With the world of photography constantly evolving, it is in the best interests of the photographer to be on top of their game through research and learning. Our article on 277 photography tips today sure provides something substantial for everyone to sink their teeth into – amateur or expert.
Because there’s a lot to go through today, we will hit the ground running. We begin with beginner photography tips that the experts swear by. Then as we delve further into the article, we will zero in on more specific tips for more specific kinds of photography.
Ready or not, here we come!
Beginner Photography Tips
Photography Tip #1 — You Don’t Need The Most Expensive Gear Just Yet
Don’t go crazy. You can take amazing photos even with your affordable point and shoot. What you need to take better photos, for now, isn’t better gear. It’s practice.
The truth is that, as you get more familiar with cameras and their accessories, you begin to find that the difference between some of these accessories are not so many. At least at a particular price range, nearly everything you get is quite good.
Plus, many of the entry-level DSLR cameras you find today are even better than the high-end film SLR cameras you find today. Yet, these film photographers are making it work somehow.
So, for now, focus on your skills, not your gear (source).
Photography Tip #2 — Your Composition Deserves Some Thought
If you want your photos to come out engaging, then you’re going to have to put some thought into what you’re photographing. Actually put some thought into it while composing your photos so they come out looking good.
This means that you must learn the basics of compositions. Although we go in depth on composition tips later in this article, there are a few we can share right off the bat.
For instance, you don’t want to remove important aspects of the subject with the edges of the frame. It’s also important to remove distractions from the photo and to keep the horizons level as well.
Finally, check out if the end result has a sense of simplicity and balance. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look good at first, just keep at it until you finally get it (source).
Photography Tip #3 — Not All Settings Matter
Especially as a beginner, you could easily get overwhelmed at all the settings there are on a camera. in fact, even expert photographers sometimes struggle with these things sometimes. So, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little intimidated at first.
But then again, as a beginner, your first duty is to learn. This means that you must practice taking photos with other modes besides full auto. If you continue to take photos in full auto, you won’t learn anything as the camera would be making all the decisions for you.
Sure, in the beginning, it’s a struggle, but with some reading, you will begin to get the grasp of things.
That said, like the heading says, not all settings matter. At least, not yet. For now, the three most important of all the settings you have are your shutter speed, ISO, and aperture.
Once you’ve gotten a good grasp of those, you then want to learn to focus correctly. For now, you might want to go for the One-Shot AD if the subject is stationary, and AI Servo if the subject is moving.
Please avoid shooting using manual focus for now except lighting is so poor your autofocus isn’t functioning.
Finally, a setting you must not compromise is RAW. Shoot in RAW. This way, whether you want to edit the photos right away or that’s something you think you might want to do in future, you have enough latitude to do that.
JPEG might look good, but in post, it does not give the photographer enough wiggle room to edit (source).
Photography Tip #4 — Avoid Overexposing Your Highlights
In picking camera settings, make sure you don’t end up overexposing your highlights. If you do that, you won’t be able to recover detail in the white areas of that photo.
Fortunately, it’s quite easy to ensure that your highlights stay intact. But this means that you’d have to master your aperture, ISO and shutter speed settings like we mentioned earlier. These settings are the only ones which affect how bright your photos turn out directly. Of course, barring flash settings.
So, when taking your photos, you want to watch the screen to be sure there’s no overexposure. If you, however, notice there is, then the first step to take is to reduce ISO to base value, which is usually ISO 100.
If your ISO is already at 100 and you still have that problem, then try using a faster shutter speed. With these two fixed, you shouldn’t have problems with overexposure.
As for the aperture, this hardly constitutes a problem so long you don’t have it set to something crazy like f/32, f/45 and the rest (source).
Photography Tip #5 — Light Is Super Important
You’ve definitely heard it said before. Light is perhaps the singular most important variable in photography. Taking photos with correct lighting is a major step in the right direction when it comes to taking photos.
So, what is great lighting? Hint: It’s not just about sunsets.
When it comes to lighting, what you want to aim for is to balance light intensity so it doesn’t clash between your subject and the background. Even a photo of a beautiful sunset can get ruined by a dark, silhouetted foreground.
So, how do you fix this?
Focus on the direction of the light, as well as the softness of the light. Light that is too harsh will cause shadows to form and this could be a big problem especially if you’re doing portraits.
If the angle of the light isn’t exactly flattering, try moving it around, if it’s a studio. If you’re outdoors, try to change the position of the subject. And if it’s landscapes you’re doing, then perhaps wait till the lighting gets better.
Handheld photos, especially, need enough light. if you can’t get that, then use your flash or change your position (source).
Photography Tip #6 — Slow Down
If you’re always in a hurry, you’d make a lot of missteps. So, always learn to take your time especially when you’re still learning the ropes.
Double-check your settings. You don’t want to be using night settings for an outdoor shoot, for instance. How about your composition, autofocus and light? Are they perfect?
Again, while you might not want to review photos in the heat of an amazing action right in front of you, it’s good to check out your photos when you have some lag time. Better to sort the problems when you’re in the field than to come back and observe them on your computer (source).
Photography Tip #7 — Keep Moving
Don’t just stay in a place when taking your photos. Try to move around with your feet and/or your tripod. You can’t have your entire portfolio showing photos without any form of experimentation at all. It would be boring and you’d have missed out on some potentially awesome shots.
Plus, by moving your feet, you get to change your subject’s size and relative position in the photo. If, for instance, there’s a distracting in your composition, you can move around until the object is out of the frame or at least no longer distracting (source).
Photography Tip #8 — There Are Times To Use A Tripod – Know Them
A tripod is one of the camera accessories you are advised to get as a beginner because it solves a number of problems, especially lack of proper lighting. Using a tripod, you’d be able to capture details accurately even in scenarios that are too dark for the human eye to see clearly.
Also, tripods give your compositions stability, also helping you take sharper photos.
Now, if your subject is stationary, then you almost always have to use a tripod to take the photos. So, in summary, if you’re into architectural photography, landscape, or still life, you absolutely need a tripod.
For certain photography types like event photography, and action, a tripod might slow you down. Travel photographers might also feel like a tripod would constitute a burden, and it might. But, if you don’t always have a tripod, truth is you miss out on a lot of great photos (source).
Photography Tip #9 — Know When A Flash Is Required
We all know that flashes are used in the dark. But do you know that a flash can also be useful outdoors? Well, they can.
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “fill flash,” but if you haven’t, it’s actually quite simple. So, there’s this ugly shadow on your subject and, of course, that has to go. You can make use of a gentle flash while taking the photo such that no one can tell, at the end of the day, when they see the photo (source).
Photography Tip #10 — Keep Your Camera Lens Clean
The quickest and easiest way to get blurry photos every time is to work with smudged up camera lenses.
Sure, there will always be that little bit of dust in every lens which, thankfully, do not affect photo quality.
However, there is literally no excuse for grimy lenses smudged with fingerprints literally begging to be cleaned. Make sure you own a lens cleaning solution and small microfiber cloth with which to wipe your lenses and then do that, at least, weekly (source).
Photography Tip #11 — Avoid Cheap Filters
Second to dirty lenses, another way to end up with blurry photos every time is to use a cheap filter. Best to avoid them altogether (source).
Photography Tip #12 — Pick Up Basic Post-Processing Skills
Although, right now, it might not look like post should be your primary focus, some basic post skills might actually be of great help to the young photographer.
Now, in the beginning, you might find yourself overdoing it a little bit. That’s normal, you’re still learning. So, for this reason, it’s always best to ensure that your edits are not permanent. That is, no destructive editing.
So, you either want to “Save As” or you can edit using software that preserves your original file.
With time, you’d definitely get better at processing which is why it is good to start early. But also, keep in mind that you want to be quite subtle so your photos don’t come out looking overtly processed (source).
Photography Tip #13 — Always Back Up Your Photos
Your hard drive will eventually break down. It’s not a possibility. It’s a fact. So, it would be silly and amateurish to have all your photos in one hard drive. You need to ensure that every single photo you take is backed up. No exception.
So, there’s this rule called “the 3-2-1 rule.” In essence, at every given time, you must have 3 copies of each of your photos, at least. These copies should come in two different media forms, at least. Maybe one in the internal hard drive and another in a removable storage device. Then, one of the backups must be in off-site storage.
So, there you have it. The 3-2-1 rule – best and easiest way to not lose your photos (source).
Photography Tip #14 — Stay Organized
The idea of being organized goes beyond making your work faster with easy-to-find photos. If your photos are disorganized, there’s a good chance you could delete a whole folder containing important images before you realize it.
Develop a method that works for you and that’s easy to help you remain organized so you don’t run into issues (source).
Photography Tip #15 — Be Willing To Experiment
Photography becomes more interesting when the photographer is willing to try new things. Don’t fall into the trap of routine. Once in a while, why not try going out on a limb?
Different lighting, different location, different post-processing style, something fresh! You’ll definitely find something new that you can always apply to your photography for the best results. Or you could create memories. Either way, win-win (source)!
Photography Tip #16 — Keep A Company Of Photographers
To keep inspiration fresh and keep improving, it’s good for photographers to surround themselves with fellow photographers.
The truth is many photographers love to share the techniques and tips they use with other photographers. Even if you like to learn on your own, still make out time to mix up with other photographers.
Another good place to find fellow photographers are online forums. Plus, you can email photographers you love and respect too (source).
Photography Tip #17 — Don’t Be Afraid To Call Yourself Out On Your Weaknesses
While you’re still on your road to perfection, it’s really easy to fall back to your comfort zone when the going gets tough. Don’t!
Instead of trying to gloss over your flaws, work to fix them. That’s the best way to improve. This advice would also work for experts as well (source).
Photography Tip #18 — Revisit Your Old Photos
This tip is similar to the one before it. Revisiting your old photos will help you find out what your weak points are so you can fix them. Also, from time to time, it’s possible to strike photography gold that you never noticed before while digging through the archives (source).
Photography Tip #19 — Learn All The Rules
Rules are not bad. They don’t hinder creativity either. Truth is, if you don’t learn them first, you’d break them in a way that would make your photos look horrible. So, learn the rules first before you break them. However, you don’t have to learn them all before you pick up the camera. Learn as you shoot (source).
Photography Tip #20 — Exposure and Focus Come First Before Framing
If your photo isn’t properly saved, it might be saved. However, if exposure and focus are not right, the photo is, practically, unusable.
So, be mindful of exposure and focus especially when the scene is extremely lit or extremely dark (source).
Photography Tip #21 — The Eyes – Keep Your Focus There!
The eyes are the natural focus point that people connect to when looking at a photo, so keep your focus there. Whatever aperture you might be taking your portrait at, make sure you zero in on the eyes. If you do that, you’re more likely to get a great shot (source).
Photography Tip #22 — Be Ready Always
Ensure your camera is always on and keep them in semi-auto or full auto mode for those unexpected photos. Sometimes, all you have a split second and the opportunity to take a great photo is missed. Hence, for a planned photoshoot, you can (and you should) do without the full auto mode. But for those unexpected times, full auto mode can help you take a fantastic shot in a split second (source).
Photography Tip #23 — For Portraits, Use Wider Aperture Settings
You want to keep aperture size between f/2.8 and f/5.6 when taking portraits. This will blur out the background behind the subject, thereby making them less distracting.
If you want, you can make the aperture settings even wider. However, in all you do, remember tip 21, the focus must be on the eyes (source).
Photography Tip #24 — Match Your Focal Length and Shutter Speed To Remove Blurriness
So, say you’re working with a 50 millimeter lens, then you should use a shutter speed of 1/50 second at least when shooting handheld. This will keep them looking sharp.
Now, with longer lenses, it could be a bit tasking to steady them because they are heavier than normal lenses. This is why it is always good to go with faster shutter speeds in order to prevent camera shake (source).
Photography Tip #25 — When Editing, Don’t Forget To Crop And Straighten
Usually, you should be able to straighten your shots using your viewfinder. But, admittedly, that’s a little difficult at first especially because viewfinders are so small.
So, when editing your photos, you want to straighten all crooked photos. Also, don’t forget to crop out any empty space you might find (source).
Photography Tip #26 — Prevent Camera Shake
If there’s a camera shake, your resulting photo could end up unusable. To work around this, increase ISO, widen your aperture, and use a faster shutter speed.
Now, sometimes, doing all of that might not be a good option as it might affect other aspects of the photo. So, as an additional tip, we would advise you to learn proper camera handling. That’s one of the best ways to prevent or, at least, reduce camera shake (source).
Photography Tip #27 — Open Both Eyes While You Look Through The Rangefinder
One advantage of doing this is that you’re able to connect with your subject as they can see, at least, one of your eyes. If you close your other eye, some subjects might feel a little uneasy being unable to connect with you. You could give the feeling that you’re hiding away behind your camera.
Also, with both eyes open, you’d be able to tell when your subject enters the frame. This is particularly important for taking photos of animals, for sports, and for other kinds of action shots (source).
Photography Tip #28 — Learn In-Camera Exposure Compensation
Sometimes, your photos end up with poor exposure (too bright or too dark) for a number of reasons. A number of reasons can lead to this. For instance, it could be as a result of the difference in brightness between the dark and light areas in the scene you’re shooting.
Whatever the problem is, these things can easily be fixed by using what we call the in-camera exposure compensation (source).
Photography Tip #29 — Photograph Your Passion
If you want photography to be enjoyable for you, then photograph your passion – things you actually enjoy. That could be pets, babies, nature, architecture. Whatever it may be, begin your journey by photographing these things to keep your interest alive especially when obstacles begin to show up (source).
Photography Tip #30 — Don’t Miss Out On Reflections
You usually find reflections after (and, sometimes, during) rainy days in lakes, puddle, or swimming pools. But water isn’t the only thing that can produce reflections. You can try with big glass windows, mirrors, or chrome fixtures (source).
Digital Photography Tips
In many ways, digital cameras and film cameras are same. However, the unique features of digital cameras make them able to take way better features than you could possibly dream of with film cameras. Here are some tips that can tell you as culled from the experts in the business.
Photography Tip #31 — The Best Photos Are Shot Not Edited
You must keep in mind that nothing differentiates digital photography from good old photography. So, the belief that you no longer need to put in effort when taking your shots because you have computer on your side is one to jettison and quickly too.
Some people seem to believe that all you need to do is get a software and it would transfer an amateurish photo into something to rival that of a pro. We’ll be the first to tell you that that’s never going to happen.
Photography is art and so the photographer must understand the craft instead of leaning on software. Good photography must be able to engage the audience and communicate well (source).
Photography Tip #32 — Adjust Shutter Speed According To The Focal Length Of Your Lens
The focal length of your lens is the size of your lens. To determine the ideal shutter speed for your shoot, divide the number 1 by the size of the lens in millimeters. The resulting value should tell you the minimum shutter speed, in seconds, that you’re to use.
Having a tripod makes things easier for you and you won’t need to do this measurement. But then again, it’s always a good thing to know how focal length works (source).
Photography Tip #33 — The Rule Of Thirds Is Super Important
This is a rule of composition to help you take the most engaging photos. So, how do you work this rule to take wow photos?
Draw four imaginary lines on your image – two vertical, and two horizontal. This should divide your image into 9 equal squares.
Now, with some images, having the subject dead center would be best. However, sometimes, placing the subject slightly off-center, specifically at an intersecting point where two of the imaginary lines meet could make the photo look more aesthetically pleasing.
