Photo Tip Round-Up – Ten Plus One

If there is one thing photographers love to do it’s exchange tips – almost as much as they love to shoot pictures! What follows is a list of tips that Porter’s has recently compiled. Read on through the list and take what you can from the suggestions. Putting even one tip into practice can immediately improve your pictures!

#1 – Know Your Camera! Knowing your particular camera can help you learn its limitations. Understanding those limitations will help you creatively overcome them. At the very least, know where your instruction book is.

#2 – Hold Your Camera Correctly. The number one complaint in photography is fuzzy pictures. Use two hands to hold the camera and keep your elbows tucked into your body.

#3 – Use Your Flash: Indoors or out using an accessory flash improves people pictures. Flash adds fill light to people's eyes, it eliminates harsh shadows, and with most cameras it eases high contrast scenes.

#4 – Format your Memory Cards. When it comes to caring for media cards, there are a few things you need to know to make sure your images are well protected and the card remains in working order. For example, make sure to reformat your card on a regular basis. Reformatting keeps the file structure clean and in good working order, which means you’ll get fewer error messages down the road. The longer a card goes without being formatted, the greater possibility there is for corruption. (ed 4/26) Note: Only format cards after all images have been downloaded! Formatting will erase everything on the card. (Read more about memory card use and care on THIS POST)

#5 – Eyes OPEN! If you've ever had a subject who blinks every time the flash goes off try this: Have the subject close their eyes and then open them on the count of three. Tripping the shutter at the same count will all but assure you of getting an eyes-open shot.

#6 – Want Steadier Shots? Begin by holding the camera firmly and with both hands. Keep your elbows into the body. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale, at the end of the exhale your ribcage will be rigid and steady. Press the shutter release at that moment.

#7 – Sink To Their Level. The next time your are taking pictures of seated people or kids make sure to get the camera down to their eye level. This will make the subject's face look properly proportioned in the final image.

#8 – Whenever Possible, Use A Tripod! You knew I was going to get this one onto the list, right? Cameras on tripods take sharper images rendering more fine detail than any hand-held camera even with an image stabilized lens.

#9 – Shoot Now, Look Later: If you’re photographing a particular scene or event, keep shooting until you’ve reached a point of closure. Too often we shoot a picture and immediately look at the LCD screen to see if we captured the shot. Keep going. You might miss that frame-worthy photo because your eyes are focused on what has already happened instead of what is happening right now.

#10 – Don't Zoom Too Much. Zoom lenses are handy for reaching out to subjects at a distance. However if it is possible to physically move in closer rather than use the zoom we should. A zoom lens can make an image look flat and without depth – the background can seem to be right on top of the subject. If there is one tip that can have the greatest impact on your images, this is it! Use your feet more often than the zoom lens and you will like your pictures more.

The globe in both images is about the same size. There is a greater feeling of depth with the picture on the left. The image on the right shows background and subject compression due to the zoom lens.

Plus One – Learn One New Thing A Month. You will be taking pictures for a very long time, you don't need to learn everything right this moment. Take on one new technique and work with it until you know it inside and out. Repetition and practice are the best ways to increase skill.

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