Tips for better photography

AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grinPosts: 234Registered Users Major grins
edited September 24, 2013 in Technique
I put this together for our members at the local camera club and I thought having gone to the effort I might share it with those starting out in the fabulous hobby of ours.

Mr. Moderator, if I have over stepped my boundery feel free to move/edit/delete as you have to.

Tips For Better Photography

General Tips

1. Make time to take photos. Like all other hobbies
2. Make time for practice. Practice your settings
3. Enjoy what you do.
4. Start with the basics and work upwards.
5. Don’t get flustered, we all start at the beginning and move on.

The Camera

1. Buy the best you can afford, upgrade when you get frustrated.
2. Check all your gear before you go out. Inc. Batteries cards, etc.
3. Use a tripod if necessary.
4. Use a remote control even use “mirror up”, option.
5. SLR’s use the correct lens. No 1 lens fits all occasions
6. Compact users push your camera to its absolute limits, then upgrade.
7. Remember, “if a photo is worth taking, it is worth taking properly”!!

Taking the Photo

1. Plan your photo shoot.
2. Check out the venue, lighting, organize people in coloured clothing etc.
3. Get them to put on special makeup, use props if available.
4. For landscape, check the scene several times if possible.
5. Check the light, time of day, time of year, angles to shoot, composition.
6. Make notes for future reference in a book.
7. Take indoor shots, set up lighting, tripods back drops, use torches etc.
8. Use props, plants, lounge, chairs, reflectors etc, even when going outdoors; take them with you. All part of your planning.
9. For flowers, make notes on what flowers where and when, shoot in good light, use a spray bottle for water droplets, check the background when shooting, check composition.
10. For things like waterfalls, snow scenes, you will need to chose your time of year. NO point thinking the water will be flowing in late Feb after a hot summer.
11. Plan your trips with photos in mind but have a balance between family and photos.


Using your gear

1. Use what you have now, when you absolutely can no longer work without an upgrade, then its time to upgrade.
2. Read the manual and learn about your gear.
3. Ask questions if in doubt, at meetings or on line.
4. Use the auto program modes to start with, at least you are telling the camera something.
5. Practice with semi manual modes like AV. SP/TV. Or full manual and go back to auto programs when you need to. Work your way to not being dependant on auto modes.
6. Check what other gear there is to do a certain job. IE macro extension tubes, external flashes mono pods etc etc.


Before taking a photo

1. Choose your picture for a reason and do a test composition shot.
2. Check the background for distractions.
3. Choose the best settings for your camera for what you are about to shoot
4. Do a meter reading by pressing the shutter half way and CHECK THE SHUTTER SPEED!!! If it is too slow and you are going to get blur increase shutter speed.
5. Use a tripod, Remember, “if the shot is worth taking it is worth taking Properly” Take your time.
6. After taking the shot check the details, check histogram, zoom in and check sharpness.
7. Reshoot if necessary with adjusted camera settings.
8. Try different angles, higher or lower, move left or right not always the first way you saw it. Is there a stronger shot to be had?
9. If sky is included check sky exposure, under expose by 1-3/3rd stops or over expose if it is in shady areas.
10. Use filters if you have them
11. Set your camera to RAW if you want to do all the processing later
12. Or to Jpg if you want the camera to process the image for you.
13. Learn the different processing settings and learn which ones to use when.
14. Carry a little note book and make notes, don’t try to remember everything. It will come automatically as you get more practice and experience.



Post processing

1. Use the program you are most comfortable with at the level you are now
2. PS is not for everyone at first but make it your goal to get there in a year or two ahead.
3. Preview your photos on the card first in something like Faststone.
4. Delete the obvious duds. Check twice.
5. Do a test crop and see if you can get a stronger photo with a closer crop or a 10x4 crop.
6. Once you are happy you want to save, copy the rest to your hard drive storage area. Use a system so you can find your pictures when you need them. I use All pics/year/month/event.
7. Plan what you want to do with your photos. Print for display, make a slide show, digital photo albums, photo frames, print comps, for family etc.
8. What you do with your photos will be your motivation to continue shooting and learning and improving.
9. Open each photo you want to edit. Look for a crop first. Can you remove unwanted area with a crop. Can you concentrate more on the subject matter with a crop.
10. Check your levels/histogram and adjust
11. Look for bits to clone out, sensor dust etc and clone
12. Check and straighten horizons
13. Adjust contrast/saturation/ shadow and highlights etc as you know how and needs require.
14. Resize to your needs, print, web etc.
15. Finally sharpen before saving edited image.