Typically, photos taken using this rule of thirds turn out way better than those taken without observing this rule (source).
Photography Tip #34 — Master the Exposure Triangle
The exposure triangle comprises the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. Because these guys are related, generally, when you touch one of them, you’d have to make an adjustment to one of the other two, at least, if you want to get the best results.
Don’t fall into the trap of using auto mode. It will take care of the controls, but, in the end, the photos fall short of your expectations. Instead, learn shutter-priority and aperture-priority modes (source).
Photography Tip #35 — Consider Getting A Polarizing Filter
Remember that rule where we advised to not get a cheap filter? Well, polarizing filter isn’t one of those.
Experts recommend a circular polarizer because with such kinds of filters, the camera can easily use through the lens (TTL) metering like auto exposure.
So, why is this polarizing filter recommended?
Well, polarizing filters can help to reduce the effect of reflection from metal, glass or water. It also makes the colors of foliage as well as the sky come alive even more. In short, it adds the wow factor to your photos (source).
Photography Tip #36 — Create Some Depth
Especially if you’re doing landscapes, it’s always a great idea to create some depth in your photos to make your audience feel like they are at the scene.
You can do this by working with a wide-angle lens. This will give you a panoramic kind of view. And then keep the aperture at f/16 so that the background and foreground come out looking sharp. You can also make the aperture smaller if you want.
Now, if you have a human or object in the photo, the better place to place them is in the foreground. Why? Because this will help the viewer appreciate the scale and how far the distance actually is even more.
Also, don’t forget to go with a tripod. It’s best to take these photos with a tripod since smaller apertures typically require slower shutter speeds (source).
Photography Tip #37 — Keep The Background Simple
It’s quite a tricky shot to make as you need to decide what you’d be including and what you won’t be needing. You don’t want to include anything in your photo that ends up being a distraction.
So, for this reason, most professionals would advise you to go with a plain background like a neutral color, or if patterned, a simple one.
What you want is for the eye of the viewer to know where to go which is the focal point of the image. The eye shouldn’t be wandering around picking up one oddity here or there in your photo. Be especially mindful of this if your model is off center in the photo (source).
Photography Tip #38 — No Flash Indoors
For an indoor portrait, using a flash might be too harsh. So, generally, it’s best to avoid using flash indoors altogether.
As an alternative, consider using a higher ISO, say between 800 and 1600 stops. Also, widening the aperture to the widest possible could also help as more light will get to the sensor this way. It will also help to blur out the background nicely.
It’s best to use a tripod for this kind of shot as you don’t want to risk a blurry image.
Now, if it comes down to it and a flash seems unavoidable, then go with a flash that has a head which you can control. You should point the light, not at the subject but at the ceiling at an angle (source).
Photography Tip #39 — Select An Appropriate ISO
The ISO of your camera tells you how sensitive our camera would be to light. It will also impact how fine or otherwise the grain of your image would be.
Generally, you choose an ISO depending on how dark the scene is. So, depending on how dark, you can set your ISO even up to 3200 stops. But, on sunny days, since you have more light, you can work with ISO 100 or any auto setting (source).
Photography Tip #40 Create Motion Using The Panning Technique
To take a photo of a subject in motion, a good technique to use is the panning technique. You do this by choosing a shutter speed that’s about two steps slower than you need. So, if you’re doing a 1/250, you’d work with a shutter speed of 1/60.
When taking the photo, you want to ensure that your camera remains on the subject while your finger is about half-way down towards the shutter. This helps you lock the focus onto the subject. And then when you’re ready, take the photo, not forgetting to follow the subject as they move.
A tripod will also help you here to avoid camera shakes while obtaining clear lines of movement (source).
Photography Tip # 41 — Play Around With Different Shutter Speeds
Playing around with shutter speeds can help you create some mesmerizing effects that would intrigue your audience.
So, when you take your night time shot, work with a tripod, and try working with a 4-second shutter speed. This way, you capture the movement of the object but you also capture some light trails alongside which can be really beautiful.
A faster shutter speed, on the other hand, like 1/400th of a second, for example, would freeze motion. So, though trails might appear, they won’t be as bright or as long as with a slower shutter speed.
You can also try shooting all kinds of moving objects and backgrounds at different shutter speeds just to create different effects from blurring movements to freezing action in time.
Now, remember that we slow shutter speeds down in order to blur movements, as such, you should be wary of camera shake so the photo is not blurrier than necessary. Again, get a tripod (source).
Photography Tip #42 — When In The Digital Darkroom, Remember That The Photo Rules
The reason many photographers find using post-processing software difficult to use is because they’ve been taught to focus on the software rather than the photography. But like we have highlighted, the photo rules, and should always rule.
You know why you took that photo. So, let your photographic intent guide you when you do your edits. Be focused on the craft rather than the technology. Don’t learn the “how” before the “why.”
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with your photos fearlessly. Drop the caution at the door and experiment a little. There’s always the “undo” button if all doesn’t go as planned (source).
iPhone Photography Tips
Photography Tip #43 — Simplicity Is Key
Too many details in one picture are distracting to the viewer and make it difficult to create an appealing composition. What you really need, most times, is one interesting subject alone. It’s always a lot easier to make a great composition when you have just one subject to work with.
Don’t be too bothered that there’s so much empty space in your photo. This is known as negative space and helps your subject stand out. In fact, knock out all distractions in your scene before you take the photo.
Also, a minimalist composition is much better when you’re sharing on Instagram. This is because simpler photos have better chances of standing out on a phone’s smaller screen than overtly complex ones (source).
Photography Tip #44 — Shoot At An Angle Lower Than Chest Level
When shooting with an iPhone, the easiest angle to shoot from is chest height. It is quite convenient which is why most people just shoot from there without thinking. However, there are more creative angles from which you can take photos using your iPhone.
One of the best angles you can shoot from is from a lower angle, and here are three reasons why:
First, photos taken from a lower angle are more intriguing as they show you the world from a fresh perspective.
Secondly, with a lower angle, the only background you’d be working with is the big blue sky. So, you have fewer distractions to deal with and your subject can truly stand out.
Third, when you shoot from a lower angle, you get to show off all the interesting details the foreground has to offer.
So, when next time you’re taking a landscape photo, consider shooting from a lower angle. This way, you could include the flowers or the water reflections in the foreground.
Don’t be shy to kneel or even lie down for the ultimate shot! (source).
Photography Tip #45 — Show Some Depth
A sense of depth always helps to make a better photo as it draws the eye of your viewer into your scene. You’d need this tip especially when doing landscapes.
One technique you can use to this is to use the power of leading lines while composing your scene for a photo. Let the line lead starting at the foreground and then into the distance. The line draws your viewer in and, thereby, creates a more engaging photo.
You can also do this by including other interesting things in the foreground like flowers, leaves, rocks, or other interesting things you might find. If this feels like a struggle, then try lowering your angle just a little bit.
The middleground and background shouldn’t be left behind too. Including subjects in the foreground, middleground and background will give your photo a more 3-dimensional look that you’d love.
Another way to create depth is to frame the scene using a subject in the foreground. Archways, overhanging branches, and window frames qualify as great framing objects.
When you shoot through a frame, attention is automatically drawn to the beyond through the frame which evokes a strong feeling of depth (source).
Photography Tip #46 — Get Closer
When photographing objects with intricacies, it is important to get closer to the subject so you can capture all the detail. Colors, textures, patterns, leaves, flowers, water droplets, all these come to life when you dare to inch closer to the object.
Another kind of photography that would benefit from this technique is portrait photography. In portraits, the emotions, and facial features of the subject are important details you want to capture in your subjects when taking portraits, whether it’s a person or a pet.
Now, when taking portraits with your iPhone, you want to remember that the native lens of your iPhone can’t exactly focus well if they are too close to the subject. To be able to focus well enough to get all the intricate detail, you’d need to get an additional macro lens.
There are many macro lenses you can get but two of the most popular options are the Moment and Olloclip macro lenses. You can check those out.
Landscape photos might be distant, but including a close up detail won’t hurt too. You can include that in the foreground to create some sense of depth (source).
Photography Tip #47 — Shoot Silhouettes
You know what a silhouette is – dark shape, bright light. They are always eye-catching and quite simple to take. So, how do you do that with your iPhone? Simple. Get something interesting to shoot, then shoot facing the light.
To make your results more stunning and dark, set the iPhone focus in your camera app. Then darken exposure by swiping down. If that’s not enough and you want to darken the silhouette further, you can do that edit the photo with any good editing app.
For the best silhouette shots, utilize the golden hour we talked about earlier. This will give you an amazing colored sky as background.
You can also take silhouette photos indoors as well by placing the subject either in front of a lamp or in front of a window (source).
Photography Tip #48 — Include Some Shadows In Your Compositions
You can include shadows to give your photos and intriguing or mysterious feel.
Shadows are attractive and interesting. They are also useful as they can function as leading lines as well. Again, just like silhouettes, shadows are best shot in the golden hour when the shadows are longest.
You can use the tip we shared with the silhouettes to darken the shadows.
So, look out for interesting patterns to make your photos more interesting. Whether you choose to photograph the subject and the shadow or the shadow alone, shadows are always a nice angle to work (source).
Photography Tip #49 — Reflections Are Nice Too
We’ve seen that reflections are nice elements to include in your photos and the same applies to iPhone photography
To add extra dimension to a water reflection, for instance, you can add ripples and waves to produce a distortion for a beautiful effect. You can also include the subject and its reflection for an even stronger impact.
Just pay attention and you’ll notice reflections wherever you go which you can include in your photos (source).
Photography Tip #50 — Work With Symmetry
Make it a point to find symmetrical images everywhere you find yourself, they make for really striking images. Then when composing your shot, make it such that the two halves of the picture are almost identical, at least.
You can also create symmetry with reflections by simply by creating a line of symmetry dead center. Architectural pieces are naturally symmetrical as well.
Now, we know that, according to the rule of thirds, it’s advised to move your subject off center. But, once in a while, it’s okay to set your subject in the center to create some semblance of symmetry (source).
Photography Tip #51 — Try Diagonal Balance
To create some form of harmony and balance in your photos, you can try for diagonal balance. This works really nicely when there are two or more than two subjects in your scene. It makes it easier for your viewers to flow with your scene. On the other hand, keeping everything on one side would make your image appear a bit unbalanced.
But what do you do if the objects in your scene are unmovable? Like when you’re taking a landscape photo, for instance. Remember the “move your feet” rule, yes. Here is the time to apply it. Move around until you can find an angle where the objects in the scene appear in a diagonal alignment.
You can also use the tip on leading lines to create that diagonal alignment as well.
Like with reflections and symmetrical images, you want to be on the lookout for subjects in diagonal alignments. The more you can identify them, the more you’d be able to (source).
Photography Tip #52 — Use VSCO Filters When You Edit
For more stunning photos, you’d have to step up your editing game using VSCO filters. These filters are beautiful yet understated. Even though they aren’t exactly beginner level editing, they are not quite as complex as more advanced software like Photoshop. So, they are, generally, easy to use.
Now, the subtleness of the VSCO filters could be the undoing of many photographers because it’s quite easy to overdo it. So, you want to be careful.
Other than that, the VSCO app comes with loads of free preset filters and you can even download it for free. If you want to go hardcore, though, there are more sophisticated tools on the app which you can use (source).
Photography Tip #53 — Hold Your iPhone Like A Camera
When taking your photos with your iPhone, learn to hold it like a camera not just like a phone that has a camera. So, the screen is your viewfinder and you look into your viewfinder not past the phone to take a photo (source).
Photography Tip #54 — Zoom In With Your Feet Not The Camera
Don’t ever zoom in by dialing in the zoom function. If you want to get closer, move your feet. Even a little bit of zooming when shooting with an iPhone often results in a pixelated and grainy image. So, you want to avoid that (source).
Photography Tip #55 — Check Your Settings – Set Them On High
This one is quite straight to the point, right?
Photography Tip #56 — Clean Your Lenses
Your phone is everywhere from your bag to your back pocket. So, it’s inevitable that the lens would get dirty at some point. Ensure that you clean it often.
Landscape Photography Tips
Photography Tip #57 — Make Plans Beyond Checking The Weather
Sure, you’d have to check the weather but for the best landscape photos, you have to make your plans like a pro. Here are some other things to check that would help you prepare like an experienced photographer.
You could look out for the tum sun sets or rises in the location you have picked out. You also want to find out what direction exactly the sun faces when it rises or falls to help you make a desirable shooting position.
This might seem like a lot, especially for a noob but we can thank heavens for technology. These days, there are apps that do literally everything. One of the most useful ones is the The Photographer’s Ephemeris.
This app works with Google Maps and can give you nearly all the information you’d possibly need while planning for your landscape shoot. To use the smartphone app, you’d have to pay a small subscription fee but trust us when we say that it’s totally worth it (source).
Photography Tip #58 — Use Wide-Angle Lenses
In truth, you should let the subject and location determine the technique as well as the focal length you use for each shoot. However, from experience, you begin to find that every landscape photographer would benefit from including ultra-wide-angle lenses to their kit bag.
So, if you’re using an APS-C, consider a 10-20mm focal range. If full-frame, you’ll be able to take really stunning photos with a wide field of view using lenses with a focal range of about 15-30mm (source).
Photography Tip #59 — Travel Light To The Degree That You Conveniently Can
You’re probably going to have walk a ways to get to the precise spot in your location where you want to take your photos. So, it’s just common sense to travel light. Pack what you need alone. Don’t pack 4 lenses if you need 3, these things add up.
But then again, you don’t want to forget the essentials. Some of these essentials like spare batteries, filters, lens-cleaning materials, as well as weather-appropriate clothing could make all the difference. Don’t leave home without them (source).
Photography Tip #60 — Set Up Properly
When it comes to landscapes, camera settings are hardly ever complicated.
Usually, you’d shoot in aperture priority mode. This gives you a good level of control over the depth of field of your photo while allowing the camera select the right shutter speed.
So, you want to set your aperture to f/16 to create that large depth of filed and then set the ISO to 100 so image quality is sharp.
Metering mode should be at Evaluative/Matrix so that the camera reads light from every area of the scene. This will help the camera to calculate and give the image the right exposure. But if that doesn’t work for you, you can always darken or lighten the exposure by using exposure compensation.
Now, all these settings plus filters in front of your lens have can add up to slow down shutter speed. So, if you find that your shutter speed drops to below 1/25th of a second, you might want to use a tripod. Do this while using a remote to trigger the shutter rather than using your fingers. You’re doing this to avoid camera shake which could lead to blurry photos (source).
Photography Tip #61 — Ensure That Your Photos Are Sharp
To ensure that your image is sharp and depth of field looks good there are two important things you must nail – correct focusing, as well as using a narrow aperture. But note that right focusing technique is even more important as even with an aperture as narrow as f/16, you could focus wrongly and then the background and foreground could be out of focus.
So, how do you focus correctly for landscape photography?
Well, the best way is to work with manual focus, both for the lens and the camera. Next, you want to rotate the focusing ring on the lens so it faces the appropriate aspect of the frame. That aspect would be the position on-scene that’s about a third of the distance facing the horizon.
After identifying this point, you can use your Live View or your viewfinder to view as you rotate the lens focus ring slowly. Once you’ve gotten a sharp image at the right spot, it’s time to steal that shot.
After doing this, zoom into your image on the screen to be sure that it’s sharp all the way – i.e. from the front to the back. So, if you find that your foreground is sharp but the background isn’t, you’d need to take another shot, setting your focus further backwards.
