Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review of Photography Tips



  Class Offers Helpful Tips

It is a good idea for every photographer to review some of the basic techniques for photography from time to time. I have taken many classes over the years and I always think I will remember the techniques I have learned and I do for a time. But then, I will find myself falling back into old habits or trying new techniques and forgetting to use some of the basics. For that reason, I think it is great to have a review of basics on a regular basis.
In the nature photography class I am taking the instructor used the second session to go over some of the basic techniques. He reminded us of things like using a tripod, watching your vantage point, taking both vertical and horizontal shots and watching your background.
On this page I will be sharing some of the tips he gave us and showing you photos that I have taken using these techniques.
The first photo here is one I took of a bleeding heart flower. I set my aperature on a 5.6 and zoomed in to get a closeup. The resulting photo shows the flower in detail and a soft blurr for the background.
All photos on this page are my own-mbgphoto.

Photographing Waterfalls
I love photographing waterfalls. When I come to a waterfall i usually shoot it at a variety of speeds. It is a great way to learn how your camera works at various speeds.
Here are the tips the instructor gave us get that smooth blurring look in the water.
  • Set your camera to your lowest ISO
  • Set your speed at 1/15 sec or slower
  • Always use a tripod

The photo above is one I took of a waterfall at Missouri Botanical Garden.

Pop Up Reflectors are Great Tools

In this photo and the one below you can see the difference a reflector can make in a photo. I was with my friend photographing a garden when I came upon this old plow. The first photo I took had a glare from the sun on the wheel. I kept moving around but could not get rid of the glare, so I asked my friend to help. She stepped just outside of my frame and held the black side of the reflector over the wheel to block the sunlight.
It was amazing, as she lifted the reflector to block the sun I looked at my camera screen and it was if someone was drawing a dark line around the wheel. The light spot disappeared and you could clearly see the wheel. The resulting photo is shown below.

Plow Using Reflector to Shade the Sun


The reflector below is the type I used for these photos.

Click here to View Amazon Link

Watch Your Background and Foreground - frame your photos

In our class the instructor spent quite a bit of time talking about backgrounds and framing your photo. So many times we get so caught up into getting the object we are photographing to look just right that we forget to look at what else might be in the photo. There is nothing more distracting than having an unwanted person or object behind our main subject. The instructor suggested that before you click the photo you should run your eyes around the perimeter of the photo to make sure you are only including what you want in the photo.
Foregrounds are also important and if you can find an object to frame your photo it can give your picture a very focused look. In the photo above I used falls leaves to frame the Split Rock lighthouse in the distance. In order to do this I climbed up on a rock and made sure the branches of the tree framed the outside perimeter of my photo.

Make Your own Background


Sometimes the best way to get the background you desire for your photo is to make your own background. In our class several different ways to make backgrounds were suggested. The instructor carries squares of fabrics in various colors in his camera bag. A black or a green piece of fabric draped behind a flower can give you a great backdrop. This way just the flower is in the photo and it gives you a dramatic look.
In this photo I used a velvet skirt and draped it over my kitchen chair. i then sat the plant on the chair to get this image.

Use a Polarizer - a must for the serious photographer

Our instructor suggested that if you were only getting one filter for your camera the one you should get is a polarizer. I completely agree. A polarizer will cut down on glare and really make the colors pop in your photo. It is like having sunglasses for your camera. A polarizer is particular useful when shooting foliage and fall colors.
The items below are made from photographs I took of Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota.  I love taking photos of lighthouses from lots of different vantage points.

by mbgphoto

I learn at lot from studying the tips found in photography books.  I highly recommend Scott Kelby's series on digital photography.  The book below is the first in the series.
Click on Photo to view book on Amazon

7 comments:

  1. Your photography tips are always fabulous Mary Beth and I certainly appreciate the review and compilation of tips here. I am definitely a creature of habit and if I am not reminded to step outside of my comfort zone, or back into an old comfort zone, I do easily forget. I have yet to try a polarizer and that is something I really want to play with for sure. Thank you for the reminder!

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  2. I only have a simple point and shoot digital camera, but your tips are helpful even for us amateur photographers. Love all your photo examples here, as always.

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  3. Great advice! I particularly liked the reflector advice and example with the plow. I know there have been situations when I've tried to take a picture and couldn't get rid of the glare and just gave up. Should have had a reflector!

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  4. Great advice! I particularly liked the reflector advice and example with the plow. I know there have been situations when I've tried to take a picture and couldn't get rid of the glare and just gave up. Should have had a reflector!

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  5. The reflector tip is great, I'll remember that - and LOVE your photos, beautiful!!

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  6. Those are great tips. I didn't even know about reflectors. Will they work if you are by yourself and don't have a helper to hold one for you? All I have is a point and shoot that I keep in my pocket while I'm on walks. I can't carry a tripod around with me, but it would be useful if I can drive close to a subject and only have to carry it a short distance. I need to get one with longer legs.

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  7. Those are great tips. I didn't even know about reflectors. Will they work if you are by yourself and don't have a helper to hold one for you? All I have is a point and shoot that I keep in my pocket while I'm on walks. I can't carry a tripod around with me, but it would be useful if I can drive close to a subject and only have to carry it a short distance. I need to get one with longer legs.

    ReplyDelete