Fifteen Tips For Better Photography

Keep an eye on the weather
Weather conditions can play a big part in setting the mood of your shot. Rather than waiting for the bright light of the midday sun, a misty morning in a forest can be the perfect time of day for that mood-shot.

Take your time to choose the subject
Take your time to choose the subject, then spend time walking around the subject looking for the best angle and lighting.

Take your time to set up the shot
Don’t be afraid to take your time to set up your shot. Although it can get a bit frustrating if you have your loved ones tagging along and they’re sitting and waiting impatiently for 20 minutes for you to take a single shot of a piece of driftwood on the beach!

Don’t always choose brightly-colored subjects
Subjects with muted colors can sometimes produce excellent results. A field of wheat of similar yellow-brown colour can produce striking results when accompanied by a low-sun and long shadows.

Movement diffusion
If you have a camera that allows you to shoot with a manual shutter speed – try slowing the speed and increasing the F-stop. Then move your camera when taking the shot. Some very effective arty-type images can be produced with blur effects.

Movement diffusion
If you have a camera that allows you to shoot with a manual shutter speed – try slowing the speed and increasing the F-stop. Then move your camera when taking the shot. Some very effective arty-type images can be produced with blur effects.

Don’t always choose brightly-colored subjects
Subjects with muted colors can sometimes produce excellent results. A field of wheat of similar yellow-brown color can produce striking results when accompanied by a low-sun and long shadows.

Movement diffusion
If you have a camera that allows you to shoot with a manual shutter speed – try slowing the speed and increasing the F-stop. Then move your camera when taking the shot. Some very effective arty-type images can be produced with blur effects.

Movement diffusion
If you have a camera that allows you to shoot with a manual shutter speed – try slowing the speed and increasing the F-stop. Then move your camera when taking the shot. Some very effective arty-type images can be produced with blur effects.

Overexpose your subject
Not too good to do all the time, but experiment with results by over-exposing the subject.

Try macro photography
Grab a magnifying glass and see if you can focus your camera through the glass onto a small subject. It just may work! And may open up a whole new range of subjects for you!

Shoot through wet glass
Try spraying water onto a window, then take a shot through the window to a subject outside. (wet the outside of the window – not the inside of your home!)

Color balance
Try balancing color by having subject and the surrounding detail in similar colors.

Silhouettes
Silhouettes usually have a small range of colors, but can produce some of the most beautiful images. Shooting a silhouette involves having the background brighter then the subject in the foreground.

Experiment with patterns
We’ve all seen those amazing images of the red and orange leaves of maple trees in the fall/autumn. Thousands of leaves – all of a similar shape and color – but very awe-inspiring and beautiful.

Compliment colors
Two strikingly-different colors can be beautiful too. Picture an image of your girlfriend or wife in a red dress sitting on a field of green grass. Or your boyfriend or husband in a red shirt walking through a field of waist-high wheat stalks. Complimentary colors that will bring more attention to the subject.

Use a color filter
If your camera can be fitted with colored filters – try your hand. Although this effect can be made quite easily these days with photo and image-editing software.

Sunrise is better than sunset
Wake up before sunrise one day and go on a photography expedition. If you’ve not done it before you’ll be pleasantly-surprised by the contrasting light and shadows. But remember you’ll only have a very short window of time in which to shoot (usually less than an hour) before the sun rises too high and you lose the light.

Use a flash in daylight
Use your flash during the daytime to fill a close subject with light. This will produce better results where the background is brighter than your subject and the automatic shutter speed on your camera shoots too fast to effectively show the detail of your subject.

Filters For Landscape Photography

Filters are used in photography to bring back an image to the way our eyes have perceived the original scene. Some times its not possible for our cameras to record an exact scene – so we have to rely on the manufacturers of camera products.

Filters also help us to create mood in our images and bring out the best in a scene. A small selection of filters is well worth packing when heading off for a trip. They don’t take up too much space and will definitely add a bit of spice to your images.

