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Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
Better photo tips
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Better photo tips

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  • 1. BetterPhoto.com®THE BETTER WAY TO BETTER YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TIP BOOKLET Use these handy tips from the pros to create photos with “WOW” impact. Jim Miotke, Founder, BetterPhoto.com www.betterphoto.com
  • 2. Tips by Kerry Drager1. Developing a Tripod WorkflowI use a tripod for every landscape scene - to achieve the best in image quality and to fine-tunemy compositions. But that doesn’t mean I break out the tripod immediately upon seeing asubject I like. After making the effort to expand the tripod legs and lock the camera in place,it’s verrrrry tempting to stay put, without fully exploring the subject. That’s not the artisticapproach!Instead, the tripod set-up should come near the end of the creative process, not the beginning!Let me explain my tripod “workflow”:When I come across a promising landscape scene, I set the tripod aside (assuming there’s a safeplace). Then, with camera in hand, I’ll wander around in search of the best viewpoint, the rightlens focal length, etc. Only when I’ve lined up the approximate shot do I grab the tripod, attachthe camera, and frame the composition just the way I envisioned it.2. Composition: Don’t Stop Now ... Keep ShootingWhenever I find a photogenic (and static) scene that really motivates me, I work it every whichway I can within whatever time constraints I have. This means trying different compositions,different focal lengths, or different lighting angles. But this process also might mean thefollowing:• Try different f/stops ... in order to experiment with the depth of field (the range of sharpness in a scene that has front-to-back depth).• Try different shutter speeds ... in order to experiment with subject motion - by freezing the action or by showing a soft blur of movement. Kerry’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Course: Creative Close-ups 8-Week Course: Creative Light and Composition www.betterphoto.com
  • 3. Tip by Ibarionex Perello1. Great Light for Outdoor PortraitsThe kind of light I often favor is open shade. I don’t like the look of direct sunlight in many ofmy portraits, because the contrast is often too high and you get some harsh shadows on theface particularly beneath the brow, the nose and chin. By finding some open shade, I have thebenefit of more diffused and soft light, which produces a more pleasing result. A cloudy orovercast day is an ideal time to be making portraits because it provides the same kind of softlight provided by open shade.I received a great tip from a great photographer and fellow BetterPhoto instructor, NeilSilverman. While we were walking in San Francisco making photographs, he pointed out that itwas a good idea to look at the light reflected off large white surfaces like a building. The lightreflected off the wall produced an amazing quality of light, which is just beautiful. It’s similarto the quality of light produced by a giant softbox. It’s taught me to not only pay attention towhere the original light source is coming from, but also what it is reflecting off of. Ibarrionex’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Courses: Learning the Canon EOS 40D Learning the Canon EOS 5D Mark II Camera Learning the Nikon D60 Learning the Olympus Evolt Portrait Photography Using Available Light Posing and Portraiture Techniques The Pursuit of Light 8-Week Courses: DSLR Features: When, Why and How to Use Them www.betterphoto.com
  • 4. Tips by Brenda Tharp1. Analyzing a Photograph’s EffectivenessIf you look at your picture in front of you quickly, you can often see what grabs your attentionright away, and where the eyes travels. If you try to do this after you’ve been looking atsomething else for a few seconds or minutes, it’s easier. I put my picture up on my computer,then I look at a magazine or something on my desk, for a moment or two, and when I lookback at the computer, I’m mentally ready to analyze what grabbed my attention first, wheremy eye traveled, etc., and what things I found distracting. I have used this in classes, where Iwill have everyone look at the projected image, and then I’ll move off it, then move back to it,and ask them right before I change to quickly ‘read’ the picture when it comes up. That firstimpression tells us so much about how well we did with composing our picture.2. Getting sharper pictures in low lightIf you are working in low light conditions, and are hand-holding or using a monopod, here’s anidea that will help you get sharper pictures.Put your camera on continuous frame shooting mode, and hold the shutter release down forthree or four frames. The ones in the middle will typically be sharper, as pressing the shuttercan cause camera shake, and releasing it can, too. The ones in the middle will be made withthe button already down. This works for film and digital cameras, although digital compacts areharder to do this on because of the shutter lag Brenda’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Courses: Travel Photography: Capturing the Spirit of a Place 8-Week Courses: Creating Visual Impact www.betterphoto.com
