Setting up a natural light photography composition for your digital SLR camera requires infallible understanding of the way light works for certain details of the portrait. The use of light to highlight or downplay certain details is not enough. You also have to have the correct features set to allow the complete control of adjusting direction, bounce, and intensity of the natural light. If this seems like a tall order, simply mark the list of accessories mentioned below which can surprise you in the way it ups your portrait game drastically.
Before you begin with the feature list though, remember that with natural light portraits the time of the composition is quite vital. You have to hit the golden hour, which is the best intensity for the natural light. You have a soft version of the golden shades of light available this time and it is easier manipulating the light to add dimension to your portrait without harsh shadows intruding in.
Feature accessories that improve natural light photography
Reflectors – Use a reflector kit to help with bouncing the light off your subject or on a contrasting surface to add a soft light or dimension to your subject. The reflector can be positioned in different ways to control the bounce and direction of the light. You can also use bright silver reflectors to add some intensity to your scene, specifically if you are working off a play of light and the natural light is not playing to your satisfaction on its own. Gold sheen reflectors on the other hand, bounce warm light tones on to the frame.
Artificial Light kit -While playing with soft natural light is amazing, too soft an intensity on the light can actually bring down the whole effect of your composition. Portraits do require some highlight and unfortunately, without some sheen or dynamic lighting, it is just not possible to get that detail right. With an artificial light kit though, you can create a world of difference to help the natural light actually dominate your portraiture perfectly. No more flat lighting for that perfect frame it takes you hours to set up just right.
Shoot – Through Umbrellas – These are the perfect feature addition to help you diffuse the natural light to reduce any harsh glares off reflective surfaces within the frame. The only con with the feature is you need another person to hold the umbrella in the right angle and position. As such, this feature is rarely used for any other shots except the close up of the face or the upper body shot off the subject.
Undoubtedly, in their price brackets both the Canon DSLR camera and the Nikon DSLR camera have forever launched various models that give a tough competition to the other. The features are carefully designed to grab the maximum percentage of the target audiences. Every model has its unique selection of USPs while dealing with a set of disadvantages that affect their overall performance and adaptability to the users. The Nikon D3300 digital SLR and Canon EOS Rebel digital SLR series have been pitted against each other in the current available selection of digital SLR in their range. Here is a breakdown of the major comparison points to help you make a sensible purchasing choice between the two.
Comparing the Sensors
The sensor size is probably one of the primary indicators of the type of compositions and performance that you can expect from the model. The sensors can be of a variety of sizes and generally, the bigger the size of the sensor the better the clarity and quality of the shots captured, since a bigger surface area of the sensor allows for more light being captured. The Nikon D3300 has a sensor surface area of 366.60 sq.mm while the Canon EOS Rebel stands at 333.37 sq.mm. This gives the Nikon D3300 an edge over the competitor even while both of the series have CMOS sensors. The Nikon series was also launched about 2 years after the Canon Rebel T4i. However, the newer models of the Rebel series might have an edge over the Nikon D3300 in some cases, since newer sensors usually outperform the older versions.
Comparing the pixel features
The pixel features of the Canon DSLR camera vs. the Nikon DSLR camera mainly compare down three main areas.
The Pixel area – This photo site or pixel area has a huge impact on the amount of the light control per pixel the device allows. Larger areas are preferred in this case. The Canon Rebel T4i has at least a 22% higher advantage over the Nikon D3300 in this aspect.
The Pixel Density – The density refers to the number of millions of pixels that can fit on per unit measurement (sq.cm) of the sensor. Higher pixel density is preferred for smaller pixels in the images. The Nikon D3300 is leading with a 22% increased pixel density range over the Canon Rebel T4i.
The pixel pitch – This is the distance between the centers of a single pixel to the center of the adjoining pixel in a composition. A bigger pixel pitch ensures a higher dynamic range and better quality images. The Rebel T4i has the leading edge of 10% of higher pixel pitch over the D3300.
Any new model launched for the popular Nikon DSLR camera series always has many eyes on it. The question is always whether the new features justify the upgrade. It is also important to know the comparative features to decide whether an upgrade is the right option for people already in love with the pre-existing model. With Nikon’s D3300 and D3400, the competition has been fierce because both models of digital SLR are an instant fan favorite with their respective launches. Yet, a comparative feature review would give you a unique perspective for you to make a choice of your own.
The advantages of the D3300
The D3300 has the sleekest core features and in all fairness, the series shares some distinct similarities with D3400 series. However, the D3300 does gain some extra point with some added features. This includes the in-camera panorama feature. This allows the device to stick together multiple frame shots in to a single panoramic composition. The D3300 has a more effective ISO, which allows the device to be more ingenious during low light photo capturing. The device also has an external microphone jack, which actually improves the captured sound fidelity when shooting any kind of HD video with the Nikon DSLR camera.
