How To Take A Good Picture

Many beginners or amateurs find digital photography rather challenging and rightly so. Today, more and more digital cameras are being created and it seems like the more digital cameras they make, the more difficult they become to use. But, regardless of the camera you own, you should have at list the basic knowledge of digital photography in order to become excellent in the field.  Below are some digital photography tips on how to take a good picture with your camera.

Think about your shots

Photography doesn't start when you get your camera out of your kit bag or look through the view finder. The process begins when you see a potential shot. Whether that's physically looking at a sweeping view in front of you or visualizing an image in your head, this is the point when you should start asking yourself questions. What has drawn you to this image? Why do you want to capture it? And what is it that you hope to achieve?

Thinking the image through before you even reach for your camera will help you decide which lens and focal length you need, the aperture and shutter speed to use and where you need to be to take the shot. It's all about imagining the picture you want, and then working back to determine what you have to do to realize that shot.

Get composition spot-on every time

Whenever you look through your cameras' viewfinder, or line up a shot on the LCD screen, you take your first step towards composing a shot. There are lots of long-standing 'rules' regarding composition, many such as the Golden Spiral and Golden Section. Perhaps the most widely used rules in photography, and certainly one of the easiest to work with in the field, is the Rule of Thirds. It's simple, yet effective to help you take a good picture.

Digital Photography Tips

Just imagine two lines crossing the frame horizontally, and two crossing it vertically to divide it into thirds. Positioning key elements on these lines, such as a horizon on one of the horizontal line, can produce a more dynamic image than having something dead centre in the frame. Placing key elements at the point where the lines intersect also serves as a powerful compositional device.

Ensure your basic camera functions are set correctly

How To Take Good Picture

Although you might think your camera's already 'set' from the last time you were out shooting, it's always worth checking a few of the basic. The most obvious starting point is your memory card. First of all, is it actually inserted? It may sound obvious, but there's nothing worse than heading out with an empty camera having assumed it has always got a memory card in it. Having checked you've got your card, it's time to wipe it clean. Formatting it using your camera's menu system will better prevent any data corruption than simply erasing the pictures on the card. So always choose a full Format rather than erase.

Next, set your file type to JPEG if you want print-ready files from the camera, or RAW if you anticipate in post production. If you choose to shoot JPEGs, you also need to check the file size. Set the largest image size, with minimum compression, for optimum image quality.

Finally, don't forget to check those often-overlooked settings, such as exposure bracketing, the AF mode and focus point selection, and especially any color modes or picture styles you may have selected. If your camera remembers your previously used settings, it's easy to find yourself starting out with strange combinations from a recent shoot, so reset the camera. It's good practice to do this at the end of every shoot. Your camera is then ready whenever you spot the perfect photo opportunity.

Get the white balance right

The color of the world around us is constantly changing because of the light, whether that's coming from the sun or an artificial light source. Each of these light sources has its own color temperature. Measured in Kelvin, the lower the temperature, the warmer (more orange) the light, and the higher the temperature, the cooler (more blue) the light.

Most of the time we don't notice any changes because our brain auto-corrects what we see to give a near-neutral result. This is similar to the way in which your camera's automatic white balance works, but  of course your camera doesn't know what it's looking at.

If you look at the sunset, for example, your brain knows that the warm orange glow is 'right', so doesn't completely neutralize it. But your camera will, it simply sees a scene with too much warmth and attempts to correct it fully. For this reason, it's always best to use your camera's preset white balance options (such as Daylight, Cloudy, or Shade), especially if you're shooting JPEGs that will be processed in camera. It can be harder and more time consuming to correct the color later. If you shoot in RAW, you can change the white balance when you convert the files, so there's an argument for using your camera's Auto White Balance and correcting it later.

Assess your shot in camera

Unless you're photographing a once-in-a-lifetime, split second moment, there's no reason why you shouldn't check your images after you've shot them even if it's only the first one in a sequence. The most important tools for this are your camera's LCD screen and histogram display.

Using the screen, you can easily check your composition and framing, and make rudimentary checks on color to ensure the white balance is set correctly. Checking the frame is especially important if your camera's viewfinder doesn't offer 100% coverage, because you might find a stray branch or figure has appeared at the edge of the frame that wasn't visible when you took the shot. And don't be shy, zoom right in to check your focus and depth of field. Move around the image to see if anything's amiss. Now is the time to make any adjustments and shoot again. When you get home, it will be too late!


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