Ok my friends, so the good news is that I'm not a professional photographer :-)
|Style Me Pretty|
That's good because I can RELATE to all of you out there that SIMPLY want to know how to use your new camera to take a better photo than you did with your snap and shoot!
SO, here are some very basic and simple tips, but I promise you, if you apply them to your photos they are going to ROCK!
Simple and Basic Tricks That Will Change Your Photos Forever!
1.) Take outdoor shots with either early morning light or late evening light as the sun is setting.
You will not BELIEVE the pictures you can get with this light. You hardly have to try and they will turn out amazing.
|Sun was just about to set - the "golden" hour!|
Worst time to try to take photos?
When the sun is directly on top of you - say, noon. If you do end up taking photos at noon, make sure your subject is in the shade and you can turn that harsh direct light into something softer.
2.) ALWAYS (this is SO important!!!!) shoot in a position where the person has "catchlights" or sparkle in their eyes. (Yes, yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but this is a very good place to start.)
A catchlight is the white flecks (sparkle) that you can see in someones eyes when they reflect the sun/sky. Your portrait photos will never come to life without that fleck. They can be cool photos - but they don't come to life. So be sure that light is on their face AND you can see that white fleck.
Have them tilt their heads or move slightly to a different spot till you find it, but ignoring that catchlight can make or break the AWE factor to your photo.
|My Brother....see the catchlight? :-)|
NO SPARKLE EXAMPLES BELOW:
|Too much of his face is in the shadows and not enough catchlights!|
Great examples of photo's MISSING the catchlights - they aren't bad photos but they definitely don't have that sparkle or AWE quality to them.
Can you see the difference it makes when you can catch that sparkle??
When you shoot with a low aperture setting, you will get that fuzzy background (bokeh) which is vital for a good portrait shot. BE CAREFUL though, as a rule of thumb, you do not want your aperture to have a smaller number than the people in the shot. So if you have two people in your picture, make sure you set your aperture somewhere in the 2's, and three people in the 3's etc. If you don't do this and shoot a lower number aperture than number of people, one of the subjects in the photo will almost always be blurry.
You can see how low of an aperture the lens you have goes by setting your camera to Aperture Priority mode (A or AV on the program dial). Now turn the select dial that shows you your F stop to the lowest it will let you go. That number is it :-) If yours doesn't go super low, don't worry, you still have a great lens, it's just harder to get that fuzzy background. (and save up for that 50mm 1.8 lens above!)
As far as my OWN setting on my camera - this is what I almost always keep it at:
I shoot 90% of my photos on the Aperture Priority mode (A or AV).
I shoot automatic focus.
I shoot in Jpeg format in a large size
If it's outdoors or indoors on a sunny day, I shoot in the SHADE white balance setting because it gives such a warm feel to my photos.
If I ever see that my shutter speed goes below 1/30 (of a second) I change the ISO setting (higher) so that my photos will not be blurry. (the shutter speed is how fast that shutter clicks, so the longer it stays open in a second, the more likely you will get a blurry photo because of potential movement)
4.) Don't forget to get close to your subject if you want a more dynamic look.
See my tip for taking amazing Chirstmas light photos too!
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