The Key to Taking Better Photos: A Beginners’ Guide

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  By Michael Moodie
The Key to Taking Better Photos: A Beginners’ Guide

As photographers, after a while, we often find ourselves not so pleased with the photos we’re taking. We then begin to question what it is we are doing wrong and how we can make it even a bit better. Some of us find it a challenge to get the answers while others may have it a little easier. In this article, I aim to give you some pointers as to how you can improve your photography by making very simple changes to your technique and also your settings. Some of us may think we are amazing and there’s nothing else we need to do, but remember there is always space for improvement when it comes to photography.

1. Focal Points

I’ve found that setting your focal points while shooting helps to enhance the sharpness of your subject and also adds a little more of that lovely out of focus blur in your background. Most photographers find themselves leaving this on auto, making the camera decide. For the most part, the camera gets it right when it needs to but from time to time you’ll find where it focuses on the completely wrong thing, leaving you to take a second shot. There will be a time when you don’t have the option to catch the second shot, for example during a sporting event. With that said, make it a habit to set your focal points during or before a session and watch the sharpness in your images get that much better. I usually select the center focal point because most times when shooting in a landscape orientation, you want your subject to be in the center of the frame. Overall, however, keeping your focal point to the center helps in achieving a very sharp and focused image so give it a try.

2. Check You Sharpness

A common mistake I would make as a beginner is to assume that my image was sharp edge to edge based on what I’m seeing on my LCD screen. I soon then realized that on 4-inch screen anything can pretty much look sharp but when you open up the image on your laptop to begin doing some post-production work, you notice a lot of blurry spots in your photo. I would recommend making use of that zoom option on your camera when previewing your shots just to see if it’s actually sharp. This reduces the number of enhancements you end up doing in post-production and saves you a lot of time.

3. Alternate Your Spot Metering Modes

Your DSLR camera usually has something which is called spot metering. For those of you who are unsure as to what exactly spot metering is, here’s a quick rundown as to how it works. Spot metering basically evaluates the light around whichever focal point you choose and then calculates the amount of exposure needed in that specific area. Even though this may sound helpful, it is not something we always need. Evaluative metering tends to reduce contrast and shadows in your image and if that is something you’re a huge fan of then you should consider switching it to spot metering instead of evaluative metering. Both of these modes are designed to assist you in capturing the best image possible but they are not always necessary in every situation.

4. Shoot with a Lens Hood

This very simple looking piece of plastic helps to avoid a lot of things such as lens flare. In some creative cases, lens flare and make for a good photo. However, it can also happen at the most inconvenient time and completely ruin your shot. In addition to reducing lens flare, a lens hood helps to protect your lens from things such as scratches, fingerprints and even a bit of rain or snow. So when you see photographer keep their lens hood on, it’s not because they want to look cool (even though actually does look cool) but it serves as a huge help while shooting.

5. Take time to compose your shot

A composition is one of the key things that can make or break your shot at the end of the day. It’s very rare you will find that the first shot you take of something ends up being your favorite. There is always different perspectives or compositions on that same subject that can make the image so much better. With that being said, allow yourself some time to compose your shot properly and get that one amazing shot you’re looking for because it all pays off at the end of the day.

It’s been so much fun giving you an insight as to how you can improve the photos you take daily and how much these simple tips can make a huge difference. I look forward to seeing you again and until next time, all the best in your upcoming sessions!

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Michael Moodie is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist. He Enjoys Lifestyle Photography and Traveling while doing all things creative!

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Comments (1)

  1. Brian Loch Guest

    Thank you for the great article Michael.