Filters work by being placed in front of your camera lens. You can also place several filters in front of your camera at any given time.

Lets take a look at the most important ones to use

Mastering Filters for Photography

Neutral Density Filters (ND): Neutral Density filters will certainly help you with tough exposures. These filters work by cutting down the light that reaches your lens. These filters come in a variety of strengths with the most popular being 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 – these filters will help with exposure without affecting color.

One half of these filters is dark and the other is completely clear. They basically work by reducing brightness. The different numbers stand for the amount of brightness they reduce – 0.3 ND reduces light by one stop – 0.6 reduces light by 2 stops – 0.9 reduces light by three stops.

Lets say you arrive at a high contrast scene, – you take a light reading of the sky and get an exposure reading of F/22 at 1/8 second; you take a reading from the ground in front of you and get a reading of F/22 at 1 second. This is a difference of three stops of light. You need to reduce the brightness of the sky. By using the 0.9 ND you will reduce the light in the sky by three stops without affecting the light hitting the ground in front of you.

Polarizing Filters: A polarizing filter should be top of the list – a polarizing filter can be used with color or black and white and is probably the most important filter on the market today. The polarizing filter will also darken the blue sky to give it a strong rich color. It will make mist stand out and can be also used to give fast flowing water a misty effect. This filter is most effective with side lighting.

Warm-up filters: In overcast conditions, don’t put your camera away. This is an ideal time for you to switch your attention to landscape detail. On an overcast day images often appear cold and dull. Try using a warm-up filter. These filters will remove the dull effect that you get shooting without the sun.

The 81-series are the best choice and will give your images an extra bit of life. An 81A warm-up filter is ideal to use in adding extra warmth to low light images.

Filters for B/W photography: Just because you use black and white film it doesn’t mean that you cant use filters – there are several filters for B/W photography. The polarizing filter is one of the few filters that work for B/W and color photography. It will help to darken shades of grey in your final print.

The red filter is one of the most popular. This filter will darken the sky giving your image more impact. The most common red filter is the number 25. Filters for B/W work by transmitting light of its own color, and holds back light of the other colors.

There’s a large amount of filters available; these are the most important filters for landscape photography.
There are also several filters on the market today that will do very little for your photography. Color graduated filters should be left at home or placed in the bin – color graduated filters work by creating un-natural colors, destroying your final print.

Improving Your Landscape Images Part 2

We use filters in photography to bring back an image to the way our eyes have perceived the original scene. Some times its not possible for our cameras to record an exact scene – so we have to rely on the manufacturers of camera products.

If you are only going to buy one filter for your landscape photography a polarizing filter is the one youll use most. A polarizing filter can be used with color or black and white and is probably the most important filter on the market today.

Lets take a quick look at the science behind it. A polarizing filter is made up of two pieces of glass which when rotated cut out all glare on non-metallic surfaces. Light travels in waves – these waves travel in all directions and at different rates and speeds. The polarizing filter works by limiting the amount of waves that enter your lens. You decide how many waves pass through your lens by rotating the filter.

The polarizing filter is most effective with side lighting.

For example: if you are taking a picture of a scenic lake area and there is a messy reflection of the clouds in the lake; it will be too much of a distraction in the final picture. This can be simply removed by rotating the polarizing filter until the clouds disappear. You can view the filter working in the viewfinder of your camera.

The polarizing filter will also darken the blue sky to give it a strong rich color. It will make mist stand out and can be also used to give fast flowing water a misty effect.

You don’t have to rotate the filter the full amount to get the maximum affect you need, sometimes you will only have to rotate it a small amount. You can decide best for yourself by viewing through your viewfinder while you rotate the polarizing filter.

This filter is not just for a landscape photographer.

There are many different uses for a polarizing filter, which make it so important for all photographers. Property photographers would find this filter extremely handy – when taking an image of a shop front, the polarizing filter will remove glare that reflects off the glass.

Take extreme care when calculating exposure. Remember that you will have to add two stops of light when using the polarizing.

