Photography Hints and Tips
By Sander van den Berg
Please note that Iím not a professional (well, not yet), nor do I imply that I am an authority on the field of photography. This is merely an overview of tips that might be useful to others. Itís things Iíve learned along the way. Some may be obvious to more experienced photographers. Also, some of the tips apply to digital photography only.
1. It might be a clichť, but the Rule of Thirds does work for good compositions. Centered subjects can work, but often it looks much more dynamic if you apply the rule of thirds.
This is how the rule of thirds works:
You virtually divide the view in 3 parts, horizontally and vertically (also see the picture attached to this tutorial). The points where the lines cross each other should be the points of interest. Please remember that there are exceptions, but this technique is a very handy tool.
2. Placement of the horizon. Avoid placing the horizon in the middle of the image. Often the point of interest is either part of the land or itís the sky, so youíd want to have that take up the majority of the shot. A shot with the horizon in the middle usually looks sort of ďstaticĒ.
3. Use reflections. Reflections are often an overlooked feature of nature. So also point your camera to water every now and then.
1. Buy a tripod! (sort of speaks for itself)
2. If for whichever reason you donít have a tripod with you, but you do want to do a long exposure shot, use the self timer. You activate the self timer, meter, put your camera on a steady underground (a fence, a rock, etc) and press the shutter button. Long exposure shots done while holding the camera are a bad idea.
3. Use exposure compensation. I couldnít live without it. If you use a digital camera, play with the exposure a bit, to get the best result. Standard metering of the camera is not perfect, especially in harder conditions (snow, for instance, but also fog and direct sunlight).
4. Meter at several spots in your view. If you are trying to photograph a tree (for instance), but you also want the clouds to look good, itís possible that if you point at the tree, the sky will be one white sheet. A good technique to get the sky right is pointing at the sky, then moving you camera in the right position again and shoot (without metering again). Be sure that the tree is still sharp and not to dark.
1. Bring enough batteries. Itís a photographerís nightmare to be at an interesting, photogenic place without being able to shoot it. So always bring some spare batteries.
2. [digital camera only] If your camera tells you youíre almost out of batteries, but you still want to shoot some more, shut down the LCD screen. The LCD screen takes up a lot of battery power. By shutting it off and just using the viewfinder instead, you can usually take at least 20 more photos before it runs out.
3. Bring a plastic bag. Most cameras donít like rain. So if you do get into heavy water, make sure you have something to protect your gear.
Thatís basically all I can offer at this moment. If I think of anything else, Iíll add it.
I hope itís useful.