Finally

Display your work somewhere somehow. This will be your motivation to continue to learn and improve. You will later be able to look back and see how you have improved. Think about internet albums, forums, slideshows, photo frames, print and frame work and hang in the house, prints for presents for family and friends, club assignments, print competitions, printing on T shirts, calendars, plates books etc etc. Just have a go, be happy with the level you are at and work to improving, none of us are perfect and all have a road ahead of us yet. Lastly help out others on the same road, you will be amazed what you have learnt and have to share.

I put this together for our Camera Group and it is in short hand form with vocal elaboration to go with it but I thought it may go well here for some members willing to read. You can copy and paste it to an email and print it out for easier reading and future reference.
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Comments

  • clemensphoto'sclemensphoto's Major grins Posts: 647Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 4, 2008
    These are great tips! clap.gif

    I have to wonder though why you recommend deleting the duds from the memory card directly instead of copying them first to the HDD? Personally I have found that it is better to copy the images to the HDD and then go through them just in case something happens then I have the originals on the memory card. I sure that we all know how dependable computer products are.
    Ryan Clemens
    www.clemensphotography.us
    Canon 7D w/BG-E7 Vertical Grip, Canon 50D w/ BG-E2N Vertical Grip, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 580EX II Flash and other goodies.
    Ignorance is no excuss, so lets DGrin!
  • AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grin Posts: 234Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 4, 2008
    Did I say "DUDES"?? No just checked definately duds.

    My reasons are simply these days we collect so many files as we can shoot so many without having any extra cost. That our HD's fill full of useless photos and duplicates that now 7 years down the track I am still deleting files I too back at the start of digital. However if you feel comfortable in saving them all and are disciplined enough to delete them later then by all means save them all to you HDD. I just know the way I work I never "Get around to it later" and find it best to do the weeding straight away before they grow to big and the job is beyond me.
  • clemensphoto'sclemensphoto's Major grins Posts: 647Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 4, 2008
    Sorry, yes you actually said duds (I'm a little sleepy)rolleyes1.gif .

    I guess my personal way isn't much of adding extra space to the HDD but more of using the copied photos on the HDD to get rid of the DUDS and then when I'm done with that I erase my memory card.
    Ryan Clemens
    www.clemensphotography.us
    Canon 7D w/BG-E7 Vertical Grip, Canon 50D w/ BG-E2N Vertical Grip, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 580EX II Flash and other goodies.
    Ignorance is no excuss, so lets DGrin!
  • AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grin Posts: 234Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 4, 2008
    You are right, for beginners it is probably best they copy them all first just in case. I guess I am pretty confident that if something does go wrong, my recovery program will get them back for me.
  • clemensphoto'sclemensphoto's Major grins Posts: 647Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 4, 2008
    Another tip I might add (beginner or pro) is to back up your files/photos regulary as well. I had organized all of my files and photos on a external HDD just recently and was backing them up to DVD disk and the HDD crashed. Luckly I know I can retrieve the files but at a not so nice cost. But, that's life-machines break down.
    Ryan Clemens
    www.clemensphotography.us
    Canon 7D w/BG-E7 Vertical Grip, Canon 50D w/ BG-E2N Vertical Grip, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 580EX II Flash and other goodies.
    Ignorance is no excuss, so lets DGrin!
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,419Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 4, 2008
    I have moved this thread to Technique as I feel it is more about shooting than post processing.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • loubellloubell Avid Shutterbug Posts: 12Registered Users Big grins
    edited December 2, 2008
    Tips for the beginner!
    Glad someone finally put it all into perspective. I carry my camera, tripod, and lenses on every trip (even to the grocery store) :D

    AND to add to the conversation - I use TO not delete, but I've learned that once you reach that maximum and no more memory cards, you have to critque your own work and possibly delete. IN MOST CASES - AVOID DELETE! You may find a picture that simply needs a crop... But thing to do - stock up on memory cards and them available in your camera bag!
    ~If you're photographing in color you show the color of their clothes - if you use black and white, you will show the color of their soul.~

    http://www.myspace.com/loubellsunrise

    http://www.freespiritphotography.com/smugmug
  • ShayebrydShayebryd Major grins Posts: 165Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 7, 2009
    Thanks!!
    Awesome thread.....thanks!
    "My favorite thing is to go where I've never been!"
  • lenseyelenseye Beginner grinner Posts: 8Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited March 24, 2009
    Thanks
    Thanks for sharing tips.
  • MrMagooMrMagoo stones on the water Posts: 19Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 22, 2009
    Kudos
    Thanks for the time and effort to put your tips together; perfect reminders for effective captures.
    Pablo123
  • christulkchristulk We're doin' what now..? Posts: 453Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 1, 2009
    straightening tool??
    Hi,

    The search function brought up this thread. How does one straighten horizons etc, using CS2?