Related posts

Photography as a Hobby

Learning Photography – Basics For All

Some Important Principles Of Photography

Digital Photography Lessons

PHOTOGRAPHY 101

Finding The Right Photography Book

How To Choose Digital Photography Books

Beginning In Photography: Exposure Basics

Beginning In Photography: Composition

Beginning In Photography: Choosing A Camera

Beginning In Photography: Choosing The Right Lens

Using Filters in Photography

Filters for Landscape Photography

Beginning In Photography: Choosing The Right Lens

There is a dizzying array of choices when it comes to choosing lenses for DSLR cameras. From wide angle to telephoto, zoom to prime lenses, fish eye, fast lenses, wide aperture lenses, the choice seems to be impossible. Its not really. What it comes down to is asking yourself a simple question: What do I want to shoot?

Different Lenses for Different Subjects

If you are just beginning in photography, chances are you are still experimenting and finding out what you like to shoot. You might shoot a few family portraits one day and landscapes from your vacation the next. On the other hand, you may have decided right from the start that you love taking photos of wild animals and this is all you want to do. Either way, the lenses required to get the best out of these subjects differ greatly. To fit an expansive landscape image into your viewfinder, you would need a wide angle lens. However, trying to take a portrait with the same lens would result in a tiny little person and not much else in the frame unless you are right in that persons face and smelling their breath. While trying to take a picture of a wild bear from 100 or more meters away is just impossible (and you really don’t want to get any closer to a wild bear). In a perfect world you would have 3 different lenses for each of these subjects. But in a perfect world you’d also be a millionaire and be able to afford them all. So the thing to do is to decide what type of photography interests you and choose your lenses accordingly.

Length: Zoom versus Prime

There are benefits to using both zoom lenses and prime (fixed or non zoom) lenses. On one hand, zoom lenses are versatile, and reduce the need for a whole bag full of lenses that you need to change and change again while you are out shooting. On the other hand, a good quality prime lens can be gold. Prime lenses, if they are well built, generally produce a crisper, better quality image. This is because they have fewer pieces of glass and moveable parts. Therefore the light coming in doesnt need to pass through as many objects and so is less diffused. The other great advantage of prime lenses is that because of this, they tend to be faster than zoom lenses. Practically, this means that you can use slower shutter speeds as the lens needs less light to create a correct exposure. This is especially useful if you want to take portraits with available light.

Aperture

Another important factor to consider when choosing your lens is its maximum aperture. This is indicated in the description by an f symbol. Eg. f/2.8. The lower this number, the wider your aperture choices. For example, if you want to take a portrait with only your subjects facial features in focus, you would use a wide aperture. If you want to take a sweeping landscape where everything needs to be in focus you would use a narrow (high number) aperture. Selecting a lens with a wider aperture gives you more options when out shooting.

It is well known that lenses can cost as much, or more, than cameras themselves. It is also worth noting that with lenses you get what you pay for. While no piece of equipment can singularly make the difference between a good photo and a bad one, a well built lens using quality glass, can lead to sharper pictures. Therefore it is worth considering the lenses you buy carefully and investing in the best quality you can afford. Knowing what sort of photography you want to pursue can make this process a whole lot less daunting and more cost effective.

Beginning In Photography: Exposure Basics

So you’ve just bought a shiny new DSLR camera huh? And a lens or two to go with it? That’s great. Now all you have to do is learn how to use it. I’m assuming here you bought an DSLR camera because you want to do a little bit more than take happy snaps at family events and holidays. So for those new to photography as anything more than that, this article aims to give you a little background on the basics of exposure to help you on your way.

