is the size of the lens opening. It is the circular opening in the lens which is responsible for how much volume of light should enter the camera. It is expressed as f/4, f/5.6 or f/8 etc. F stands for the focal length of the lens.
Aperture is one of the parameters which is responsible for the depth of field. The depth of field is that area of a photograph which is in sharp focus. The other 2 parameters responsible for the depth of field are focal length and camera to subject distance.
See the below image and let’s try to understand the role of the aperture.
duck shot with aperture priority
By using an aperture of f5.6, we have created a very shallow depth of field and the background has gone completely out of focus. This was photographed with an 800mm f5.6 lens.
You do not need a very high-end camera/lens to achieve this.
Consider the below image which has been shot with a basic Canon 1200D and 55-250 kit lens.
Butter fly shot with more aperture value
You can observe that we achieved great out of focus background.
How did we achieve such great out of focus background?
Simple:

  1. Lens: 55-250 kit lens. Zoom out completely to 250 mm. This results in longer focal length and shallow depth of field.
  2. Subject distance: Move as close as possible to subject which gives a shallow depth of field.
  3. Small aperture: Used the smallest possible aperture on the lens which is f5.6

From the above images, It’s clear that the images we get don’t depend on the photography equipment you use. They depend on the understanding and use of the basics.

ISO:

ISO example image
In simple terms,
ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor. During film days, it used to contain chemicals which would react to light. That is where the sensitivity of the film comes into the picture. In the case of digital photography, it’s the sensor which reacts to light. Slower ISO takes more time to reach and higher ISO takes less time to react to light.
The drawback of using high ISO is that it creates a lot of noise in the image and hence the image quality goes down. The level of acceptable noise in an image is purely dependent on the camera model. Some of the professional bodies can give you good quality image even at a high ISO of 5000.
As a photographer, you should have to get a good hold on these basic concepts of photography to take your learning forward.
Get the basics of photography right from this post and click awesome images. Which part do you like the most in the whole post? Did I miss something? Let me know through your comments.
You can learn More about all these concepts by subscribing to our online photography tutorials.

CONTENT

Post-Processing in Photography Using ACR: The Definitive Guide [2019]

There are many guides to learn about post-processing in photography.

Also there are many ways to post-process the images.

But when you know how to use the knowledge of them tactically, you can make a difference.

That is what you are going to get in my definitive guide of post processing in photography using ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and Photoshop.

You are going to learn:

  • The very basics of post processing (both RAW processing and JPG processing).
  • Why post-processing is important
  • Dos and Don’ts
  • Which step in post processing affects what
  • How to do post-processing the right way

You are also going to find out whether post-processing is image manipulation or image correction.

Before we dive into the guide, go through my post-processing tutorial using Adobe Camera RAW.

Let’s start with knowing what post-processing actually is…

What is post-processing in photography?

Tiger

Post-Processing refers to image editing in photography. It is an integral part of digital photography. And understanding the basic workflow will help you get the best out of your captured images.

Why do we have to post-process an image?

Personally, for me, post-processing is not image manipulation but image correction. The digital cameras have limitations with the dynamic range and the colors/tonality/contrast it can capture. Our human eye is much more capable of viewing the objects.

So when we click images, the chances of getting images as they are for the human eye are less.

Hence post-processing is needed to match the image to what you saw in the field.

DON’Ts in post-processing

don'ts in post processing

I follow basic post-processing. But I do not digitally alter or manipulate my images. For me Post-Processing is – show what you saw in the field, nothing more and nothing less. Of course, you can enhance the image a bit. It is like doing makeup and going to an event or party, but do not get a plastic surgery done. Of course, if someone wants to manipulate the image to make it look more beautiful, it’s an individual choice and nothing wrong in that.

Things I avoid in post processing:

  • Images, where the subject has been cut out and placed in a different background,
  • Morphed images
  • Combining two images of the same subject into one
  • Adding elements that were not originally preset while shooting.
  • Removing elements from the image which originally existed.

Remember, I do not want to show what I did not see in the first place. I just work on showing others what I see with my eyes. This opens door to what we have to do in post-processing.

DOs in post-processing

Depending on the photographer expertise and experience, it may always not be possible to get everything right the first time in the camera. We may commit some minor mistakes while photographing. We need to correct them in post-processing. Basic post-processing which I follow would generally include the following:

  • Crop and Straighten
  • Colour Correction
  • White Balance
  • Exposure Correction
  • Contrast and Clarity
  • Sharpening
  • Levels adjustment

Let’s get into knowing where we use the above steps individually..

#1 Crop & Straighten

straightening the image in post processing

Even though we take great care while capturing an image, there are chances of not getting image as we want, especially the composition aspect.

This may result in getting unwanted pieces of information at the edges and the image may get titled a bit.
In that case, we crop and straighten the image to clean up and correct any issues with composition.

#2 Colour Correction

color correction

Sometimes we may not get the colour of the image as we want. In that case we need to make corrections though it needs some expertise.
In that case, we can correct any colour casts and ensure the image colour is as accurate as possible.

#3 White Balance

white balance

White balance is the colour temperature of that image and is one of the parameters responsible to get you good colours in your image. Generally a lot of photographers keep this setting in auto white balance and hope to correct it during post processing. It is not a good practice as I always advice to get it right the first time out of the camera.

But when the things don’t fall into the place as we want, we can always correct that while post-processing an image.

#4 Exposure Correction

Exposure Correction

In some cases, underexposed and overexposed images are not desirable. When the image is either underexposed or overexposed we make exposure correction while post-processing. We perform this step to bring the optimal variant of the image.

Exposure correction improves the overall tonality and dynamic range of the image.

#5 Contrast

contrast adjustment

While taking photos, sometimes we need to get sharp images. In that case, to get sharp images we increase contrast. This can be performed using various algorithms in photoshop editor.

To sum up the points we perform this step to bring back any missing punch and bring out emphasis and detail.

#6 Sharpening

sharpening the image

Sharpening the images gives them the professional finish. Because, we can display images at their best by sharpening. It more clearly reveals the details of an image.

So we sharpen the images where necessary to bring out any key details.

In photoshop editor, we make use of all the above things to show the image at its best. Now I will take you through the process that I follow to edit photos in ACR and photoshop. It is not necessary to apply all the changes suggested. You decide what makes sense for your image and make the corrections accordingly.

RAW processing using Adobe Camera RAW: How to edit photos professionally using Adobe Camera RAW

In this section, I will take you through the step by step process for RAW image processing. We are going to touch the image in all aspects(stated above) one at a time to bring its best version out.

Here are the steps to follow if you are using Adobe Photoshop CC. (there may be slight variation in the version you use)

Setting the White Balance:

First and foremost thing to consider is white balance. Set the White Balance to match the actual scene.

In Adobe Camera RAW you can use the drop down to choose one of the presets (Daylight, cloudy etc).

 
 

The best way is to use the temperature slider to choose the value to get the correct lighting / colours in your image.

In case there is a slight colour shift even after setting the correct WB, you can use the Tint slider to adjust it. It is present just below the temperature slider.

 
 

The other basic settings used to correct the image in Adobe Camera RAW:

The below image has the other basic settings that we need to adjust. It has sliders to set the desired value for getting an optimal image.(perfect image)

 
 

Exposure:

I talked about exposure in my article on histograms. This will give you a clear idea about underexposed and overexposed images.

