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

Tip 41. Use Manual exposure

If the light is consistent and you have time to set the shutter speed and aperture, use your camera’s Manual exposure mode. 

This locks the exposure setting in, so it makes a good choice for keeping a subject correctly exposed even when the background changes.

Tip 42. Lens corrections

If you’re planning on working up your shots in your preferred raw conversion or photo editing software, like Camera Raw or Lightroom, it pays to frame views a little wider than perhaps feels natural when you’re shooting. 

The reason for this is that if you correct lens distortions in software, you can end up losing detail at the edge of the picture.

Tip 43. Street smarts

Approaching strangers and asking to take their portraits can be a challenge, but a little chutzpah really pays off. Even if it sounds like your idea of hell, making it obvious that you’re taking pictures can elicit interesting reactions. 

In fact, skulking in the shadows and sniping with a long lens is a sure-fire way to attract the wrong kind of attention.

Tip 44. Avoid sensor dust

Although it’s easy enough to digitally remove dust spots on images, you can reduce the chances of dust being deposited on the camera sensor by avoiding changing lenses in exposed and windy locations. 

If you’re working in these conditions, consider fitting a zoom lens so that you don’t have to change lenses so often.

Tip 45. Set the AF point

If you let the camera choose the autofocus point automatically, it will often focus on the nearest object. Instead, set your camera to its singlepoint AF mode and move the active point so that it’s positioned over the subject that you want to be sharp

Tip 46. Use Auto ISO in Manual mode

Your camera’s Auto ISO function can be a life-saver, as you can freely adjust your exposure settings and the camera will automatically raise the ISO sensitivity at a preset shutter speed, so you don’t need to worry about camera shake. 

It can also be used in Manual exposure mode, allowing you to set your preferred combination of aperture and shutter speed, with the Auto ISO function ensuring you get a consistent exposure in changing light.

Tip 47. Shooting in the rain

Don’t be just a fair-weather photographer: rain’s where it’s at! The most challenging aspect of shooting in driving rain isn’t keeping yourself dry, it’s keeping raindrops off the front of the lens. The shallow hoods made for wideangle lenses are pretty useless in this regard. 

Our advice? Fit a UV filter and soak up any water just before you fire the shutter. It never hurts to pack more microfibre cloths than you think you’ll need, too.

Tip 48. Shooting in bright sunshine

Although the best light for shooting on a scorching summer day is typically at the start and end of the day – the so-called ’golden hours’ – a clear sky does have its advantages. 

There’ll be plenty of light, enabling the use of low ISOs and fast shutter speeds for sharp shots. Use a polarising filter to reduce glare and reflections in landscapes, and a reflector or burst of flash to open up the shadows in a portrait.

Tip 49. Take an extra battery

Cold weather saps battery life, so to keep your camera working when the temperature drops, keep a spare charged battery warm in an inner jacket pocket. 

If you start to run out of power, consider not using power-hungry functions such as image stabilisation and Live View.

Tip 50. Take pictures you love

Doug Chinnery, Abstract Photographer, says: "The ‘Photography Police’ can only exist if we allow them to. No-one should tell you what your images should look like. 

"Make pictures that, first and foremost, you love. Then, if others love them too, so be it. But if they don’t, be proud that you are following your own creative path and not being forced to follow the herd. 

"This takes creative courage and conviction, but leads to producing stronger, more fulfilling work."

Tip 51. Sharpness is over-rated

"Let a little blur into your life", says Doug Chinnery, Abstract Photographer. "Bring in a bit of wobble. 

"Shallow depth of field and intentional camera movement can be used creatively, allowing your audience to make up their own stories about what’s happening in your images."

Tip 52. Print your own work

"Would you give your camera to someone else to make your photos? So why let someone else make your prints? 

"The print is the culmination of the creative process, and nothing beats making a finely crafted print. No commercial printer cares about your images like you do. 

"Don’t kid yourself that the prints they make are as good as they could be." - Doug Chinnery, Abstract Photographer

Tip 53. Develop your vision

Abstract photographer Doug Chinnery says: ”Copying the photographs of others is a great way to learn techniques as a beginner. 

"But to really grow as a photographer, we need to look at the world through our own eyes and use the skills we have learned to make images that show our unique creative vision."

Tip 54. Ditch the tripod

Landscape photographer Andrew Fusek Peters says: “Go guerrilla with your landscape photography! Ditch the tripod and endless filters, and shoot hand-held, exposing for the sky at dusk or dawn. 

"It’s much quicker to frame hand-held, and you can recover shadows and blacks in post.”

Tip 55. Straighten it out

Fine-art photographer Lorna Yabsley, author of the Busy Girl’s Guide To Digital Photography and teacher of one-to-one photography training, says "Pay attention to keeping horizons level in your frame – it can make or break a shot."

Tip 56. Process with care

Fine-art photographer Lorna Yabsley says: "Always spend a little bit of time to process your favourite images. 

"Less is more: lifting the shadows, lightening and brightening and subtle sharpening can bring out the best in your shot."

Tip 57. Invest in a prime lens

"A prime 50mm lens is an indispensable, inexpensive piece of kit to have, giving beautiful crisp images and the ability to open up the lens really wide for maximum shallow depth of field" -  Fine-art photographer Lorna Yabsley 

Tip 58. Reinvent the wheel

"If you’re buying an SLR camera, it’s always worth having a dedicated command wheel to control your shutter and your aperture independently, making manual exposure easier" -  Fine-art photographer Lorna Yabsley.  

Tip 59. Get trained

Fine-art photographer Lorna Yabsley says "Invest in some good-quality one-to-one training, to fast-track your way to getting off auto and shooting manually. 

"This will put you in control of your image-making. And learn basic processing techniques to give your work professional polish."

Tip 60. Trial and error

Creative photographer Mark A Hunter says: “Don’t get hung up on nailing a shot first time. For example, rather than determining exactly what depth of field to use, put your camera into Aperture Priority mode and grab a few different shots at a range of apertures – you might surprise yourself with the results.”

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