Shutter speed

There are two elements to creating a correct exposure. These are aperture, and shutter speed, which we will look at first. When you press the trigger button on your camera to take a picture, it opens a set of sliders, like opening a window. How long it stays open, depends on how you set the shutter speed. Shutter speeds can range from extremely fast (ie 1/8000 of a second), to very slow (30 seconds), or even infinity if your camera has a bulb setting. These are extreme shutter speeds and not often used, except by people who shoot fast moving subjects, or in very low light. For most of us, we tend to stick to somewhere in the middle. As a general rule, the faster the shutter speed, the sharper your photo will be. For most people, anything at 1/60 of a second or above is acceptable when hand holding a camera. Lower if you have a particularly steady hand. If you need to use slower shutter speeds, you will need to use a tripod or rest your camera on a steady surface. These slow speeds can be particularly useful for creating blurred effects. For example the flowing water in a waterfall.

Aperture

Ever wondered how photographers get their subjects to really stand out by blurring the background? The secret (which really is no secret) is adjusting the aperture. The aperture changes the depth of field in your photo. Depth of field is how much of the image is in focus. For example, if you have a depth of field of 4 meters, anything within that distance of the subject you are focusing on will also be in focus. There is as much variety with this control as there is with shutter speed. You can choose to set a narrow aperture (long depth of field) when you want the whole shot in focus, for instance a great, sweeping landscape, or a wider aperture for portraits.

Ok, so youve got your shutter speed sorted from your aperture. Now we just have to put them together. Any SLR camera will have an inbuilt light meter. This little gadget measures the amount of light you will need to create a correct exposure. It is usually in the form of a little bar with a too high (+) and a too low () sign at each end. It is simply a matter of balancing one against the other so that the meter is centered. Once youve done that you can press the button! Thats all there is to it.

ISO

Another choice that will effect your exposure is the ISO you use. With film cameras, this means the speed of film that you use. If you use a 100 speed film, your ISO is 100. Digital cameras also have an adjustable ISO speed. Its just in the form of turning a dial instead of loading a different film. A general rule is to use the lowest ISO you can get away with. Higher ISO films or digital settings can result in noisy (grainy) pictures. They do, however, allow you more freedom in your exposures in that you can shoot with less available light. Experiment with your particular camera, see what you can get away with. Remember that the quality required will be different for everyone. If you only want to make small prints to put in an album, or just store the photos digitally on your computer, then you will not need the same quality as if you want to make large prints to hang on your wall.

So there is some food for thought for those starting out in photography and looking to do more than just point and shoot. Now its time to go out there and shoot. Experiment with different settings. Try new things. The technical side of photography you can read about anywhere. The creative side, well, thats up to you.

Finding The Right Photography Book

Looking through the lens and taking a picture is just one of the things people need to know about photography. This is because there are other things an aspiring photographer needs to know to be among the best in the field.

Aside from taking classes that may be expensive, the best resource is still from books. There have been many written for first timers as well as professionals. These focus on shots in different settings from portraits, to nature and a lot more.

Regardless of the location, here are some of the things hobbyists will find in most photography books.

1. The most important thing to taking a picture is having a good background. Many use a wall but the most important thing to remember is never to use one that is either black or plain white since this will not look good when the picture is developed.

2. The photographer should avoid taking pictures with anything metallic or shiny in the background since this could affect the overall impact of the shot.

3. The person or subject to be taken should be a few feet from the background to minimize shadows caused by artificial or natural light. This also increases depth, which is good for the picture.

4. Lighting can be controlled if this is done in a studio. It is advisable to use a flash meter to achieve the right settings. Outdoors, some lamps can be used to adjust the brightness coming from the sun.

5. The camera should always be a at the right distance. Some people are not able to stay in one position for a period of time so using a tripod can prevent blurs and hazy images. The position of the sun is also important. It must not be in front of the camera since the picture will not appear.

6. Some shots are done with the image moving. The shutter speed and aperture should be adjusted so that the pictures are not a blur when these come out.

7. Another good way to take a picture is when it is candid. It is one of those spontaneous shots that simply captures the emotion of the moment.

Photography is different for everybody. Some people find it rewarding while others find it difficult and becomes frustrating. The contents in books are theoretical and should be put into practice.

