40 Essential Tips and Tricks for Taking Better Photos - Part2


A couple of days ago I listed 20 tips and tricks, for taking better photos with your DSLR camera. Today, I want to continue on the same train of thought with 20 more tips and tricks that can help you to take better photos.

Photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking great pictures (part 2)


Tip № 21: Metering mode

Professional photographers refer to this skeptical. But we encourage you not to ignore completely provided exposition modes in your camera. In particular for paparazzi. For example, “Landscape” mode, as a rule, set a small aperture and increases saturation. And “Portrait” mode combines wide aperture with dimmer colors. The both modes can also be used in some other cases. The main thing is the understanding of predetermined parameters and creative usage of them.

Tip № 22: Don't forget about (P) - Program mode

You shouldn't underestimate the (P) mode in your camera. It provides the most appropriate aperture value and shutter speed for proper exposure in the automatic mode. If you need a wide aperture then just switch to the P mode to get it. If you want lower shutter speed, twist in the opposite direction.

Tip № 23: What is in priority: aperture or shutter speed?

Saying in a nutshell, the aperture controls the depth of field of a shot, and the shutter speed controls the speed of the shutter, in other words, the speed of shooting. Not sure which shooting mode to choose? Decide on which of these two elements you want to keep maximum control during the shooting. So this will be your decision.

St. Moritz White Turf Finals 2013

Tip № 24: Define the dynamic range of the camera

If you do not know what is the dynamic range of the sensor of your camera, you will not be able to recognize when it exceeds a scene. Thus, you lose the highlight or details that are shaded. There are many ways to measure the dynamic range. DxO Labs tested a lot of digital cameras. You can always use their data as a guide. Visit www.dxomark.com, to learn the dynamic range of your camera.

Tip № 25: Try bracketing

You can adjust the exposure of the image in your editing software. But in underexposed shot, any noise will increase, while the overexposed shots, as a rule, cannot be recovered. If you have any doubts, use bracketing. You will get three shots with different values of a predetermined parameter, one of which is exposed correctly. Use this opportunity, even if you decide to shoot in RAW format.

Tip № 26: Read a histogram correctly

Do not rely just on the histogram of the image on the LCD monitor of your camera. In bright light, the images will look darker than they really are. And when you look at the screen at night, you will see the brighter picture, even if it's a little bit underexposed. Therefore, you should learn to read the histogram correctly. It is the only way to estimate the overall brightness of the image accurately, and it allows you decide whether there is a necessity to correct the shooting parameters. If the histogram is at the right end of the scale, consider reducing the effect and try again.

Tip № 27: Highlighting

It is much easier to restore the image details in the shaded areas of the shot than illuminated parts. Therefore, with a significant contrast level maintain the high detalization level in bright areas.

Into the Poppies

Tip № 28: Halftones

Matrix (evaluative, multi-zone) metering of camera's exposition measures the light level of the scene. Spot metering is also extremely useful. This is important when you are shooting mostly bright or dark scenes. You can use it to select a medium tone, for example when photographing a sidewalk or grass.

Tip № 29: Evaluate the contrast

Camera spot metering will allow you to get accurate meter readings to determine the contrast of the scene. Select one of the brightest spots of the brightest area and the other of the most shaded. Determine the range in between them. If it exceeds the dynamic range of the camera, you will have to make some cut-offs such as shadows, reflections. Or consider HDR shooting (High Dynamic Range).

Tip № 30: HDR shooting

To determine the range of exposure for HDR images, you need to make the meter readings of the darkest and the lightest area of the scene. Then set the camera to Aperture Priority. Switch to manual aperture value mode and using your meter readings as the starting and the end points of successive HDR images. Stop the shutter speed for some time until you cover the range of exposure.

Tip № 31: Use ND filters to balance the exposure

For landscape photography, to balance the exposure between the sky and the land use ND filter (Neutral Density, neutral density filter). It is best to have a set of ND with varying degrees of shading to be ready for different conditions. Also, make the two shots - one for the sky and one for the foreground. Then mix them in your editing software for post-processing.

Tip № 32: Usage of ND filter to expand exposure

ND (Neutral Density) filters are pretty dark. If you want to extend the exposure, they can be a problem for aperture control. On three stages ND filters will allow you to open the aperture, three steps to get the small depth of field. Moreover, even in bright conditions.

Tip № 33: Polarizing filter

The effect of the polarizing filter is impossible to recreate in digital form. This makes it an irreplaceable choice for outdoor photographers who want to soften or intensify the reflection of the blue sky. Do try to save on price, or you have to save on quality.

Tip № 34: Black and white image on the camera or the computer?

If you are not sure whether you want to print the black and white images from a memory card, then it is better to shoot in color. You can then convert the images using the software for image editing. It will provide more opportunities than your camera. If you decide to shoot black and white images in JPEG, do not forget about the filter. Red, orange and yellow filters can add drama to the dim sky. And the orange filter will reduce the intensity of freckles and spots on portraits.

After the village fair

Tip № 35: Usage preset for white balance

As JPEG files are processed in the camera during the shooting, it's preferable to use a preset for white balance. Select from the available camera settings (Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, etc.) and do not rely on the automatic option, although the automatic white balance is considered to some extent the "base." If you shoot in RAW file format, you can set the white balance during the image processing.

Tip № 36: White balance bracketing

If you shoot in JPEG format, and your camera allows that, try to activate the white balance bracketing. JPEG files take the minimum of space on the memory card, and it can save you from hours of correcting some undesirable tones.

Tip № 37: Using the white balance incorrectly

Intentionally incorrect setting of white balance can give images the overall blue tone. If you shoot in daylight and the white balance is set on tungsten mode. And if you decide to photograph with the light bulb switched on with the white balance set for the daylight mode, then you will get a warm orange tone. When shooting sunsets, auto adjusts the white balance may try to change the overall warm tone, although this is exactly what you're trying to catch. In this case, "cheat" your camera and set the Cloud Mode for the white balance, which is supposed to warm up the cool scene.

Tip № 38: High-speed flash

Use a significantly shorter duration of the flash, than the time of exposure that will allow to "freeze" the high-speed events. The easiest way to start from is a drop of water. And all you need is a dark room, flash, and a lot of patience. Try to do this and you will get stunning images with water drops. And this is only the first steps in high-speed flash photography.

Tip № 39: Lens replacement

So much has been said about the small particles of dust that can get on the camera sensor and cause a defect on the image, that many photographers are paranoid about changing lenses. But this is one of the main advantages of the DSLR photo! Few simple precautions should be followed. Always turn off the camera when changing lens. So you eliminate any static charge from the sensor, which can attract dust particles. Protect the camera from the wind and bad weather and make sure that you have an interchangeable lens, ready to be installed. And keep the camera lens down. This will minimize the risks of getting some accidental particles when changing lenses.

Tip № 40: Use only high-quality Lightroom presets and Photoshop Actions.

Use high-quality Lightroom presets and Photoshop Actions. This will not only improve your photos and give them an interesting effect but also save your time.

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