A digital camera stores pictures on the camera's digital memory and can be loaded onto a computer, printed like ordinary film, attached to an e-mail and shared online.
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There are many types of digital camera, the main ones are:
compact cameras - pocket sized cameras, easy to use
digital SLR camera - full digital version of a traditional Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera
compact SLR - mini version of a SLR camera
With a digital camera you can view the image instantly. One immediate advantage of this is that if you don't like an image you can simply remove it, rather than paying to have it developed before you can judge whether you like it.
When you take pictures with a digital camera you can transfer the images from your camera to a computer where they are stored as electronic files.
Once you have the image as a file on your computer, you can use software to edit and crop photos.
One of the great advantages of digital cameras is that you can take loads of pictures and choose the ones to keep, without having to pay for prints that you don't like.
You can also check the pictures that you take immediately and decide whether to have another go before the moment is lost for ever.
Top 10 tips for good pictures
Look your subject in the eye
When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person's eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level.
Use a plain background
A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece!
Use flash outdoors
Bright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows - eliminate them when taking people pictures on sunny days and turn your flash on.
Move in close
Take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing.
Move it from the middle
The middle of your picture is not always the best place for your subject. Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture.
Take some vertical pictures
All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture, from a lighthouse near a cliff to the Eiffel Tower. Next time, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures.
Be a picture director
Take charge and become a picture director. A picture director picks the location, adds props and arranges people.
Take candid pictures
Ignore the impulse to force your subjects to always pose staring at the camera, variety is important. Take pictures showing them working, playing, chatting, or relaxing.
Include objects in the foreground
When taking pictures of landscapes, include an object, such as a tree or boulder, in the foreground. This will add a sense of depth to the picture.
Lock the focus
Most auto-focus cameras focus on whatever is in the centre of the picture. If your subject is not in the centre of the picture, you'll need to first lock the focus with the subject in the middle and then recompose the picture so the subject is away from the middle.
Load to PC
In order to transfer photos to your computer you will need to connect the camera to the computer using the lead supplied with the camera.
When the camera has been connected to the computer it automatically detects the device and if the appropriate software is installed, launches a program which will allow you to download the images.
Once you have downloaded the images you can name the files and save them to your computer. Now your photos have been transferred to your computer as files, it now means that you can attach a photo to an e-mail and send it to friends or display it on a webpage on the internet.
If you would prefer to have a set of photos to show, there are various ways to make prints; you can print from file or take the memory card to a chemist or photographic shop where they can transfer the images you have created onto a CD – just like negatives.
There are many software programs that can be used to help you to manage your digital pictures.
One of these is called "Picasa" from Google.
Find out more about using Picasa and how to download it:
Go to picasa.google.co.uk
Click on the Learn More link
Click on the Organise, Edit, Share, Print, Backup and Create headings across the top of the page to find out more about each of these areas.
To download Picasa click on Download Picasa 3.5
If you want to use the Picasa website to share photos online, you will have to download Picasa software on to your computer, register and provide an email address.
The biggest photo sharing site.
Lets you order prints online and has facilities for photo sharing.
Royal Photographic Society www.rps.org*
For those who take their photography seriously.
* Hampshire County Council is not responsible for the content of external websites.