Use the exposure slider in case you want to overexpose or underexpose your image.
When you are making changes using the slider, you need to keep a watch on the histogram which is displayed on top of the tools and ensure the graph stays within the extremes.

Contrast:

Use the contrast slider to give a better punch in the image. This slider increases the colour depth in your image.

Highlights:

If the Whites in your image are overexposed, you may use highlights slider to get back some details in the whites.

Shadows:

Shadows slider is the opposite of highlights. You can get back the details in the shadow or dark areas of your images by using this slider.

Whites:

Whites slider increases the brightness of only the whites in your image.

Blacks:

Blacks slider is also responsible for increasing the bit depth. This slider is very useful for landscape images which have a lot of haze.

Clarity:

Clarity slider brings out more details in your image. If your original image is pretty sharp, then avoid using this tool. Play around with it to get a feel.

Vibrance:

Vibrance slider increases the saturation of only the vibrant colours in your image and not everything. I always use this compared to Saturation.

Saturation:

I avoid using saturation slider. This increases the saturation of all the colours in your image. We don’t want to do that.
DO NOT overdo any of the above settings. Use them minimally to improve upon a good image.

Converting and saving in Adobe Camera Raw

In Adobe Camera RAW, you need to put the below settings before saving the image. Click on the link which is shown at the bottom of the ACR tool:

Converting and saving
In Adobe Camera RAW, you need to put the below settings before saving the image. Click on the link which is shown at the bottom of the ACR tool:

 
 
 
 

The key settings to keep before saving in ACR are:

  • Under the Color Space, Keep the space like ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB
  • The Depth can be set to
    • 8 bits/channel for any web-based posting (FB, Instagram, Flickr, etc).
    • 16 bits/Channel, if you are planning for print.
  • Under Image Sizing, keep Resize to fit as default (box unchecked)
  • You will have to set the image resolution based on your end requirement.
    • For web-based posting (Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, etc) keep the Resolution as 72 pixels/inch (honestly it does not matter for web).
    • For prints, you need to keep the Resolution at around 300 pixels/inch and keep the image dimension as per the print requirement.
  • Rest all the settings, keep to the default shown.

Note: All the above is using Adobe Camera RAW. Similar settings will be available in Canon DPP or Capture NX.

JPG Processing Using Photoshop

After doing necessary changes in Adobe Camera RAW, it is time for JPG processing in photoshop. We do the initial photo editing in ACR cause it’ll make further editing in photoshop easy. Here is the step by step process for editing image in photoshop.

Step 1: Photoshop Settings | JPG Processing Using Photoshop

Before proceeding on jpg processing using photoshop, it is important to make these one time settings in photoshop:

  1. From the menu, choose Edit->Colour Settings and enter the below values
  2. Enter these values:
 
 

I will breakdown the necessary things, you need to do here, for you. We need to customize only in the settings, working space and colour management policies.

  1. Settings: Use the drop-down menu and choose “Custom“. You can name these settings as you want to distinguish easily.
  2. Working Space:
    1. RGB: ProPhoto RGB (if you do not have that, then choose Adobe RGB (1998))
    2. CMYK: Leave it to U.S. Web Coated……
    3. Gray: Gray Gamma 2.2
    4. Spot: Dot Gain 20%
  3. Colour Management Policies:
    1. RGB: Convert to Working
    2. CMYK: Preserve Embedded Profile
    3. Gray: Preserve Embedded Profile
  4. Keep the rest of them to the default.

Color Management Policies:
RGB: Convert to Working
CMYK: Preserve Embedded Profile
Gray: Preserve Embedded Profile

Rest, keep it to the default.

Once the above values are entered, you need to save it (This is a one time setting). Click on Save, give any name you would like to save it as, then enter the description regarding this profile you are saving and that’s it.

Step 2: Cropping | JPG Processing Using Photoshop

  1. Open the image in Photoshop
  2. Go to the Crop tool.
  3. Enter the width and height to crop in pixels or inches (for web choose around 1920 pixels on the longer side for horizontal images and around 1200 pixels for vertical images). Be sure to enter as 1920px (without the px, by default it will be inches)
  4. Drag over the area to crop and hit enter.

Step 3: Level Adjustments | JPG Processing Using Photoshop

1. Go to Image->Adjustments->Levels

 
 
 
 

There are three triangles as you can see in the above image:

  • The left triangle is to adjust shadow details
  • Right triangle is to adjust highlights
  • The centre triangle is to adjust brightness/darkness

.

Drag the left triangle to adjust it with the start of the graph. That should deepen your image.

Check how good the image looks visually and adjust accordingly.

You need to hold down the key (or Option key for Mac users) and drag the left or right triangle to make adjustments.

When you use the slider, a small amount of details will start to appear and you need to stop there.
You can use the centre slider to darken or brighten up the image.

Step 4: Vibrance (or Saturation) | JPG Processing Using Photoshop

Go to Image->Adjustment->Vibrance to increase the vibrance.

In case you do not have vibrance, then use saturation.

If you have vibrance slider, keep it to 22 or below.
if you have saturation (instead of vibrance), keep the amount to below 13.

Note: DO NOT make the above correction if you have already done this as a part of your RAW processing.

Step 5: Sharpen Image | JPG Processing Using Photoshop

1. Go to Filter->Sharpen->Smart Sharpen
2. Enter the radius as 0.3 for web-based posting and 1.3 for print (processed at 300dpi)
3. Now, keep incrementing the amount based on how much sharpening you need. Typically an amount between 70-100 is fine depending on how sharp or unsharp your original image is.
4. Keep “Remove” drop-down option to Gaussian Blur.
5. Rest of the values – keep it to default.

Step 6: Saving for e-mail/Web | JPG Processing Using Photoshop

1. Once the image is ready, go to Edit->Convert to profile
2. Make the “Destination Space” profile: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
3. Keep the others to default.
4. Hit Ok.
5. Now File->Save As, give the file name, keep the Format to JPEG. Make
sure under colour, you see the ICC Profile as sRGB IEC61966-2.1, if you don’t create a convert profile, it will be your working profile, which is ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB.
6. Once you say ok, in the JPEG Options, change the quality to 12 depending on the Size which is displayed below.

The above are the steps which I have been following for editing images in photoshop. This is how you can edit photos professionally using Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop.Which part of the process do you like the most? Did I miss something? Do you have any questions? Let me know by commenting below.

There are other ways to achieve the same results recommended by other photographers. Feel free to choose the steps comfortable for you.

Happy Processing!

CONTENT

Exploring Sanjay Dubri National Park & Giving Back To The Forest

Located in the Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh, is one of the most spectacular reserves that I’d like to call an underdog. The combination of mesmerizing landscapes and waterbodies with the presence of some feisty big cats makes Sanjay Dubri Reserve a destination that shouldn’t be missed when exploring India’s forests.

Sanjay Dubri National Park

In December, I held a two-day workshop with 16 participants in collaboration with the Forest Department and the MP Tiger Foundation Society to promote tourism at the reserve. As part of the collaboration, the entire trip, from the accommodation to the safari rides had been sponsored, so only a nominal fee of INR 15,000 was decided for the participants, part of which would go as proceeds to the forest department.