Keep repeating this process until you’ve finally nailed the overall sharpness all over the scene – from front to back (source).
Photography Tip #62 — Use Polarizing Filters
These help you produce sharp photos, with beautiful contrast
Photography Tip #63 — Use ND Filters
ND filters (Natural-Density filters) help to reduce the amount of light streaming into the lens. This means that when using ND filters, you’d be able to use slower shutter speeds than you normally would. With this, you can creatively blur out clouds and water when you want for a beautiful effect.
ND filters are at different light-blocking densities. From 1-stop to 10-stop, even to 15-stop (source).
Photography Tip #64 — Don’t Forget The Details In The Skies
For this, you’d need ND grads (Natural-Density graduated filters). These filters work pretty much like regular ND filters, but here’s the difference.
Beginning at the top, these filters regulate the amount of light streaming into the top of the frame. But as they begin to graduate to the bottom, the filtering function gradually reduces till there’s no effect. So, essentially, the top is filtered while the bottom is unaffected.
These filters, thereby, help you achieve tricky task of capturing the beautifully exposed bright sky with a perfect dark foreground in one shot (source).
Photography Tip #65 — The Blue Hour Rule
We’ve talked about the golden hour rule but have you heard of the blue hour rule? The blue hour occurs just after the sun has set, twilight if you may, and it brings with it many beautiful opportunities for a great shot.
While called the “blue hour,” the blue hour is more like a time period (not necessarily an hour) where the light wavelengths reaching the earth are predominantly violet or blue. Naturally, the sky might still retain a bit of oranges and reds here and there. However, the ground is mostly bathed in a soft blue hue. The results are amazing, trust us (source).
Photography Tip #66 — Don’t Be Afraid Of A Little Drama
Just because an overcast day isn’t as colorful as the sunrise or set doesn’t mean it has to be a total day. So long as there are details in the clouds and the skies aren’t all grey, overcast weather is perfect for a moody image. Add that to the probability that the sun might just shine through for a second there and you find that overcast days aren’t so bad (source).
Photography Tip #67 — Strive For Visual Balance
Composition is another crucial aspect of landscape photography that can make or mar your photo.
The most important rule you need to master for this one is the rule of thirds. We already explained that, and so we won’t be going over it again.
There are cameras that come with a rule-of-thirds grid right on the viewfinder or screen (if you’re shooting using Live View). So, if imagining the grids is difficult, this might be a big help for you.
To enable this setting on your viewfinder, you can peruse the menu for custom functions on your camera. If you’re working with Live View, on the other hand, toggling the display button might give you access to the function (source).
Photography Tip #68 –Utilize the Power Of Foreground Interest
This is another compositional device which can work together with the rule of thirds to bring a sense of harmony between the foreground and background of your photo. You can position anything at all that’s related to your scene at the “entrance” of your image as a sort of stepping stone for your viewer’s eyes.
Please, in a bid to utilize this device, don’t just include random stuff in the foreground that have no relationship with your scene. You want the objects in your scene to have some relevance to the scene (source).
Photography Tip #69 — Use Lead-In Lines
Lead-in Lines help to draw the eyes of your viewer into your image, and that’s what makes them fantastic composition devices.
To do this, you’d need to work with a linear element in your scene, a strong one, that is. This strong, linear element could be rocks, a wall, a road, or even a bridge.
So, you want to position this element such that it falls in the bottom third of the frame. In fact, let it begin smack bottom and then let them lead into the focal point of the image.
In some cases, these lead-in lines can also double as your foreground interest as well (source).
Photography Tip #70 — Rules Are Made To Be Broken
It’s good to know the rules as they are made for a reason. But once you’ve mastered them, please feel free to break them where necessary (source).
Photography Tip #71 — Less Is More
A minimal landscape can tell a story equally as compelling as one with all the light and detail. Now, at this point, we will be sharing another compositional device known as the rule of threes. According to that rule, in a composition, three objects are more appealing to the eyes than four objects or two.
So, next time you’re aiming for a minimalist landscape, if you can’t get a lone tree, get three (source).
Photography Tip # 72 — Creatively Move Your Camera
When it comes to landscapes, we have talked about the importance of keeping your images sharp. Blurs should only be used for moving elements like water or similar.
Now, if you want the whole landscape to be a blur, that is also achievable, but that would mean you doing things entirely different from the way you know it.
But before we get to the techniques for shooting such dynamically blurry landscapes, your settings. First, your camera should be in shutter priority mode at 1/8th of a second. Secondly, ISO should be at 100.
The first technique with which to achieve the desired blurry landscape is panning. It’s great for trees. And a horizontal panning technique would be great for coastal shots.
Another technique you can use to achieve this method is the zoom burst. With this technique you zoom into your subject with your lens and focus. After that, you zoom out slowly, releasing the shutter simultaneously.
For better results, you can also try experimenting with different shutter speeds (source).
Photography Tip #73 — Create Starbursts
Shooting at sunrise or sunset is beautiful. However, because the sun is usually quite bright at such times, shooting might be difficult although the light is soft.
To solve this, you can create a starburst. You do this by positioning yourself such that the sun is partially obscured by an object in the scene. Another way is to shoot at that point when the sun is peeking over the horizon.
Now, you want to do all this with your aperture set at f/16 or f/22 so the bright light from the sun is captured as a beautiful star. With this, you won’t even need a filter to make your photo look stunning (source).
Photography Tip # 74 — Create Mirror-Perfect Symmetry Using Reflections
We’ve explained this tip already so we might not go over it again. But since we are here, reflections are a fantastic way to create mirror-perfect symmetry. For this kind of shot, you want to position the horizon line such that it runs across the center of your frame in such a way as to divide the reflection and the scene into two equal halves. The far bank of the lake can also do the same function as the horizon line (source).
Photography Tip #75 — Shoot On A Misty Morning Too
Mist gives your landscape a mysterious feel that you shouldn’t miss. The best kind of mist you want to aim for is the radiation fog. This one forms during nights that are still and clear, that is when the ground gives off the heat accumulated during the day in form of radiation, hence the name.
Now, when radiation fog forms, it will, typically, stay close to ground level in a thin, white layer. So, you might need to use in-camera exposure compensation to make up for under exposure.
Also, for more compelling results, try facing the sun (source).
Photography Tip #76 — Experiment With Abstract Details
Even if the weather in your desired location is not ideal, you could still strike landscape gold if you persevere just a little. For instance, you can find details to interest you in reflections in pools, patterns in rocks, etc.
With a telephoto or kit lens, you can zoom in to the detail of interest and leave out the surrounding scenery.
Experimenting with filters could also keep things interesting as well.
We’ve talked about the polarizers which reduces saturate colors as well as glare. Then there are also ND filters which allow shooting at slower shutter speeds. So, who knows? You could even blur water for a dramatic abstract effect (source).
Photography Tip #77 — Find Different Viewpoints
Always makes sure to explore the location for the best viewpoints before setting up your camera to shoot. And if you eventually have to lie on the ground to get the perfect shot, don’t overthink it, just do it! (source).
Photography Tip #78 — Your Photo Should Have A Focal Point
Every shot, especially landscapes, need a focal point. It gives the eyes a place to rest and, without it, your viewer can move on from your photo rather quickly.
For your landscape photo, your focal point can be anything from a boulder to a rock, a tree, or even a silhouette.
But it also matters where you place this focal point of yours, so don’t forget to apply the rule of thirds here (source).
Photography Tip #79 — It’s Okay To Capture Motion Too
The term “landscape photography” often provokes the thought of a serene, passive environment. But landscapes are rarely ever completely still. Including some of the movement in your scene could make your image more interesting, so, consider it.
Look out for the birds flying, clouds moving, trees bending in the breeze, and the waves on the beach.
To capture such motions, you’d generally have to work with a longer shutter speed, which means that more light gets to your sensor. For this reason, you’d have to reduce aperture width a little bit. Or you could work with a filter or shoot either at the beginning or towards the day’s end when you don’t have to work with so much light (source).
Photography Tip 80 — Think Horizons
Before shooting landscapes, an old advice is to always think about the horizon on two different fronts.
The first is whether the horizons are straight. It’s true that images can be straightened in post. However, it’s always far easier and much better for the images to be straight right from the camera.
Next, think about where the horizons are compositionally. Naturally, this should be on one of the third grids in your image. It could either be on the top third or it could be on the bottom third, but never in the middle.
Of course, rules can be broken but, generally, that’s one rule to live by (source).
Portrait Photography Tips
Photography Tip #81 — Use The Right Lens
There are different kinds of focal lengths which work great for portraits. So, you’re going to have to choose based on what you seek to achieve.
For environmental portraiture, that is, you want to include some scenery, go for 35mm lenses.
At mid-range, good options are either 50mm or 85mm lenses.
For up close and personal shots, you should be aiming for either a 135mm prime, or you could also go for a 70-200mm zoom.
Let’s talk about zoom and prime lenses for a bit. They are fantastic options when it comes to portraiture, however, they each come with their unique pros and cons.
With zoom lenses, you get a lot of framing flexibility. So, they are the option to go for if the subject in question won’t sit still, like a per or a kid.
On the other hand, there are the prime lenses which are known for their sharpness and incredible bokeh. So, they are better options for subjects that move around as much (source).
Photography Tip #82 — You Don’t Always Have To Focus On The Subject In Its Entirety
There’s a reason the eyes are called the window to the soul. In a portrait, you don’t always need to focus on the subject entirely. Just zeroing in on the eyes can draw your viewer in and engage them the way you want. So, no matter how much of your subject you want to be in focus, always ensure the eyes are the cynosure of all eyes (pun slightly intended) (source).
Photography Tip #83 — Be Mindful Of The Light
Light is important as we’ve stressed earlier but we won’t go back to things we’ve discussed earlier. However, here’s another tip for portraitures. If you’re shooting during midday, then you want to ensure that your subject is either in the shade or in a position that’s away from the sun (source).
Photography Tip #84 — The Right Aperture To Use For Portraitures
To make your subject pop against a less-emphasized background, you should use wider apertures. Think f/2.8 – a common choice for most portrait photographers.
Now, it might be tempting to keep widening the aperture to make your subject pop even more. However, you want to keep in mind that wider apertures mean that less and less of your subject remains in focus.
If you want to show some more detail in your background, on the other hand, then narrower apertures are the way to go (source).
Photography Tip #85 Crop With Care
Yes, crop with care so your portraits don’t end up feeling unnatural. For instance, you don’t want to at the end like at the wrist or the ankles. If you must crop the limbs, then make sure you move higher up before you chop.
You also want to make sure that you don’t crop off all the space above the subject’s head (source).
Photography Tip #86 — Get On The Same Level With Your Subject
This rule is especially important when the subject is a little child or a pet. Get down until you’re eye-to-eye with them to give your photos a more natural feel. Plus, doing that also makes the angle you’re working more flattering (source).
Photography Tip #87 — Natural Sunlight Is Your Best Friend
You should always know what your light sources are when taking portraits. If you’re a beginner, your easiest light source to work with would be the natural sunlight.
So, if you’re shooting indoors, you might want to place the subject close to the window to catch some of that sunlight (source).
Photography Tip #88 — Try Fill Flash
This helps you fill in on those strong shadows which could, otherwise, mess up your photos. It’s a technique that’s particularly important when shooting outdoors. Yeah, who knew, right? Flash is useful outdoors too.
Photography Tip #89 — Use Reflectors
A flash is not the only light-modifying device that there is. There are also such things as reflectors. You must have seen them before. Large and shiny, these disks bounce light (ambient light) to the subject.
Reflectors become even more helpful when shooting outdoors in the bright light. The ambient light bouncing from them brighten the shadows on the face of the subject, making for a more balanced exposure (source).
Photography Tip #90 — Shoot in RAW
Goes without saying, right? More room to edit. We explained this in the third tip for beginners. You can look up the full explanation there.
Photography Tip #91 — Authentic Expressions From Your Subject Are Gold!
Get your subject to be comfortable around you so their natural facial expressions shine through when taking their photo. So, connect with your subject, know them, chat a little bit, and get them to feel at home while shooting.
You want to know within yourself how exactly you want them to smile too. Do you want a cheesy grin or a more subtle one? As you do the shoot, you want to direct your subject to that feeling that brings out that smile (source).
Photography Tip #92 — Direct The Model
Give your subject things to do other than simply standing and staring into the camera. That could come off awkward except that’s the point. You can have them smile at something outside the frame, walk towards you, play with something, etc. it might help to come prepared with a list of things you want them to do during the shoot.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with getting some inspiration from your favorite photographers on Pinterest or Instagram (source).
Photography Tip #93 — Look Out For Angles That Flatter Your Images The Most
Especially for full body shots, you want to try to play with as many angles as possible to find the ones that are most flattering. Some good ideas are a 45-degree turn, or popping a hip. They don’t just flatter the image, they can also change how your subject looks as well. Let’s explain.
Generally, if an object is directly in front of the frame, it will always look larger than one that is pushed backwards in the frame. And you can use this information to help your subject too.
So, say the subject is a little conscious of their hip size, having them push their bum backwards can make the hips look slimmer (source).
Photography Tip #94 — Play Around With Style
Be free to allow your subjects play and interact with one another on set while you shoot. Not every shoot must be formal.
Kids should be kids and play. Couples should be left to interact with each other. Families, friends should have a good laugh and just enjoy some camaraderie. While all that is going on, snap away and you’d come up with photos that are far more natural and engaging than stiff photos.
Now, left to themselves, because they are in front of a camera, subjects might not be able to create such atmospheres themselves and you might find out that the interaction seems a little forced. You can help by asking them questions that get them talking. Ask about funny memories or something they look forward to.
Also, it might help to let your subjects know ahead of time that interacting on set might feel awkward at first. However, in the end, it always turns out fantastic in photos (source).
Photography Tip #95 — Add Some Props
Props make a photo more interesting and could also give the model something to do with their hands. Whether a hat to tip or a blanket to snuggle into, props make photos feel more dynamic and could help your subject feel less awkward (source).
Photography Tip #96 — Ensure That Your Subjects Are Kept Comfortable
Your subject’s welfare should be your concern when shooting them. It’s safe to say that an unhappy model would make for an agonizing shoot. So, make plans for breaks, bring some snacks along, just make it fun for everyone on set. Shooting can be quite exhausting as you know (source).
Photography Tip #97 — When You Should Use Exposure Compensation
Every camera has its metering system which is very important when taking photos. This system does the calculations and measures the right amount of light needed by the camera for the perfectly exposed shot.
Now, while this system is quite clever, sometimes it falls short. This is because it takes average reading, or what you’d call a midtone, somewhere between black and white. Fortunately, this reading is right most times, but other times, especially when there are extremely bright and extremely dark areas, this system can struggle a little bit. You’ll see this a lot at weddings where there are lots of white.
You can quickly correct this using your in-camera exposure compensation. Start by dialing up to +1 positive exposure compensation to lighten up the faces in the photo. If you review and the faces still need to be lightened a little, you can increase from +1 stop (source).
Photography Tip #98 — How To Set Your Shutter Speed
Before you set your shutter speed, consider the focal length of your lens else, you’d end up with camera shake. So, generally, you set your shutter speed to be higher than your focal length. So, if you’re working at 200mm, then you’d need to use a shutter speed of, at least, 1/250th of a second.
