This is one of the most common things that come up during a search for digital camera tips. 3 or 5 or 10 Digital Photography tips or tricks. It is amazing how much regurgitated data can be spewed out there for the reader to overcome. The problem is that it almost has to be represented to the user verbatim, or basically the same every time. There are not a whole lot of ways of teaching someone the “Rule of Thirds” for instance. Just the same, it is important to know a lot of this information. It is also just as important to know when to move on from the basic tips and to progress into advanced techniques.
So here are my top 10 Photography tips to help you become a better Photographer.
- Rule of thirds :
I think just about every tip list on the planet starts out touting the rule of thirds, and for good reason, it works. I include it here for just that reason. The rest of my list is going to be rather offbeat compared to most, but this rule must be learned to improve your photographic skills. It does not always have to be followed but it must be learned in order for your composition skills to improve. Check out this Article for more in depth information. “The Rule of Thirds for Amateurs”
- Proper handling of your camera:
You can have the best gear, a great eye, and the most wonderful scenery in the world. But if you do not hold your camera right your going to get a lot of not so great shots. Keep your elbows tucked in as close to your body as possible. Feet shoulder width apart. Left hand under the lens for support and stability
- Use good quality fast SD cards. This could take weeks to get into all the details of SD cards Speed, access rates etc. The key here is do not buy the cheap, no name two for one SD cards. they are slow, unreliable and you will regret it. Your $1000+ DSLR is going to perform just like your $150 point an shoot you threw in the drawer with a crappy SD card.
- Get Manual (not RTFM):
Learning to shoot with your camera in manual is in my opinion the most important tip I can give anyone. Even if it is only in the priority modes for a while. The difference in your comprehension and composition will be huge. Take it a few steps at a time and learn each step before moving on.
- Step Back & walk Around:
You have heard the saying “Take a step back, and see the whole picture”? This means literally to step back and look at the big picture in front of you and see how you can tell the story better. You should also walk around a bit and see how the item your wanting to shoot looks from different angles.
- Shoot in RAW:
Your not a pro shooter, your not doing a lot of post shot editing, then why should you shoot in RAW and take up all that extra SD card and hard drive space? Because someday your going to learn to edit, and your going to revisit some of the images that you shot in your early days, and your going to realize that you didn’t shoot them in RAW, so now you can’t recover some of the mistakes you made taking a tremendous or emotionally important shot. RAW is so forgiving, it is your digital negative, and allows you to save images that otherwise would be completely lost. Use it, even if you don’t know why.
Keep it Simple Stupid, Yes it applies here to. Even though photographs can get very complicated and busy, try to keep the focus (no pun intended) of your image simple and to the point. The less your dealing with, the less mistakes your apt to make. Sometimes ‘Art’ is not defined by what you put into the picture, but by what you leave out.
- Think Big – Or Small:
Think outside of 50mm. (HUH?) Yeah that’s what I said. A 50mm lens roughly equivocates to your field of vision as seen through your eyes. So the image on the camera with a 50mm lens installed will roughly reflect what your seeing in your eyes. To start taking amazing shots you have to stop thinking in 50mm. You have to zoom in and out, get closer get farther away and crop the shot in your mind. What ever it takes to change your perspective on the shot your going to take. Then and only then will you stop taking snapshots. DSLR Composition 101
- Avoid Motion (for a while):
I am going to take a lot of heat on this one I am sure. The majority of amateur photographers who upgrade to a DSLR, do so to enable them to get those images of action shots they were not able to get before. A DSLR will do that for you, and pretty easily in the many automatic modes it has built in. But if you go right to using those modes and getting those shots, your going to learn nothing about how and why your camera can get those shots. If you wait a while, learn your camera a bit more, then start learning to shoot manually to get these shots. You’ll not only get the high-speed shot, but you will shoot them like a pro with the proper exposure, background blur, composition etc. Check this out for more info, “Avoid Motion for a while”
- Pay Attention to focus:
Learn to focus your camera in manual focus, learn how to use manual lock up. Do not rely solely on auto focus. I know this seems counter productive. We waited all these years to get auto-focus, now I am telling you to turn it off. But yes I am. Learning how to focus manually and use your depth of field in the right way can take a good photograph and make it an amazing image. But you will never know that until you try it out.
There are probably 10,000 more tips, and more that are more important than these, but the ones here will make you stop and think a little bit, and hopefully take better pictures because of it.
Until next time Keep Shooting Str8!