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.