View Full Version : Tips on taking great pictures....HELP
01-22-2007, 07:14 AM
Im a pretty decent photographer and i take good pictures with what i have (Canon Rebel 35mm and olympus d-580 digital) but i want to get better. I see all your pics you post and they are amazing, i would like to learn a few of your favorite tips. How do you position yourself for different settings like a wildlife shot, sunset/sunrise, landscape, rig, etc? Or how do you change the setings on the camera? Im sure everyone could benefit from the knowledge of others so lets hear those tips. thanks guys
01-22-2007, 07:19 PM
it depends Im not a big wildlife photographer but Im getting into things like portraits which can also benefit with macro.
portraits sometimes you like to get closeups you want great background bokeh, bokeh is basically the out of focus portions of the background that bring the elements of the foreground to place. Larger aperature or (f stop) can really give that look like lets say a 2.8 f stop lens, wide open enough to give a faster shutter speed. and wide open also narrows the depth of field so when you have a narrow aperature pretty much everything from close up to far away should still be in good focus.
I may think of some other things to say or contribute later
hope some of that helps
use A or (AV) for a lot of your shots and just get used to using aperature priority
01-22-2007, 07:42 PM
Broad topic, amigo. What do you mean by change the settings? Which settings would you like to change?
Post some of your photos in the thread and we could discuss some elements that worked well and some that didn't. That might be the best way to approach the topic.
What exactly are you looking to shoot? Nature/landscape type stuff you see on a trip? People, portraits, or the like?
For some good info, check out National Geographic's site http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pathtoadventure/phototips/ (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pathtoadventure/phototips/)
An expensive lens isn't required but you'll soon find out how handy it can be after using one. Rent larger/more expensive lenses and compare them to what you normally shoot with to see if there is any benefit to them. I origionally learned the basics with craptacular equipment and slowly moved up as the wallet allowed. Also learning how to print your own pictures (at least black and white) was very helpful for me to understand how the range of light comes in (the camera) and goes out (the print). Some people need that bigger picture (pun intended) view and some just want to know how to frame stuff better.
Some of the basics:
- For landscape, great light is to be had around sunset/sunrise. Middle of the day will give you crappy skies and glare. That being said, you can switch to more closeups and features in rocks, trees, animals if there is high sun. Cloudy days aren't bad days either as the even light makes some pictures easier to capture all day long. And Photoshop can do a good job (as well as in your Canon) at increasing saturation and bringing life out of what you orignally thought was a gray and gloomy day.
- Composition is key to a lot of shots. You should experiment and not be affraid to make many mistakes, that's one of the nice things about digital. :) That being said, it's best not to subscribe to the "spray and pray" method of just shooting a ton of pictures 'hoping' to get one good one. At first, learn the changes you make are making on the finished image, then you can shoot off 3-5 quick pictures of the same scene, with slight changes in compostion, and know you have a much higher chance of getting a good shot.
- The rule of thirds really hasn't changed and works for a lot of things, but not all. here's the first hit on Google about it (http://www.silverlight.co.uk/tutorials/compose_expose/thirds.html). Keep horizons out of the middle. Keep end points out of the middle too. Sometimes it means you don't get a good shot. But it does make you think and it does make landscapes more appealing as well as nature shots in general.
- Focus on the eyes. If you're shooting animals (eeek!) or people (double eeek!) make the eyes sharp. I've had a number of pictures where the body or even the head just back from the eyes was sharp, the compostion was great, the action was perfect, but with the eyes being blurry, it ruined the shot. Sometimes you don't want the eyes sharp, but if the main subject is something with them, you're better off focusing on them. Sometimes this means using just the center focus spot, holding the shutter part way down when you have the focus and then recomposing the photo (since you *usually* want the eyes in one of the thirds of the photo). It's also ok to shoot with the eyes in the middle of the frame if it's something fast moving, as long as you have space to crop the image later. Once again, don't be affraid to make mistakes.
- Get used to the different metering modes of your camera. Get to looking at the images in black and white to understand how your camera will pick up light and meter accordingly. I tend to shoot with my Canon 1/3 stop under exposed, because this is what I like and have gotten used to. I also know when a sky will be blown out because 3/5th of my frame is being filled with a darker forest. That forest may be lit by the sun like everything else, but your camera will see it a lot dark and more contrasted with the sky than your human eye does. Maybe use a spot or center weighted mode if that's where your subject is. Don't be affraid to blow out the background if it gets you a crisp, well exposed subject in the foreground. It's better than having a perfect sky with a bear you can't see in the foreground because things are too dark.
- Your camera has a lot of neat modes. one to help with the above point is the review setting where it flashes the over exposed areas and shows a histogram. Get to understand the histogram and how to shift it. It's not the easiet thing to learn but really helps in post processing.
- Shooting in RAW mode can help with exposure too because it's more forgiving. You can use something like one of these Fred Miranda actions (http://www.fredmiranda.com/SR/)for Photoshop if you don't know that program in and out. The Shadow Recovery is great!! Take your RAW image, convert one copy at or slightly under exposed (and expose your picture in the field for the darker areas as it's easier to pull detail out of dark, than it is to recover from blown out highlights) and then convert another 1-2 stops over exposed. Now throw those into that action above and it magically combines them to make a middle of the road while still keeping the blow outs in check and bringing the shadows smartly to the front. It's a long process to learn how to do it by hand, and its essentially the same as burning and dodging a print in the darkroom (photoshop also has burn[make things darker] and dodge[make things brighter] tools to help you learn and do small touchups). But be careful with relying on the computer too much. Make sure you have reasonable exposure in the field or it will look like crap on he computer at home when you try to clean up 4 stops of over exposure.
ok, gotta get back to work.
If you have specific questions about how someone got their picture to look a certain way, post the picture and question here and someone can probably help. I've been learning for 15 years and have a LOT more to go and am always curious how things are done.
01-22-2007, 08:17 PM
This video from alaska.org helped me considerably... probably the best 13 minutes learning about photography you will spend. Seriously...
01-23-2007, 07:04 PM
Here's more of a generic tip:
Shoot lots of pictures, share only the good ones.
01-23-2007, 07:47 PM
Here's more of a generic tip:
Shoot lots of pictures, share only the good ones.
You just gave away the photographer's best secret. Where are your manners?
01-24-2007, 12:07 PM
My Minolta SLR gave it up a few years ago. The instant gratification of the Digital has been great but I missed a lot of the "tricks" you could do with a 35mm SLR.
I hang out on a lot of urban explorations sites. A lot of people taking technical low light shots. http://www.sydneycaveclan.org/
This one has some nudity...why I don't know but this one guy takes some really dramatic shots in sewers of all places.
This has some really neat stuff. http://sleepycity.net/viewpost.php?b=70
Anyway those are time exposures. Very fun to do.
So last week I was whining over the Digital I had not being able to take time exposures. The one thing I really bummed about is how poor of low light pictures I was getting. Well I guess I should have read the instructions a couple years ago...I can force a 16 second exposure it turns out.
One of the neat tricks is set your camera on a tri pod and run around with a flash you can manual fire. You can fill in the back ground and get some dramatic effects. Thatís how those shots were done in most of the links I just posted. As long as you donít get between the camera and the flash you can keep yourself out of the photo. Or you can do fun things like overlay into an image like this.
This was just a quick play around to see if it would work after I read the instructions.
01-26-2007, 04:51 AM
mountainpete that link was awesome, very informative. Thats exactly what i was looking for, just little ways to tweak how i do things to take better pictures.
Hopefully il be able to get away from school for a bit so i can take some photos!
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.11 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.