1. Use the Aperture Priority mode to get those
professional looking portrait shots with the out of focus
Using the “A” or Aperture priority on your camera’s mode dial
gives you control of depth of field. Aperture settings are
measured in “F-stops.” One thing to note is the wider apertures
actually have lower numbers, while the more narrow apertures
have higher numbers. For example, a F2 has a wider aperture
than an F22. A wider aperture decreases the depth of field in
your shot making the background more blurred out, but keeping
you subject in focus.
2. Mix artificial and natural light for ideal city night shots
Time the taking of your images so that the light levels from
each source (artificial and natural) is the same, which will
produce an evenly exposed shot. Take a spot meter reading from
both the sky and an area of the shot that’s well artificially
lit. When the sky is still slightly brighter, start shooting
using the spot metered setting for the artificially lit part of
the scene. Continue to take pictures using the exposures. You
should have a few shots that are perfectly exposed during the
ten minute window where the scene will be perfectly lit.
3. Use Apps, such as
Camera Awesome and Camera+, to enhance your smart phone
Photography apps on smart phones have come a long way. While
smart phones don’t offer the professional capabilities of DSLR
camera, you can still use these apps to help adjust and enhance
your photos to take them to a new level.
Two favorites are Camera Awesome (iphone and Android) and
Camera + (iphone). Camera Awesome has an easy-to-set timer and
burst feature. It also allows you to set ISO, white balance and
4. Use burst mode to
capture a fleeting range of expressions, motion and improve the
odds of a good group shot
In burst mode, several photos are captured in quick succession.
This feature is available on most digital cameras, DSLRs and
through app features on your smart phone. You shoot in this
continuous high speed by holding down the shutter button on
5. Be in two places at once
with an easy panoramic trick
With the help from a friend and a little jogging, you can
pose in the frame multiple times. Open your phone’s camera app
and select the panoramic mode. Have your friend start on the
far left of the frame and slowly pan to the right. As soon as
you are out of the frame run around behind your friend and pose
again somewhere to the right. Play around with it to see how
many times you can squeeze into the frame.
6. Speaking of panoramic
shots, change the direction and angle
These aren’t complicated, but they might be something you
haven’t realized yet. Change the panning direction by simply
tapping the arrow and it will switch direction. Take vertical
panoramic photos by rotating your smart phone so that you are
holding it in landscape orientation. Instead of panning
horizontally, pan vertically from low to high, or high to low.
7. Perfect “Jumpology”
photos using burst mode and faster shutter speeds
Get low to take the photograph so the jumpers appear higher! If
you have your subjects try to create shapes with their bodies
instead of jumping straight up and down, it will give more of a
floating effect. To ensure sure you capture the perfect moment,
use the burst mode on your camera and a faster shutter speed to
freeze the movement.
8. Find the best spots for
stunning sunrise and sunset photos using The Photographer’s
Ephemeris (TPE) app to map out the position of the sun
It’s a map-centric sun and moon calculator, allowing you to
see how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any
location on Earth. It’s especially helpful in planning for
early-morning shoots, when it’s harder to pinpoint exactly where
the sun will rise.
9. Don’t look through the
viewfinder to capture more candid street shots
Go a bit under the radar and see where it takes you when you
don’t look through the viewfinder. Select your camera’s Program
mode and set the drive mode to silent if your camera has this
feature. Pre-focus the lens manually about five or six feet.
Place the camera on your strap at a longer length over your
shoulder and press the shutter release in short bursts as you
stroll around an interesting people watching street.
Make sure to review your shots every now and then to make
any small adjustments to focal length and the position of the
10. Use Inexpensive Macro
Filters to Get Close-Up Magnification
If you can’t afford a dedicated macro lens, you can get a
similar effect for a fraction of the cost with macro filters.
When using a macro filter however, you will want to keep your
aperture small – such as f11 to f18 – to get a good depth of
field (so more light is required).
11. Take backlight photos
at golden hour for desirable portraits with a warm
hour in photography is the first and last hour of sunlight of
the day, where you get the desired soft light for halo like
portraits. And if you really want to be precise, there is an
app for that. The Golden Hour
App shows you the path of the sun in the sky for the
location and date selected.
12. Capture Both Sides of
the Moment with the Frontback App
The app (on Google Playand in iTunes) uses the front and back of your camera to
capture what you see and how you feel at any moment. Some have
described it as having your face being the emotion, or caption,
for what you are seeing and experiencing. If about to bungee jump
off a bridge your #frontback image might show the view of the
drop and perhaps your anxious selfie before the jump. Once you’ve
taken a photo, you can share it in a single image to Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, and the app’s news feed.
13. Turn a Turkey Pan into
a DIY Beauty Dish for Under a Dollar
Beauty Dish is used by portrait photographers to get a
flattering lighting effect on their subject. The intensity of
light on the subject compared to the surrounding, and the
silver color reflected off of the aluminum add to the effect.
Cut a hole in the center of the turkey pan, add some aluminum
in front, assemble as shown with the flash/bulb inserted.
13. Use a Drop of Water to
Create Your Own Macro Lens on Your Smart Phone
Another Macro Lens trick is to use a straw to drop a small
droplet of water on your smart phone lens to magnify your image
immensly. A small drop won’t run off when you pick up your
phone to take a picture.
14. Use a plastic bag on
your lens to get a haze and blur effect
Crumple a plastic bag, wrap it at the front of your camera lens
and fix it with a rubber band. Tear it at the center using your
hand which will create stretch marks and create a fading
transition effect from blurred to sharp region. You can double
up on bags to achieve an even greater blurred effect.
15. Overexpose your photo
in low light situations.
Use your camera’s exposure compensation capability to dial
the exposure compensation to the positive side in order to
purposefully overexpose your photo. The scale on most DSLR’s
allow from -3 to +3 stops in 1/3 stop increments.
16. Perfect the simple
silhouette by taking an exposure reading from the sky
Put your subject in front of a light source (often the sun) and
turn off your flash. Set your camera to spot metering and point
the camera towards a brighter part of the sky (but not the
sun). You can take an exposure reading by pressing your shutter
button half way down.
17. Use Bulb mode for
stunning moonlight photos
Using one of the standard modes the longest exposure possible
is 30 seconds, so you’ll need to use Bulb (B) mode instead
which will allow exposure of any length. You do this with a
remote shutter release. Press and hold/lock the remote to
keep the shutter open for the desired time. This will help you
with your night sky photography.
18. Lower the shutter speed
and pan to create motion
To capture your subject in motion, choose a shutter speed that
is around two steps lower than needed. Keep your camera on your
subject, with your finger half way down on the shutter to lock
to lock the focus. Take the photo and pan the camera with them
as they move.
19. Choose Aperture
Priority and a deep depth of field to get dramatic architecture
pictures at night
For these shots, a tripod and cable release would be ideal,
but not a necessity. Set your camera to Aperture Priority and
choose a small aperture for deep depth of field so the building
is sharp. You can also play with your shutter speed to allow for
more light to come through.
20.Slow down your camera’s
shutter speed and with a neutral density (ND) filter for dreamy
You can have more control over your image when using a ND
filter. You can take photos where the faster moving water looks
calm and silky, or moving clouds look like surreal streaks in
the sky. The filter allows you to better regulate the amount of
light and slow down your shutter speed to get the same exposure
you would have gotten without the filter.
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