Monthly Archives: August 2009

It All Starts with a Pixel

Just as ProPix is a combination of the words Professional Pictures, Pixel is a combination of the word Picture and the word Element.  A pixel is the smallest element or component that makes up a digital photo or image.  It is a small colored square that combined with thousands and even millions of others makes the digital image you see with your eye.  In the case of a good quality photo at the right size there are so many pixels that your eye cannot distinguish each individual pixel but the entire photo appears as a single well defined image.

Quality and Size
The more pixels included in a photo the more detail in your digital image, they blend together better and make the image look sharper and clear. The quality setting on the camera allows you to adjust the quality of the photo which is in turn adjusting the number of pixels the photo will have when it’s taken.  As you would suspect the more pixels which means more detail or data also means a larger file size.  This only makes sense and can easily be seen by adjusting the quality setting on your camera.  Most cameras will tell you how many photos you have room left to take calculated from the size of your memory card and your current quality setting on the camera.  As you adjust the "quality" of the photo you will be taking, and thus the number of pixels, the number of photos available to take will change.  As the quality decreases the more photos you can take and as you increase the quality the fewer photos that will fit on the card. 

A photo with more pixels allows you to successfully crop tighter.  With any photo no matter how many pixels if you crop too tight the resulting photo will be pix elated, meaning you will start to visually see the individual pixels.  This is never a good thing and makes for a poor photo.  So, the more pixels the smaller area you can crop and still have a sharp clear photo. 

The quality of your prints are determined by the number of pixels as well.  The smaller the print the fewer pixels needed in your photo.  For example a 4×6 will not need near as many pixels as a poster 24"x36".  This is much like cropping you are just going increasing the photo in the other direction.

So, what does this all mean to you?  It means that you control the number of pixels in your photo.  You control it by adjusting the quality setting on your camera.  If your plan is to print 4x6s, or email the photos or view them on the computer you won’t need a lot of pixels.  If you plan to print a poster or closely crop a photo then the more pixels the better.  The trade-off in the number of pixels or quality, and the size of the file that you will be working with.

ProPix Photography
The Sports Photography Professionals

4 Steps to Great Action Photos

1. Location, Location, Location
Just like real estate your best sports photos will come by you being in the right location.  Figure out where you can position yourself to get the best photos.  This probably won’t be up in the stands amongst all the other spectators.  Most often it’s down on the field or the court or upfront where you have the best view.  It might be at an angle or elevated a bit to avoid obstacles.  Don’t be bashful, if you have a good camera, and look like you know what you’re doing then get down in front until someone makes you move, besides if you’re shooting photos of all the athletes then you’re actually the "team" photographer and who will complain about that?  Being in the right location is critical for getting those photos you want.  Remember, don’t become glued to a single spot either.  Move around, try different angles, different elevations and different positions.  You will be amazed at the difference in the photo by simply changing the angle and this will help keep you from always getting the same shots over and over. 

2. Set the ISO
After getting in the right location, next set and check your ISO.  The ISO is the speed at which you will be shooting to capture the action.  If you’re outside and it’s sunny setting your ISO to 400 will capture the action without blur.  If you’re in low sunlight or indoors you will need to set the ISO to 800 or even higher.  You want to be as low as you can be, but still capture the motion without blur.  Even with a good fast lens f2.8 I find myself setting the ISO to 1600 in low light situations.  There is nothing more disappointing than an hours worth of game or event shooting that is all blurry.  You get home thinking you shot some incredibly good photos, load them on the computer and then finding they are all blurry.  It can be difficult to tell if they are blurry or not from the little view finder on the back of the camera, so be careful and error on the side of shooting too fast.

3. Set the White Balance
Now make sure the color is going to look good.  This is a setting you can easily test by taking a couple of practice shots and reviewing them on the camera.  If in doubt start with the White Balance on automatic.  If you’re sure what to do, this is always a pretty good choice and will usually capture good realistic colors.  If you have time try some of the other preset’s for white balance.  Indoors your will find that the "florescent" setting will often give you better color.  So, take a practice shot check photos and decide which setting gives you the best color and go with that.  Look at the colors your eye is seeing and then at the photo.  Which White Balance setting gives you the more realistic color?  Be sure to look at the white’s and other brilliant colors.  These will help you determine the best setting for you.

4. Capture the Face

No matter what photos you get of the athlete even if they are not blurry, if they don’t include a good view of the athlete’s face they won’t be interesting to anyone.  Make sure you are positioned so you can capture the action and the faces of the athletes.  Move if you have to you must have their faces.  If you’re outside with the sun you also need to make sure that the faces are not shadowed.  Stand with your back to the sun so that it is lighting the faces of the athletes and you will have sports photos you love.

If you will do these four small things in the first three minutes of preparing for your sporting event you will be well on your way to taking great sports photos!

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Emailing Your Photos


You always want to share those great sports photos.  It may seem like a simple thing to do, but there are a number of things to remember and be watchful for when planning to email your photos.

When sending your photos through email you may not want to send the full high resolution file. Many email services don’t let you send more than 10 MB each email. With the ever growing megapixel cameras this limit can be reached with just a few photos. Windows Live/Hotmail actually provides a great feature specifically designed for attaching photos. You can rotate, crop, adjust brightness and do a few other small adjustments right in your browser. Be careful with this feature as it doesn’t give you an option to change the resolution of the photo you are sending. The default size that it will send is a fairly low resolution version of the file. If the recipient isn’t go to print the photo then it’s not a big deal.

If your email service doesn’t provide this feature you may want to resize your photos before you send them to your family and friends. When resizing your photos make sure that you don’t resize your originals. I would suggest copying the photos you want to email to a separate folder first and then go into your favorite photo organizer/editor and do the resizing on the photos you just copied.

Speaking of photo organizers, many of them now include the option to email photos directly in the program. Some may just open up your default mail application, but at least it includes all the photos you had selected in the email automatically.


Whatever your preference may be keep the above suggestions in mind and your friends and family members will be enjoying your photos in no time.


ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals