With its ability to generate nearly perfect images, a digital camera can be fantastic and flexible tool. However, understanding a digital camera can take time. Novice users will often limit themselves to the typical “pose-and-click” brand of photography used by amateurs for decades. This is, unfortunately, a great injustice to a camera that can be put to better use. To avoid condemning such an elegant and versatile machine to a life of drudgery a prospective photographer need but follow the ten shooting tips given below:
1. Use the camera as often as possible. Practice, practice, and then more practice is the key to improvement.
2. Never depend on PhotoShop or any similar photo-editing tool to digitally enhance the quality of a photograph or fix mistakes. This is the first vow anyone who wants to be a good photographer must take and then follow. While these editing tools are excellent ways to make little changes and corrections, a good photographer seeks to take the picture that minimizes or even eliminates the need for such alterations. The more an image is changed, the less of the photographer’s skill is left within it.
3. The camera’s focus must be on the subject, not on people or objects around the subject. This reduces the “noise level” in the photograph as well as improving clarity and sharpness in the image.
4. Learn to look at and respect underexposure-warning lights. These lights are particularly useful for beginners, allowing them to experiment with the exposure settings until the blinking warning lights disappear. Once the photographer gains experience they can start using their own insights in tinkering with the exposure levels.
5. Avoid underexposure at all costs. An underexposed image will lack color quality. It causes the camera’s sensors to fail to read the colors coming into the lens, resulting in an image that lacks the naturalness and vibrancy that it should have. Not only does this “deaden” the resultant picture, but also it is among the more difficult to realistically correct problems for digital editing tools.
6. Remember that each sensor is designed to capture a specific range of tones. If the full light available is not allowed to reach the sensor the camera will not receive the information it requires to build a good image. Most of the pixels will be unable to capture the tonal range in their full scope and vibrancy. This will result in lower picture quality.
7. Where underexposure makes a picture toneless and dark, overexposure makes colors too rich, bestowing an artificial hue to the picture or even causing it to look “washed out”. Overexposures overpowers the interplay of light and dark effects and over saturates the subtle tones that are essential for giving an image a natural look.
8. When the human mind decides the parameters under which a photograph is taken, the best potential for quality will result. Automation helps guard against bad photographs, but will never manage to take great pictures. A novice photographer should gradually move away from automated functions and start taking over these tasks when it comes to exposure, color, noise, and so on. A gradual, but unmistakable, improvement in the quality of photographs is sure to follow.
9. Always remember to compose a picture. The art of focusing on the subject using frames, movement, lights, and other available tools, composition is the art of photography that takes place outside the camera. Composition techniques can be learned from either a senior photographer or from a book. Once the lessons have been learned superficially in this way, they must be practiced just as the art of photography itself is. An almost automatic improvement in the quality of photographs will be seen.
10. The final and most important step is for every photographer to learn to critically examine each image that they shoot. Study it to discover the weaknesses of the photograph. Re-shoot the photograph, endeavoring to remove the weaknesses. Continue to hone the craft until fully satisfied with the results.
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