After all, it is only in practice that such a skill can be developed so others can respect the time and hard work put into this practice.

Photography 101

So you want to jump into the expanding whirlwind of photographers? Here are some helpful notes to get you setup for a good first photo shoot.

Equipment
You probably have this notion that you should look like one of those photographers you see in the movies or paparazzi groups you see in the news when you think about what equipment to get. To your relief, all you really need to have is a camera that is portable and has good color reception, or in other words, will capture the colors for you. There are, at this time, a lot of options in the market that you no longer have to settle with a point-and-shoot camera. You can now acquire a DSLR for half the price than it used to sell for. For a starting photographer, I suggest that you get a DSLR as this type of camera would allow you to set manual controls and afford you to tinker with other settings that can widen your photographing range otherwise unavailable in a point-and-shoot. Most popular ones are Canon, Nikon and Olympus. These are the three names I trust. However, if we’re talking about options and flexibility, I’d go for a Canon since, not only do they have a lot of available lenses for DSLRs, but their cameras are more compatible with the other brand lenses too.

Manual Controls
You will notice that there a bunch of settings available in a camera. If you check your camera’s manual, you’ll find that there are programmed settings for you to easily choose from. There’s landscape, portrait, sport and macro. These settings are just preset or programmed combinations of the two items I refer to as Manual Controls. Hence, let me introduce you to aperture and shutterspeed. Aperture is a range of numbers and so is shutterspeed. The programmed settings I mentioned earlier are just preset combinations of these two. The portrait setting has a high aperture and low shutterspeed, the landscape setting has the opposite and so on. But for more flexibility, I strongly suggest you use Manual Controls. With this, you can select any aperture or shutterspeed you wish to use for any given picture at any time.

The aperture is the size of the opening of your shutter. To cut the chase short, the smaller the number, the bigger your opening is, thus more light will be rendered on your picture. Shutterspeed almost works in the same way. The smaller the number, the longer your shutter will be open to absorb light. Shutterspeed deals with time, aperture deals with the diameter. Given this, aperture of 2.8 and shutterspeed of 10 will render a very bright picture. Whereas an aperture of 9 and a shutterspeed of 1000 will render a rather dark picture. It’s up to you how to mix these two to come up with the perfect combination to capture your picture. This knowledge will enable you to take pictures even in situations when your programmed controls can no longer manage it.

Framing and Composition
Everybody can tell if a picture is nice or not after looking at it. But how can you tell if something will make a nice picture or not? This is the challenge you, as a photographer, will have to undertake. What might be interesting for others may not be interesting to you, and vice-versa. In this department, since we’re depending on your creativity and your so-called eye for photography, I can only leave you with two things: 1. check your frame: make sure everything is within it and leave as little dead space as you can and 2. check the available light (avoid harsh lighting) and what direction it’s coming from. Light pouring towards you will render your subject black and light pouring profusely from behind you will render your subject too bright. Check your frame if everything in it, really has to be in it. Will it distract the people from your real subject? Is it interesting enough to be in my picture? Should I do a tight shot instead? These are some of the questions you should be asking when examining your frame.

Lenses
When you purchase a camera body, it normally comes with a kit lens. Should it not come with a kit lens, then I suggest you get a kit lens before jumping to the more complex ones. Kit lens cover the normal range of aperture numbers. But then again, I don’t want to delve into this so much as you do not want to be overwhelmed with complexities that come with your lens on top of the complexities of your camera. So just to quickly give you an idea, there are several kinds of lenses. Lenses may differ in their aperture ranges and in the material the lens is made of. There are lenses that are specific to the smaller aperture numbers. There are lenses made of plastic and some of glass. Those made of glass have better color reception than the former.

Post Processing
This area is optional, but most of the mind-blowing pictures I’ve seen lately have been to some extent, post processed. Post processing involves some degree of enhancement using any one of the graphic design software. A very popular one is Adobe Photoshop. It wouldn’t hurt if you tried learning the basic enhancement techniques, not to manipulate your image altogether, but rather just to clean up your image, enhance colors and sharpen your subject. This will also prove to be helpful when you send your photos to an online printing company and see the final results.

