The world’s best photography tips (and how to break them)

The world's best photography tips (and how to break them)

Photography tips for using light


Photography Tips: balance the sky with an ND grad filter

16 Balance the sky

Most of the time the sky is much brighter than the landscape, so if you’re serious about landscape photography then a set of graduated neutral density filters (ND grads) is a must.

Semi-opaque at one end and clear at the other, these can be precisely positioned in front of your lens so the graduation from light to dark meets at the horizon, enabling you to expose for both sky and foreground.

Photography Tips: balance the sky Photography Tips: balance the sky

Break the rules!
Take two shots of the same scene; expose one for the landscape and the other for the sky, then blend the images together using layers and masks in Photoshop.


Photography Tips: slow down moving water


17 Slow down the water

With photography it’s often a battle to get a fast enough shutter speed to capture your subject without blur or camera shake, but with landscapes it’s often desirable to use blur creatively in a scene.

Freeze a waterfall and you completely lose the sense of movement and drama; but shoot it at a slower shutter speed and it turns into an indistinct blur that speaks volumes about the ferocity of the fall.

Photography Tips: slow down moving water


The problem is that, even in dull light and when you’re shooting at a narrow aperture, you’re unlikely to be able to reach a slow enough shutter speed.

An ND filter reduces the amount of light reaching your sensor without affecting the colours; used in conjunction with a tripod it will enable you to achieve exposures several seconds – or even minutes – long.

Break the rules!
A watery splash, such as when a rally car hits water, looks infinitely better frozen!


Photography Tips: keep the sun over your shoulder

18 Keep the sun over your shoulder

Shoot with the sun behind you and you can be confident that your scene is going to be well lit, without presenting you with exposure problems such as backlit subjects framed by bright skies.

However, it’s best if the sun isn’t directly behind you, but over one shoulder; this will introduce an element of side lighting, which will create shadows and give your subject or scene some depth and texture.

Break the rules!
Shoot into the sunset and reduce the exposure by a couple of stops to create atmospheric silhouettes.


How to take long exposure pictures of the sea: Step 2

19 Get your timing right

Finding a photogenic scene is only half the story. When you shoot it can determine whether it’s going to be a so-so shot or a stunner.

Wait for a break in the clouds so your subject is lit by sunlight; a pier will look better surrounded by sea rather than mud and seaweed; a ray of dawn light shining through a rock arch may only happen for a couple of days a year.

Check the tides, and the position of sunrise and sunset before you set out.

Break the rules!
Sometimes bad weather can help to enhance a scene – stormy skies and moody clouds can add drama. But take a brolly!


Photography Tips: shoot at the golden hours

20 Shoot at the golden hours

Avoid shooting in the middle of a sunny day. The bright, overhead light produces harsh, ugly shadows and portraits end up with squinting subjects, while sweeping landscapes look flat and featureless.

Shooting at the extremes of the day, around dawn and dusk, will give you beautiful golden light that is low in the sky, giving your subjects a lovely golden glow.

Break the rules!
Carry a reflector to bounce light back onto your subjects, and you can shoot portraits and still lifes whenever you like, even on overcast days.

PAGE 1: Photography tips on setting up your DSLR
PAGE 2: Photography tips on focusing your camera
PAGE 3: Photography tips on composition
PAGE 4: Photography tips on using light


54 Portrait Ideas: free downloadable posing guide
Famous Photographers: 225 tips to inspire you
12 common errors of night photography (and how to fix them)