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Top 10 photography tips

No matter what you’re shooting, these tips will ensure your best ever photos. Here’s our top 10 shooting tips of all time…

1. Composition rules

When you’re setting up your shot think about the rule of thirds, and try to place your horizon on the top or bottom third line, and not through the middle. Look for leading lines to guide the eye, like fences, tree lines or meandering rivers. Place points of interest like castles or dominating trees on the third cross sectors. Don’t be afraid to move with your feet, not just your lens, to get the right composition.

2. Keep it straight

There’s nothing worse in landscapes than a scewed horizon. Invest in a spirit level or buy a camera with a level displayed onto the LCD or in the viewfinder.

photography tips

3. Light is everything

Think about the time of day you shoot. Midday sun can be fine for valleys or seascapes, but often landscapes look their best in the golden hours of sunset and sunrise. Try shooting the same location at a few different times of day.

4. Filter fun

Filters can transform your image from good to great. Invest in an ND Grad filter to darken skies and bring out cloud detail, and a polariser to enhance blues and greens.

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Shooting in low light

It’s tempting to think that once the sun has gone down, it’s time pack up your camera and go home – but you couldn’t be more wrong. Sunset itself is a formidable technical challenge with extremes of lighting contrast, but once the fiery globe has disappeared, the lighting becomes much more manageable. The best time to shoot low-light images is the hour after sunset, when there is either reflected sunlight in the clouds, or the sky still retains a blue colour. Once it gets black, then only firework displays or concerts are really worth persevering with.

The real attraction of low-light photography is that it largely doesn’t matter if it’s been cloudy all day.

After sunset, clouds take on a blue colour, and if there is artificial light in the scene, and you focus on that, then the camera’s auto white balance will actually enhance the blue colour.

Shooting in low light

In this feature, we’ll be explaining the best methods for photographing everything from seascapes to fireworks, showing what camera settings you need to use and explaining the problems that you’re likely to encounter, as well as how to overcome them to capture great images.

Master your camera settings and take control of your photography

The success of your low-light photography depends largely on good preparation and knowledge of your kit. We’ve always stuck by the philosophy that it’s the photographer, not the camera, that makes the picture. However, there are some models that do perform better than others after the sun’s gone down. Compact digital camera sensors are improving all the time. However, the low-light performance of some models can leave a lot to be desired. Manufacturers have a battle on their hands, insofar as compact sensors are tiny. This means that the number and size of the pixels they can pack onto them is limited, and, while by day image quality may be good, areas like noise performance can suffer as night falls.

DSLRs have larger sensors, and generally offer a greater range of ISO sensitivities to work with. They also offer greater control over settings and have interchangeable lenses, so the photographer can take advantage of the highest quality, fastest lenses that can gather far more light than the average fixed lens on a compact, making them ideal for low-light shooting.

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How photos can engage your readers

While a written blog certainly relies heavily on well-written and nutritious content in order to keep its readers coming back regularly, they also benefit greatly from the inclusion of a few great images. Confront your readers with a sea of words and you’re guaranteed that plenty of them will be overwhelmed and skip to the next page or out of your blog altogether. A healthy sprinkling of images courtesy of even the most basic of digital cameras will break up that text and can even complement the content really constructively, grabbing your readers by the shoulders and urging them to read on.

Visual learning

Ever heard the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, it’s actually true, because studies have shown that 60 per cent of your readers learn and retain information more effectively using image as opposed to text. A picture just makes us sit up and helps us remember a story.

amazing-picture

Metaphorically speaking…

You can describe a comparison you’ve made as much as you like in the hope that your readers will know what you’re talking about, but a photo will instantly paint the picture that lots and lots of words might not otherwise be able to.

So if, for example, you’re talking about the power of something (a business, a car, whatever), then you could choose a photograph of a big cat, perhaps. Similarly, if you’re talking about, say, government cutbacks and austerity measures, a big, shiny red axe would do nicely.

A good photo is magnetic

Your photo can either be straightforward or it can be cryptic. A straightforward picture will compel the reader to continue reading about the interesting topic they’ve just spotted, and a cryptic picture will play on the reader’s curios side (we all have one), again compelling the reader to find out more.

For example, perhaps you’re going to cover the latest celebrity scandal – a good picture summarising what the article is about (e.g. a post about an affair would benefit from a photo of the cheating couple in question) will work wonders. If your article is about something a little more photographically inexplicable, then focus on a more abstract focal point of the article. You could even choose a photo that’s saying exactly the same thing as your title (i.e. taking it very literally).