Photography is a very technical subject at the same time highly customizable. Each photographer has his or her own style that they incorporate into their photos. The equipment can only do so much. But it still depends on you and how you want other people to see a commonplace object or perspective. So as a closing remark to beginning photographers, let me finish off with a phrase I used to take with me whenever I go shooting, remember: safety in numbers.

Learning Photography – Basics For All

Photography is defined as The art or process of producing images by the action of light on surfaces sensitized by chemical processes.

Of course, this is landscape photography on a big scale. Not many people are lucky enough to start off traveling the world.

The earlier model did not contain the film; instead, it had a small light-shield box with lens and translucent screen on either side. The image that traveled through the lens was stored on the screen. Known as ‘camera obscura,’ it was no more than a sketching device for artists.

There are different ways of finding photography jobs, depending on the type of job you are looking for and your experience. You can begin by creating a resume and portfolio of your work.

Learning Photography

Are you interested in taking up photography? If you are relatively new to photography, then here are some tips that will help you learn about photography and its many different qualities.

The camera

When choosing a camera, you should keep in mind that whatever kind of camera you buy, it won’t necessairily affect the final image. There are certain factors that will affect your final product regardless of camera brand. They are:

– the quality of the expected final image.
– will the image be magnified before being viewed?
– will the subject carry the whole focus of the shot?
– the time alloted to take the picture

It is also important to keep in mind that cameras work at varying speeds. This will prove to be crucial depending on the subject that you will be shooting. When taking a picture of your son or daughter while they are playing, you may opt to use an automatic camera to avoid all the fuss of making adjustments with regards to aperture, focus, lighting, etc. But if you are going to take a picture of a mountain view, then you have all the time to use a manual camera.

Lighting conditions

There are so many ways that photography crosses our lives each day. There are a lot of opportunities for someone looking for photography jobs.

Whatever your reasons, a photography contest can be a fun and rewarding experience for you. To find out all you need to know about entering a photography contest, read on.

There are some excellent photography contests out there, some even offer large cash prizes, scholarships to photography schools and really nice cameras and camera supplies.

Modern photography has given a totally new meaning to the entire perception of life and privacy. Photography has made it possible to capture and preserve special moments, in private and in public life.

Taking portraits under the sun may present some problems. Because of the sunlight’s hardness, dark shadows will may appear in the shot. To solve this problem, you can move the subject to a position under the shade to be able to use skylight instead of sunlight. Skylight is less concentrated than sunlight. Another thing that can be done is for you to take the picture during the last few minutes during sunrise or sunset. Sunlight is mouch more mellow during these times. If you have the equipment such as diffusers as well as reflectors, they will do a good job to make the shot more vibrant. The use of artificial lighting or a flash is also ideal if you know the proper way and time to use them. Avoid using the flash during sunrise and sunset since the resulting picture will look rather clammy or cold.

Exposure

There are no such things as correct exposure. It is really up to you and your artistic preferences how your picture will turn out. The environment contains many tones which can’t be fully represented using film. Some of the details might get lost depending on the picture as well as the film used.

These are some of the things that you should remember while taking pictures. As you take more and more pictures, your skills will become sharper and you will be able to use more of your creativity.

If you love taking pictures and the idea of a career in photography sounds good to you, just how do you begin finding photography jobs?

The world of photography is an amazing one. Its been with us for quite a while now but it is constantly changing. Cameras are changing and improving. Methods of developing are changing and improving as well.

You may be amateur but if you are entering a photography contest, you are competing with the best of the best. You are going to need your photos to be excellent if you expect to win.

This does not mean go out and shotgun blast everything you see. You still want to keep in mind the need to have a reason (theme) for taking a photography – think about how to focus attention on it, removing what distracts from your theme, and adding whatever attracts or highlights your theme, to make it a great photograph.