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How to overcome 5 common digital photo problems

We answer your questions on noise in high ISO photos

We've taken a look at some of the most common problems when it comes to taking good snaps with digital cameras and show you how to overcome them.

High ISO photos without the noise

I have heard about photographers taking pictures with extremely high ISOs and the results are not grainy. How do they do this? If I shoot anything much over 100 on my Olympus C-8080 it begins to look quite grainy.

The high-ISO, low-noise photo can seem as elusive as Bigfoot, especially if you have an older camera or a point and shoot. Your Olympus C-8080 was a superb camera when it was released in 2004, but even so, it's six years old, which is a long time in the technology world. Newer cameras have somewhat better noise handling at high ISO. And no point-and-shoot model will be able to keep noise under control like a digital SLR - point-and-shoot cameras have relatively tiny sensors that tend to express a lot more noise than SLRs.

So, while you'll get the best high-ISO performance from a digital SLR, there are things you can do with your Olympus C-8080. Be sure the camera's high-ISO noise reduction feature is turned on. And you might also want to investigate a noise reduction program like Noise Ninja, $70 (£45) or Noiseware $80 (£50) - although both offer a free trial . These programs do a superb job of reducing noise in photos after you've gotten them onto your PC.

Capture more realistic colours

The autumn colours are gorgeous right now, but no matter what I do I can't seem to capture the colours I'm seeing with the naked eye. Any tricks I should try?

There are two important components to reproducing the colours you see with your eyes in your photos: white balance and saturation.

I'd start with white balance. Try adjusting the white balance setting on your camera. You can either choose a preset that matches your shooting conditions (daylight, cloudy, and so on) or manually adjust the white balance while focusing on a white piece of paper held in front of the camera. You might need to check your camera's user manual for details on how to do this, but it'll give you the most accurate results. Most people rely on the camera's ability to automatically detect white balance, but the reality is that the camera gets it wrong most of the time, which leads to photos that look just a little off.

Once you've got the white balance under control, consider increasing the saturation a little. Your camera probably has a saturation (or 'vivid') setting buried deep in a menu, and you can increase the intensity a bit. Or bring the photo into your image editor, where you have more control, and try using the saturation slider.

NEXT PAGE: Recovering lost images

  1. High ISO photos without noise
  2. Recovering lost images
  3. Duplicate file names when formatting memory cards


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