Tips

Look at other photos for inspiration, and to find out what you DON'T want your shot to look like.

Look at other photos for inspiration, and to find out what you DON'T want your shot to look like.

Suppose you’re going out to shoot your city’s skyline at dusk. I live in Dallas, Texas so there are about a million shots of the city at all hours of the day. I can use those pictures to help me find a composition that I like, or an angle to shoot from. Maybe the shot from my chosen location looks better in the morning rather than the evening due to the position of the sun.

However, I also use other photos of that location to help me choose what shots I don’t want to take. I want to make an image that is my image, not one that has been shot a thousand times before. It’s easy to run into this at highly photographed locations, national parks and other vacation destinations. The challenging part is finding a composition that hasn’t been done while still gathering all of the pieces of the scene. Always look for a foreground, a middle ground and a background element to have in your shot.

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Join a Photography Forum (message board)

Join a Photography Forum (message board)

One of the first things I recommend to new photographers is to go out and join a photography forum, or several in my case! There are many of these out there, and a lot of times there will be a board for your local area or state. The thing I love about message boards is that you have a whole community of people there to help you learn and grow as a photographer. Having the ability to ask questions and get several answers back, and usually pretty darn quickly depending on the board. Many forums have archives that date back several years, so there is a good chance that someone has asked the same question you want to know already. Just do a quick search of the forum and you may find your answer right away. If not, just post the question and community members will respond.

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What is a Diopter, and how do I set it?

What is a Diopter, and how do I set it?

If you’ve ever wondered what that tiny dial attached to the outside of your viewfinder is, the one with the little +/- on it, well, you wouldn’t be alone. I’m constantly amazed by how few people actually take the time to make sure this is set correctly. The good thing is even if your diopter is completely out of whack it usually won’t have an impact on the outcome of your image.

So what is a diopter, and why is it important?

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Understanding Your Camera's Semi-Automatic Modes

Understanding Your Camera's Semi-Automatic Modes

Yesterday we talked about the exposure triangle, and understanding exactly what happens in the camera when you make an image. Today we are going to talk about the different automatic modes that come on most cameras. Each manufacture is a little bit different in their labeling of the three automatic shooting modes, so for this example I will stick to the big three companies: Canon/Nikon/Sony. Nikon and Sony share the same markings, while Canon is a little different. If your camera is a different brand, refer to your manual to verify which of the modes matches the descriptions listed below.

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Learn the Exposure Triangle

Learn the Exposure Triangle

How exactly does the camera get the exposure perfect every time (in optimal conditions, mind you), and what are those numbers that are constantly changing on my display before I press the shutter button to snap the photo? If you’re like most people out there, you had the exact same questions the first time you tried using a camera more advanced than a smartphone. Even compact cameras have come a long way and have become very capable little machines in recent years and many offer similar setting and options to professional level cameras! So lets look at what is really going on inside your camera to get you to that perfect exposure.

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