*Photos that are technically correct; with little grain, right exposure, right composition, etc.
So, some of you have probably gotten a new camera during the holidays and it's so shiny and look at all the details, is that a pore on my face, and everything is great, but what are all these numbers and letters on my screen, let's just use auto mode. And then it all begins. The depression. The photos lack something... That sparkle of life, you know. You ask why? Is this the way of god trying to tell me that I have no talents and that I wasted my money?
You just need a bit of guidance, that's all. Here are some tips for beginners and those who might need it.
It's safe now to turn off auto mode.
What are you saying?! These are too complicated to understand, why should I?
You remember that thing that lacks? That thing is - you, your touch. All the numbers seem hard, but they're your friends and they help you capture those little fragments of time. Not every person who holds a camera in their hands is a photographer.
So please, turn on Manual exposure mode.
The exposure triangle.
What is this hipster shit?
Oh come on! Everyone knows triangles are awesome. Just ask the Illuminati, Kesha and Alt-J.
But I'm talking about the exposure triangle that consists of:
ISO - the camera sensor's sensitivity to lightLower value: softer grain (the best kind in most cases), less light - use when: good lighting conditions, static subjects
Higher value: more noise, more light - best for situations when shutter speed is priority, moving objects, etc.
-I never go over 200 when adjusting ISO because I really dislike noise. I'd rather wait for the better light conditions or simply make them better than change it to e.g. 800.
Aperture - the size of the opening of the lens when taking a photoLower value: more light, shallow depth of field - use when: poor lighting conditions, singling out a subject, close-ups, portraits, for showing off to your friends
Higher value: darker, larger DOF - use when: good lighting conditions, for landscapes, sky photos, outdoors, macro, for capturing as many details in focus as possible
-Aperture is the best thing that will ever happen to you if you use it wisely. I use really low aperture value such as f/1.8 because I mostly work indoors where I need as much lighting as possible and I like the effect. Also, to impress my friends and then they they're like how did you do that and I'm like magic.
Shutter speed - how long the shutter is open when pressed; measured in secondsLower value: more light, more motion captured - use when: poor lighting conditions, capturing lightnings (use BULB or 10-30 sec. shutter speed!!), light paintings, static subjects
Higher value: darker, freezes moment in time - use when: outdoors, sunny days, taking photos of the sky, subjects in motion
-Shutter speed is the second best thing that will happen to you. For static subjects you can go with 1/60 if the lighting is bad, but for moving ones, such as pets, sports, groups of people, etc. I wouldn't suggest anything under at least 1/200.
What to do with this knowledge?
Use it wisely. You can't move one part of the triangle and not move one of the other parts to maintain approximately the same exposure. You have to adjust the triangle for every scene. Try playing around with these settings and see what you can achieve. If you fail, at least you know you can't do that anymore and try again.
Rotate that ring, man. Don't be afraid to try manual focusing. Your adjustment is usually more accurate than the auto-focus if you practice it. If you prefer quicker focusing, or you simply need it (how are you going to focus manually the moving subject?), it's perfectly fine, but you should try this too.
You can also adjust focus point of your choice on the camera, you know. On Canons, it's usually the magnifying buttons that open AF point selection and then you move around the points and select the one you wish your camera to focus on. Don't forget to change the settings for the next time you shoot (I often wonder why it focuses on a tree behind the subject and suspect the quality of my lens and then I remember to switch it to auto selection).
Sharpness and the correct focus are essential qualities of a photograph. The human brain strives for details. Make your photos as sharp as possible. Blurry subjects make most of the viewers uncomfortable - the brain tries to focus it itself, but it can't and it's confused and questioning its viewing utensil - eyesight. Use the knowledge of the triangle and your focusing powers for optimum sharpness.
Are we still talking about photography here?
Yes, but a photograph can be like a song. It can tell you a story and transfer the mood to you. That's why you need to arrange the scene that you want the others to see the way you do.
It's called composition and it's basically the organization of the photo, order of the things that are captured.
The rule of thirds is the basic rule that everyone will talk about composition. Basically you divide the photo in 9 equal parts and the viewer's eyes glide trough the points where these parts meet.
I don't know if I explained it properly, but if you'd like to know more about the rule of thirds, here's a bit more detailed tutorial that I can recommend - [link]
Use symmetry, lines to guide the viewer's eye to something, patterns (can also be blurry backgrounds so watch out), play with focus.
Make sure that the lines you capture (horizon, people, buildings, walls, everything!) are parallel to the sides of your image. You don't want your subject to hang out of the frame.
Moving subjects should have a bit more space in the direction they're heading, except if you're into capturing a bit more tense and thrilling mood. Again, take a couple of photos with different compositions and play around with it. These rules aren't fixed. Nobody can tell you what to do.
Fill your frame, move closer to the subject, crop it, make the scene interesting and the viewer occupied with details.
Centering the subject is not always such a great idea. For example, in portraits, the eyes should be placed on 1/3 of the photo (horizontally, of course), just remember the rule of thirds. Same thing is with horizons and such.
White balance is awesome.
My white balance is on auto mode and it looks good.
But it could look even better.
Adjust your white balance for each scene (or shoot in RAW and adjust it later ) so you can avoid those nasty orange tones when taking the photo indoors under artificial light sources, or when taking a photo on a sunny day, or in shade.
I won't even say what it can do, go out and find out yourself the brilliance of white balance.
Your built-in flash is actually not your friend yet.
But it said I can take photos with it when I need more lighting.
Don't listen to it, it's mean. Use the knowledge about the exposure triangle, combine it with white balance and make your own great exposed photo. The flash usually casts the light that is too bright and harsh so your subject won't look as good as you think they would. It can be useful in some other techniques like fill flash, but there is still much to learn when it comes to that.
Take photos whenever you can, wherever you can, experiment, play with your camera, get to know it, love it and it will love you back.
No, seriously. Go read the manual, ask someone online, try different things, try using props, go explore the garden after the rain, take a walk around the city and shoot, shoot, shoot.
That would be all from me for now.
I hope you've enjoyed this little guide and that you find it useful.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, we're all here to help.
Have a nice weekend!