Owning an expensive camera is useless if you don’t know the right techniques to get the most out of it. Learn how to marry the right equipment with proper technique to always take great photos.
Pick The Right Camera
Depending on your needs, the camera you choose may not be the best tool for the job. While compact cameras are portable and versatile enough for most scenarios, they may still fall short in certain departments. According to Jino Lee, Photography Trainer, Consumer Imaging & Information Division, Canon Singapore, “Because of their smaller sensor sizes, compacts often do not deal with low-light situations ideally, and will, for example, throw a bright glare to the nearest subject when the flash is used in low light.”
While there are more powerful models of compact cameras available these days, Lee says, “The digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras remain unbeatable in image quality. Discerning users will find that having a variety of lenses will enrich their photographic experience by allowing them to tackle different situations optimally.”
Plan The Pictures You Want To Take
If you’re using a DSLR, the type of photography you intend to engage in will affect your choice of camera lenses. “If you prefer to take shots of architecture and landscapes, consider a wide angle lens. On the other hand, if you prefer capturing people and culture, you can either consider a zoom lens or prime lenses with a fixed focal length,” says Lee, “Alternatively, kit lenses have very wide zoom ranges, from wide angle to medium telephoto.” And if you’re planning on doing some night shoots, Lee suggests attaching an external flashgun so your lenses will be equipped to handle low-light situations as well.
Clean Your Camera
Cameras like Canon’s EOS DSLRs are equipped with self-cleaning sensors to ensure optimal image quality. Besides that, make sure you clean it regularly, especially after a day of shooting. You can simply wipe it with a damp, lint-free cloth to remove any dirt accumulated throughout the day. “Cleaning and maintaining your camera regularly goes a long way in extending the life of your camera,” advises Lee.
Prevent Blur Shots
To prevent blurry pictures, Lee suggests a direct solution to minimise camera shakes, ” Increase your ISO speed to higher values like 1600 or 3200. Doing so will allow a faster shutter speed and greatly reduce chances of shaking or subject movement.” If that’s a problem, he also suggests finding something steady nearby to stabilise the camera against. This could be a wall surface, a ledge or anything that’s flat and easy to leverage against.
DSLR users can also choose to use “brighter” lenses with larger aperture values of f/2.8 and below, suggests Lee. This allows more light through to the sensor, allowing the photographer to use higher shutter speeds while maintaining a low ISO speed, he explains.
Play With Angles
Equipment aside, finding the right angle for your shots can improve the end result. When taking a group photo, for instance, shooting down makes people look up, and looking up makes people look better, says Danny Clinch, a US-based professional photographer. Make them laugh, if you can, so that your subjects will relax and forget the camera. Shoot just before, during and after they laugh, to capture a series of natural looks. One more trick: If they’re sitting, ask them to lean towards the centre of the group. Once they start, click.
James Bent, photographer and owner of acclaimed street fashion blog, La Mode Outré, also suggests experimenting with angles to get the best shot. He says, “Angling the body creates different effects in a photograph. Try different angles of approaching the subject. 45-degree angles can create an interesting mixture of light and shadow for an interesting photo.”