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10 Tips For Better Photography

Aug 17, 2007
Once the purchase of a digital camera is made, the beginning steps have begun as a professional photographer. Correctly handling the camera is a great tool to begin learning. The images it sends out are pretty close to perfect, but it takes a little while to get to that point. Understanding how it runs, what steps need to be learned, how to shoot indoor and outdoor pictures, or just limiting ourselves to a point-and-click style of photography are all part of knowing what to do. To not understand any of this is doing great injustice to the camera, which is made for better use. To avoid not learning, or simply not knowing, how to take a picture - we need to follow ten top shooting tips.

1. Too many novice or amateur photographers rely entirely on photo-editing tools to digitally enhance the photograph. Do not depend on this - in the back of the mind will always be the thought, "if it does not turn out, I can always fix it with software". The pleasure of photography should begin with the way the picture is shot, along with its emotional connection, not the result of the digital manipulation with a half-done picture. There is nothing the matter with the photo-editing tools, only what we do with them to make our photos look good.

2. Underexposure lacks color quality, so it really should be avoided. What happens is the sensors fail to read the colors that form the image. However, if given a choice, several photographers choose underexposing above overexposure. This is because even if underexposed, the details of the photograph are still recorded. In addition, it can still go into an editing program over overexposed photographs.

3. Digital cameras use millions of assorted pixels to produce the final image, with each sensor designed to capture a certain tonal range. When we do not allow full light to fall on the sensor, we are doing a great injustice to the image. Most of the pixels are unable to capture the tonal range in their full sweep and brightness, which ends up lowering the picture quality. The choice of sensor size is equivalent to choosing between assortments of formats - 35mm, medium and large format cameras. There are many different sensor size options regarding depth of field, image noise, diffraction, cost and size/weight.

4. When focusing on a subject, there are three factors which affect the depth of field: focal length of the lens; distance from the camera to the subject; and the size of the aperture or setting of the f-stop. You must focus on the subject, and not on people or objects around the subject. The subject at a greater distance will have greater depth of field than one that is close-up. This will reduce the noise level in your photographs. Also, less worry needs to be given to being out of focus, bringing in clarity and sharpness to the image.

5. When a picture is overexposed, too much detail is too high in tonal range. Just as under exposure makes a picture dark and toneless, over exposure makes colors too rich giving the picture an artificial hue - causing highlight to lose their detail. Over exposures also blanks out light and dark effects, along with the tones that give an image a natural look causing everything to look gray with less saturation.

6. Exposure warning lights have a purpose - with the word "warning." We must learn to look and respect under exposure warning lights just like a red flashing light at an intersection. These are especially good for beginners who can change the exposure until the blinking areas disappear. Later, the user can start using their own insights in deciding the exposure levels.

7. The camera can take a great picture, but we as the photographer prepare before then. The best photographs are those whose parameters are decided by the human mind. No amount of automation can change this fact. We, too, should gradually move away from automated functions and start making our own combinations when it comes to exposure, color, noise etc. Only then will we find gradual, but unmistaken, improvement in the quality of photographs taken.

8. Thinking of the composition should be the focus before clicking the button. Composition is the art of focusing on the subject using frames, movement, lights etc. We can learn composition techniques either from a senior photographer or from a book. Then we should start practicing them with new techniques. We will find an automatic improvement in the quality of our photographs.

9. To constantly improve one's photography skills, take as many different pictures as you can - all the time. Take enough pictures that you can tell how they will turn through experience, fixing them in advance.

10. The last one tip is to think ahead, think what you want to shoot, think how it is to be shot, think about its exposure, color, noise - all about visualization. We must learn to critically examine each image that we shoot as if it were our last. Try and find out the weaknesses of the photograph. Shoot again to remove the weaknesses - until we are completely satisfied.
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