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Getting The Most Out Of Your Camera While Traveling.

 

Let’s face it; it’s not about masterpieces….. it’s about memories, the faces, the places. When we dig a dusty album out of the back of the book shelf in 10 years time it won’t be sharpness, noise or megapixels we will be worrying about. It will be the flood of recollections that coming rushing back to us. but it never hurts to get a better image! With that in mind I decided to write an article with simple tips to get the most out of whatever camera you have.

 

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Typical Camera Mode Dial…These will vary from brand to Brand

Mode Dial: Your camera comes with many built in camera modes, essentially your camera is a fancy calculator, and can only make decisions based on its program like any computer, by changing the mode on your camera dial, you are giving your camera a heads up to the kind of scene your trying to photograph, while these will vary hugely from camera to camera most brands will have these settings:

 

 

 

 

 

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Camera Modes

Landscape mode: this is designed for creating images with a large depth of field; depth of field is a fancy way of saying that everything in the front and the background of the image are sharp.

Portrait mode: this mode is designed for photographing people and will often try to give a small depth of field (a blurry background).

Flash Mode: this mode use the flash in the camera to light the scene automatically.

Sports Mode: this mode freezes the action so anything moving stays sharp. This can be used anywhere you need to freeze the action, not just sports.

Macro mode: this is used to photograph things close up, like flowers and insects.

While these settings will not do wonders for your photography they will help you get the best out of your cameras automatic functions.

 

Composition is king: Composition is a fancy way of saying how you frame your picture in camera, what you leave in and leave out. Even if a photo lacks sharpness, clarity or is noisy a good composition will go a long way to improving it. Here are some very basic tips on how to improve your Composition

 

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Higher ISO lets you capture sharper images in low light.

ISO: Avoid blurry images by raising your ISO. Sharp photographs in low light is the holy grail of photography, thankfully most cameras even camera phones nowadays allow you to change your ISO. To get sharper shots in low light increase the ISO number in your camera menu. Now be aware as in most things in life it’s not for free, having a higher ISO setting in your camera will increase noise (coloured grainy dots in your image) so as soon as you don’t need it anymore lower it back to between 100-400 ISO for normal outdoor shooting. High ISO is used at night and indoor areas with few windows.

 

 

 

 

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Use P mode Or Flash Mode when taking images of people or in dark places.

Using flash: when asked, most people will tell you that they do not like flash. The main reason for this is that it is used badly often. But with just some simple adjustments its very easy to get some very good results.

 

Step one: Set your camera mode on P or the flash symbol.

Step Two: Stand between 6 and 8 foot from your subject.

Step Three: Put your subject with their backs to the sun or Light source (doorway, window etc)

Step Four: Move your subject away from walls etc (this will eliminate flash shadows in the background)

Step Five: you’re ready to go……just take your shot

A lot of people don’t realise that flash on compact cameras and P mode is mostly a automatic process and requires you to pay attention to your distance from subject more than anything else.

 

 

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A mini or table top tripod can be bought for as little as 5 euro and can be carried anywhere.

Use a Mini Tripod: a mini tripod is one of the best way to get sharp shots no matter the environment, these will set you back a only few euro at worst and can fit into pockets and bags very easily.

 

Print your images off: while this is not strictly a photography tip, it a great way to see your work. Ask yourself how many images have you lost because of damaged memory cards, lost phones, broken laptops etc, how many images do you have your device right now that you are meaning to print off but never get around to. So get them out of your camera and onto paper as soon as you come back.

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo books are an ideal way to keep those memories of your trip together and easy to store place.

Bonus tip: photo books are a great way to create a log of your trip, they are easy to make and inexpensive and can be made in most photo labs within an hour. And will sit right on your book shelf instead of a dusty show book in your attic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stewart Kenny is a photography trainer and guide with Dublin Photography School, Stewart teaches photography students of all levels in Dublin and surrounding counties

Stewart Kenny is a photography trainer and guide with Dublin Photography School, Stewart teaches photography students of all levels in Dublin and surrounding counties as well as leading photography holidays in Ireland. To see more about his Photography courses in Dublin see here

5 Simple tips to improve your composition of your photographs

Something that I am often asked about in my photography classes is something called the “eye” and far from it being a vague reference to lord of the rings for most photographers starting out it is a mystical skill that you are born with and if you don’t have it, you will never amount to much as a photographer. The “eye” refers to basic composition skills and far from being born with it most photographers have to develop it.  How do you develop any skill? Simples, just practise it, and practise different types of it, so if you’re just starting out and looking to shake things up a tad, here are a few simple tips improve your photographs.

Move your subject off centre with the rule of thirds

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Rule of Thirds

A very simple way to get a bit more ummff in your photography is simply moving your subject out of the centre of your frame and more towards the edge, you can use a technique called the rule of thirds, this composition technique is the most commonly used techniques to bring balance to an off centre image. Envision your frame is divided into 9 equal parts by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. Then all you have to do is put the most important elements in your image along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.

 

 

 

 

 

Get Lower

Get lower to help fill your frame

Get lower to help fill your frame

How many images do you think are taken every day from a standing position? Millions? Perhaps even billions?  Often when we see photographers they are on one knee taking a photograph? But why? By getting lower they are changing the perspective of the shot, and including foreground detail, this also changes the relationship between the sizes of things in the frame so that things that are closer to the lenses look bigger.

 

 

 

 

 

Fill your frame

fill your frame when photographing

Fill your frame when photographing

perhaps one of the most important things you can do when composing an image is to fill your frame, get closer to your subject, one of the most common reasons a image will lack impact is because you there is not enough of the subject filling the frame, if there is to much going on in your shot your subject may become lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go portrait

Try to change things up

Try to change things up

Don’t photograph every image in landscape format, turn your camera to the side to get a different shaped frame, this works great for well portraits, but also buildings, anything that’s taller than it is wider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead in lines

Lead in lines are a great way to draw your viewer into your image

Lead in lines are a great way to draw your viewer into your image

 

Leads in lines are a great way to draw the viewer into your image. All you need do is to find two lines that run into the distance they can be parallel and never touch or can touch to form a nodal point in the image.

The most important rule is that you break the rules, move things around, break free of simply compositions, experiment, there’s no such thing as a photograph that is wrong, focus on textures, and form, find depth in your images, try photography the tiniest details when your composing. Just have fun.

 

photography course dublin

looking for photography courses in Dublin to improve your photography?
see http://www.dublinphotographyschool.ie

Stewart Kenny is a photography trainer and guide with Dublin Photography School, Stewart teaches photography students of all levels in Dublin and surrounding counties as well as leading photography holidays in Ireland. To see more about his Photography courses in Dublin see here