Sudhir with forest department officials in Sanjay Dubri National Park

I was working with Forest Officer Mr. Parihar and enquired with him about what the forest is in need of. It being winter, we figured that what the forest officers are most in need of is winter wear, so along with the workshop fees, I contributed INR 1.6 lakhs from the Sudhir Shivaram Photography organisation to purchase fleece for the staff that is so important in these winter months.

Offering winterwear to forest officials

Usually, I like to reach the forest where the workshop is scheduled a day or two early, so that I can spend that time by myself, relaxing, taking photos and familiarising myself with the place.

On the 4th of December, I reached Jabalpur and drove to Bandhavgarh National Reserve and drove to Sanjay Dubri from there with another friend Mr. Nishant Kapoor and later joined by Mr. Jay Raj (Range Forest Officer Mr. Parihar’s brother).

Sanjay Dubri has 4 different ranges:  The Dubri range, the Kusmi range, Pondi range and Bastua range.  I wanted to check out the more unexplored areas of the forest, so we drove to Kusmi Forest Guest House from Parsuli Resort, where the workshop participants would arrive in two days. That night, we went to bed after planning our adventures for tomorrow.

Early next morning, we ate our breakfast on top of Ramdha Watch Tower, which is located at Ramdha Kund, a site with large rock formations in the middle of water ponds. From Gopad River View Point we took in the breathtaking vision of the river gushing below us, as we stood atop a large rock on the cliff.

Sudhir at the hill top in Sanjay Dubri National Park
Scenary in Sanjay Dubri National Park
Sudhir at the hill top in Sanjay Dubri National Park

After lunch at the guest house, we headed to the Son Gharial Sanctuary, which is about 100kms away from Sanjay Dubri National Reserve and we stayed there for the night.

Sudhir having luch at the guest house

In the morning we took a boat ride through the serene waters in the sanctuary and then headed back to Sanjay Dubri since the workshop participants were arriving soon. That evening, I met with the 16 enthusiastic workshop participants who had come from all over the country and briefed them about the course of the next few days.

Sudhir Shivaram

In the morning we set out into the Dubri range and went straight to the Bitkhuri Watch Tower.

Sudhir Shivaram with workshop participants in Sanjay Dubri National Park

As we ate breakfast on the top, we could hear alarm calls from below us, and were even able to pick up conversations happening between the Bandhavgarh staff over the radio, despite it being at least two hours away! It proved to me how accessible that spot was, even though it was remote.

Everyone having breakfast in Sanjay Dubri National Park

While we were going through the forest, we found out that the tigress Kamli had just made a kill. Instantly, set out on a frenzy to track her down as fast as we could. We all know know precious timing is to get a good sighting, and we knew we had to act fast or we’d miss her. Luckily, we did manage to track her down and get some photographs of the gorgeous cat.

Tiger shot in Sanjay Dubri National Park

Post lunch, we headed to the base of the river we had seen from the cliff and were allowed to get down and dip our feet into the cold water since this area isn’t part of the reserve. We literally spent an hour there, goofing around and playing in the water like kids! It was shallow and safe, which is why we had such a great time there.

Everyone playing at water in Sanjay Dubri National Park
dancing with local tribals

In the night, back at the resort, we went through some fundamentals of photography, wherein I talked about some technicalities and techniques and answered all the questions that the participants had come with. The interactive session was followed by a dance performance by local tribals in the resort. Not only was this enjoyable for the whole group, but it is also a great way to promote the local culture by providing them with exposure and opportunity.

QA session back in the resort

The next morning, we visited the forest’s elephant camp, and were spending our entire day exploring areas a little beyond Kusmi range. We didn’t expect it, but the jungle had a gift for us in store. One of my favourite parts about being in the wild is that it can spring a surprise on you at any moment. It can be so thrilling! We were lucky to be able to get a glimpse of Kamli once again before we concluded the ride.

Tiger in Sanjay Dubri National Park

In the night, Mr Vincent, Field Director from the Forest Department addressed our gathering, and we distributed the fleece to the officials who had joined us. We also shared the workshop mementoes with the participants. The participants and I spent a good few hours chatting about our wildlife travel stories. Put a group of wildlife enthusiasts in one room, and the chatter never stops! Everybody had such intriguing insights to share with the group.

distributing fleece to the officials
winding up the workshop

Winding up the workshop the next morning, we all departed from Sanjay Dubri and made our way home.

The forest is a gift that keeps on giving, and I have always wished to give back to it in the best and most efficient way I can. This wish did come true through the collaboration with the MP Forest Department and the MP Tiger Foundation Society. I’m absolutely delighted to have been able to contribute my share to the forest, and I can’t thank the resort staff and forest department for all the work they put in. I’m currently working with them to figure out when to schedule a trip like this again, so keep an eye out for when I announce the next workshop!

Here are a few pics from the tour:

Some more behind the scene images:

CONTENT

Trip Report – Bandhavgarh Photography Learning Tour Nov 2017

Moments from Bandhavgarh Photography Learning Tour – Nov 2017
This was the first photography learning tour for the season apart from the recently concluded parents & kids workshop. The previous workshop was a runaway success with kids and parents having a fantastic time at the workshop with loads of fun and Tiger sightings.
The expectations of this workshop were a bit high in terms of Tiger sightings as the previous group had some awesome sightings. In all our photography learning tours we hire the best driver and guides to maximize the opportunity of good photography, be it Tigers or the commoners.
The tour started off with a few participants arriving earlier as they had a long overseas travel. The couple John and Barbera had come all the way from the US and the day of the arrival was Barbara’s birthday. We made sure to make it a special day for her by arranging bush dinner and the tribal dance which we had organized for our kids group.
dinner in bandhavgarh
Day 1 of the tour was more of relaxing time for me as the participants started arriving through out the day as the parents/kids workshop participants left. Since a few of them arrived in earlier, we organized a safari in the afternoon to the buffer area. Typically our workshop starts on a Wednesday as the park is closed in the afternoon, and there is no rush to get onto the afternoon safari. But the buffer area is open for tourism and those who come in early have the option to go there.
The buffer area is quite beautiful with a number of streams.
buffer area in bandhavgarh
buffer area in bandhavgarh
Later in the evening, we had the brief introduction session about the entire program and quick tips on the camera related settings for the next day. It was made clear to the participants that the workshop is going to be quite hectic. Though we cannot guarantee any Tigers, what we guarantee is great learning!
After the intro session, it was time for dinner. We always ensure to host our participants at the best of the places so that they are fully relaxed and pampered with top of the line accommodation and food. All our Bandhavgarh workshops are done at Kings Lodge from Pugdundee Safaris. It’s like a second home for me.
Kings Lodge
Kings Lodge
The fun started the next morning with wakeup call at 4:30am. The park opens at 6:15am and we try to be early to get the first glimpse of the Tiger.
Bandhavgarh safari timings are from 6:15am to 11am in the winters. This gives the participants long hours of learning on photography tips and trying out various experiments on lighting and composition. Typically the first 2 hours of the safari are spent tracking the Tiger, as that’s their most active time.
The other fun part of our safaris is the breakfast time at center point. Both Tala and Magdhi zones have center points where we take a break for our breakfast. Though we take good packed breakfast from the resort, the real breakfast we have is from the local small stall selling hot Maggi, samosa, pakodas, bread omelette, poha, coffee/tea and other quick eats.
Centre Point Breakfast
centre point breakfast
Maggi is my favorite fast food and my workshop participants know how crazy I am for Maggi. I make it a point to give more business for these local vendors as their livelihood depends on tourism and is an integral part of the larger picture of saving the forest and the Tiger.
Sudhir eating Maggie
After breakfast we continued with the safari and finally returnd by around 11:30am to the resort.
The participants got a brief rest and we assembled at the conference room for our photography learning. The session included classroom teaching where the core concepts were taught, and we stepped outside to get hands-on training of the same.
The core concepts of photography required for wildlife photography were dealt in-depth – mainly the auto focusing and the advanced concepts of focus point sensors (cross type, non-cross type, dual-cross type) and the focus points to be used for composition (single point, group AF, auto selection etc).
The field exercise gave the participants better confidence on the camera settings and how to use in real life scenario.
Post the session; we had lunch and a small power nap to get back the energy for the rest of the day. The afternoon safari timings were a bit short as it was winter, but we got ample opportunity to make our images.
Back from the safari, we took some rest and again assembled in the conference room for the evening session on photography. Though the workshops are quite hectic, we do have ample time for fun. In the evenings, we organized bush dinner and also local folk dance where the participants joined in for the dance.
local folk dance
The above exercise repeated for the next set of days. By the end of the workshop the participants had some amazing sightings. We saw at least 2 Tigers in every safari and 4 in some. Apart from the Tigers we also shot a lot of common species and landscape.
At the end of the workshop, the participants returned with great memories of the workshop and also made some new friends. Hope to see them back again.
participants of Bandhavgarh workshop
Here’s the group of the Nov 2017 photography learning tour and some moments from the workshop:
participants of Bandhavgarh workshop

CONTENT

Camera and Lens Choice for Beginners

Which is the best camera and lens choice for photography beginners? I like to photograph Nature, Landscape, People, Wildlife, Monuments, etc. I do not have a very high budget and can spend up to INR Rs 50,000.
Sudhir’s Answer: This is one of the most common questions I receive through e-mails, Facebook / Instagram messages etc.
You may want to checkout this article to understand about camera and lens buying guide:
https://www.sudhirshivaramphotography.com/beginners-guide-camera-lens-buying/
Let us consider the various genres of photography and let me help you choose a beginner camera which can cater to most of the below mentioned genres:
Here are some of the common genres of photography:
1. Wildlife
2. Birds
3. Landscape
4. Street
5. Portrait
6. Travel
7. Food / Product
8. Sports
9. Candid
10. Macro / close-up
11. Night
12. General (Beginners)
The important point to remember is – It is the lens which is mainly responsible for the image quality followed by the camera body. Of course, your understanding of the core concepts of photography is equally important, but that’s for another day.
Depending on your budget, invest 80% of your budget on lens and remaining 20% on camera body. Typically, lens is for life and you can keep upgrading or changing the body as technology of the camera improves.
Let us look at various camera and lens options available for your total budget of Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 INR.
Note: We recommend that you check with your local dealer or other websites of your choice to know the price of the equipment. The recommended equipment below are in the range of INR Rs 50,000

CANON CAMERA AND LENS

1. Canon EOS 1300D 18MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with 18-55 and 55-250mm IS II Lens
[Click here to buy the above camera / lens from Amazon]

This is the entry level Canon DSLR and is best suited for your low budget. This has 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ with 9-point AF with 1 center cross-type AF point. Standard ISO: 100 to 6400, expandable to 12800. This is quite capable of giving you good results depending on the lens you use and your skills. The features provided by this camera are good enough for the various genres I have listed above.
Let us look at the various key features and see how it fares for your photography:
i. Camera Resolution
Approx. 18.0 megapixels – This is decent enough for all the genres of photography. Do not expect to do a lot of crop with this resolution.
ii. Frames per second
Max. approx. 3.0 shots/sec – Do not expect to shoot any kind of action with this camera. Since the internal buffer is also limited, you will not be able to get 3 fps all the time.
iii. Focusing Points
9-point (Cross-type AF sensitive to f/5.6 with center AF point) – Though you have 9 AF points only the centre one has cross type AF point which means all the other 8 are non cross types and hence your auto focusing is going to be quite slow especially in low light conditions.
iv. ISO Performance
Standard ISO 100 – 6400 (expandable to 12800) – You cannot expect good quality images at high ISO from this entry level camera. You need to experiment and arrive at the “shootable” ISO for your camera and remember that in low light photography.

2. Canon EOS 700D 18MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with 18-55mm IS II and 55-250mm IS II Lens
[Click here to buy the above camera / lens from Amazon]

The Canon 700D is just above the Canon 1300D and is preferred over the 1300D based on your budget. The EOS 700D offers a full and solid basic performance that is clearly one of the best in any entry level DSLR with its high image quality, various functions of Live View AF and movie shooting. The Vari-angle Clear View LCD II with capacitive touch screen capabilities as well as the new 360 degrees rotatable Mode Dial design and Creative Filters will definitely also expand inspiration and creative expression.
The 18-55 and the 55-250 lens which comes with this camera are good enough for all the genres of photography listed above.
Let us looks at the key features of this camera compared to the above Canon 1300D.
i. Camera Resolution
Approx. 18.00 megapixels – This is the same as the Canon 1300D and sufficient for any beginner. Image cropping is not recommended. Of course a bit of cropping in terms of 15-20% crop and retaining 80% of frame is reasonable.
ii. Frames per second
Max. approx. 5.0 shots/second – Much better than the Canon 1300D. If you want to try action photography, this is definitely a notch better than the Canon 1300D. 5 fps is still a limitation for good action photography.
iii. Focusing Points
Nine cross-type AF points (Cross-type AF sensitive to f/2.8 with center AF point) – This is a big plus point over the Canon 1300D. Canon 700D has 9 AF points and all of them are the cross type sensors, meaning your auto focusing is going to be much faster and better than the 1300D, especially for low light situation.
iv. ISO Performance
ISO 100 – ISO 12800 and ISO expansion to “H” (equivalent to ISO 25600) – The ISO range and the performance is much better than the Canon 1300D and helps in case of low light photography.
Additional features of Canon 700D:
Hybrid CMOS AF
The EOS 700D offers ‘Hybrid CMOS AF’, an advanced live-view autofocus technology that enhances the focusing speed while using the LCD (live view), for both still shooting and videos. Through the LCD monitor with that features a capacitive touchscreen (similar to smartphones), you can simply touch to set autofocus on a subject and release the shutter once focus is achieved. For Continuous AF, the subject is constantly tracked and focused in-frame until the shutter button is released.
7.62cm, articulated LCD with touch function
The EOS 700D features a 7.62cm capacitive touchscreen giving you a whole new dimension of usability and control. Touch control is seamlessly integrated into the camera menu system and offers unprecedented flexibility over camera controls such as viewing images, selecting AF points, touch capture, swiping through albums and pinching to zoom in.
Using the vari-angle capabilities simply twist and tilt the monitor for any shooting situation, while the display remains crisp and clear so that the composition can be checked. Shooting remains easy to manipulate even when on a tripod, when shooting vertically or when using a battery grip.