  • 5. Tips by Jim Zuckerman1. The Visual Power of Ultra Wide Angle Lenses by Jim ZuckermanOne of the ways in which I dramatize subjects, whether I’m shooting architecture, people,landscapes, or anything else, is to use ultra wide angle lenses. I consider ‘ultra wide’ to befocal lengths in the 10mm to 16mm range for less-than-full-frame sensor cameras (rememberthat for Nikon and Canon cameras you have to multiply the focal length by 1.5x and 1.6x,respectively, to determine the real focal length of the lens), and for full frame cameras focallengths 20mm or less is ultra wide.The closer you place the foreground to a wide angle lens, the more distortion you’ll get.Sometimes this isn’t what you want; in other instances, it produces amazing images that you’lllove. In the extreme, you can create outrageous pictures that will crack people up, especiallyif the subjects happen to be funny anyway - like cows (I don’t know what it is about cows, butthey make people laugh).Using a lens like this is a way to design your images in a dramatic way. It does not duplicatewhat you see with your eyes at all, but it’s a valid and intriguing way to photograph manysubjects. When tripods are allowed (like here), you have the luxury of being able to close thelens down for maximum depth of field. Even though ultra wide angle lenses have tremendousdepth of field, when foreground objects are placed very close to the camera position, thedistant background won’t be as sharp as you’d like if you use a large aperture like f/2.8 or f/4.2. Hold Your Breath, Low-vs.-High ISOHere are thoughts on ensuring that your photos are just as sharp as you want them to be:• When you are forced to shoot in a low-light situation without a tripod, hold your breath as you very gently push the shutter button. Don’t pounce on the shutter with enthusiasm and end up with a blurred image. Lean against a wall or brace yourself against a rock -- anything you can find - for stability. That will help you get sharp images.• Don’t use an ISO that is inappropriately reduced for low lighting situations. We all should be shooting at 100 ISO or thereabouts to minimize digital noise. But ... there is no point in going this low if your pictures won’t be sharp. If you are not using a tripod, you have to adjust your ISO until your shutter speed is fast enough to hand hold the camera. Making your pictures noise-free is irrelevant if they will be blurred. www.betterphoto.com
  • 6. Jim’s Photo Courses:4-Week Courses:Making Masterpieces with Corel PainterStock PhotographyTaking the Mystery Out of Flash PhotographyTechniques of Natural Light PhotographyWildlife Photography8-Week Courses:Developing Your Creative Artistic VisionEight Steps to More Dramatic PhotographyFundamentals of Photography Made EasyMaking Money with Your PhotographyPerfect Digital ExposurePhotoshop: Advanced Creative TechniquesPhotoshop: Creative TechniquesPhotoshop: Thinking Outside the BoxSelf-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie? www.betterphoto.com
  • 7. Tips by Tony Sweet1. A Key to Flower Photography Success: Background!Watch out for busy backgrounds, hot spots, black holes, and extraneous elements enteringthe frame. In fact, the background is at least as important as the subject. Nothing can kill animage quicker than a busy background. There may be as little as an inch or less of camerarepositioning to go from a distracting background to a pleasing, detail-less, muted background.2. Have Your Toothbrush?Dust and small particles can get into dials and other nooks and crannys on camera equipment,digital and film based cameras and all lenses. This is quite prevalent if one shoots on beaches,dunes, or just out in the wind. Also, if your stuff is just sitting around for a while, it canaccumulate dust.I always keep an old toothbrush in each of my camera bags and have often found it the “righttool for the right job” to get sand and dust out of tight areas on cameras and lenses! Tony’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Courses: Creative Nature/Outdoor Photos with Lensbabies High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography Mastering the Nikon D200 and D2X/D2Xs Mastering the Nikon D3 and D700 Mastering the Nikon D300 8-Week Courses: Fine Art Flower Photography Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision www.betterphoto.com
  • 8. Tips by Susan and Neil Silverman1. Finding Lost ImagesIf you have ever mistakenly deleted your images from your compact flash card, all may notbe lost. Most of the card makers provide a software program that you can download and itwill help to retrieve almost all of your images, even if your camera may tell you that there areno photos on that card. When you purchase a card, check the manufacturer’s Web site fordownloadable retrieval software. And if you are traveling with your laptop, keep it on yourcomputer. Hopefully, it will be one program that you do not need!2. Close Up Lenses-An AlternativeWe like the macro and micro lenses the best BUT a great inexpensive way to get wonderfuleffects is to purchase the Nikon diopters even if you shoot with a different model camera thanNikon. They come in a 52-mm filter thread size and in a 62-mm thread size. We recommendthat you get either the 3t, 4t set or the 5t, 6t set (this is the 62-mm ones) and then purchasea set of stacking rings to hold them securely when you are not using them. If you have a setof 3t and 4t, then you can use just one of them or you can stack them and use them bothtogether. We usually use these on a zoom lens such as a 80 to 200 zoom or thereabouts. Orthey can be used on a macro or micro lens as well. If your lens does not have a thread size thatcorresponds to 52-mm or 62-mm, then you will need to purchase a step-up ring or a step-down ring - whichever is appropriate for your lens/diopter combination, and then screw thaton the lens and screw the diopter into the other side of the ring. This will allow you to focusmuch closer to the subject or object and therefore get more magnification. Susan and Neil’s Photo Courses: 8-Week Course: Out and About with Your Camera Understanding Digital Photography Understanding Digital Photography: Beyond the Basics www.betterphoto.com
