We all want memories of our family life and children. Records of those milestones. And with phone cameras now so much better, you can get amazing shots without needing to carry a separate camera around with you all the time.
But for those people who want to get better photos and aren’t confident about improving their phone photography, they often go straight for a bigger ‘better’ camera because they think it’ll get them better photos. They probably will get better quality photos with a DSLR than a phone camera, but if you don’t understand simple things like composition and light, the photos still won’t be as good as they might be with simple tweaks.
Tips for better photos without upgrading a camera:
1, Understand composition
Where subjects are placed in the shot. Understanding some of the composition rules like rule of thirds, leading lines, fill the frame etc. You can find out more and practice with Emma Davies’ 30 day challenge. Making simple changes to the way you compose an image can make all the difference to a photo.
2, Using the light
An understanding of the variation in natural light and where it falls at different parts of the day and how to use the light makes such a difference. It’s harder in winter with lower light, but the rest of the year is more straightforward.
3, Move your feet rather than always using zoom
I mostly use a prime lens and just crop afterwards if needed, but it really does make you think about moving your feet nearer and in different directions away from your subject.
4, Choose your focus
Usually focus on the eye if it’s a portrait, for other things choose the area carefully. Pick out either the details, or a background. It will make for a photo that draws the eye in.
Really, there’s no point having a big expensive camera, and just using it on auto all the time. Here’s some of the reasons why you should get off auto-settings on your camera, and start to use manual settings.
Why you should learn manual camera settings
1, You don’t need to be a pro
You don’t need to learn or understand everything about manual settings. Just learning a bit will give you more control and ownership of what you want in your photos
2, You can get more creative with your photos
3, Knowing how to use manual settings gives you more choice
More choice and flexibility. You can choose when and how manual you want to go.
4, You can get the subtle improvements that give more of a pro look to photos
5, You might spend less time editing
Less time on corrections because you’re getting more right in camera, which means more time on either using photos as they come, or tweaking to be more creating
6, You can control the light
You can work with or against the light and understand what you’ll get out at the end
7, You’ll be able to get more of the blurred background (or bokeh) rather than hoping your camera picks it up
8, Macro shots will be more focused
Using manual focus isn’t for everyone (it makes you realise you might need glasses), but it will give you clearer shots where auto focus might struggle to focus
9, You’ll be able to choose whether you want to have more or less movement in your photo by understanding shutter speed
10, You’ll be able to make the decision when to use full manual or when to use your semi-manual priority modesManual photography is about making choices and having options of the control you have in taking photos Click To Tweet
11, You’ll get more satisfaction when you capture a photo that’s just how you wanted it
12, You can decide how you want the photo to look ahead of taking the photo
Especially if the light is bad. Just take the exposure down so the photo is darker, take a RAW shot, and you’ll be able to rescue a shot that an auto setting photo might not be able to do.
13, Once you know about manual settings, you realise that many pro photographers rarely use full manual settings.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that coming off auto camera settings is the way to go with photography. There are so many courses and websites that will take you through the basics. Or try and find a practical course going out with an instructor especially if you’re more of a practical learner.
Do you use manual settings? How did you learn?
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