If you’re using a wide-angle lens though (18mm focal length, for instance), you can get away with a much slower shutter speed like 1/20th of a second, for instance.
Whatever the case though, ensure that your camera has a built-in image stabilization system or you have some IS lenses with you. These will help you shoot sharp images at slow shutter speeds even with your camera handheld (source).
Photography Tip #99 — Increase ISO
A lot of motion goes on while a subject is being photographed and you don’t want to catch your model at a bad time (half-blinking, gurning rather than smiling, etc.).
If you want to avoid all of that, then you should be thinking of using faster shutter speeds. With faster shutter speeds, you avoid camera shake and your images come out sharp. Now, this tip is particularly important because, more often than not, you’d be shooting portraits handheld.
So, stay in Aperture Priority mode with a wide aperture as we have discussed before now. If outdoors, or in good light, you can set ISO anywhere between 100 and 400 stops. In low light though, you can bump ISO up to 1600, 3200 or 6400 stops. Definitely better to suffer a little grain than end up with a useless, blurry photo (source).
Photography Tip #100 — Making A Choice of Lenses
The lens you choose to go with will definitely affect how your portraits come out. Wide-angle lenses are a must if you want to take portraits with visual impact.
Now, there are a number of techniques to work with a wide-angle lens for an amazing shot. Shooting from the ground up is one – it makes the subject appear taller. Just be careful not to get too close to the model when doing this, else you’d observe some distortion.
Another technique you could try is to tilt the camera just a little to an angle to give the shot a little more drama.
Now, what if the lens is a medium telephoto like an 85mm or a 105mm? In this case, the subject remains the focus of the shot, however, the background still plays a role and, therefore, you must be mindful of it.
To reduce the distraction from the background, your best bet would be to go with telephoto lenses such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 for a stunning portrait. This lens lets you zoom into your subject for a closer focus and less background or foreground distractions (source).
Photography Tip #101 — How To Focus Your Camera
If you’re using a wide aperture (e.g. f/2.8), it automatically increases the depth of field of the shot. So, you must nail your focus to the tee, else you end up with many of the facial features of the model out of focus.
So, if the composition is a tight one, keep the focus on the eyes. If wider, then keep the focus on the subject’s head. To make a sharp focus more easily achievable, then you might want to select a single autofocus point.
One way you can do this is to set the central autofocus point. Then press down on the shutter release button but only halfway, such that it focuses on the eyes or the head as the case may be. After this, recompose the shot so that your subject is positioned off to the side and then fully press on the shutter release button.
This technique we have described is usually much faster than having to work around autofocus points.
As a second option, you can set the autofocus points at the top corners of the frame and place them over the eyes of your subject before taking your shot.
Whichever technique you use, you’re sure to have your subject nicely positioned off-center to create a better balanced composition (source).
Photography Tip #102 — Have A Dedicated Flashgun
Also known as a speedlite or a speedlight, a dedicated flash is a more powerful flash than the one built into your camera. So, typically, it produces a larger burst of light than a built-in flash. This gives you the freedom to work with even narrower apertures, capture a larger depth of field, and light up the group of models you’re working with
Flashguns are also better because they give you better control, talking about the settings. Plus, you are at liberty to angle them sideways to get light to bounce off walls or ceilings(source).
Photography Tip #103 — Use Your Flash Lighting Creatively
With a flashgun, sizable diffuser, and remote triggers, there’s a vast array of cool tricks now up your sleeves for lighting your scene.
You can light the subject from the side, underexpose the background or the sky, etc. just get creative (source).
Real Estate Photography Tips
Photography Tip #104 — Create A Shot List For The Properties You’d Be Shooting
Now, houses vary widely in their structure and so no two houses would require the very same shots. However, there are some shots that are considered pretty much standard once you think of real estate photography. For instance:
The kitchen, bedroom, and living room should get 2 wide-angle shots.
The bathroom gets one shot. The only exception is if the bathroom is particularly stunning or spacious.
Backyard gets between 1 and 3 photos. Again, exception should be given if there are some unique features the backyard has.
Laundry room, pantry, and garage each get one shot.
Creating this list is important as it gives you a sort of reference point to navigate with even when there are distractions. This way, you don’t miss out on the all-important shots and focus on the ephemerals.
You can also decide to share your shot list with the agent so they know what exactly they are expecting from you (source).
Photography Tip #105 — The Night Before Your Shoot Is The Time To Get Ready
You don’t want to find out on location that something or the other isn’t available or isn’t working. Even if you are good at improvising, this is still a situation best avoided. Get everything ready and tested the night before the shoot.
Don’t forget to carry along your secondary camera as well as your charger. Charge all your batteries, format your memory card, and then pack your bag. Don’t forget your backup gear too, if you can take it along.
After doing that, confirm that you have the right address and that you have scheduled good enough time to arrive there on time (source).
Photography Tip #106 — First Thing To Do At The Property – Declutter
This is a cardinal rule of real estate photography. The little belongings here and there which home owners don’t notice will stand out (not nicely) in a photo. So, the first thing to do is to declutter the property.
Surfaces like desks, coffee tables, and countertops should be cleared as much as possible. Or if you want to include some décor, leave it at 3 items, max.
Don’t bother about closets when shooting interiors. That is, except they are very spacious or customized. Other than that, the closet should hold all the clutter until after the photoshoot.
Ideally, all the decluttering should be done before you arrive so you can hit the ground running. So, get friendly with the agent and get them to inform the home owners to declutter as much as possible before you arrive.
If you get there and there’s still some decluttering to be done, don’t feel weird having to ask that few other things be taken out (source).
Photography Tip #107 — Get A Feel Of The Space By Walking Around The Home
Walking through the home you’re about to shoot is important to give you a general feel of the place before you shoot. As you walk through, you’re seeing the flattering angles, taking note of other items to be removed, and, generally, deciding how you want to do the photoshoot.
Another thing this does for you is, you know which is ready to be shot, and which still needs a few minutes to be tidied up. This way, you can also make a mental order of the photos you’d be taking (source).
Photography Tip #108 — Decide Whether You’d Work With The Lights On Or Off
When lights are on, a space is immediately gives off warmer, more welcoming feel. But then again, there’s the varying light temperatures to consider. So, be sure to make up for that in post, if you decide to go with the lights on.
If you decide to go with the lights off, the space gets a more even light temperature. Problem is, it might make the space (especially an interior space) look a little cold which you might not want.
There’s no one rule to follow when it comes to deciding whether to go with the lights on or off. We’d recommend that you let the property decide. However, whatever you decide to go with, ensure that you use stick with that throughout the entire property (source).
Photography Tip #109 — How To Use Your Flash
First of all, yes, you should use a flash when taking your real estate photos. Preferably, use a flash unit you can attach to your camera so you can move from room to room swiftly.
Now, there’s a right and wrong way to use your flash. The right way is to direct the flash to the walls, so it bounces off the wall and is softer. You can also direct the flash such that the light bounces of the side wall or off the ceiling. This way, the light diffuses into the room, giving you more even lighting.
Directing the flash straight into the space makes the light way too bright and harsh just dead center, followed by a shadow just around it. That’s bad.
Aside from that, another thing to note about using flash when doing real estate photography is to use it in manual mode. This way, you’re in total control of its strength per time.
It’s always good to start minimally and then increase if need be. But if the area you’re shooting faces a bright window, then you might just go full power at once (source).
Photography Tip #110 — To Create Less Distortion, Shoot Straight
Whatever angle you’re shooting from, you want to ensure that your camera is always straight to avid distortion. If you ever decide to tilt the camera slightly up or slightly down, you’d observe that vertical lines begin to distort into one direction or another.
For real estate photography, the ideal height you want to maintain is about 5 feet or 152.5 centimeters. Of course, there will be one or two outliers, but, generally, at 5 feet, most homes look balanced and more natural.
If you’re way too up, you see less space and more ceiling. If you’re too low, you see less actual room and more furniture (source).
Photography Tip #111 — First Thing To Correct In Post Is Distortion
So, the first thing to do in post when you’re set to edit your photos in Lightroom, is correcting your verticals. You also want to apply lens correction as well. Once these are done, your photo instantly looks more polished (source).
Photography Tip #112 — Make Basic Adjustments
What are the basic adjustments? Lower the highlights. Brighten the shadows. Deepen the blacks. Raise the clarity.
At first, it takes some time to find your own workflow and style. But don’t be afraid to keep experimenting. But with time, you find it (source).
Photography Tip #113 — Balance The Light Temperatures
In explaining whether to go with the lights on or off, we did mention something about balancing light temperatures. Well, generally, when lights are on in a room, they tend to give off yellow tones which are different from the blue tones which the sun gives.
So, Photoshop or Lightroom, ensure that you balance out these different light temperatures as much as you can to give your photos a professional look
To do this, you’d need the Adjustment Brush. Select a brush for the warmer light and adjust it towards blue until it looks neutral. One tip when using the adjustment brush is to increase brush size and strength as well as feathering. This way, your blending is softer (source).
Photography Tip # 114 — How To Use Sky Replacements
Especially if you’re shooting at twilight, sky replacements can be quite useful. But when it comes to sky replacements, people are different. Some agents would prefer to keep things simple, others would want a little more punch.
Whatever the case, as a photographer, avoid choosing any sky replacement that’s overtly dramatic. The rule “less is more,” is one to live by in this case because you want all the attention on the house. So, go with a sky replacement that’s clean and simple, maybe with a few clouds, but no more (source).
Photography Tip #115 — Use HDR Correctly
You might not necessarily shoot using HDR, but, you’d definitely have to play with some settings in post so your shot comes out clean and crisp. Because truth is, it’s only rare occasions that the presets available would fit what you’re going for.
But as with most things, there’s a right and wrong way to do HDR photography. For instance, darkening around the window frames or light fittings, poor shadowing, and so on. These are examples of bad HDR.
Ensure that you set out enough time for post processing so you can employ HDR correctly. Don’t be in a hurry (source).
Photography Tip #116 — Don’t Give In To GAS
GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
It’s your skills not your gear that get you the customers. So, as a rule of thumb, stick with the very basics,] as a beginner and only upgrade when your skill set calls for it.
Photography Tip #117 — Photoshop Should Not Be Your Crutch
We can say that a thousand times. If anything needs to be fixed, it’s best fixed during the shoot, not in post. Post processing is also tasking, save yourself some time. Now, if the client demands extra Photoshop work, then be sure to charge for that service (source).
Photography Tip #118 — Consider Elevating Your Exteriors
By giving your exterior images just a few extra feet, you can make the photo even more impressive. Here are a few ways to do that.
The first is not very professional, but hey, it works. Extend your tripod legs fully and set the timer on your camera to 20 seconds. Afterward, lift the tripod above your head, hold it there and take 5 quick shots.
Another way to go about this is to use a CamRanger and a painter’s pole. Secure the pole to the tripod using bungee cords, then compose the shot.
Just ensure that whatever you do, you don’t lift your camera too high. If you do, you show the roof and people want to see a house not the roof. If the photo looks like you’re looking down on the house, then that’s too high.
So, as a rule of thumb, don’t go higher than 2/3rds of the house. In house terms, keep it at the rain gutter or the windows of the second story (source).
Photography Tip #119 — Work With Smartphone Apps like Blue Hour, Google Streetview, and Wunderground
These apps can make your life much easier when planning your shoots.
For instance, with the Google Streetview, you’d be able to check out the house you’re working and adequately plan your exterior shots. You’d be able to see the roads around the house, the trees too, as well as where to park. By the way, you shouldn’t park in front of a house you’re about to shoot.
The Blue Hour app helps you discover the golden hour and blue hour of the day. This way, you can give your client an exact time by which they can expect. Always give 15 to 20 minutes before the exact time.
Then there’s Wunderground which is a weather app.
We’re pretty sure there are many other apps that can make your work much easier, just be on the lookout for them (source).
Architectural Photography Tips
Photography Tip #120 — Get To Really Know The Space
If you really want to capture a building such that its essence shines through, then you’re going to have to get to know the building a little better. So, you’ll scout the location, know where the sun’s travel path, where shadows lie, where lines converge, as well as access points.
You also want to find those unusual perspectives and unusual angles. Find out if you wan people included in your shot or not, if people are usually about that axis. Now, that’s physically. How about conceptually?
Get to know who built that building and if there was any intriguing story behind it. You might also want to find out how others have photographed it before now.
Piecing the information you get from these little findings together can help influence how you photograph the building at the end of the day. But hey, no one is going to kill you if you focus on geometry and structure alone if that’s what you want to do (source).
Photography Tip #121 — Watch The Lines
Like we talked about in real estate photography, you want to be extra careful with the lines of your architectural shots. Make sure that the lines are going where they are supposed to, precisely. So, verticals remain vertical and horizontals remain horizontal.
It might sound quite simple but, in practice, it isn’t that easy. For instance, tilting your camera could cause keystoning – an occurrence where parallel lines begin to converge. When this happens, it begins to look like your building is falling backwards.
Photographers who choose to work with a wide-angle lens will also find that they have to cope with a bit of distortion.
To solve the problem with keystoning, then you might want to stand at a small distance from the building in order to elevate the point of view. Or you could also use a tilt-shift lens but that’s quite the expensive venture.
For lens distortion, you’d have to fix that in post, unless, of course, you have tilt-shift lens money (source).
Photography Tip #122 — Shoot During The Golden And Blue Hours If Shooting Outdoors
The rule of the golden and blue hours are super important if you’re going to be taking exterior shots of the building. As you know, improper lighting can make or mar your efforts. You also know that the golden hours and the blue hours are times when you’re sure of excellent lighting.
Also, although this one doesn’t happen all the time, waiting for the blue hour at just the time the city lights come on can also be magical.
For those who prefer night photography, you can also wait till nightfall, that’s also beautiful too (source).
Photography Tip #123 — If Shooting Indoors, Get The Lights To Work For Your Shoot
Generally, interiors are more complicated to shoot than exteriors when it comes to lighting. Most times, you’re going to have to make whatever light is available there work for you, except you bring your lighting with you. Obviously, this isn’t the easiest thing to do but you can make it work.
So, if there are windows, ensure you shoot at earlier times of the day so you can make the most of the available natural light. If working with low-level lighting, then consider getting a tripod to provide some stabilization while making long-exposure shots.
Finally, if you’re not going to be shooting in RAW for whatever reason, be mindful of your white balance. With artificial lighting, it’s possible for us to perceive the colors of buildings and their elements differently (source).
Photography Tip #124 — HDR Is Your Friend As Long As You Don’t Overdo It
HDR is mostly used to correct exposure balance in images, especially when you couldn’t set up your own lighting. It’s easily overused, but it can be a real godsend if you know how to use it.
Usually, using HDR takes a bit of experience – you get better with it overtime. But, generally, beginners and those who can’t afford to set up their own lighting, HDR can help you bring some magic in post (source).
Photography Tip #125 — Look Out For Details And Patterns
This is why we often advise that you take some time to think through what you seek to achieve before beginning the shoot. You want to make your photo engaging. So, look out for patterns, and details, and how they interact with each other, especially with older buildings.
With some exploration, you’ll get some interesting facts that might help you tell a more intriguing story with your shot.
One technique you can use is to take the shot on a conceptual or macro level. It, truly, opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities (source).