  • 9. Tips by Rob Sheppard1. Impact of Black-and-WhiteBlack-and-white photography has gained a resurgence of interest that is well-deserved. Butit has to be good. The simple conversion of color to black-and-white through any programusing one option such as Grayscale or Desaturate is often disappointing. The key to a goodconversion is to think of it as a translation of color to specific shades of gray. The wrong shadesof gray will make a photo look bad, yet the right shades of gray will make it look great.The latest versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have good black-and-whiteconversion features that can be helpful if you really play with the controls rather than simplyaccepting the first look you see. This can definitely mean some playing around with thoseadjustments, seeing bad black-and-white and good. I like the controls in Lightroom 2, which aresimilar to those in Photoshop CS4 in that you can create an ‘activated cursor’ where you clickthe cursor on something in the photo, the program finds the right color for you, and you dragthe cursor up and down (Lightroom) or left and right (CS4) to get the color the right shade ofgray.I also think very highly of Nik Software Silver Efex if you are really serious about black-and-white. This is a plug-in for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom. It has a lot ofpresets that can quickly get you a look you like, plus it has a lot of control over how colors arechanged to gray as well as quickly giving you overall control of the tonality and contrast of theimage.2. Going ‘Auto’ with Aperture Priority ... by Rob SheppardAperture priority is a fine way to use auto exposure. Many pros do exactly that (includingme). I know some photographers would have you always do manual exposure. I used to feelthat way years ago, but having worked with so many great camera models over my years atOutdoor Photographer magazine, I don’t feel that way at all.You can use auto exposure just as effectively as manual exposure if you pay attention to suchthings as highlight warnings and histograms.You can be just as accurate as manual exposure andfaster in many cases. This is not a case for quitting using manual exposure if that works for you,but for feeling guilt-free if you don’t use manual exposure. www.betterphoto.com
  • 10. Rob’s Photo Courses:4-Week Course:Composition Boot CampCreating Storytelling PhotosCreative Flash PhotographyGuaranteed Better PhotographySuccessful Publication PhotographyThe Magic of F-stops: Choosing the Right Aperture8-Week Course:Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow Factor www.betterphoto.com
  • 11. Tips by Charlotte K. Lowrie1. How to Photograph FireworksFor those of you who are in the United States or elsewhere where fireworks will be a featureof summer activity, I thought I’d share my tips on exposing for fireworks. This technique worksfor fireworks at a good distance away, not for close-up shooting.1. Mount the camera on a tripod and point the lens toward the area where the fireworks will explode.2. Use a telephoto lens or set the lens you have to the longest telephoto zoom setting.3. Focus the lens on infinity - the farthest point at which the lens will focus. For setup, focus on a distant tree or rock or star.4. Set the camera to M (Manual) mode. Then set the exposure thusly: • ISO: 200 • Aperture: f/11 • Shutter Speed: 1/3rd sec.Now it’s a matter of timing to catch the explosions at their peak before the smoke begins toform. Take some practice shots, and you’ll soon get the hang of it. Then you can take a seat nextto the camera, pressing the shutter button once in awhile as you enjoy the show!You can also capture multiple bursts on the same frame by setting the camera to Bulb andusing a black card to cover the lens between bursts. When a burst happens that you want tocapture, remove the black card from the lens for a few seconds, and then replace the blackcard until another burst happens. This takes some practice, but can result in great shots! It’salso advisable to use a cable release instead of pressing the shutter button with your finger.2. It’s all about the pictureDespite all the technology involved with digital photography, photography is still “all aboutthe picture.” With every image, evaluate all of the elements in the frame; do they support the“story” you’re telling or distract from it? Does the lighting set the mood for the story youwant to tell? What aperture or shutter speed best reinforces the story? And, finally, evaluatewhat image editing techniques that will further emphasize the message. This is a lot to thinkabout, but it pays big dividends in making strong, polished, memorable images. Charlotte’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Courses: Camera Raw: From Capture to Finished Photo Learning the Canon Digital Rebel Camera Learning the Canon EOS 50D www.betterphoto.com