3. Canon EOS 750D 24.2MP Digital SLR Camera + 18-55 IS STM Lens
[Click here to buy the Canon 750D + 18-55 kit lens. Do get the 55-250mm lens separately]

The EOS 750D features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, and is specifically designed for casual photographers who prize excellent image quality, a simple and user-friendly interface. It offers creative freedom through its new features – 19-point all cross-type AF and creative filters and the new Hybrid CMOS AF III.
The EOS 750D features a stunning combination of the 24.2-megapixel resolution—the highest level ever in the history of EOS entry-level models—and the DIGIC 6 image processor which creates high image quality images that go beyond EOS entry-level model cameras.
If you have that extra budget, then this is highly recommended over the Canon 700D. Though it’s your skills which really matters in making good images, Camera technology does aid in making good images where the missed opportunities are reduced due to the camera technology and capabilities.
Let us look at the key features in this camera.
i. Camera Resolution
Approx. 24.2 megapixels – Better than the Canon 700D and gives you better flexibility when it comes to cropping.
ii. Frames per second
Max. approx. 5.0 shots/sec.
iii. Focusing Points
19 points (cross-type AF point: max. 19 points)
The Canon 700D has 9 AF points and all of them being cross type. The Canon 750D has 19 cross type AF points. This is a major advantage for action photography. With more number of focusing points you also get better flexibility in terms of composition, especially for moving subjects.
iv. ISO
100 – ISO 6400 and ISO expansion to “H” (equivalent to ISO 25600)
Additional Feature of Canon 750D
Hybrid CMOS AF III and Touchscreen LCD
Hybrid CMOS AF III features rapid autofocusing in live view while shooting stills or tracking subjects during movie shooting even when subject is off center of the frame. In combination with touchscreen LCD panel, advance movie recording is made accessible even for entry users.

NIKON CAMERA AND LENS

1. Nikon D3300 24.2MP Digital SLR + AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens + AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens
[Click here to get the above product from Amazon]

The Nikon D3300 will surprise you with stunning images that inspire creativity at the next level. Featuring the latest EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, 24.2 effective megapixels, Picture Control and 13 special effects modes in a lightweight, compact body that goes everywhere you do – the D3300 gives you the freedom to explore like never before.
Let us look at the key specifications of this camera:

i. Resolution
24.2 effective megapixels
Compared to the Canon entry level camera, this has a higher resolution and good enough for beginners. Yes, a bit of cropping can be done and yet retaining the quality of the image with this high resolution.
ii. Frames per second
Up to 5 fps – This is decent enough for any kind of action photography, though not great. The internal camera buffer rate will also matter on how long you will be able to shoot at 5fps.
iii. Focusing Points
Can be selected from 11 focus points. This is decent enough for most genres of photography, especially the still photography compared to action shots.
iv. AF-area mode
Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points)
These are the basic AF modes available. Though not impressive, will do for most of the genres mentioned above, but will be a limitation for wildlife and sports / action photography.
v. ISO
ISO 100-12800 in steps of 1 EV. Can also be set to approx. 1 EV (ISO 25600 equivalent) above ISO 12800; auto ISO sensitivity control available. It is important to experiment on the ISO noise performance

2. Nikon D3400 Digital Camera Kit + Lens AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR + AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR
[Click here to get the above product from Amazon]

Take your first step into the world of DSLR photography with the new Nikon D3400 with SnapBridge*1 — the latest feature that automatically connects your pictures with the world. The D3400 captures every memory in stunning detail with ISO 100-25600, 24.2 megapixels, an 11-point autofocus system and features the ability to shoot Full HD 1080/60p videos. No matter the situation, whatever the occasion, the compact and lightweight D3400 is always ready to immortalise your most precious moments.
I would recommend the Nikon D3400 over the D3300 as it’s always good to go with the latest release of a camera model.
Let us look at the key features of this camera.

i. Resolution
24.2 megapixels – Similar to the D3300
ii. Frames per second
Up to 5 fps – Inline with the Nikon D3300
iii. Focusing Points
Can be selected from 11 focus points
iv. AF Area Mode
Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points)
v. ISO
ISO 100 to 25600 in steps of 1 EV Auto ISO sensitivity control available.

3. Nikon D5300 24.2MP Digital SLR Camera(Black) with AF-P 18-55 and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G VR Kit
[Click here to get the above product from Amazon]

Image quality, connectivity and creative control come together in this lightweight, full-featured DX-format DSLR. The new EXPEED 4 is our fastest image processor to date and complements the 24.2-megapixel CMOS. With its 39-point autofocus, improved white balance and wide sensitivity range, the D5300 lets you shoot stunning photos and Full HD movies. It’s our first DSLR to feature a built-in Wi-Fi®, so you can instantly transfer your photos*. Its GPS function saves location information to your images. A crystal-clear 3.2-inch LCD vari-angle monitor lets you shoot at any angle. With so many innovative features, the D5300 adds new dimensions to photography.
The D5300 is quite impressive and I would highly recommend the D53** series over the entry level model if you can stretch your budget a bit.
Let us look at the key features of this camera.

i. Resolution
24.2-megapixel
ii. Frames per second
Up to 5 fps (JPEG and 12-bit NEF/RAW) or 4 fps (14-bit NEF/RAW)
iii. Focusing Points
39 focus points (including 9 cross-type sensor)
iv. AF Area Mode
Single-point AF, 9-, 21-, or 39- point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, auto-area AF
v. ISO
ISO 100-12800 in steps of 1/3 EV. Can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.7, or 1 EV (ISO 25600 equivalent) above ISO 12800; auto ISO sensitivity control available

4. Nikon D5500 DX-format Digital SLR + AF-P 18-55mm VR + AF-S 55-200mm VRII Kit Lenses
[Click here to explore Amazon website to buy this product]

The D5500 is thoughtfully designed with an intelligent eye sensor, vast improvements in image review, and a versatile touch screen vari-angle monitor to make it even easier for you to chase your creative pursuits. Its 24.2-megapixel image sensor without an optical low-pass filter (OLPF), is complemented with a powerful EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, all packed in a compact, lightweight body that offers a stronger, more secure grip. Built-in Wi-Fi® allows you to upload your impressive images seamlessly, so you can share your passion for photography with other like-minded enthusiasts.
The D5500 is quite impressive and this is my camera of choice for beginners. It is packed with a lot of useful features and it’s learning curve is a bit steep.
Let us look at the key features of this camera.

i. Resolution
24.2-megapixel
ii. Frames per second
Up to 5 fps (JPEG and 12-bit NEF/RAW) or 4 fps (14-bit NEF/RAW)
iii. Focusing Points
39, Can be selected from 39 or 11 focus points
iv. AF Area Mode
Single-point AF, 9-, 21-, or 39- point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, auto-area AF
v. ISO
ISO100–, 25600, in steps of1/3EV, Auto ISO sensitivity control available

What combination is good?