Photography Tip #126 — Find Unique Angles To Shoot From
Even if a building has been photographed before, you can look out for unique angles with which to take your own photos to add a bit of you into it. So, you’d have to find your unique perspective. You’d most likely find this when walking through the building like we advised in the first tip
And finding your unique angle does not always have to be so complicated. Sometimes, all it takes is moving the camera a few inches upwards or downwards. Or it might be to simply look upwards.
If you’re taking exterior shots, you might just have to check all sides to the building from different distances – far and near. If you want to get even more creative, you can try shooting from a rooftop or a balcony. Remember to stay safe and ensure you’re not committing a trespass (source).
Photography Tip #127 — Add Context
But this tip is not for all kinds of architectural photography. For instance, if you’re seeking to achieve a geometrical or abstract image, context might not be necessary. Same goes for real estate photography.
However, if you want to tell a story, then you can add the context of the building into the image. It helps in that it guides the viewer to see the building in its original time and space.
With an exterior shot, you can do this by including cloud formation or weather. You can also do this by adding a bit of scenery around the building (source).
Photography Tip #128 — Throw In Some People
There would be no buildings without humans, so, there’s nothing wrong with including some of these elements into your photography. Interestingly, this technique largely underutilized in the world of architectural photography like people would contaminate the purity of the image.
But the truth is that seeing humans in a building also helps the viewer see the building from the human perspective of the building. And it’s easier for them to, after all, humans interact, chiefly, with other humans.
Besides that, in practical terms, adding humans to your photo can also give your image a sense of scale (source).
Photography Tip #129 — Take Time To Find Out Where All The Mirrors And Windows Are And What They Reflect
Now, reflections, depending on how they are captured, can either work in your favor or against it. If you capture them well, reflections can add a wow factor to your image that could make it more engaging.
But you need to be really careful because, if you’re not careful, you could capture your own reflection. To avoid that, therefore, know where all the mirrors and windows in the room are. Also, know what they reflect (source).
Photography Tip #130 — Invest In The Necessary Gear – Wide-Angle Lens, Filters
To take decent architectural shots, you’d need a DSLR camera (of course), a tripod, as well as a removable shutter cable. But that’s just basic stuff. To take things to the next level, you’d also need a wide-angle lens.
A wide-angle lens is important as it makes it easier to fit the entire width of the building’s frame in one shot. Please, don’t get a fish-eye lens. Fish-eye lenses are known to make distortion worse.
If you can afford it, you can also get some nice filters as well. This will come in handy especially if you take a lot of exterior shots. Graduated filters expose the foreground perfectly while leaving your sky bright and beautiful.
Other filters like ND filters (Natural Density Filters) and polarizing filters are good to get as well (source).
Photography Tip #131 — Learn Basic Post Processing
Even the most beautiful in-camera shots still need to be processed to some level, at least. So, the more you know about post processing, the more you can do with your image, naturally.
If you’re not yet fluent in photo editing software, then you might be overwhelmed by all the choice. However, this tip might help. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s one that would work with RAW images, even if you haven’t begun to shoot in RAW yet. Also, make sure it accepts lens corrections.
For those who might want to give HDR a try, remember that you’d need software that would help you merge your photos. Good examples are Lightroom and Photoshop. Photomatix and Aurora HDR are also good and are, in fact, specific to HDR images (source).
Photography Tip #132 — Try Shooting In Black And White
To nail this tip, look out for strong patterns and lines to add to the abstract effect you are looking to create. Also, look out for lines that draw the eyes of the viewer to one focal point.
The good thing about black and white is that you don’t need to worry about the sky and whether or not it is dull. But then again, there’s always the polarizing filter or red filter to help draw that contrast between light and dark areas (source).
Photography Tip #133 — Revisit The Building Many Times
For every other time you revisit a building, you unveil a new layer of the building that you might have missed the first time you went. Plus, you can also use this technique to tell a story of development in your chosen building, could also be degeneration. You know, while a newly completed building is awe-inspiring, real stories are told over time (source).
Photography Tip #134 — Use Natural Light
For food photography, you want to stick with natural daylight rather than artificial light. illuminating with artificial lighting usually casts an ugly yellow or orange color to the food which is bad for your photo. And with food, color is super important. You need the colors of the food accurate. So, white plates, white table cloth, white rice, all must remain white not orange.
The best kind of light you want to use for your food is natural daylight – soft and diffused. If the weather is warm, you could even try taking your shoot outdoors. If the sun is bright though, avoid shooting outdoors as harsh sunlight will cast unflattering shadows onto the food.
Overcast days, on the other hand, are perfect days to do a photoshoot of foods. On these days, the cloud naturally diffuse light. So, the natural light is soft with only subtle shadows.
If you’re shooting indoors, then let the light coming in from the windows serve as your light source. You should have a table close to the window to make setting up your composition easier for you (source).
Photography Tip #136 — Control The Shadows
Shadows have to be controlled as they could ruin a good picture if they are too dark. Shadows that are too dark are, typically, caused by strong sunlight. But, like we explained in the last tip, overcast days are not the same. The shadows are there but they are softer, and therefore, better for the shots by adding dimension and depth and subtly without necessarily dominating the entire scene.
If you’re shooting indoors and the light from the window is too bright, then you can use a white curtain that’s semi-transparent as a diffuser. If you can’t do that, try getting away from too close to the window or try another window.
If you’re shooting outdoors, then consider using a reflector as fill flash. Even a white sheet of paper will work too. The reflector should be on the same side as the shadow, but facing the sun so that light from the sun can bounce off it and on the subject (source).
Photography Tip #137 — Keep The Background Neutral
If your background is too cluttered, you can distract the viewer from the food, so always strive for neutrality. Now, neutral does not have to mean plain. You can add a few props that complement your subject, but nothing that suppresses it.
When it comes to backgrounds for food, there are three kinds that will never let you down – light, dark, and wooden/brown backgrounds.
Usually, dark foods go with darker background while light foods go with lighter backgrounds. Wooden/brown backgrounds can work well with nearly all kinds of food.
Table cloths and tea towels also work great as backgrounds especially when they are white. For certain foods though, other bright colors can also work. Vintage floral patterns too are not always a bad idea.
If you want to try out other kinds of backgrounds, you could try a carpet, a rug, a black chalkboard, baking paper, tiles, newspaper, or a baking tray. A neutral wall works too (source).
Photography Tip #138 — Play Around Colors
Food photography gives you that leeway, so make sure you milk it. Color can affect the composition of your shot as well as its overall feel.
So, similar colors give a feeling of tranquility while contrasting colors bring vibrancy and excitement. Red and green are two colors that contrast nicely in photography. You can use employ that either by contrasting the food with the background or contrasting the colors in the food itself (source).
Photography Tip #139 — The Angle Matters
You want to shoot from the angle that gives you the best view of the subject. Usually, that angle is from above, especially if the food is plated.
There are several reasons shooting from above works. First, you get all the details of the food as well as the background, cutlery, dishes, and other objects on the background.
Also, shooting from above is easier for the photographer composition wise. You get to arrange all the elements quite easily on the surface you’d be shooting on.
Lastly, when you shoot from above, you can, more easily, eliminate any distracting element in the background, a busy room/outdoor location.
There are exceptions, though. For foods with interesting layers like a cake or a glass of smoothie, you could shoot from the side instead. Other foods that would be great to be shot from a side angle include sliced bread, and muffins. When using the angle from the side, endeavor to keep the background neutral.
Another angle you can come from is a diagonal angle. This one makes your object look more 3-dimensional as you get both the top and side view.
What if you’re not sure? Take many pictures from different angles, you might be pliantly shocked at the results (source).
Photography Tip #140 — Ensure The Food Is Neatly Arranged
The arrangement of your food impacts the final result you get in your shot. So, ensure that the each element’s place in the scene is well thought-out, first. You want to create balance as well as hold the interest of your viewer, so keep it unique and creative.
With vegetables, it’s even more fun as you and cut them into similar shapes and patterns.
Now, remember that little oversights can ruin your photo. So, check for spillage either on the plate/bowl or on the background, after plating your food, especially with broths, sauces, and soups. You don’t want any unnecessary messiness in your photo (source).
Photography Tip #141 — Give Some Space Around The Subject
The subject should not dominate the entire frame. There should be some space around the subject (called empty negative space) to make your composition look more appealing. Close up shots are nice too but with some space, your viewer is better able to appreciate your subjects and their shapes.
Depending on the background you choose to work with, empty negative space can either make your scene look darker or brighter. Typically, if the background is dark, the scene appears darker and vice versa.
You can also play around where you place the subjects on the background, dead center or to the side? You could even take as many shots as you can, all the while placing the subject in different positions. You can, afterward, pick your best photos (source).
Photography Tip #142 — Add A Bit Of Décor
As much as you want to keep your background simple, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with decorating your scene with some small items. You could include sprinkles of your ingredients around the scene to spice up the composition. These could also serve as a visual recipe for the meal in the photo.
Berries, fruit, chocolate, fresh herbs, and nuts can serve as great decorative pieces. But, even inanimate objects can be great decorative pieces as well. You could try colored stones, cutlery, flowers (especially in the summer), leaves (especially in the fall), acorns, pine cones, chestnuts, and beautiful pebbles (source).
Photography Tip #143 — Tell A Story
Adding more elements to your food scene can help you tell a compelling story. Examples of elements you could include are an open book, a tea cup, a laptop, cookery books, etc. Each of these elements can tell unique stories when included in the composition (source).
Photography Tip #144 — Include A Human Element
This is another powerful way to tell a story. For instance, simply including a hand in the composition makes the viewer feel like you took the photo from their point of view. Other ideas are to have the hand holding a cutlery, this could evoke a sense of motion. You could also have the hands of more a group of friends to tell the story of friendship and delight (source).
Photography Tip #145 — Keep Things Simple
Even with all the tips we’ve shared, sometimes, it’s just best to keep things simple. Foods with bold shapes and colors would do just fine with a simple background. You could also place your subject dead center with little to no décor for an even stronger impact.
For the plates or cups containing the food, keep them simple so they don’t compete with the food for attention. Oftentimes, simple, white china is best.
If the shot is a close up one, though, then completely take out the décor (source).
Photography Tip #146 — Adjust Your Camera’s Exposure Level
Just before you take your shot, adjust the exposure level in your camera. Because food photography often contains white plates, the backgrounds can come out over-exposed. So, you want to make the adjustment before you take the shot (source).
Photography Tip #147 — Always Prepare A “Rough Draft”
Most times, you have a limited time to get your food photography right. For instance, with hot foods or frozen foods. Naturally, hot food looks better steamy and frozen foods are better frozen. So, already, you understand that you don’t have all the time in the world.
However, there’s nothing that says that the food’s first appearance must “the one.” A way to go about this is to have a rough draft of food. With that one, you can perfect your composition and light settings before you bring on the real food. Pros call the “rough draft food” “dummy food.”
Now, you must ensure that you do not change anything between the dummy food and the hero food. This is critical. You must ensure that everything is exactly the same when you get it right with the dummy food (source).
Photography Tip #148 — How To Shoot Ice Cream
Ice cream is one of the toughest things to photograph when doing food photography. But here’s a way to go about it for the best results.
Take out the ice cream you wish to photograph before time and put it on some dry ice. Make sure you take out more than you think you need.
When you’re ready for the shot, take the quantity you need and then blow out the vapor from the dry ice using a straw. Doing this will get the vapor out of your shot but won’t melt the ice cream. You can also try to melt certain parts of the ice cream to give it a fresh look using a straw (source).
Photography Tip #149 — Some Foods Are Just Ugly, Here’s How To Shoot Them
If a food isn’t cooperating on the plate, you could photograph the ingredients instead. Just be sure to make the photo of the ingredients fill the entire frame.
You could also take a shot of the work in progress, like while the food is being cooked. For instance, taking a shot of a rather sloppy dish while it’s being stirred or poured might make a more flattering photo than when the same dish is plated (source).
Photography Tip #150 — Know What The Photo Would Be Used For
If you know what the photo is going to be used for, you’d know exactly to crop and compose your photo to perfection. It’s important because the orientation and crop of your picture must work with the layout for it to be considered perfect. If it doesn’t, you risk reshooting or never getting rehired.
So, as a tip, take as many shots as possible, from as angles as possible so your client has options. Good tip – make one of the shots a cover whatever the case (source).
Photography Tip #151 — You Never Touch The Stylist’s Food
You both take your jobs seriously. So, the same way they won’t reach for your camera, please do not reach for their food. If you need to move something in the food, get them to do that themselves. Of course, you can move the plate, but never touch their food (source).
Photography Tip #152 — Use A lens Of, At Least, 200mm
Using a focal length of 200mm will help you get in on the action without having to zoom in. this way, you don’t isolate any of your subjects (source).
Photography Tip #153 — Do Not Shoot In Full Auto Mode
Don’t fall for the trick of setting your camera to “action” or “sports” and then expect your camera to do all the work. If you really want to do some professional level shots, then set your camera to semi-annual mode (source).
Photography Tip #154 — Use Faster Shutter Speeds
If you want to get in all the quick action in the world of sports, then you need a shutter speed of, at least, 1/500th of a second to freeze motion. Whatever you do, don’t go below 1/500th of a second (source).
Photography Tip #155 — Shoot In Aperture Priority Mode
Setting the camera in aperture priority mode means the camera determines the shutter speed. It’s the best mode to shoot in on a sunny day and for sports photography too. At least that’s what most experts use.
So, look at setting a pretty wide aperture – f/2.8 or f/4 so that the sensor gets enough light. When this happens, your camera selects a fast shutter speed to give the image the right level of exposure and to freeze the action as well (source).
Photography Tip #156 — The Right ISO To Use Should Depend On The Light And Weather
In shooting in aperture priority, you’d need to set the ISO yourself considering the light and weather conditions of your location. So, if it’s bright and sunny, for instance, you don’t have to raise the ISO so high, ISO 400 is usually great since there’s plenty of light to work with.
On the other hand, if the day is dull and overcast, then maybe you could bump up the ISO to, up to 1200 stops (source).
Photography Tip #157 — If Aperture Priority Mode Is Not Available, Use Shutter Priority Mode
If your camera is non-SLR, it does not have aperture priority mode. This means that you can’t use aperture priority mode. But this doesn’t mean you can’t land good shots anyway. Shutter priority mode can still help you get great photos.
With shutter priority, you get to decide how fast or otherwise the shutter gets and then the camera determines the width of the aperture. Like we explained earlier, use a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, at least.
Now, while selecting the shutter speed you’d end up with, you want to take test shots. These shots are to help you find out if you’ve set the shutter speed too high such that enough light doesn’t get into the sensor (source).
Photography Tip #158 — Shoot In Burst Mode With Fast Autofocus
If your camera is going to keep up with the fast action on the field, then your focus shouldn’t be locked to one spot. It should be able to move continuously focus on your subject (s) as they move around.
Shooting in burst mode also helps as you get several images at a time and a higher chance of getting the winning shot. Don’t forget to set the burst mode to the maximum number of frames per second (source).
Photography Tip #159 — Know The Sport You’re Photographing And Position Yourself Rightly
You should be standing with your back to the sun so all the light falls on the field and your subjects.
Also, knowing the sport you’re covering in and out, helps. This way, you can anticipate where the next action might be. This could help you take better shots.
When following the action, ensure that the camera is zoomed in closely such that the most part of the frame is contained by the players (source).
Photography Tip #160 — Take Many Photos
This rule is as simple as it comes. Make sure that, at the end of the event, you have enough photos (source).
