Digital Photography – 7 Tips For Better Results

takingpicture Digital photography has become very popular and digital cameras now offer high end features in low cost models. You can get some great shots from a low cost camera. Here are a few tricks to help improve your shots.

Use the Magic Hour – The “magic hour” is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The lower angle of the sun will provide rich saturated tones that you will get at no other time of the day. Photographers call this “sweet light”. You can get some amazing shots during this hour. It is a near golden glow that makes everything look better. Landscapes will seem enchanted and golden clouds make for some fantastic sunsets. If you are real lucky the magic hour can be enhanced by weather. For instance sunsets just after a rain will leave the air clear and the sunlight reflections from the water can give you refractions and water droplets can become shimmering diamonds.

The Magic Hour

The Magic Hour - click for larger image

Force Flash Outdoors – You may not think of it, but using your flash outdoors can produce better results under certain circumstances. For instance if you a shooting a target that is in shadow the picture will come out too dark. You camera is sensing all of the sun and determines no flash is needed. To solve this problem force your flash on and it will fill in the light enough to brighten your target. It also has the effect of softening the picture which can be very flattering for facial shots.

Eliminate Shutter Lag – Shutter lag is the time between when you press the trigger button and the camera actual takes the picture. During this time the camera calculates exposure and focus. You may have the perfect picture lined up only to have the subject move in the time it takes to press the trigger and take the picture. To eliminate this problem aim your camera anticipating where the subject will be and half depress he trigger. This allows the camera to calculate the exposure and focus before you take the picture. Hold the trigger half depressed until your shot lines up, then fully press the trigger.

Blurred Background Effect – By creating a shallow dept of field you can create some amazing shots where the focus is on the subject and you get a blurred background effect. To accomplish this select the portrait mode on your camera. Have the subject move away from the background as far as possible. Move away from your subject as far as possible and then zoom in to bring the subject back close as you take the picture. This takes some practice, but when you get it right you will love the effect. You don’t want to go as far as digital zoom or the picture will be too grainy.

Exhale and Pull Your Elbows In – Unless you have a vibration control lens such as those found on higher end camera rigs pulling your elbows in and exhaling as you shot your pictures will help steady your shot. You should practice this with every picture you take so it becomes part of your natural flow. Whenever possible steady yourself by placing your elbows on a firm surface creating a tripod position.

Steady Yourself

Steady Yourself

Shoot More Candidly – It is hard to walk around with a camera pointing and not get noticed. I think posed pictures meet a need, but the best pictures are those taken when your subject is not aware they are being photographed. One way you can get candid shots is to hide by shooting around something such as the corner of a building, over a shoulder of someone in front of you or shooting through something such as a bush. While it may feel a little creepy, you will get good results from more candid photos.

How to Deal With Direct Light – Shooting in direct light can present challenges. Lens flare, high contrast and saturated colors can ruin the perfect picture. To work around this you need to create shade. If possible have your subject move into the shade and use fill in flash if needed. If you are forced to shoot into the sun be sure and force your flash on to fill in. Other ways to combat direct light include using filters such as a polarizing or neutral density filter. Polarizing filers have the added bonus of giving you some good color. You can use a lens hood to battle lens flare and if available a reflector to redirect light to your subject.