You can choose the combination of lens + camera from the above list based on your budget. Typically the overall cost will be less when you buy them together as a part of kit lens. Any of the above combination will give you good results. Remember, more than the equipment it is the skills that matter and your understanding of the core concepts of photography – like exposure triangle, metering modes, focusing modes and points etc. The art of composition also comes into picture making. Finally, a good hold on post processing gives you the finishing touches for your image.
Please do subscribe to our online photography tutorials to learn all the core fundamentals of photography and also be part of the community (advanced plan) to participate in various discussions, ask queries related to photography, post your images for review and critique and interact with Sudhir and his team.

online photography tutorials
Best camera and lens choice for beginners

The product finder link on Canon India website is a good place to choose your Canon equipment:
Camera:
http://www.canon.co.in/personal/productfinder?productfinder=personal-eos&languageCode=EN
Lens:
http://www.canon.co.in/personal/products/interchangeable-lens-camera/lenses?languageCode=EN
To explore the Nikon Cameras, please see the Nikon website link below:
http://www.nikon.co.in/en_IN/products/categories/dslr?
To explore the Nikon lens, please visit the below link:
http://www.nikon.co.in/en_IN/products/categories/nikkor?

CONTENT

Beginners Guide to Camera and Lens Buying

The one big challenge for any beginner in photography is – what camera / lens to purchase. There is nothing called as the best camera or lens. The best camera is the one which you can afford. It also depends on what you want to shoot. But as beginners, I am sure you may not have any specific genre in mind to shoot. You like to shoot anything and everything. Let me give you some brief inputs for choosing the right equipment for your purpose.
Different Genres of Photography:
Let us understand some of the genres of photography which we see around:
1. Wildlife
2. Birds
3. Landscape
4. Street
5. Portrait
6. Travel
7. Food / Product
8. Sports
9. Candid
10. Macro / close-up
11. Night
12. General (Beginners)
Depending on what you want to shoot, you will have to look at options available to buy the equipment. Obviously you have the camera + lens as a part of your buying option. I would recommend to put 80% of your budget on the lens and 20% on the camera.
CAMERA SELECTION:
Here are some inputs for camera buying.
Camera Types
The first step towards camera buying is to understand the two different kind of formats available in DSLR segment. You have the full frame sensor camera and the crop sensor camera.

Back in the film days, the size of the film or the negative was 24mm x 36mm. A full frame camera sensor is one whose size is same as that film. The crop sensor camera is usually referred by it’s crop factor. Canon, Nikon and other camera manufacturers have 1.5x, 1.3x, 1.6x or 2x and so on.
In simple terms, when you put a 100mm lens on a full frame camera, what you see through the view finder is the view of that 100mm lens. When you put a 100mm lens on a crop factor camera of say 1.6x, then the view you see through the view finder is that of a 160mm (100mm x 1.6 = 160mm) lens mounted on a full frame body.
When you are choosing a camera to buy, you need to keep the below points in mind:
1> Camera Resolution

You seriously do not have to worry about this unless you plan to submit your images to stock photography, doing commercial photography or plan to crop your images a lot. Megapixel does not have a major role for most beginners. Do not worry about this.
2> Frames Per Second

This feature is important in case you plan to do a lot of Wildlife / Action photography, sports or birds in flight kind of shooting. For most other genre of photography, this is not a feature you need to have.
3> Number of focusing points

The more number of focusing points you have (especially the cross type sensors), the better it is. Of course, this is quite helpful if you are mainly into Wildlife / Action, Sports or birds in flight as you have better control for composition. For most other genre of photography where the subject is static and not moving, having less focusing points is not an issue. The focusing sensors (cross type or dual cross type) plays an important role for your auto focusing, especially in low light situations. If you plan to do a lot of low light photography where your subject is moving, then you need to check the specification of your camera to find out what kind of focusing sensor it has. It is always recommended to go for Dual Cross type and then cross type.
4> ISO Performance

The higher the ISO, the more noise you get in your image depending on the sensor quality. Good ISO performance cameras are quite important if you are shooting in low light like Wildlife, Events, Wedding, Evening street photography and the likes. For all other genre of photography, this is of no concern. Of course, as long you are using a tripod to shoot still images in low light, then not to worry.
5> Full frame v/s Crop Sensor body

We have briefly seen the key difference between a full frame and crop sensor bodies. Full frame bodies are expensive compared to it’s counter part. In general, full frame sensor have better image quality and have better high ISO performance. With the crop factor body, you get the focal length magnification which is good to get better reach where you cannot afford the 500mm or the 600mm lens.
LENS SELECTION
This is the tough part. As I have said, put in 80% of your budget on lens buying.
Some of the important factors influencing the lens buying are:
1. Focal Length
2. Aperture
3. Lens Mount / Format
4. MTF Chart
5. YOUR BUDGET
The different types of lens available and their field of application are:
1. Ultra Wide Angle Lens

– These are of focal length 10mm, 14mm and so on.
– These lens are useful for photographing very wide perspective images from a close distance.
– These lens are also used to photograph landscapes using hyperfocal distance concept.
– Useful for home interiors, architecture, buildings etc.
2. Wide Angle

– A wide angle lens is one which is less than 50mm.
– A f2.8 or lower aperture wide angle lens is good for indoor hand held shooting. Cost is high.
– Wide angle lens are most useful for landscape photography, street photography, general events, family functions etc.
3. Standard

– A 50mm lens is called as a standard lens.
– The 50mm f1.8 lens from Canon / Nikon is a good option for budget buying costing around Rs 7,000 (USD $150)
– This is most useful for close-up portrait of people. This can also be used for landscape, street, product / food and advertising photography.
4. Short Telephoto Zoom

– Any lens of focal length longer than 50mm is called as a telephoto lens.
– A focal length of range 50-300 is most suitable for any beginner.
– The 55-250mm range focal length is the lens you should invest in if you are under tight budget.
– Your field of use includes Landscape, Street, Portraits, Close-ups, Product / Food, Wildlife (mammals), Birds (limited), Travel, Wedding / Events, Candid and for general photography.
5. Medium Telephoto Zoom

– A focal length of 100 to 400mm is your medium tele photo lens.
– Good for Street, portraits, close-ups, Wildlife, Birds (limited), Travel, Sports (limited), Candid photography.
– Of course the 400mm f2.8 is the most suitable lens for Wildlife and sports photography. Quite expensive.
6. Super Telephoto

– These are the biggies like 500mm, 600mm and the 800mm.
– These are best suited for Wildlife, Birds, Sports, Candid and even close-ups (shooting from far distance).
7. Zoom
– A zoom lens has the flexibility of multiple focal length and you can carry one lens compared to multiple lenses.
– Fixed focal length lens are supposed to be optically best in image quality compared to zoom lens.
– A zoom lens like the 70-200 f2.8 is one of the worlds best lens for street, landscape, wildlife (showing the habitat).
– The 100-400 or the 80-400 is most suited for general wildlife.
– The new set of lens in the range of 150-600 is what most people prefer now a days for wildlife.
8. Macro

Guide to buy camera and lens

– These are specialised lens which can focus at very close range and provide extremely good details.
– As the name says, this is best suited for macro photography.
Based on your budget, you need to choose the camera / lens suitable for you. Good luck!
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CONTENT

5 Ways Learning Photography Can Help Your Children

It is the age of selfies, and most children are snap-happy; which is a good thing. Children today have easy access to a camera and clicking pictures is quite a norm among them. But there is so much to photography than just taking pictures.
When you encourage your child to take up photography, you are stimulating their self-confidence, their creativity.

