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So this dial on top of your camera should mostly stay is the M (manual) position.

The 5 main things you need to think of is:

Shutter Speed

Apeture or F Stop

White Balance


Focus Area

Camera Modes


Here’s an easy one, look for reflections when your out with your camera. When I take the time to look for a reflection at a paid job, like a wedding, the client always raves about the image and generally chooses it for their album cover or other top use. I took this from outside the NYC Planetarium. I walked up to the window with the intention of getting a shot of the saturn model and ended up seeing a building reflection in the background. I guess everyone is different, but this seems like it’s an easy level one type trick and most people have already done this.  Photo Tip: Look for your own reflection and try a self portrait. Every photographer should get a picture with his or her Nikon. you better be using a nikon, lol

The need to capture images has practically worked it’s way into my DNA. I find that asking the people I’m closest to, like friends and family, to sit for practice pictures can be a little much after a while. Then are always willing to help, but they have lives to. When it’s to wet outside and you can’t find anything to shoot, try turning the camera on yourself. The self portrait is a respected art form in the photography world and painters even produced them long before film.

If you like taking peoples portraits, then the self portrait should be a HUGE part of your work flow. The knowledge you get from sitting and editing photos of yourself will make you a way stronger portrait artist. Experiment with different lighting and poses.
I took this self portrait when I first got my Nikon. I think it represents past, present, and future.

Pro Portrait Artist Tip:  Buy what You Sell. Be the model or “sit” for other photographers. You can normally work a deal so this won’t cost you much.

Most DSLR camera are sold as a kit.(“KIT”lens and body) Being able to change your lens is one cool advantage of having a more professional camera. The telephoto lens basically lets you see futher. You should look for a telephoto w/ vibration stabilization if you plan to use it handheld to reduce shake in your final image. When shooting from a tripod remember to turn off the vibration feature since the camera will stay still. If you don’t turn it off the opposite will happen and you appear to have shake again.

To let you in on some photographer  lingo, we normally use the term glass instead of lens. Also a telephoto can be commonly  called Big Gun, Big Glass, Long Lens, and Telley.

Pro Tip: The telephoto lens has a narrowing effect and can make people appear thinner than then are. The opposite is also true for short and wide angle lenses. The higher the focal length the narrower the image. Normal Lense is 50 mm and will produce an image the same as the human eye sees with no distortion.

Panning is a pretty advanced technique, easy to understand but hard to master. The “trick” is to follow a moving object with your camera and snap the shot in one fluid motion. The “object” can be a person jogging, speeding car, football, arrow, falling tree, just to name a few. The general effect is to motion blur the background and keep the moving object in stopped focus. Imagine your camera is a rifle scope and you have to hit a moving target. You just want to lead a little until your target catches up to the crosshairs then slowly squeeze the shutter.I have never attempted to pan with a point and shoot. I guess if I was going to attempt it I would set my camera to portrait because the shutter is normally around 1/60 of a sec.and would give me that blur effect. You would also have to guess when to snap the shot because there is usually a significant delay on the trigger.

Manual DSLR: I used a 1/125 shutter speed. This is where practice is essential. You will need to develop a knack at judging speed. If I were to use a 1/640 of a shutter, which is quite normal for shooting sports and freezing an object, the background would also be frozen and in focus. Understand that by moving your camera with the object, that camera movement is going to be part of that equation. Using a slower shutter and keeping up with moving object will buy you the time.

When you have low light conditions, like indoor photography, you want to use a slow shutter to let more light in the camera. Using a tripod will hold your camera still and capture a well lit image that could not be achieved hand held. You might say to yourself, “self, why not just use my flash?”  Ya well I get your point and your on to something, but to achieve perfect color and focus (like the image below) you would need a lot of well placed flashes and a good amount of setting up just to get close. It’s just better to use a tripod.When you press the trigger you shake the camera a little so, when you use a tripod, you also want to set the cameras self timer or use a cable release.

Don’t have a tripod? Just improvise by setting in down on a table, stack of books, wedding cake, anything you can do to hold the camera still.

Pro tip: Push up that F stop (aperture) as far as you can. The higher the # f stop you use, the better the focus. I mean very noticeable results. A long shutter will give you all the light you need, now it’s time to go overboard and get yourself one tack sharp image! Try a 30 sec shutter and f 22 or higher

This one is simple, get your mitts on some Photoshop. This program works on layers allowing you to do anything your internal artist desires. There are a load of programs you can use, but you get what you pay for in this case. You can simply fix or correct your images with pro results and you can embed metadata right in to the data file. (metadata: who took the pic, copyrights, location, your website, ect)

Just as you have read books and watched video tutorials on photography, you should learn your software program and become an expert. THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF FREE INFORMATION ON PHOTOSHOP!

This is always over looked. If you want pro results then don’t just stand there, get on the ground or stand on a ladder. If you don’t have a ladder ask a friend if you could sit on their shoulders. A good way to make this a habit is too “work” your subject. Take multiple shots from all different angles then review. I know repetitive trial and error will help you develop an “eye”

Pro Tip: always re-check your settings every time you change your angle. Don’t be afraid to not look, set your camera on auto focus and hold it above your head or down by the ground and just see what happens. Why Not?

The picture is of a horse, obviously. More specifically it is a picture of the horse’s face and expression. Your eye can see the entire scene when your there, but you really want bring home an interesting photo that shows what your were really looking at. Just zoom in and fill the frame edge to edge with only what your taking a photo of and you will see an instant improvement in your images.

The automatic camera setting, use PORTRAIT setting since this animal wasn’t moving fast and you most likely would want the background out of focus.

For the people who are shooting in MANUAL set your f-stop (apeture) to 8 – 10 and your shutter at 80 or better if your shooting hand held (no tri-pod).

SHUTTER TIP: when shooting hand held you have to pay attention to your focal length (mm). Use a shutter speed that is slightly higher than your focal length. example ( 80mm use 100 shutter, 135mm use 160 shutter, 300mm use 320 shutter )

David LeeI will post a weekly photo tip and answer questions. Please read through to see if your topic has already been discussed.