Steps to Wining Photography
People think they'll improve their
by buying a
new $7,000 camera with a $1,900 lens. The bare fact is, in photography, technique is
more important than gear. The following ways will improve your
photography with the equipment you already have.
A pro can take a
$129.00 point and shoot and make it take better shots than an amateur
with a Nikon D3X.
- Always try to hold the camera steady. Brace the camera on your
elbows or something solid, such as a chair or table. If you have a
tripod, use it when possible. Otherwise, brace your elbows against
your sides, feet apart and hold your breath for the moment when you take the
photo. Tripods do not need to be big or expensive. There are even
miniature tabletop versions. When shooting hand-held, hold the
- Make sure the lens is clear of caps, thumbs, straps and other
obstructions. It's basic, yes, but it can ruin a photograph
Always keep the lens caps on when not using the
camera, clean optics are everything. Store you camera out of the
direct sunlight. it's possible to damage the
- Learn the camera's limits. How close a photo
can you take without it being blurred? How low can the light be?
Can it handle motion?
- Learn to use the features of your camera. Do you know how to
use manual focus? Take it out of the auto mode. Try some shots in
shutter priority. Can you adjust the
the ISO, Change the
white balance? This way you will learn to use
what you have. Most of the new point and shoot cameras have features
way over the average users head.
- Make the picture tell a story or raise a question.
- Fill the frame with your subject. Shed your fear of
close to your subject. This seems the be the number one problem of
snap shooters. The big exception to this rule is in
estate photography, where we want lots of space in the shot.
- Use the Rule of Thirds,
Rule of Thirds is where the subject takes up one
third of the shot to either the left or right. Avoid the boring
- Remove distracting backgrounds. Move a little bit so
that that lamp post does not appear to be growing our of your friend's
head. If glare is coming off the windows of the house across the
street, change your angle a bit to avoid that area. When shooting
people with glasses, have them tilt their head down just a little. I
shot a beautiful landscape once and when I uploaded it to the
computer, the sky had a of dots across it. Upon enlarging the image,
the dots were birds flying overhead.
- Try another interesting angle. Instead of shooting the
straight on, try looking down to the subject, or crouching and
looking up. An unusual angle makes for a more interesting shot.
- Don't waste time and space shooting pictures of things that don't
matter (people doing rude things, etc.) or you may end up with
a really awesome photo opportunity and no space left on your memory
card to take
advantage of it. Make sure your pictures are worthwhile. When
using a digital camera, download the photos from it
keep more free space on your memory card.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Especially with digital cameras, there's no
reason not to take a number of shots of one subject, delete the
ones that didn't turn out well. Notice, as you go along, what worked
and what didn't.
- Photoshop. Photoshop is a must with digital photos. Adjust the
color and brightness so that the shot looks clear and natural. Crop
out excess background, leaving only the subject and enough
surroundings to give some context. Correct red-eye and other
- If you already have a DSLR camera, don't upgrade it until you
acquire and practice using the following essential accessories.
- An external flash (You need this for
bounce anywhere but in your subject's eyes and to turn off that ugly on-camera flash
- If you want to do interiors, get a
wider lens than that 18-55 kit lens.
- A circular polarizer to cut the haze and give the clouds some oomph!
- A graduated neutral density filter. (works similar to number 3)
- If you don't have number 12 above, get
Adobe Photoshop elements, this will do more for your photography than any new camera. About $79.00
- Very Important! Stay off those web sites that do 0 to 60 quarter
mile speed tests, shoot brick walls and gnats at 500 yards, blow up
the photo ten times and then complain about the gnat's a--- not being
sharp. They like to show impressive graphs of light fall-off and of
sharpness degrading with the sole goal of knocking every lens priced
under $5,000. They like to show their macho superiority by using an
analogy of their super duper review (Rolls Royce) vs your camera or the
one you can afford (a Toyota). If you don't own this year's
model, their goal is to convince you that you need 500
just to to shoot photos of your family and
pets. These people spend
all their spare time on the internet comparing equipment, but they
don't have any galleries, because they don't shoot any
Cameras don't shoot good photos, people do. Don't
even ask me about my
camera gear, I like to collect things and I like to have the newest
gadgets. The difference, I take them out and shoot with them. I have
over 1,000 photos on this website alone and some of the best photos
have shot with old gear and my $129
Also stay off those
web sites that spend page after page telling you all third party
lenses are junk and the only quality lenses are from the camera
manufacturer. aka (Canon or
Nikon). We know this is a lot of hog
wash. Also avoid those blogs that repeat the same story of a
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 being so blurry the f/3.4-5.6 kit lens was actually
sharper (they didn't bother shooting a lens comparison in very low
light). People buy f/1.4 lenses because they're f/1.4 lenses. Or the
same old tired story of a Sigma lens literally falling apart in
their hands. This story has been floating around the internet for
years. I also like the user after user reviews of a certain fast
lenses not being sharp. You can shoot 95% of all the
open and they will not be sharp. These people need to learn to use
their cameras. The internet is a great place to
learn things, but after the 20th web blog with same old tired
information about a particular lens being bad. These stories are
word for word. Give me a break.
- Lets talk about the best cameras, gear, lenses, etc. The best
camera is the one you had in your hand at the moment, you went ahead
and shot the shot,
and it has turned out to be your best shot ever.
Re-read number 11
Nikon D7000 DX Camera
- Seriously, you can take great photos on a
NIkon D40 (comes with
18-55 zoom kit lens) for under $500. It's only 6 megapixels, many of
the new point and shoot cameras have 10 and 12 megapixels, and
you'll pay $350-$400 for a good point and shoot, but megapixels
don't tell the whole story. The D40 is light, it can use every
Nikkor lens made since 1986 and if you decide to upgrade, the lenses
go on to your next camera. Compare the D40 with a
Nikon D300. The
D300 costs $2,300 with the Nikkor 18-200 lens, weighs 30 ounces,
plus battery 4 ounces. and lens, 19.8 ounces or a whopping 53.8
ounces vs the D40 17 ounces, battery 4 ounces, kit lens 7.2 ounces
(28.2 ounces total) or almost half as much, Which would you rather
carry? and the D300 costs 4 1/2 times as much. Maybe you should Best Prices for the D40 and take the money you save and go on a photo shoot.
Pick up a
National Geographic and notice how professional
tell stories in pictures.
- If you're planning on buying a camera, read how to choose one and don't go over
Even a 6MP Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens will give you
constant opportunities to learn
to shoot. Most of the newer mid-range (Bridge
Cameras) fixed lens digital will
shoot excellent photos.
- Frame the photo in your mind before framing it in the
- Train yourself to shoot a subject from at least three points of view. For example, if
you are shooting a person, take a head-and-shoulders portrait, an environmental portrait,
and a portrait from an unusual angle.
- Shoot lots and lots of digital images -- ten times what you'd normally shoot.
Never delete or throw anything away. Archive everything so you can find it again (practice
good housekeeping by naming folders and including dates - it makes life much easier when
you search). Periodically go back and review what you've done and ask yourself how you
could have done better.
- Depending on the camera, the viewfinder may not correspond exactly to the shot that
you get. If the viewfinder looks through a lens, you can shoot with confidence. If the
viewfinder looks out above and beside the lens, though, you'll need to experiment and
possibly correct for the misalignment.
- Make a habit of carrying your camera with where ever you go
so that you
can take a shot whenever you see
something worthy of photographing.
- Download to your computer and Upload to your photos to Flickr or if you have Adobe
Elements, then to Adobe often