• Focusing on Displays

    Photo courtesy of Daktronics

    A reader asked Insider for tips on photographing digital displays.  Here’s some advice from Daktronics together with an outstanding 1 page tipsheet titled “Digital Photography Made Easier”

    We’ve all been there. You head outside to capture just how brilliant the latest ad looks on your display, only to review the shots with disappointment. Wavy lines, blurred imagery and catching the display as it refreshes are not what you wanted. What can the average photographer do to make things click?

    Let’s cover some basics. With cameras, there are three key elements:

    • Shutter speed- how fast your camera snaps a photo. The goal is to avoid catching the display’s refresh rate. To adjust this, set your camera to the shutter priority mode on the main dial. For Sony and Nikons, this is an “S” but for Canons it’s “TV” for time value. The rocker wheel by the dial adjusts the shutter speed, which is shown as a fraction. The larger the bottom number, the faster the photo is taken. Try starting at 1/30th and adjust up or down.
    • Aperture- how much light the camera lets in. The lower the number, the brighter the image.
    • ISO- the camera’s sensitivity to light. A low ISO yields dark images while a higher ISO can make things grainy.

    Confused? If this is all Greek to you, we can take it down a notch to the bare bones. Try putting your camera on auto mode, select the highest resolution and press the shutter halfway down for it to focus before you take the shot.

    Steady Does It

    If you’re armed with a smartphone, try to hold as still as possible to reduce shake. Tuck your elbows in for steadiness. If you have a camera, a tripod greatly increases stability and allows you to focus more on the shot.

    Time of Day

    If you need to squint, chances are it’s too bright out. Morning or dusk offers the best lighting choices. If you must shoot mid-day, photograph the sign from the shadowy side to let the colors shine instead of the sun.

    Move Around

    Photograph the subject at an angle, then move around. Try moving closer to the sign and backing up. Give a different perspective by flipping the camera for vertical shots, too. Don’t try to zoom in too much or the quality of your photo will disintegrate.

    Subject Matter

    What looks best on the display? Photograph colorful content and avoid white backgrounds to help reduce glare. Take a look around the display as well. Are there telephone wires, construction work or undesired vegetation in the way? Move to another angle and see what looks best.

    Any Moiré?

    When you review your photos, you may see wavy lines, referred to as moiré. It indicates you either need to zoom in or out slightly or move yourself around to a better angle to capture the perfect shot.

    Armed with these tips, you can’t go wrong. Preview your shots and save the best ones for the office.

    Used with permission of Daktronics

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