When a child starts taking pictures, it does not matter what camera he is using – it can be a camera phone, a simple point, and shoot digicam or an entry-level DSLR.
What is more important is for you to encourage them to create a story around their subject, pick interesting subjects and explore settings.

Through their photographs let your children tell stories, evolve ideas and showcase their creative thinking.

Stimulate your child’s love for photography because…

#1: Photography is a great way to imbibe self-expression in your kids

It brings out the explorer and the experimenter in them. It is important as it helps your child in other aspects of his or her life – studies, sports, and even social interaction.

#2: Taking up photography boosts a child’s self-esteem

Once your child takes pictures that she or he is proud of, there is a high likelihood of sharing those amongst his or her peers, connecting with them, and thus improving social skills and self-confidence.

#3: Photography helps them explore their creative side

When you hand them a camera or even a phone with a good quality camera, you are encouraging your children to develop their own ideas; stimulating their creative thinking.

#4: Photography can give your child a better understanding of herself and her surroundings

It gives your child an opportunity to look at things in a whole new light. She or he can develop a sense of perspective and visualization.

#5: Photography improves observation and ideating skills in your child

Through photography, they can expand their thinking horizon. Some aspects of photography like working out angles, settings, etc. also help in improving decision-making skills. As your child matures in photography skills, encourage him or her to plan and present their work in a more professional way.

Encourage your children to get close to nature and try their hand at wildlife photography. Sign up for the Kids’ Special at Ranthambore, from 27th to 30th April 2018, with Sudhir and Swaroop.
Click below to sign up:

CONTENT

Photography – Passion to Profession

This image may evoke different emotions in different people, but if you are an aspiring photographer, that emotion is more than likely to be one of “envy.” And I know this because I have been on the other side of this image for the better part of my youth. I know what it is like to carry around a basic entry-level camera during a safari and drool at another photographer’s long lens.
Well, envy may be a good start to fuel your desire for more equipment; but to pursue photography as a profession you are going to need a lot more than that. As with most things in life, you do not succeed overnight. And it’s neither easy nor practical to quantify your efforts. Yes, it took me over 20 years to get somewhat close where I wanted to be; it may take the next person 10 years. But that’s hardly the point. For me, the ruling sentiment has always been, “profession or no profession, photography is what I want to do.” If you can be that passionate, if you are up for backbreaking hard work, if you are unfazed by minor setbacks and disappointments, then delve right in.
So let me cut straight to the chase and chart out the course to embracing photography as a profession.

Genre of Photography

The tendency in beginners is to shoot practically anything and everything. While this can be a good thing to start with, it is important to quickly figure out which genre of photography you want to focus on, eventually. By all means, be a Jack of all trades but also be a master of ONE. Be it street photography, wedding, product, fashion, landscape, or wildlife photography, each genre presents its own challenges. Consider the advantages and disadvantages and your own aptitude before you pick a genre.

Understanding the 4 Pillars of Photography



A solid grounding in what I call the four pillars of photography cannot be over emphasized. This will clearly raise the standard of your photography, several notches.
1.    Subject Knowledge
There is no undermining the importance of subject knowledge, regardless of the genre of photography. For instance, a good wildlife photographer needs to be a good naturalist first. A wedding photographer has to be familiar with the finer nuances involved in the wedding ceremonies. This is true of all genres. Once you have a sound understanding, you can visualize and plan your shots.
2.    Core Fundamental Concepts of Photography
The digital camera has, in a sense, over simplified photography. With superior technology being made affordable, ‘taking’ an image is no longer a challenge. ‘Making’ an image, on the other hand, requires a deeper understanding and a definite thought process. Sample this – there are at least 18 different parameters you need to work on, before you press the shutter release button. So take the time and effort to know the key settings inside out; work on and experiment with the guidelines of composition. It is important to get the basics right.
3.    Equipment and Shooting Technique
Equipment needs vary with the genre of photography. Understand your camera and lens, exploit their advantages and work around their limitations. Be aware of the various accessories that might aid your genre of photography. An optimal equipment set-up with the right shooting skills, and lots of practice will all contribute to superior image quality.
4.    Digital Post Processing
The fourth, and most often overlooked, pillar of photography is post processing. This usually carries a negative connotation and is largely considered ‘manipulation.’ I take great pains to clear the air in this regard. Post processing is the digital counterpart of the chemical processing of film rolls and is an integral part of digital photography. Aim to familiarize yourself with post processing techniques early on in your career, so as to create top-notch images.
Building your Portfolio/Social Presence
Having chosen your genre and mastered the four pillars of photography (although learning is a lifelong affair), it is now time for you to showcase your work.
Once you have a sizeable portfolio, you can either display it on one of the free content management systems available or get a professional to do it for you. A useful tip here would be to use your own name for your website, rather than fancy monikers. Over a period of time, this makes it easier for people to connect the domain name to you. I have used www.pixpa.com to host my portfolio (www.sudhirshivaram.com); it was a breeze to set up.
You should also harness the global reach of social media sites to display and promote your work. You can share and interact within a group of likeminded individuals and build a network for yourself. Facebook has been instrumental in shaping my decision to take up photography as a profession. Flickr, Google+, 500px, Nat Geo Your Shot are some other platforms where you can frequently post your images.
Business of Photography
Once you have tackled the nitty-gritties of your craft, it is now time to roll up your sleeves and attack the business end. I have outlined these points based on my personal experience.
Financial Independence
A hobby can become a passion; the passion can become your calling! While the bigger thoughts clearly are on doing what one loves, it is paramount to assess one’s financial requirements for sustenance, lifestyle and the rainy day. This is vital for a smooth transition from a salaried job to entrepreneurship.
Mspace Group” – An organization that focuses on helping individuals gain financial independence helped me acquire this important life-skill, and greatly bolstered my decision to quit my IT corporate job and get into photography as a full time profession.
Market Requirements
You may be your own boss now, but there’s no ignoring the client. Understand customer requirement and deliver accordingly, within the ambit of your business. Do your homework and be current on new trends and technologies. Obsolescence may prove bad for business.
Competition
There’s nothing like a little competition to spice things up. Healthy competition can actually be a good thing. It ensures that you do not get complacent; you learn to work hard, work smart. Study your competition, follow their work, and do not shy away from emulating them, cautiously.
Advertise your Business
This may seem like an extension of “Social Media Presence” that I touched upon earlier but the difference here is that you will need to pay to garner visibility for your business. Let the size and scale of your business determine your advertising/marketing budget. As for me, strategically planned advertising on social media sites has been the mainstay of my business.
Client Communications
Unable to stick to a timeline? Communicate. Goofed up on an assignment? Communicate. Forgot to call? Communicate. And apologize. “When in doubt, communicate” is a good life lesson; more so with clients. Timely communication is undoubtedly the key to business success.
Networking
“We’re all in it together,” is not just a happy thought but can make sound business sense too. Networking here refers not just to your Facebook friends and contacts but also to real-world connections. Networking with relevant people keeps you abreast of the goings on in the industry. Attend seminars, exhibitions, and other such events to network with individuals and companies. You will eventually learn when to collaborate and when to go solo.
Bookkeeping and Taxes
It is not all sunshine and roses. Before you know it, the taxman will come knocking. So keep a tab on your income/expenses and file your returns on time. There is no escaping this humungous mundane task.
Author’s Conclusion
I worked in the IT sector for almost 17 years before I jumped the boat to full-time photography. So, is it a good thing or a bad thing? Definitely a good thing, I would say. I owe most of my technical expertise to my academic background as an engineer. Most other management skills, I attribute to my long innings in the corporate sector.
If you have your heart set out on photography as a profession, do give it a serious thought. Ponder some more. Pepper your passion with wisdom. Patience and perseverance go a long way. If you are a student, my suggestion would be to complete your education, find the means to support yourself and your family, and in parallel pursue your passion. For those of you who are working elsewhere and are contemplating photography as a profession, here is a saying that moved me profoundly:
“Life is not about what you couldn’t do so far, it’s about WHAT YOU STILL CAN. Life isn’t about finding yourself, Life is about CREATING yourself.”
Good Luck!

