147 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything

Tip 11. Try Shutter Priority 

For sharp shots, you need a fast shutter speed. To guarantee this, use Shutter Priority, dialling in your preferred shutter speed, and switch to Auto ISO; the camera will adjust the aperture and sensitivity according to the light 

Tip 12. Try Aperture Priority 

Shooting in Aperture Priority mode enables you to control the depth of field as well as the exposure. 

Keep an eye on the camera’s shutter speed in the viewfinder, though, otherwise you might end up with shots ruined by camera shake.  

Tip 13. Check the AF mode 

Make sure that you use One Shot/Single Servo for stationary subjects and AI Servo/Continuous Servo to keep track of moving ones. 

Tip 14. Close-up depth of field 

The closer you are to a subject, the shallower the depth of field is. If this results in too much blur, try moving farther away and crop the shot to a tighter composition later.

Tip 15. Spot metering 

For more accurate exposures, switch to spot metering and aim the metering area at a part of the subject you want to be recorded as a mid-tone. 

Use your camera’s exposure lock function to lock this setting before recomposing the shot. 

Tip 16. Shoot sharp landscapes 

Small apertures such as f/16 and f/22 increase the depth of field, or the amount of front-to-back sharpness. Perfect for landscapes, you might think. 

The trade-off is that they lead to softer pictures due to the effects of diffraction (where the light rays are bent out of shape as they pass through the small hole). 

For sharper details, it may be worth sacrificing a little depth of field and using an aperture that’s a couple of stops down from the smallest setting.  

Tip 17. Working with a tripod 

A tripod enables you to close the aperture of your shot down if you require a greater depth of field, and also to reduce your ISO to the highest quality setting. 

It’s also essential when you want to shoot longer exposures in low light, but a combination of strong gusts and spongy ground can make things tricky. 

In these conditions, you may have to resort to setting up on a firm area and keeping the tripod low, shielding the legs from the wind with your body.  

Read more: 7 golden rules of tripod stability

Tip 18. Brush up on your reflector skills 

To prevent your portrait-sitter from squinting into the sun, position them so their back is towards the sun and use a reflector to bounce light onto their face, ‘feathering’ the reflected light rather than bouncing it directly into their eyes. 

It’s worth experimenting with different reflectors. A silver one adds a clean, crisp quality; a white one gives softer results that are often easier to blend in. Gold reflectors add warmth, but use them with care. 

Tip 19. Shoot more flattering portraits 

The low-contrast light afforded by cloudy but bright days is great for portraits as you won’t get ugly shadows under eyebrows and noses, or glare on people’s skin. Focal lengths of 85mm and longer are more flattering than shorter lengths. 

The angle you shoot at also counts: shooting from slightly below eye level implies confidence and power, while shooting from slightly above is slimming and intimate. 

Read more: The three lenses every portrait photographer should consider

Tip 20. Get set up for candids 

Things happen quickly when you’re shooting candids, so you need to have your camera ready to go. Avoid using a brightly coloured camera strap, and wrap it around your wrist rather than over your shoulder. 

Hold the camera at chest or head height, where it’s quicker to get it up to your eye. Not only does enable you to react faster, it’s less likely to attract your subject’s attention.