Photography Tip #161 — Low Angles Are Best
The best angle to shoot from is from your knees. This way, your shot is more dramatic and you have a clearer background which is better than seeing grass and other athletes. This lower perspective adds an excellent depth of field to your photos and all the pros use it.
If you can, it might even be a good idea to get a monopod, even if you think your camera and lens are not so heavy. A monopod will help you steady your camera while you take your photos from such low angles, especially when you’re on your knees (source).
Photography Tip #162 — Be Attentive
This one is in the interest of your safety. If you don’t want to get hit, it’s better you’re fully aware of your surroundings (source).
Photography Tip #163 — Avoid Using The On-Camera Flash
Using the built-in flash or one that’s even attached to the hot shoe is not only ineffective, it is distracting to both the spectators and the athletes. So, avoid using it (source).
Photography Tip #164 — Use A Wide-Angle Lens
Most sport photographers use telephoto lenses but these are not the only lenses usable in sport photography. With a wide-angle lens, you can make your images look more engaging such that your viewer looks like they are in the field of play (source).
Photography Tip #165 — Focus, Face, Action, Equipment
Consider this a recipe for the perfect sport photo. Reviewing each, we have:
Focus – sharp images not blurry ones.
Face – your photo should show facial expressions with special focus on the eyes.
Action – your photo should tell a story by containing some action, either emotional or athletic.
Equipment – the athlete should be holding a sport equipment, preferably the ball (if applicable) (source).
Photography Tip #166 — Your Photos Should Tell Stories – Sportrait and Story Photos
In sport photography, there’s such a thing as “sportraits.” This is, usually, a photo of one athlete during the sport. There are also photos referred to as stories. These ones usually have more than one athlete in the photo usually doing something significant.
To take such photos, you want to seek out emotionally-charged moments like a celebration, sadness, or two runners approaching the finish line neck-to-neck (source).
Photography Tip #167 — Get A Fast Zoom Lens
We already mentioned that you’d need to get a wide-angle lens. But another lens you’d need is a zoom lens too – a fast one too. There are a number of reasons you’d need a fast zoom lens. One is that your distance to the action will vary throughout the event. Also, you can’t always trust that the lighting in the sports hall will be great.
With a fast zoom lens, you get to shoot even in low light, and you can still work with a decent shutter speed.
One recommendation pros give is the 70-200mm f/2.8. It’s a light lens and , compared to others, it is relatively inexpensive (source).
Photography Tip #168 — Action Can Be Off The Field Too
Yes, most of the action is on the field, it’s a sporting event, after all. But you should also look out for interesting happenings off field too. You’d definitely find interesting subjects that can complement the rest of the on-field photos. This is a great way to get your viewer feeling immersed (source).
Photography Tip #169 — Use Your Rear AF-On Button
When shooting sports photography or action, it’s better to get your focus by using the AF-On button on the back of your camera. If your camera lacks this, you can always program the AE-L/AF-L button as another option.
This is a much better option for following the action on the field of play (source).
Photography Tip #170 — Look Out For Clean Backgrounds
Generally, with a shallow depth of field, you’ll always be to isolate your subject. Nonetheless, you should still make an effort to shoot with clean backgrounds and avoid the distracting ones to give your image much better impact (source).
Photography Tip #171 — Use Panning To Introduce Motion
Panning takes some practice, but once you get the basics nailed, it’s pretty simple and the results are amazing (source).
Fashion Photography Tips
Photography Tip #172 — Come Prepared And Exude Confidence
If you’re confident in how you direct your model, it reflects in their performance. Also, it might help to come along with a list of all the shots you plan to take as a sort of compass.
You should have all the clothes, props, as well as the location prepared beforehand as well. And then make sure you communicate the agenda and posing directions to your model coherently (source).
Photography Tip #173 — It’s All About Beauty
You want to ensure that your fashion shoots reflect beauty and more. So, if the shoot is for the clothes, the hair and makeup should complement the clothes. And if it’s the hair and makeup that’s the focus, the garment should complement the style.
A more seductive or provocative look is enhanced by heavy makeup and heavily-styled hair. To portray innocence, on the other hand, you might want to go for subtler makeup, soft and flowing hair, with pastel tones.
Also, if the shoot is for commercial purposes, you might want to lean more towards small chins, full lips, symmetrical faces and big, almond eyes. If the aim, on the other hand, is to bring some personality to the piece, unusual-looking models are best (source).
Photography Tip #174 — Browse Through Fashions Mags For Some Posing Inspiration
It can be a bit tricky coming up with posing styles for your shoot. To help, you can check through your favorite fashion mags for some inspiration, as well as to be sure of posing styles that are currently in vogue.
One tip – angular poses make photos look edgier and more interesting as they elongate the length of the model’s body (source).
Photography Tip #175 — Shooting In A Studio Is Ideal
Ideally, fashion photography should be done in a studio as you’re better able to stabilize conditions and control your lighting.
Now, if you’re shooting in a studio, ensure that all areas of your scene are properly metered else you’d have to deal with unwanted shadows. Again, do not use the light meter in your camera, rather, use a separate one for a more precise reading (source).
Photography Tip #176 — Use A Mirror As Props
Mirrors form excellent props in fashion photography as they allow the photographer effectively display both the front and the back of the model at the same time.
Now, don’t forget to take spate reading for your mirror. Also, you might need to consider bracketing your exposures as well.
Very importantly, you want to make sure you position yourself such that neither you, nor your light, nor other equipment appear in the reflection while you shoot (source).
Photography Tip #177 — Location Matters
Location matters because it’s part and parcel of the narrative you’re creating. So, for edgy styles, you might want to consider an urban location. For natural styles or summer/spring styles, rural environments might be best (source).
Model Posing Photography Tips
Photography Tip #178 — Break The Ice With Your Model To Prevent Awkward Poses
A comfortable model is more likely to give you interesting poses than one that feels awkward around you. If you’re not yet familiar with the model, then begin with chitchat before you go on to shot (source).
Photography Tip #179 — Start Simply
Always give warmup time, especially if the talent is inexperienced. Don’t head straight on into the complex poses. Begin with the natural, simple portrait poses first, and then, as they relax and get more confident, bring out the big guns (source).
Photography Tip #180 — Take Candid Shots
Acting natural in front of a camera is weird. So, keep your camera on even during breaks. As they walk, sit, or stand, you might get some really nice shots that are even better than the staged ones. Be aware though that this does not work for editorials as such poses require a high level of skill (source).
Photography Tip #181 — Let Your Model Play A Role
Giving your model a role to play might be a much easier to get the result you want from the talent than simply giving directions. Being character better helps them picture what you have in mind. Also, while they do this, have them move around for a more natural feel.
Photography Tip #182 — Posing For A Natural Look – Be Attentive To The Standing Posture
The model’s body form is crucial when it comes to poses, so pay attention to you model’s standing posture. If they are going to exude confidence, they are going to have to stand straight. Crouching will make them look awkward regardless of how their limbs are positioned.
Angling the body in the direction of the camera is another great idea. It makes the model look more sophisticated and also gives their body some dimension. However, if they look too stiff in that position, you can tell them to lean on the foot behind to make them look more relaxed (source).
Photography Tip #183 — Angled Limbs Make Your Model Look More Natural
The limbs can be quite confusing in a pose. Oftentimes, people don’t know what to do with their limbs, especially young models. If you encounter such, simply ask them to flex their limbs a little – they don’t have to go all the way.
If it’s a full body pose, you can have the model bending one knee slightly while they stand and then put their arms at their waist or hips. If the model has their hands in the air, then have one elbow arch just a little bit.
The reason these angles are important is that, triangles are attractive to humans, and, yes, this is a science. Plus, triangles bring balance to a pose so the model does not look too rigid (source).
Photography Tip #184 — The ¾ Pose
This is a term that’s thrown around a lot in fashion photography. In this pose, the model is positioned at an angle about 45% away from the camera, this way only ¾ of the model’s body remains visible.
Why this pose is so appealing is that it adds some dimension and depth to your subject. So, if it looks like your subject is looking a bit flat in the photo, you can try this technique. It works for both full body and half body photos (source).
Photography Tip #185 — Clenched Fists Are Aggressive, Avoid Them
Let the model curl their fingers rather than fold them. And by curling, they don’t have to purposely crimp it. They can just keep their hands open, naturally.
Another thing they can do with their fingers is to stick their thumbs in their pocket, to make them look elegant (source).
Photography Tip #186 — Chin Up!
For face poses, the chin plays a very important role. So that all the curves of the talent’s neck and face are emphasized, tell them to chin up. Of course, chinning up does not mean that the model has to stick their necks out like turtles. They just have to raise it up a little bit (source).
Photography Tip #187 — Where The Eyes Should Look
Staring into the camera might produce awkward images, sometimes. In such cases, have your model look at something specific behind you. This way, their eyes don’t look blank.
For a more contemplative look, let the eyes focus on something far away. And for a more intimate look, the point of interest should be closer.
Don’t forget that the whites of the eyeballs showing too much makes for weird photos. So, the model shouldn’t stare out of the corner of their eyes. Instead, the eyes should go where the nose points so you see more of the irises (source).
Photography Tip #188 — Have The Model Move Around For A Dynamic Photo
Not all your photos have to be static, having your model move can also make your photos look more dynamic. Jumping is one of the most exciting movements to try, although this one takes a few tries to nail. Also, don’t forget to tell them to keep a calm face while jumping.
If jumping is too energetic, you can also have your model walk, dance, flip their hair, cross the street, spin around poles or make other natural movements (source).
Baby Photography Tips
Photography Tip #189 — Consult With The Parents First
You want to know what the parents’ wishes are before the day of the shoot. How do they plan to use their portraits – display at home or birth announcements? Do they want a picture collage or just one memorable photo? Are they looking to go casual or are they looking to go formal?
You need all these questions answered to know what to do with the shoot.
Knowing the baby’s gender and age would also help you determine what props and backdrops to use.
Also ask the parents if other people are going to be in the shot like themselves or the baby’s older siblings.
Lastly, be mentally prepared if the baby in question are actually “babies.” That is, if they are twins or triplets, then you’d naturally have more work than if it was just one child (source).
Photography Tip #190 — Be Safety-Conscious
Babies are very delicate beings. If you’re not careful with your space, they could end catching a cold or an illness. Ensure the poses you put the baby aren’t risky. You know babies don’t have control of their bodies yet. Plus, ensure you don’t cover them with anything that could cut off air supply.
Of course, make plans for breaks and make sure the baby is fed and changed just before the shoot (source).
Photography Tip #191 — Choose The Right Style
There are two styles you can choose from when it comes to baby photography. You can either go for a posed photography or a lifestyle photography.
Usually, the posed style is used for newborns still within two weeks of birth. Beware, this is a little demanding since babies can’t exactly be coached on posing skills.
Infants, on the other hand, typically use the lifestyle style. This is more fun because it’s laidback and spontaneous. Some parents would love quirky photos of their kids and might not even mind if their kids are crying. If you land such parents, lucky are you. You’d have more fun with your session (source).
Having a variety of backdrop color options for parents to pick from is a great idea. From blue to pink, to more neutral colors like yellow, cream, or green. Don’t forget to also get something to cover the floor. There are special photography rugs for newborn photography which you can use.
Don’t forget props like baskets, blankets, stuffed animals, headbands. And if the parents have some that they want to use, please respect their wishes.
And it doesn’t always have to be bought, DIY props like chalkboards displaying name, age, and birthday could work as well (source).
Photography Tip #192 — Use Proper Lighting – No Flash
For babies, it is highly important that the lighting is right because babies are easily startled. Never use the flash. If you do and the baby wakes up and begins to cry, it’s could ruin the entire shoot. So, best practice is to go for natural. You might want to shoot close to a large window (source).
Photography Tip #193 — The Baby Should Be The Focus Of The Photo
This much is obvious and one way to make it happen is to set your aperture to between f/2 and f/2.2. With this, your camera gets more light, depth of field is shallower, and the background elements are blurred. All the while, the baby is kept in focus.
Another way to do this is to use a macro lens. Just note that this is best used when the baby is sleeping because for the lens requires the subject to be perfectly still for proper focusing. If the baby is not already asleep at this point, get the parents to soothe the baby so they can sleep and you can shoot with a macro lens (source).
Photography Tip #194 — Try Different Baby Poses
A classic one is the frog pose. In this position, the legs are to the side and the baby’s hands are under the chin in a cupped style. This pose allows you to really bring out their angelic facial features.
Or you could try the taco pose where the baby is wrapped in a blanket around the lower body with just the feet peeking out.
You can also lay the baby to the side and have their hands under their chin. Have the baby snuggle into a blankie and throw in a hat for the perfect finish (source).
Photography Tip #195 — Newborn Photographs Are Best Shot Within Two Weeks Of Birth
After two weeks, babies no longer look new. So, if you want those cute, sleepy newborn shots, your best shot is within two weeks of birth. Shooting after two weeks isn’t bad, it’s just that babies get more active after two weeks and getting the perfect sleeping shot becomes more difficult (source).
Animal Photography / Pet Photography
Animal/pet photography is pretty much the same as baby photography and portrait photography. But here are a few other tips to add to the ones you’d find in the baby photography tips.
Photography Tip #196 — Capturing The Animal In Motion
Of course you’d have to freeze the motion if your photo is going to come out with any blurriness. So, turn your camera to shutter priority mode. This gives you control on how you freeze your action. Also, make sure the focus mode is continuous focus not auto. This way the lens is always on the pet as they run or play.
Again, take multiple shots with continuous shooting mode. It improves your chances of getting the perfect shot (source).
Photography Tip #197 — Recommended Settings For Pet Photography
For pets in motion, shutter speed can get as high as 1/3200th of a second. For relaxing pets, no flash. Widen the aperture instead so that more light gets in. Besides, it keeps the pet in focus and blurs out the background (source).
Photography Tip #198 — Recommended Lenses For Pet Photography
There are two kinds of lenses you can get when doing animal or pet photography. You can get the telephoto lens which is great for taking far away shots of the pet. Just make sure it comes with image stabilization (source).
You could also go for the standard lenses too. An example is a 500mm f/1.8. You could also go for an f/2.8. This lens is great for portraits and also work great and fast when light conditions are bad, even without a flash (source).
Wildlife Photography Tips
Here are national geographic tips for taking pictures in the wild (source).
Photography Tip #199 — Getting Your Gear Together
Wildlife photography needs a lot of gear – heavy ones for that matter. First, you’d need to invest in telephoto lenses. The length of these lenses should depend on how close you can get to the animal. But, typically, you should be looking at lenses between 300mm to 600mm.
Now, because carnivores are typically blasé, they don’t scamper around like herbivores and co. You can good shots of them with a 300mm lens and do just fine. But for shy animals and birds, you need to pull out the big guns. Now, because these are heavy, it might be more convenient to shoot out of your car with them.
If you’re walking, it might be more convenient to use the 300mm with the aid of a teleconverter. Teleconverters are smaller and lighter with magnifying abilities. Nonetheless, they tend to downgrade images. But, on the flip side, your shoulders and your back will be a lot happier.
Photography Tip #200 — It’s Also About The Animal’s Habitat
While it’s cool to use long lenses to zoom in on the animals for a nice close up shot, you must also remember that animals have their own personalities as well. So, it’s also a good idea to capture their habitat as well to show how they interact with their environment.