CONTENT

Basics of Exposure Triangle

This should be a good read for photography beginners…
If you have bought a new camera and hear all these complicated photography jargons and start wondering what these means….STOP. As a beginner, you really do not have to worry too much about these.
All these complex jargons revolve around 3 important aspects in photography which are ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed – Called as the Exposure Triangle.
Get your understanding of the exposure triangle right and rest will be very easy to follow.
Shutter Speed – It is the amount of time the shutter is open for the light to enter and hit the sensor. This is responsible for freezing the action or causing motion blur in your image. A fast shutter speed like 1/1000 or more freezes the action or a slow shutter speed like 1/30 or less creates motion blur in the images (though fast and slow shutter speed is very subjective and depends on the speed of movement of subjects).
Aperture – This is the lens opening and is also responsible for controlling the amount of light to enter the camera. Aperture is one of the parameters responsible for depth of field (other 2 are focal length of lens being used and camera to subject distance). Depth of field is that area in your photograph which is in sharp focus. A larger f number like f22 gives you larger depth of field (DOF) and a smaller f number like f2.8 ives you shallow DOF.
ISO – This is responsible for the sensitivity of your sensor to light. The lower the number (ISO 100), the less sensitive, the higher the number (ISO 3200) the more sensitive. A higher ISO allows you to shoot in low light conditions. ISO is also responsible for noise / grains in your image. Higher the ISO, more grains and the quality of the image may go down.
Let us put these to practical use based on the genre of photography:
1. Landscape : That’s a static scene. It’s not running anywhere. So take your time and think more from aperture point of view and decide how much of the image has to be in good focus and use the aperture value accordingly. Don’t worry too much about shutter speed unless there is movement happening in the landscape (water flowing, people walking, cars moving etc). Tripod definitely recommended here.
2. Wildlife : Depending on the subject being still or moving, you may have to think more about what shutter speed to use to freeze the subject or create motion blur (panning). Aperture also plays a role of how much of the subject you want in focus.
3. Macro / Close-up : If it’s a static subject, it does not matter if you shoot that at 1/10 or 1/1000 shutter speed. So you need to think more from aperture point of view. Decide what kind of DOF you need based on lens and subject distance. Tripod definitely recommended.
4. Candid Shots : Depending on subject moving or static, you need to think about what aperture / speed to use. You probably have got a hang by now about what takes priority for a give shot depending on what’s happening in the scene.
5. Events : When you are shooting events like stage plays, or low light photography, you need to watch out for shutter speed. You may have to increase the ISO to get a faster shutter speed.
6. Sports : As you have guessed by now, you need to work on your shutter speed for this genre of photography.
So, to summarise:
If there is movement in the scene – think more from a shutter speed point of view (giving emphasis to aperture as well for proper DOF)
If the subject is totally static like macro / product / monuments / landscape / portrait shots etc – You need to think more from aperture point of view to get the desired DOF.
For very low light photography and if there is movement happening in the scene, you may have to think about the combination of ISO and shutter speed.
Get this right and then we will learn about the other so called complex stuff.
Happy shooting.

CONTENT

Understanding Exposure Using Histogram

“Shoot to the right” – Now how many of us have heard this? This is a statement which many a photographers have made and explained on the internet and various tutorials. Let me try to simplify it by using some examples.
Here is a typical histogram for an image. It can be seen in your camera LCD when you playback an image and click info button in Canon and by pressing the down part of the circular button in Nikon (depends on camera model)
A typical Histogram

The right side of the histogram shows the highlights (bright) data, the left side shows the shadow (dark) data and the center part shows the mid tone data. Normally for a properly exposed image (no over or under exposure) the above is what we get. Of course, it purely depends on what kind of image it is. The curve starts and ends before the two extremes of the highlights or the shadow area.
Histogram representing an underexposed image.
If any part of the image is underexposed, this is what happens:

As you can see, on the left side the black part of the graph has gone beyond the vertical line, which means some part of the image is underexposed.
Histogram representing an overexposed image.

If any part of the image is overexposed, this is what happens:The right side of the graph has gone beyond the vertical line which means some part of the image is over exposed.
If your intention is not to over or under expose any part of the image, then typically the complete graph should be between the two extremes.
Now, lets try to understand what “Shoot to the right” means.
– The graph represents the data in your image. Consider an example where the graph ends much before the two extreme verticals, say 2 cm gap on either side.
– For that scene, when you overexpose by say 1 stop, the whole graph moves to the right (say on the right side the gap is now 1cm and on the left side the gap is 3cm)
– Now go back to zero exposure compensation and underexpose that same scene by 1 stop. The original graph would move to the left and you may have 1cm gap to the left and 3cm to the right)
You can get the same final image (wrt colours, exposure and other processing) from all 3 of the above images where we used different exposure settings.
One of the main advantage of shooting to the right is that the noise in the image is less if there are any dark areas in your frame. But does it make sense in Wildlife photography? May be, may not be. It is debatable.
You need to remember two things:
– Shooting to the right results in getting lesser shutter speed (depends on shooting mode)
– And shooting to the left results in a faster shutter speed for the same aperture + ISO, but at the cost of noise in image.
The above method of reading the histogram helps in getting a correct exposure for your images. That said, it is extremely critical to get the right exposure in the field.
Camera decides the exposure.
In real life example, here is what happens when you shoot in auto mode and let the camera handle the exposure:
The camera exposes the subject as a medium toned subject and the shutter speed and exposure goes for a toss. Look at the histogram (shown in levels in photoshop) and the shutter speed on the top right of the image.This has resulted in over exposed image and a very slow shutter speed, in turn causing image blur.
The Photographer decides the exposure.
Using the correct technique of exposure, if you under expose the image, this is what you get:
Note: If your monitor is not properly calibrated, you will see everything dark and no details in black.But check the histogram, the graph ends well with in the left side vertical line, which means we have good exposure where we can see details in the black area. Also check the shutter speed. Because of correct exposure you have got a higher shutter speed in turn getting a sharp image
Of course, by using level adjustment in photoshop, you can get more details in black by increasing the brightness of the image by sliding in the right part of levels.
Another important aspect of digital photography is the correct usage of ICC profiles. If your image is not properly tagged, then there is no guarantee on the colours what you saw on your monitor and what is seen by others in their monitors.
Missing ICC profile for an image.
Normally when you open an image in PS (with some advanced colour settings) if there is no ICC profile tagged, this is what happens:
missing-profile

The above is a topic for another article. But I hope the above was helpful in making you understand about histogram and what role it plays in image making.
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