Author’s Intro: This is a guest post by Dan Feildman. Dan Feildman runs Learn Digital Photography Now and is keen to share useful tips and content for digital photography beginners.
Do you find it difficult to take great digital photos? Many people can take digital photos for years without capturing the ultimate photographs they wanted. I myself have been guilty of ruining the photos of the important moments like my son’s baseball tournament or my own daughter’s graduation. There is not a worse feeling in the world than that when a photo of an important event comes out to be horrible. That bring us to the question of how do you exactly take a great photo (or shoot like a pro to get good / acceptable images every single time)? There is a bit of trial and error involved in the art of taking great photographs and here is a simple answer to it.
A great photo begins with you and then extends through the camera. Think about it! Every shot begins in your mind, not the camera lens. A super photo can be captured by the most basic point-and-click camera just as easy as the most expensive SLR. Here are 7 simple tips on shooting digital photos which will help you get great results every single time you take a photo!
Know Your Camera
Does this sound familiar? You buy the latest digital camera out there, come home, rip off the box, then proceed to fiddle with the device. You briefly flick through the hundred page camera manual and then never look at it again. Not a good idea! If you buy a digital camera, you owe it to yourself to understand its ins and outs. Learn how to control exposure, how to use different camera modes and how to use the flash. The knowledge you gain about the camera will be invaluable when you’re out in the field taking those special photos.
Control The Flash
One of the most imperative things you need to be familiar with in digital photography is how to control the flash. Don’t fall in to the habit of always relying on the built in automatic flash on your digital camera. In many instances, you might need to turn the flash off or on. For example, when taking outdoor photos, it is sometimes good to turn on the flash to illuminate the subject, especially if he or she is in the shade. On the other hand, you can also choose to turn off the flash when taking indoor shots. Sometimes, using the flash indoors will result in unnatural skin color and harsh glare in your photos.
Hold the Camera Level
A basic rule of photography is to hold the camera level. Since most digital cameras come with a LCD, you can use it to properly frame your shots. Next time you’re taking a shot, try to look for the horizontal lines and use them as guides. A good example is to make use of the horizon when you’re taking a photo of a sunset.
Play With The Macro Mode
Almost all digital camera these days have a macro mode. This setting is ideal for taking close up shots of objects like flowers or insects. On my Canon PowerShot S500, it’s represented by a flower symbol. What you need to do is to choose a subject, turn on macro mode, then get up and close to it. Make sure you allow the camera to focus properly before depressing the shutter button fully.
Use a Tripod
I would recommend this to all photographers of any level. You will find camera tripods an invaluable tool in your photography cache. It especially becomes indispensable when photographing in low-light conditions or when you are trying to capture the motion and movement of fast moving objects. I use a tripod while taking pictures of city streets at night to capture all of the elements. You don’t have to invest in the largest or heaviest tripod for personal use. Choose a tripod that is compact and easy to carry with you.
Play with the ISO Setting
I personally find the ISO settingin the digital cameras very useful. The ISO setting of a camera essentially controls it’s sensitivity to light. If you’re taking the photograph of a still object say for example a flower, then using a low ISO setting is recommended. It allows for a longer shutter speed and produces a cleaner image. If you’re shooting a moving object, like a baby playing with a toy then a higher ISO setting of say 400 would be better. Do take note, however, that a higher ISO setting gives a faster shutter speed and requires less light. This may produce noiser photos which look classy at times.
Have Enough Memory Capacity
Just like you must have enough rolls of film when using traditional cameras, make sure you always have enough memory capacity in your digital camera. It’s terrible to be on a holiday taking great photos and suddenly realizing you’ve no memory space left. Here are some general guidelines for digital camera storage: 2 megapixel cameras requires at least a 64MB card 3 megapixel camera requires at least a 128MB card 4 megapixel camera requires at least a 256MB card 5 megapixel camera and above requires at least a 512MB or 1GB card.
Conclusion: Whew. A pretty long article. I hope I’ve managed to give you some good tips on shooting great digital photos. Always remember what I said, while the latest and greatest digital cameras have amazing features, you still need to be a skilled photographer to take nice pictures. Apply the above tips to your everyday shooting and see yourself becoming a better photographer from day one.
About the author: This is a guest post by Dan Feildman. Dan Feildman runs Learn Digital Photography Now and is keen to share useful tips and content for digital photography beginners. Also check out his free guide for beginners called Digital Photography Guide.