Photography Tip #201 — Don’t Forget The Smaller Animals Around
We know that when it comes to wildlife, all thoughts go to the big guys. And, of course, it’s only expected that you include such in your portfolio. However, it’s not just the big guys that make up wildlife, there are also smaller animals around too, some of which are really captivating.
So, while you sit in your car and wait, have a look around, what you find might just amaze you.
Photography Tip #202 — Camera Settings When Shooting Wildlife
Since longer lenses are generally more unstable, you must especially be careful of camera shake too. The slightest shake, and your photos end up blurry. To avoid that, use a fast shutter speed, as fast as you can while considering how shallow you want the depth of field to be.
Remember, the larger your aperture size, the smaller the depth of field. By the way, telephoto lenses that are really long have really little depth of field to offer you at any aperture.
Milky Way Photography Tips
Photography Tip #203 — Needed Gear for Milky Way Photography
You’d need an advanced camera that gives you full manual control of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Manual focus is also important since you’re taking these photos at night. Plus, the camera must be good enough to produce noiseless photos at high ISOs.
You’d also need a fast lens, preferably fast-aperture, wide-angle lenses, especially if you use an interchangeable lens camera. Fast prime lenses are also great for night photography because they work great when wide open.
You must avoid slow lenses as they usually require you to increase ISO in order to improve image sharpness. The problem with that, of course, is that you end up with grainy images. This is the reason fast lenses are a must.
Next, you’d need s tripod, and something sturdy for that matter. If the tripod is wobbly, you’d end up with blurry photos. Remember that nighttime photography involves long exposures.
A sky map app like Star Walk is not a must-have but it could help by showing just where the Milky Way will be to help you plan your shoot.
Another thing you’d need for milky way photography is photo editing software which is a big part of astrophotography. Good examples are Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop.
Lastly, you’d need a good ole flashlight both for finding your way and to shed some light on foreground elements that interest you (source).
Photography Tip #204 — Pack Your Bags And Move
Those who live in big cities would find it difficult to get a perfect picture of the night sky as well as the Milky Way. The main problem is due to air pollution as well as light pollution. So, if you want to get the perfect shot, you might have to get out of the city and into a more remote area.
Your eyes might not be able to see light pollution but your camera is not blind to these things. So, move out (source).
Photography Tip #205 — Focusing The Right Way
Focusing at night is challenging but you need to get it right. Here’s how to do it…
Compose your shot and set a focal length (for those working with a zoom lens). Once you’ve nailed the perfect focus manually, do not touch the zoom rings or the focus till you’re done shooting.
It might also be a good idea to completely turn off autofocus and, instead, use manual focus with Live View. Tip: Set the focus to infinity.
When using Liv View, zoom in 10% and make sure your camera is facing the brightest light in the sky, many times, this will be the moon or any a really bright star in the distance. If you can’t find any of this, then set your flashlight far away from you such that it is at infinity. Then using Live View, set your focus on said flashlight.
If your Live View mode is really good, it will brighten up the night sky and you can see the stars clearly.
Now, if in Live View mode you can see the stars clearly, then you don’t need to bother with the techniques we just explained. Just continue adjusting the focus ring till the stars look clear and sharp.
If all of these don’t work, then simply use the infinity mark on the top part of the lens. Then take some shots to see if you’ve nailed the focus or not. This one takes time but it’s your only hope now.
If you want to keep the object in your foreground in focus in addition to the stars, especially when using wide-open lenses, you can use a method known as focus stacking (source).
Photography Tip #206 — Camera Settings
Cameras do not pick up the stars as easily as your eyes do. So, to get your camera up to speed, use high ISO and large apertures. Hopefully, you have a fast prime lens. If you do, then you might not have to crank up your ISO so high.
Now, the first setting you want on lock down is exposure length. Now, if you don’t get this right, your photo would look like a large, black blanket with stars in the form of lines rather than dots. That is star trail, that is not Milky Way photography.
Now, keep in mind that though you don’t always feel it, the earth is in constant rotation. So, your exposure must be perfectly timed if you want them to look like dots (source).
Photography Tip #207 — The 500 Rule / 600 Rule
So, this rule says that determining your exposure’s optical length, you divide either 500 or 600 by your focal length to give you the ideal shutter speed that’s best for your shoot. Now, naturally, dividing 600 will give you a slower shutter speed which is why most prefer to work with the 500 rule (source).
Photography Tip #208 — Shoot RAW Only
Duh… No one shoots in JPEG anymore, at least most people don’t. Especially for night sky photography and Milky Way photography, you need to be able to shoot RAW for the sake of post processing (source).
Photography Tip #209 — Shoot in Manual Mode Only
When doing night sky photography or Milky Way photography, set your camera to full manual mode. The light isn’t enough and so you can’t let your camera meter exposure on its own.
So, turn off auto ISO, set aperture to its widest (f/1.4 is good), then apply the 500 rule for your shutter speed and set your ISO. A good place to begin for ISO is 1600, then you can keep increasing if need be. Don’t bother about your white balance since you’re shooting RAW. You can fix that later in post (source).
Photography Tip #210 — Include Foreground Elements
Shooting the Milky Way alone can get a little boring. So, you might want to include some foreground elements in your photo as well to make your shot more captivating. Could be a lake, a rock, a mountain, or any other intriguing element. You might need some research before you go to shoot to find locations with interesting scenery (source).
Moon Photography Tips
Photography Tip #211 — Learn The Moon’s Different Phases
The moon doesn’t have its own light, everyone knows that, right? We also all know that the moon rotates round the earth as it orbits around the sun.
Now, keep in mind that the earth rotates in a counterclockwise motion. So, when the sun casts a shadow on the moon, it tends to move towards the left.
From no moon to full moon, the illuminated side enters in from the right moving to the right. This process is referred to as waxing.
Now, from full moon to no moon, the shadows begin to appear from the right side to the left. As this happens, the moon “shrinks” which is referred to as waning.
So, to tell the condition of the moon tomorrow, check it out today and see where it’s lit at – left or right. If left, it is waning, if right, it is waxing.
Another good way to tell is the sky. Moon before sundown is waxing, moon before sunup is waning.
But if you’re more of the gadgety person, there’s an app for everything these days. You can get a moon phase app to help make the calculations (source).
Photography Tip #212 — Invest In The Right Gear
You’ll need a zoom lens to get a long enough focal lens that can capture the moon in all its beauty. You want something that’s, at least, 200mm. The longer the lens, as you know, the greater and magnification you get.
Of course, get a tripod to support that bulky lens and to be able to shoot at a slower shutter speed without ending up with blurry photos.
A remote shutter release control might also be necessary. Depressing the shutter release on the camera could lead to camera shake and blurry photos. If you can’t get that now though, your camera’s self-timer could also work (source).
Photography Tip #213 — Use The Right Exposure
The moon does not have a plain surface. It comes with channels, craters, and other intricate details. So, if your moon looks white after taking the shot, then you overexposed which happens quite a lot because of the dark night sky which throws off your camera’s light meter.
So, fix this by turning down your exposure compensation. Or you can also use the spot metering mode for moon exposure only. Consult your camera’s manual to learn how to do that.
Now, if you want to get the best results, it’s always best to use bracketing. If your camera has auto exposure bracketing, great. If it doesn’t, then you might have to do that manually (source).
Photography Tip #214 — Select Time and Place
Cities are usually a terrible place to do night sky photography because of the light pollution. So, move towards the country.
Another thing you want to consider is that you don’t want your moon shining brilliantly against a jet-black sky. The contrast is quite harsh. Instead, aim for the blue hours where the contrast is less and the moon is still strong (source).
Photography Tip #215 — Make Your Composition Interesting
A lonesome moon can be boring. Spice things up by including other interesting things in your frame like trees or lakes. Something to give your moon some context (source).
Photography Tip #216 — Use Multiple Exposures
Now, including other objects in your frame can make things a little complicated when it comes to exposure balance between the moon and the other objects in the scene.
You can fix this by taking multiple shots at different exposures. Then take the photo with the perfectly exposed foreground and that with the perfectly exposed moon and merge them in a photo editing app.
Of course, don’t forget to blend both images using the eraser tool with the thickly feathered edge.
Now, this technique takes some practice to perfect but with time, you’d have it nailed (source).
Solar Eclipse Photography Tips
Solar eclipse photography requires the utmost care in order not to damage your eyes. Here are some tips from NASA to help you (source).
Photography Tip #217 — Your Safety Comes First
You want to make sure that you’re using a special filter called the solar filter to protect your camera. You’ll also need to be wearing eclipse glasses as well to protect your own eyes. Once, the sun is completely blocked by the moon, though, you can take off the solar filter in order to see the corona (the outer atmosphere of the sun).
Other equipment you want to have on hand during an eclipse include a tripod for reducing camera shake. You’ll also need a delayed shutter release timer. With this, you don’t have to touch the camera when taking the shot which could also cause camera shake.
Photography Tip #218 — Your Camera Will Work Just Fine, Don’t Give In To GAS
A photo is as good as the skills of its photographer. So, be less about your camera and more about what kind of image you want to create. Normally, zoom lenses are best for such shots, but if you it’s wide-angle lenses you’ve got, then landscape shots are not bad. You can capture how the environment changes during the eclipse.
Photography Tip #219 — You Can Do More Than The Sun
Although the sun might command the most attention, there are other things you can also capture. You can take a photo of when the moon takes its position in front of the moon, the long shadows and the small eclipse replicas on the ground formed from light filtering through overlapping leaves on trees.
Photography Tip #220 — Test Your Camera Before The Day Of The Eclipse
Check your exposure settings beforehand and be sure you know how to focus manually.
Another thing to set is aperture and shutter speed. Use a fixed aperture, something between f/8 and f/16 and then try different shutter speeds between 1/1000th of a second and 1/4th of a second to nail the ideal shutter speed for the partial stages of the solar eclipse.
When the sun is totally eclipsed, the corona is usually very bright. So, best settings are a fixed aperture with exposure ranging from 1/1000th of a second to 1 second.
Photography Tip #221 — Be Unobtrusive
Being unobtrusive helps you achieve candid shots that don’t make it look like the people being shot were aware of the camera. Here are different ways to go about it.
First, know what it is you want to shoot and stay in a place that gives you the best view. Don’t shoot immediately, instead, watch to see how the elements come together and take your shot when you get what’s best for your vision.
If you’re using a long lens, you can stand far enough to be unnoticeable for a while. But if you do get noticed, don’t be unfriendly, just smile and wave.
You can also do this by staying long enough in the place until no one is focusing on you anymore. When people get engrossed in their conversations or a paper, fire away. But don’t keep firing else you become a nuisance.
Or you can set your camera with the wide-angle lens on the table, pointed towards your subject and use a remote shutter release when you’re ready (source).
Photography Tip #222 — Observe People And Predict Behavior
You should learn enough about your subject(s) such that you can predict their behavior and shoot. Waiting until you see the action is a late move and you’d miss out on priceless moments.
So, set all the settings beforehand – shutter speed, and aperture. This way, you won’t be fiddling with your camera when you’re supposed to be shooting (source).
Photography Tip #223 — If In Doubt, Research Or Ask Questions
If you’ll be going into an unfamiliar territory, do some research and ask questions before you go. They might have some taboos about photography. You never can tell. Learning the local language, short, simple phrases, at least, can help improve communication with the locales and make them more open to you (source).
Photography Tip #224 — Take Environmental Portraits Too
These are photos that show people and what they do with their surroundings which could be their home or their place of work. So, you can take photos of people redecorating their homes, or someone doing something at their workplace like a farm or an art studio (source).
Photography Tip #225 — Even Group Portraits Should Tell A Story
It might be more challenging to capture a telling moment with group portraits. You’d need to patiently and creatively get the group to engage with their environment in a way that expresses the core of who they are. You can also get some ideas from the group on things they can do to creatively express their core and create a more engaging photo (source).
Photography Tip #226 — Photograph Other Body Parts Like The Hands, Feet, Fingers, Etc.
Other parts of the body besides the face can also make for interesting subjects. The hands of a farmer, feet of a ballerina, hair on a pillow, etc. Basically, look out for parts of the body that tell a story about these details of the body are important to the subject and what they do or how they feel (source).
Wedding Photography Tips
Photography Tip #227 — Plan Ahead
Create your shot list beforehand so you don’t miss out on any important shot.
Also, make sure your batteries are charged, your memory cards are ready, your drive is planned and scheduled, etc. (source).
Photography Tip #228 — Appoint Photo Coordinators
They will help you round up the needed members of the family for each shot. Remember that people are in a festive mood, they are catching up and basically having a good time. If you have a coordinator from each family, they can help fetch the needed people for each shot when you need them (source).
Photography Tip #229 — Talk With The Couple
Get to know their expectations and let them see your portfolio and style. Find out the most important moments they want recorded and, of course, settle on pricing (source).
Photography Tip #230 — Turn Off Camera Sound
Camera beeps are distracting and quite the nuisance. Turn them off (source).
Photography Tip #231 — Don’t Forget The Small Details
Rings, the back of the wedding dress, table setting, menu, shoes and bouquet, these are other interesting details that add some more dimension to your album. You can flip through wedding ‘zines for some inspiration (source).
Photography Tip #232 — Get An Extra Camera
Get an extra camera with a different lens. So, now you have two cameras. You can fit one with a wide angle lens for taking your candid shots or taking photos in tight spaces. Most times, these shots are taken during the preparation for the wedding.
So, how long a lens are we looking at for the other camera? Well, you can get as large as 200mm. this one will come in handy for taking candid photos without necessarily being obtrusive (source).
Photography Tip #233 — Get Help
With a backup photographer, you can divide the work and achieve more with less movement and stress. So, one person takes the formal shots, the other takes the candid ones (source).
Photography Tip #234 — Don’t Be Obtrusive, But Be Bold
Timing is important, so ensure you observe and anticipate moments so you can get into position on time without disrupting anything. If you ready your camera at the time of the camera, then you’re late and will, likely, miss out on the moment.
During the formal shots, get bolder. You are the director, so guide your subjects to provide the action that would make for the best shot (source).
Photography Tip #235 — Use Diffused Light
Lighting isn’t really great in most churches. So, if you’re allowed to use flash in the church, then you must learn how to bounce light correctly.
When bouncing off light from the flash, you should use a colored surface. This adds a colored cast to your photo.
Another equally great idea is to simply use a flash diffuser. This diffuses the light, thereby softening it and makes the flash less harsh in the photo.
If you can’t use a flash – there are churches that don’t permit that – then consider bumping up ISO or using a wider aperture (source).
Photography Tip #236 — Shoot In RAW
Of course, shoot in RAW. You’re going to be doing a lot of post-processing work especially with white balance and all thanks to the tricky lighting you find in most wedding scenes (source).
Photography Tip #237 — Pick A Great, Decluttered Background
Especially for the formal photos which you have some control over, look out for uncluttered shaded areas as background for your photos. You know, places where people are less likely to just waltz in (source).
Photography Tip #238 — Check The Images After The Event
Resist the temptation to check your images right there and then. You might delete some images that don’t seem to work at that time but could actually be really interesting if you looked at them with a fresh eye or with some post work (source).
Photography Tip #239 — Try Getting Everyone In One Shot
This is a really good tip. Get someone to gather everyone together and climb up to the highest point possible. Doing this means you can fit everyone in that one shot and you get the faces of everyone (source).
