Sunday, December 2, 2012

Beginner's Guide to Photography

Here's a list of few quick tips to take great photos :

Pre-requisites for this are :
- You have a DSLR camera (recommendations on which one to buy)
- You have the right lenses (recommendations on which ones to buy)

General Tips :

 - Number #1 thing for taking good photos is good composition. You either have the knack, or can develop one over time. You can learn a lot by following photos on or Google Plus. You can take great photos even with a cell-phone if you have a good composition.

 - Always take a steady shot. Check that the shutter speed of your shot is lower than 1/100th of a second. Your hand is likely to shake enough to cause blurring if you shoot with shutter speed more than that. If you intend to take a longer exposure use a tripod.

- Take as many photos as you want. Space is no longer a constraint in DSLRs. So keep clicking away. If you intend to post-process, select only the top 10% or so to post-process in order to save time.

- Post processing can make a significant difference to photos. I use Aperture on Mac. You can also use Lightroom. There are some free HDR softwares that come in handy. Pick any one, can't go wrong. Online editing is also excellent (eg. Picnik, now part of G+)

People Photography :

  - Good light makes all the difference, when taking photos of people. The ideal time is around 1-to-2 hours before sunset, and with the sun behind you when you are taking photos.

   - Use BokehMake the subject stand out ! Shoot at the lowest possible aperture (number) for maximum bokeh.

Sports Photography :

 - Pick the fastest shutter speed that you can. For sports, I often try to take a shot with no more than 1/1000th second for the shutter speed. At that speed, you can often get the moving objects (like ball, racquets) to come in focus.

- If you don't have a lens that lets you do the above, then increase the ISO. In most DSLRs these days, you can increase the ISO. This indirectly allows you to take the same photo at lower shutter speeds. On my nikon D7000, I often shoot upto ISO 3200 (but only at night), without noticing any graininess by increasing the ISO. Don't increase the ISO too much during daytime, you shouldn't have to.

- Use burst-mode settings in your camera. This lets you take many photos in quick succession and increases the chance of capturing the right moment.

Landscape Photography :

  - Use filters (specially polarizing ones). This is a must. All photos in this set were taken with a polarizing filter, making for crisper photos and bluer skies.

  - Time of day is very important in landscape photography. Just before and after sunset and just just before and after sunrise are the best times to take landscape photos. This makes a big difference. Avoid the beginners' mistake of going out to shoot landscapes at noon. You will get good photos even then, but not great.

  - Figure out how to take HDR photos on your camera and download any freely available HDR software. This makes for good photos. HDR software can make photos look unreal also.

  - Use a tripod and take the same photo with maximum aperture (number), eg f/22 (or atleast > f/8) . At these narrow apertures, you will need to use a tripod as you may not get a very short exposure time.

Wildlife Photography :

   Almost the same as sports photography (or so I think, as I havn't done much)

Night-time / Low Light Photography :

  - Always increase the ISO. I often shoot as ISO 800 or more, in low light. Do an experiment on your camera to see at what ISO the photos start getting grainy. That will tell you the upper limit you can go upto.

In case you want to follow what I am upto.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vivek,

    Your pics are brilliantly taken ... and your articulation and way of explaining is very nice.
    Looking forward to more posts ....