    I can't find a tool for it - I know one is there...

    A friend uses Aperture, and his method is simple. Tell the programme what is straight, and viola! Done.

    Any way to straighten in CS2?

    Many thanks

    Chris
    C&C always welcomed.

    Cheers

    Chris

    http://christulk.smugmug.com

    'alot' is two words "a_______lot":D
  • SystemSystem Posts: 8,192Registered Users moderator
    edited September 10, 2009
    Straightening in CS2
    christulk wrote:
    Hi,

    The search function brought up this thread. How does one straighten horizons etc, using CS2?

    I can't find a tool for it - I know one is there...

    A friend uses Aperture, and his method is simple. Tell the programme what is straight, and viola! Done.

    Any way to straighten in CS2?

    Many thanks

    Chris

    Straightening in CS2 is easy once you know how:
    1) Menu: Filter > Distort > Lens Correction
    2) Click on Straighten Tool (2nd down in upper left)
    3) Click and drag line along horizon.
    4) Click OK.
    5) If you like the result click Menu: Layer > Flatten Image.

    -Bob Kane
    http://designphotography.smugmug.com/
  • AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grin Posts: 234Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 11, 2009
    Even easier than that is to elect the ruler tool, draw a line along the horizon to be straightened, then go to Rotate/arbitrary and click okay. it will automatically rotate it to the degree you set by the line you drew. You can the crop as required.
    Many ways to skin a cat.
    You can also use your crop tool, drag out a crop outline and put the mouse near one corner till it turns into an arch arrow and click and drag the lines till they line up with your horizon or vertical line and click on crop or hit enter.
  • AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grin Posts: 234Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 13, 2009
    Thank you everyone, I am pleased you got something out of this post. My aim has always been to help people enjoy photography as a hobby. I leave the professional side to those wanting to make money out of the "Game" Personally I find the day you want to make money, you are governed by what the customer wants rather than have the freedom to be creative and express your inner self through your hobby. If your hobby later turns out to make you money and you are happy doing that, even balancing, the hobby side and your work side, then more power to you. Thats what makes this hobby so great, it is almost infinite in its scope and everyone can get enjoyment at what ever level they find themselves at.
  • sgbotsfordsgbotsford Big grins Posts: 10Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 1, 2009
    Use the Force Luke
    The force of your computer that is.

    Oh sure, About one time in 30, I inadvertently take the wrong shot, and delete
    immediately. But frankly, I can't see that LCD screen well enough to decide.

    Nor can I easily flip between many shots to decide.

    Pull them all in to the computer. Put up the thumbnails. 90% of the deletions you would do on your camera can be done in 1/10 the time it would take on your
    camera.

    The last chunk of deletions will be done after looking at the image full screen.

    Show your 5 star photos.

    Keep your 4 star photos. They may just be a different interpretation.

    Keep your 3 star photos. Being able to throw 40 similar pix in court may help
    you win a copyright contest.

    Chuck the 1 and 2 stars, unless they have useuable chunks for montaging. (I'm
    a sucker for keeping interesting cloud formations to put into otherwise bland pix
    later.)
  • JoshFJoshF Big grins Posts: 50Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 23, 2009
    Just wanted to say Thanks. I really like your list and it's helpful for me as a newbie.
  • AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grin Posts: 234Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 24, 2009
    JoshF wrote:
    Just wanted to say Thanks. I really like your list and it's helpful for me as a newbie.

    Thank you, it is nice to know this thread continues to help a few, thats what makes this forum so great, all of us sharing what we know helping others along the way. Good luck with your photography
  • JoshFJoshF Big grins Posts: 50Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 24, 2009
    Aussieroo wrote:
    Thank you, it is nice to know this thread continues to help a few, thats what makes this forum so great, all of us sharing what we know helping others along the way. Good luck with your photography

    Do you have any suggestions for good DVD's or books to learn from?
  • yummy_wafflesyummy_waffles Big grins Posts: 11Registered Users Big grins
    edited January 3, 2010
    Thank you for this! Great tips.
  • skybubblesskybubbles Clueless Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited February 2, 2010
    Does anyone know if there are any good online classes. I know that I dont know much & have a lot to learn! Can anyone help?
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalPosts: 6,183Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 3, 2010
    skybubbles wrote:
    Does anyone know if there are any good online classes. I know that I dont know much & have a lot to learn! Can anyone help?
    http://photoshopcafe.com/tutorials.htm
    http://tv.adobe.com/