Photography Tip #240 — Use Flash If It’s An Outdoor Wedding Or You’re Shooting Outdoors
This one is an outdoor wedding photography tip. If the ceremony is an outdoor one or you’re taking some outside shots, you’d need to use the fill flash technique. Especially if the background is really backlit or it’s in the middle of the day, you can count on some really strong shadows ruining the photos, so you’d need fill flash to correct that (source).
Photography Tip #241 — Continuous Shooting Mode
This one is commonsensical, right? You get more picture-perfect moments that way (source).
Travel Photography Tips
Photography Tip #242 — Wake Early, Sleep Late
If you wake early enough, you’d have fewer tourists to deal with, as well as fewer photographers. Arriving early at those tourist sites will help you get amazing photos of those sites. Don’t forget the golden and blue hours as well.
Some experts say that shooting at midday when the sun is brightest is the worst thing you can do in travel photography. You might want to keep that in mind (source).
Photography Tip #243 — Scout For Your Location Beforehand
Of course, it just makes sense to plan ahead and know where you’re going, right? You can begin your research with Google Image Search and Instagram.
But that’s not all, you also want to check out the tourist attractions and when they open. Find out about weather, vantage points and when tourist traffic is most likely to be low.
Then, create your shot list before you go as well.
Don’t forget to pick simple phrases in the language so you can politely engage people and ask their permission to take their photo (source).
Photography Tip #244 — Make Out Time For Your Photography
Especially if you are on an organized tour, it might make more sense to wake earlier in order to get those shots. If you don’t, it could be difficult to explain the group why you need to stay around an extra 30 minutes to take photos when the sky is better.
Another good option might be to travel alone or travel with other photographers. This way, it’s way easier to create ideal times to do your shoot (source).
Photography Tip #245 — Protect Your Gear Against Theft
Your gear can get stolen and, trust us, it happens a lot more than you think. So, to be safe, get insurance to minimize loss. If your rental or homeowner insurance doesn’t always cover you, then you can get insurance from the Professional Photographers of America.
When you aren’t shooting, ensure it’s kept in a safe or a locker. When out, especially in suspicious areas, keep your camera in a non-descript bag till you’re ready to use it.
Also, ensure you register your gear with manufacturers, copy the serial numbers, and keep the receipts when you need to make your insurance claims, if you have to (source).
Photography Tip #246 — Wander Around More
After ticking off all the locations you included on your shots list, it’s now time to wander off through the unbeaten paths. Who knows what you might find? Now, be careful though, wandering to get photos is nice but stay safe, still. Make sure you talk with locales to be sure you’re not going somewhere dangerous.
Another thing about wandering off is that you get to truly see the people of the destination in their natural habitat. Most times, locales tend to avoid tourist-populated areas. So, a little exploration might get you more honest photos (source).
Macro Photography Tips
Photography Tip #247 — Get A Macro Lens
It’s important to get a dedicated macro lens to get magazine quality macro photos. There are many lenses from top camera companies that offer you great 1:1 magnification for your camera. Are they pricey? Yeah, sure. But they are definitely worth it (source).
Photography Tip #248 — Choose The Right Subject
Not everything is great for macro photography. Some objects lose discernibility if shot close up without context. This means that viewers won’t even be able to appreciate the photo when taken. So, go for the right subject.
Good examples are butterflies, small insects, raindrops, jewelry, etc. For moveable subjects like bugs, it might be more difficult to do macro photography of them. But, a good technique might be to shoot from a safe distance so you don’t scare your subject off (source).
Photography Tip #249 — Living Subjects Should Be Captured Using Longer Focal Lengths
If your subject is living and motile, lenses with longer focal lengths are your best shot. This way, you can close in on them without having to actually move your feet. Shoot for something above 90mm (source).
Photography Tip #250 — Include Assistive Accessories
If you can’t get a macro lens just yet, you can get a diopter instead. It’s a kind of filter that functions like a magnifying glass which you place in front of your lens that macro-magnifies the object being photographed.
Another accessory are the bellows. These bellows (or tubes) that look like an accordion on your camera are the expandable part of your camera. By expanding this bellow, you are able to take super tight close up shots of your subject.
There are lens adapters as well which help you manually control aperture, as well as, reverse your lens.
Finally, avoid using a tripod which can get a little restrictive for you. Instead, work around with tools around you to create a third hand. This third hand is to help steady your object against the background for a clean shot (source).
Photography Tip #251 — Customize The Background
When it comes to inanimate objects, you have a lot of leeway and control. From the positioning of the object, to lighting and background, everything is within your control.
One thing that many photographers do is to place the object in front of an object that’s at quite a distance from the object. So, in the photos, the background has this beautiful blurriness to it.
Shooting outdoors is different, though. You lose that level of control you had indoors. A technique that might help may be to change perspective or use that third hand we talked about to position your object such that it faces you from a different angle (source).
Photography Tip #252 — Check Out Your Depth Of Field
One of the toughest things about macro photography is finding the balance between depth of field and image sharpness. But here’s a tip that could help.
Shoot at the largest aperture that allows you capture all the interesting parts of your subject in one plane of focus while maintaining a beautiful bokeh.
Or, you could, use a smaller aperture and then crop the resulting photo later to give it a more magnified appearance, if you don’t mind. Keep in mind, though, that smaller apertures mean that your camera doesn’t get enough light. So, oftentimes, you’d have to decrease shutter speed so your subject can be better exposed.
In this case, therefore, the photographer might have to use a tripod to avoid camera shake or use a flash so the scene is better lit.
Another technique to solve the problem of balance between image sharpness and depth of field is focus stacking. Many cameras already have this feature built in and if yours doesn’t, there’s always Photoshop (source).
Product Photography Tips
Photography Tip #253 — Use The Right Aperture
There are two common photography styles recommended for product photography which are the lifestyle and the solid wall studio.
If you’re doing the lifestyle style, use the widest aperture which corresponds with the lowest f-stop. This way, the product is front and center and everything else melts into the bokeh. Also, ensure that you’re at a good distance from the product so that you don’t lose details of the product itself to the bokeh.
If the photo is to have a model though, keep aperture at f/2.8 – just enough to capture the product and the secondary element but no more. You want the focus on the product.
If it’s a studio shot, or product with a model, then choose a narrower aperture. However, the aperture must be large enough to take in adequate light, as well as capture all the product details sharply (source).
Photography Tip #254 — Use Standard Lenses
This is not the kind of photography where you use effects lenses or wide-angle lenses. These things can distort your image, and in product photography, accurate representation is key. You don’t want issues with customers now, do you?
So, use standard lenses, the ones that are closest to the human eye in terms of perspective. A good example is any lens between 40mm and 50mm. ideal is 50mm, though (source).
Photography Tip #255 — Lighting Your Studio For Product Photography
One way to do this is to purchase a product photography lighting kit.
If you can’t do that, then follow these steps.
First, ensure there are two lights on each side of the product pointing towards the background and not the product. This way, you effectively separate the product from the wall.
Also, aim one of the lights in front of the product and have the other one above the product so that your product is properly lit and there are no shadows (source).
Photography Tip #256 — A Sheet Of Paper Eliminates The Horizon Line
All you have to do is to get a large sheet of white paper and bend it at the horizon line. After you do this, either tape it to the floor or to the wall. This will give a seamless look when requirements indicate product on white background (source).
Photography Tip #257 — Put Your Photo In Context
What sells the product is not the beauty of the image but the story behind it. Put your product in a context such that it tells a story the customers are willing to buy (source).
Photography Tip #258 — Colors Should Be Properly Toned
The colors must be as true as possible. You don’t want the colors looking too different in the photo than they are online. It could create problems for the business.
So, to avoid this, ensure that your lighting isn’t tinted. The best you can use is a white photography bulb. Or, if you’re shooting outdoors, an overcast day is best. Just remember to focus on your white balance.
When editing in post, ensure that you edit the colors in order to get a match that’s as true to real life as possible.
Also, when you’re done and you export the image, be sure to check it out on various devices. You want to check out how the color changes from one screen to another (source).
Photography Tip #259 — Color Theory Is Key
Colors affect humans in different ways and your understanding of that is also important when doing product photography. A study of color psychology could help (source).
Black And White Photography Tips
Photography Tip #260 — Shoot in RAW + JPEG
Images are best converted to monochrome by editing RAW files with their full color information. However, there’s something that shooting simultaneously in RAW and JPEG does for you. You’d be able to check out how your image would appear in black and white by setting your camera to its monochrome picture style.
Since imagining a scene in black and white can be rather difficult, these modes really help with scene assessment and composition. In fact, there are some cameras that could even allow you a decent monochrome image in-camera which you could experiment with (source).
Photography Tip #261 — Consider Shape, Texture, And Contrast
You have to look out for tonal contrast if you want your monochrome picture to stand out. To put things in perspective, in color photography, the human eye is immediately drawn to a red object placed on a green-colored background, for instance.
However, in black and white photography, these two colors would end up looking the same with the same level of brightness, making the image look a little boring and dull. Luckily, you can quickly adjust that in post so there’s some level of contrast. However, you might be better off starting out with scenes that have a tonal contrast in the first place.
So, you want to look for scenes with string blacks and strong whites. You can achieve this with your lighting or by using the right exposure settings.
For instance, in a woodland scene, a silver birch tree can bring in some contrast with its bright bark. If you set your exposure for such brighter areas, your shadows appear darker while highlights stand out even more.
Also, look out for patterns, shapes, and textures to create the best composition (source).
Photography Tip #262 — Long Exposure Shots Are Best
Especially if your shot involves clouds or moving water, shots involving long exposure are best. This is because, in moving water, for instance, the you record the water highlights across a wider area than when shooing with a short exposure. This is better for your tonal contrast.
Also, with longer exposure, the movement of the water is blurred which is great for your textural contrast with solid objects in the frame.
Now, if necessary, you can use an ND filter to extend shutter speed (by 4 stops) and reduce exposure (by 10 stops).
But, generally, keep in mind that any exposure beyond 160th of a second would call for a tripod to prevent camera shake and blurry images. You might also want to use a remote shutter release in order to reduce chances of blurring even further (source).
Photography Tip #263 — Work With Filters
ND grads (graduated neutral density) and polarizing filters are great for color photography, the same way they are great for black and white photography. In fact, thanks to their ability to manipulate the contrast of images, you could even say that these filters are even more useful in monochrome photography.
ND grads are great for retaining detail in bright skies. Polarizing filters, on the other hand, boost contrast while reducing reflections. Or you can take two shots with two different exposures. This could help you create an HDR (high dynamic range) composite.
If the foreground of your shot isn’t as bright as the sky and you’re doing a long exposure shot, you could use an ND grad filter together with a regular ND filter.
Other filters you can use also are colored filters. They are equally as helpful in black and white photography and they manipulate contrast in digital images perfectly (source).
Photography Tip #264 — Be Careful That Your Photo Doesn’t End Up Looking Unnatural In Post
Adobe Camera Raw offers a lot of great tools you can use to manipulate contrast in photos. This is usually when image contrasting is done even though colored filters can help you do that while shooting.
In using this software, image contrasting is as easy as sliding a control. However, keep your eyes on the entire photo so it doesn’t come out looking unnatural (source).
Photography Tip #265 — Try The Dodging And Burning Technique
Photoshop comes with tools for dodging and burning which allow you shadow your mid-tones, and target your highlights. So, you can use Burn to darken your highlights and use Dodge to brighten them, if too bright or too dark, respectively.
Dodging and burning really brings greater sharpness and an enhanced texture in your photos.
You can also set the opacity of the tools and build the effect of these tools gradually so that their impact is less subtle and hard edges are erased (source).
Fireworks Photography Tips
Photography Tip #266 — Set Camera To Manual Mode And Turn Off Flash
With this, you control the aperture and exposure yourself. Now, a great place to start is at ISO 100, aperture f/11, and a shutter speed of ½ second. If the photos loo dim, vary shutter speed but keep aperture the same (source).
Photography Tip #267 — Get To The Location On Time And Scout The Location
You want to observe the background and foreground and think about how you want to incorporate elements of both. Then manually set your focus before dark and focus on the part of the sky whre the fireworks will be displayed. This way, you’re ready to shoot when the time comes (source).
Photography Tip #268 — Use A Sturdy Tripod
You need your camera motionless for sharp images. Besides, you want to ensure that your horizon line remains straight, especially when including other elements like the cityscape in your composition (source).
Photography Tip #269 — Vary Your Shots
Depending on what you want to capture and your distance from the fireworks, there are different focal lengths to use. Tight shots with detail would usually require a focal length of 200mm. Just keep in mind that a change in focal length in zoom lenses demands a refocusing. So, ensure you check this before the show starts, while you still have light (source).
Photography Tip #270 — Shoot In Bulb Mode
With the changing conditions, bulb mode helps you take perfectly timed exposures. To avoid touching the camera and affecting image sharpness, you might want to use a remote shutter release. When the fireworks launch, hit, the remote and hold on to it until the burst fades which typically lasts some seconds (source).
Photography Tip #271 — Pick The Right Vantage Point
The best vantage point is upwind from the blowing smoke. It’s more comfortable and gives you the smoke a nice, reflective quality which could make your shot more interesting (source).
Panorama Photography Tips
Photography Tip #272 — Keep The Tripod Level
You want to make sure that the mounting plate on the top of your tripod is level. So, don’t just level the camera, level the tripod as well so that when you rotate the camera, the scene doesn’t come out tilted (source).
Photography Tip #273 — Rotate The Camera Around The Lens
Specifically, you want to rotate the camera around the mid-point of the lens, or more technically, the no-parallax point of the lens. This gives the best result.
If your camera is going to be on a tripod, then keep your camera on the rail slide. This way, if you rotate your camera, only the lens rotates and not the camera body.
Now, finding the no-parallax point might take a while of trial and error till you get it. You’d know you’ve gotten it when you don’t notice any relative movement between background and foreground objects while rotating.
Also, if hand-holding your camera then position the camera above the front foot and then rotate around the foot. It’s better than rotating at the waist which is more likely to create parallax errors (source).
Photography Tip #274 — Meter Highlights, Develop Shadows
Panoramas capture a wide area, naturally, so you must be careful about metering in order not to blow out the highlights.
A good way to meter for panorama is to locate the brightest area in the scene and meter that part so it doesn’t blow out. This could be the clouds, for instance. When you do that, you lock that meter value in your camera and then proceed shooting.
When you get back to your computer, merge panorama and then draw out shadow detail using the shadow slider or other relevant tools the software has to offer (source).
Photography Tip #275 — Overlap Correctly
If you want to successfully merge all your photos together to form one panorama, then you’d have to work with your software the overlap the images.
If you use a wide-angle lens like a 14mm or 16mm, then you might need to overlap up to 50% from one photo to the other. If the lens is a long one, on the other hand, there is a reduced chance of distortion and, you’d find it easier merging these images with your software (source).
Photography Tip #276 — Lock Your Camera Settings
If you want your images to stitch properly in post, then your settings must be on lock when in the field. Such settings include your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focus distance, focal length, and white balance.
If these settings aren’t locked, your final image will look funny with exposure changes, poor white balance, as well as certain portions of the photo out of focus sitting right next to one that is in focus (source).
Photography Tip #277 — Pan From Left To Right
When editing, the software you’re going to use is going to expect that the picture at the far left is the first in the sequence. So, always pan from left to right.
Also, your field of view should be similar to how the human eyes see which is about 180 degrees (source).
And with that, we come to the end of this long, but fulfilling trip. We hope you picked up a thing or two from our 277 photography tips to make your photos even more awesome.