10 camera techniques to master in 2014

10 camera techniques to master in 2014

While it can take years to master the camera techniques you need to take amazing images, whatever your skill level and whatever you choose to shoot, it often pays to keep things simple. In our first Shoot Like A Pro series of the new year we’ve put together 10 essential camera techniques every photographer should master. We’ll start with taking control of focus then move on to using features like exposure compensation, white balance and more.

10 camera techniques to master in 2014

From focusing and photo composition to white balance and lighting, this straightforward guide should cement your basic shooting skills, rid you of bad photo habits, and leave you to concentrate on simply getting better images.

When trying out these techniques it’s often recognising what could go wrong that will help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

So with that in mind, we’ve also included handy examples of common problems and mistakes that can happen to anyone, whatever their experience, and how best to correct them.

But don’t be afraid of making mistakes; it’s how everyone learns a new skill.

SEE MORE: 10 common camera mistakes every photographer makes

Camera Techniques for 2014: 01 Take control of focus

10 camera techniques to master in 2014: Take control of focus

eave your camera to its own devices and it will focus using the central focus point. While this will produce sharp images in many situations, for more creative photography it’s better to take some control over the focus point.

Your chosen subject won’t always be in the centre of the frame, after all.

So the first skill you need to master is how to get your camera to focus on exactly the point that you want to be sharp.

Your camera has a number of focus points spread across the frame – you can see them through the viewfinder – and these offer an excellent solution for focusing on off-centre subjects.

You’ll need to set your camera to its single-point autofocus mode, rather than the multiple or automatic selection.

SEE MORE: Beginner photograph tips: the most common mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Select individually
The exact procedure for selecting individual focus points (and the number available) varies according to your camera, but generally on Canon models you have to press the AF point selection button, then rotate the input dial or use the selector on the rear of the camera.

SEE MORE: Autofocus point options – what subjects should each be used with

Look through the viewfinder as you do so, and you’ll see the active AF point (in red) move around the frame.

On most Nikon SLRs, once you’ve selected single-point autofocus you simply use the four-way controller on the back of the camera to highlight a different AF point.

The main downside to using the outer focus points on many cameras is that they aren’t as sensitive as those in the centre of the frame.

This means that they can struggle to focus in low light, if the subject is low contrast or you are using a lens with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or narrower.

You may also find that there isn’t a focus point exactly where you want the camera to focus.

SEE MORE: Master your camera’s autofocus – which AF points to use and when to use them

In both cases you can manually focus the lens, or use a technique known as focus lock, where you highlight the subject with the active AF point and then half-press the shutter release to lock the focus distance before reframing the shot.

Camera Techniques for 2014: 01 Take control of focus
Camera Techniques for 2014: 02 Get white balance accurate every time
Camera Techniques for 2014: 03 How to focus on moving subjects
Camera Techniques for 2014: 04 How to use exposure compensation
Camera Techniques for 2014: 05 Ways to cope with high-contrast lighting
Camera Techniques for 2014: 06 How to position your subject in the frame
Camera Techniques for 2014: 07 Learn basic TTL flash techniques
Camera Techniques for 2014: 08 Sharpen photos like a pro
Camera Techniques for 2014: 09 How to control the saturation of colours
Camera techniques for 2014: 10 Add depth by using different apertures


24 camera features every beginner photographer must memorise
Learn photography: classic tips and tutorials for shooting any subject
7 beginner photography tutorials that can still improve your photography
Photography for beginners: 6 reasons you’re smarter than your camera
2014 Predictions: new camera technology we can expect in the new year