    Just to mention 2 of my book marks.
    :D

    Meanwhile try this, will you ? :D
    Or even this for a change.
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • skybubblesskybubbles Clueless Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited February 3, 2010
    Cool thanks I'll check it out. Thank you.
  • Art ScottArt Scott Have PASSPORT will TRAVEL WICHITA, KS USAPosts: 8,959Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 14, 2010
    loubell wrote: »
    Glad someone finally put it all into perspective. I carry my camera, tripod, and lenses on every trip (even to the grocery store) :D

    AND to add to the conversation - I use TO not delete, but I've learned that once you reach that maximum and no more memory cards, you have to critque your own work and possibly delete. IN MOST CASES - AVOID DELETE! You may find a picture that simply needs a crop... But thing to do - stock up on memory cards and them available in your camera bag!

    Another reason NOT TO DELETE is file corruption......I have had memory cards corrupt from deleteing 1 image and others that did not xcorrupt unless i deleted a huge amount like 50+.........these were Lexar pro and Transcend Pro cards........so don't delete just keep a stash of memory cards on hand.....right now I have 12 - 8gb cards between 2 cameras............
    "Genuine Fractals was, is and will always be the best solution for enlarging digital photos." ....Vincent Versace ... ... COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK ONLINE ... ... My Website

  • AussierooAussieroo Old Grin is a good grin Posts: 234Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 29, 2010
    Nice to see this thread still lives and helps the occasional person.
  • Stella7dStella7d Major grins Posts: 201Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 4, 2010
    skybubbles wrote: »
    Does anyone know if there are any good online classes. I know that I dont know much & have a lot to learn! Can anyone help?

    Although quite some time has passed since this question was originally posted, I thought I would share my recommendation in case someone else in the future is looking for an online class.

    I highly recommend The Photographers Workshop by Karen Russell. She offers an amazing & comprehensive 9 week online class. Her class is perfect for those JSO, but even a seasoned photog would benefit from her knowledge and skill building assignments. The daily lessons are very detailed and provided in both PDF & MP3 format. There is a forum for the students to ask questions and discuss lessons, as well as a gallery for inspiration and feedback. Karen is very active with her students, answers all questions promptly and provides very thorough & detailed explanations to all questions presented. She's an amazing photographer & a gifted instructor!! thumb.gif
  • TinksTinks Big grins Posts: 11Registered Users Big grins
    edited February 10, 2011
    Aussieroo wrote: »
    Nice to see this thread still lives and helps the occasional person.
    Still alive and kicking. :D
    Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
    -- (Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms)
  • philsphotographyphilsphotography www.philsphoto.com Posts: 22Registered Users Big grins
    edited February 12, 2011
    Another tip I might add (beginner or pro) is to back up your files/photos regulary as well. I had organized all of my files and photos on a external HDD just recently and was backing them up to DVD disk and the HDD crashed. Luckly I know I can retrieve the files but at a not so nice cost. But, that's life-machines break down.


    I just opened a Carbonit site, just for backing up my photography. It took a month for the initial backup. But now, I have the confidence that with a hard drive crash, virus, or theft - I am covered. It's like $55 a year, and is automatic. Best parts, you get little green dots on the files that are backed up, yellow dots on files that are in queue. I also like that I can get to my files from my smart phone, or anyone's computer. It's worth the price!
    Phil Forister
    www.philsphoto.com
  • philsphotographyphilsphotography www.philsphoto.com Posts: 22Registered Users Big grins
    edited February 12, 2011
    Online Tutorials
    skybubbles wrote: »
    Does anyone know if there are any good online classes. I know that I dont know much & have a lot to learn! Can anyone help?


    I really enjoy the weekly podcast from Jimmy Beltz, www.phototips.biz. He has 80 podcasts that are free. He also has inexpensive video tutorials like Photography 101, Wedding 101, etc... Check it out, I personally enjoy Fridays because that's podcast day!
    Phil Forister
    www.philsphoto.com
  • chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Major grins NetherlandsPosts: 769Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 12, 2011
    Thanks for the tip Phil - I just learned about 2nd curtain synch and tilt shift lenses from him. He tells things in a clear way and I too subscribed to the podcast.
  • philsphotographyphilsphotography www.philsphoto.com Posts: 22Registered Users Big grins
    edited February 13, 2011
    I am rather new to Dgrin, and have found plenty of tutorials here too. I wonder if there is a podcast?

    http: //www.philsphoto.com
    Phil Forister
    www.philsphoto.com
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