The advantages of the D3400
Along with the similar core features, this Nikon DSLR Camera also has its shares of added features, which include the built-in Bluetooth, which allows for consistent wireless connectivity on the device. The 1200 shots capacity gives the D3400 an edge on the stills life for the battery on the device. Further, a 12 shot buffer capacity gives the more sustaining burst mode to the device for the RAW shots.
Common core strengths
Both the D3300 as well as the D3400 share some unique core strengths in features, which elevate both devices as excellent options for the category of entry-level digital SLRs.
–The viewfinder is positioned on eye level for both the devices. This allows for convenient frame compositions even when the sun is full out.
–The internal flash feature is a great fill in for regular flash when required.
–The HDMI output allows you to connect your digital SLR directly to larger screen during display or editing sessions.
–The Hot shoe or the off-camera flash is an added lighting option, which truly opens up many composition options even in a pinch where you cannot carry an external flash with you.
–The bulb shutter feature allows you to manually control the duration of the shutter exposures for better composition variations where you want to play with exposure and lighting details to create a unique effect.
Instead of opting for a higher-end camera, start with a reliable entry level digital SLR and build on the performance with some of the most game changing accessories. If you are confused about how to apply this principle for your Nikon D3300/3400 series camera, here is a list of accessories that will truly take your performance to the next level. You can get the performance level of a much higher end Nikon DSLR camera but within a much more affordable budget. You also have a higher control on customization of your device, depending on the changing demands of the composition or type of photography at any particular time.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor Lens – 35mm
The go-to lens for every digital SLR user just on the cusp of experimenting with a range of image frames and compositions- the 35 mm is a definite must have in your lens kit. The Nikon AF-S is a dedicated lens completely compatible to the Nikon DSLR camera D3300/D3400 series, which makes it a reliable choice even for the total beginners in the field. The f/1.8 also has the perfect aperture to give you a wide range for amazing shoots in low light.
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF- The Speed light option
The built -in flash in any digital SLR cannot do much beyond adding light to the shadows within the frame shot. For any additional experimentation with lighting or even controlling the intensity of the light for your compositions, you need an attached flash. The 4814 SB-500 is an affordable speed light, which also includes tilting or rotation to give more control to the light bouncing options for your image frames.
The Medium DSLR gadget bag by Amazon Basics
A sturdy gear bag can be a small detail that can be the core foundation to the safety of your precious camera and accessories. You need to have a bag that can carry the device as well as have plenty of room for a few of the extra accessories. The medium DSLR bag from Amazon Basics is perfect for any Nikon DSLR camera in that it is compact, easy to carry while still providing the convenience to carry added lens and flash features along with the device.
Aluminum Tripod Kit by Vanguard Alta Pro
Having a steady tripod is the key to adjusting the correct light exposure as well as the frame to take consistently great composition pictures. The trick is to find one that is easy to carry and yet sturdy while adjusting on an uneven surface. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 ticks all of these boxes while being super affordable at the same time.
Long exposure has probably one of the most versatile applications in photography compositions. The principle is based on decreasing the speed of the shutter exposure to create a certain magical effect, which is otherwise not possible without computer graphics. You can literally turn your average portraits in to something of a masterpiece with just this one simple effect, yet creating the long exposure effect requires a prep with certain essential camera elements. Here is a list of the primary elements exclusively for this purpose.
Camera -this is a no brainer! You need a good quality digital SLR to start the foundation right. Point and shoot, cameras will have a hard time dealing with the noise which is a necessary result of the long exposure technique.
Sturdy Tripod – Without a sturdy structure supporting your digital SLR camera, it would be very hard to concentrate on regulating the shutter speed to the extent that you need to get the right effect for your long exposure shots. You might need a balance of one-second to a minute long shutter speed regulation, so the camera is just not allowed to shake at all to allow for a complete capture of the frame for that entire duration. It need not be expensive. All you do need is a sturdy aluminum tripod which is easy to carry and can support the camera weight steadily on uneven surfaces.
Correct filters-The neutral density filters work best for this effect. The ND filters are perfect for setting up long exposure frames during the day. The shutter speed can be easily regulated while freeing up the aperture to monitor the light intensity during the shot. This allows you take perfect long exposure shots of even reflective surfaces during this time. Ditch the filter if you are setting up for a night shot though you might experiment with added light attachments instead.
A wireless optical remote – For setting up frame shots for less than 30 seconds, you probably do not need this feature. However, for any shot above a 30-second exposure limit, setting the speed to bulb is a delicate technique. Resting your hand on the camera for this long can inadvertently shake the device resulting in a blurry shot. Avoid this entirely by investing in a high quality optical remote for adjusting your camera shutter lock for various durations for effortless long exposure setup. If your budget allows, go for the attachments that have a dedicated timer to further automate the process.