  • 12. Tip by Lynne Eodice1. Utilizing Effective Framing ElementsUsing a foreground element to create a frame within the photo’s frame can be a very effectivecompositional tool. The framing element not only isolates and emphasizes a subject, but alsogives the picture a feeling of depth. It can also serve to obscure distracting details or to createan interesting foreground where none exists. Some frames, like an overhanging tree branch,seem so natural that we’re not always conscious of their presence, just the pleasing effects.Framing devices work best when they’re somehow thematically related to the subject, such asa tree branch framing an interesting rock formation in the background—both are objects foundin nature. Lynne’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Course: Learning to Shoot Inspiring Images www.betterphoto.com
  • 13. Tip by Deborah Sandidge1. Compositional ChoicesFinding a great subject is essential in photography. How to compose for a great subject is thenext challenge.Your first instincts about composition are good to follow; but also push yourselfto additionally compose your subject in different ways.You might surprise yourself with whatchoice you like best.Here are a few ideas… If your first inclination is to photograph in landscape orientation,let portrait orientation be your next choice. Try tilting your camera to the left or right tocompose diagonally. This simple step often creates a more dynamic image. What happens ifyou use a LensBaby? Go for selective focus and softly blur all elements except your subject.Use a wide-angle lens for a composition that tells the whole story. Try isolating a section ofyour subject using a zoom lens. Compose for the rule of thirds, and then break the rules.Move around your subject, find light that is different, and photograph the shadows. Changeyour perspective by moving to your left, right, up or down. Photograph your subject inHDR, infrared, use multiple exposures, pan your subject, or consider a panorama. Thesecompositional choices and techniques will expand the creative opportunities you have inphotographing a great subject. Deborah’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Course: Digital Infrared Photography Enhancing Images and Creating Works of Art www.betterphoto.com
  • 14. Tips by Sean Arbabi1. It’s all About the AnglesPhotography really is all about finding the best point of view. Sometimes creating a qualityimage means getting out of our five-to-six foot eye level - dropping down low or finding ahigher perspective to take a photo. Both, on occasion, can provide cleaner backgrounds, aunique perspective that most don’t see everyday, and often give you a better composition.2. Photographing People: Soft LightA common blunder that occurs when people photograph their family or friends is theyposition themselves between the sun and their subject, with the sun at their back, providingthe most light on their subject’s face (imagine the sun behind you as you take a portrait of yourfamily in front of you with full sunlight on their faces). This often causes the subject to squintheavily, since they are forced to stare directly into the sun, and the light now created on thesubject and surroundings is flat and boring. Instead, try photographing them in soft ambientlight - that is, non-directional light where it is equally intense everywhere, such as shade or thediffused light from an overcast sky. This offers little or no shadows on a face, providing beautifulsoft light complimentary for most people. Sean’s Photo Courses: 4-Week Course: Better Exposure: How to Meter Light www.betterphoto.com
  • 15. Tips by Jim MiotkeMasterpiece Membership Shooting ChecklistInspired by Leland Saunders; Adapted by Jim Miotke and the Masterpiece MembersBefore I go out As I shoot - Light & Exposure• Batteries charged? • What’s the light like?• Got a spare? • What made me shoot this? What’s the main• Images backed up? subject?• Memory cards cleared? • What’s more important - aperture/DOF or• Memory card in camera? shutter speed?• Got extra memory? • Exposure mode and setting?• What will I likely shoot? (Got “shot” list?) • ND filter / position• Bringing the best lenses? • Bracketing exposures or trying alternate• Got the tripod, remote, filters, etc.? versions?• Model releases and notepad? As I shoot - CompositionBefore I shoot • Fill the frame?• Exposure Compensation off (or set • Perspective / point of view? correctly) • Vertical as well as horizontal?• Self-timer turned off? • Rule of thirds?• Got the right lens? • Leading lines?• Best white balance? • Patterns or shape or texture?• ISO where I want it? • Framing?• Focus turned on? • Foreground interest?• Tripod secure? • Background interest?• Two second delay or remote? • Any outstanding color? • Distractions? Simple and complementary background? • Am I having fun yet? Be a part of something special... Join like-minded photographers and make masterpieces every month! www.betterphoto.com
  • 16. BetterPhoto.com®THE BETTER WAY TO BETTER YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SIGN UP FOR AN ONLINE PHOTO COURSE TODAY! www.BetterPhoto.com * 1-888-927-9992 We are so confident in our products and services that we offer a Better Than Money Back Guarantee. www.betterphoto.com

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