Tag Archive: Better Photographs

Every photographer knows, the higher the ISO, the higher the noise in the photograph. Sure, we have come a long way & most of the modern cameras can control higher ISO’s with minimal difficulty producing cleaner photographs yet most of the photographers fear raising the ISO.

What happens when you do not raise the ISO? You either get an underexposed picture or you get a shaky picture since you need to work at slower shutter speed which may induce blur in the picture. There is no remedy for a shaky picture, no amount of post-processing would work here. For the earlier under-exposed scenario, you might bump up the exposure in post but then again you would get noise(In case you shot in jpeg, forget it if you’re under by more than a half a stop).

In such a case, where one needs high ISO to gain a good exposure, go ahead & raise the ISO. Sure, your picture would have noise(turn the in-camera noise reduction to reduce it & preferably shoot in RAW) but it would be exposed perfectly & won’t have any shake either since you should get a decent hand-holdable shutter-speed. The gist here is to not fear higher ISO’s but to embrace them. It’s much better to get a noisy but good photograph than to get a shaky one.

As Rick Sammon says, “If a picture is so boring that you notice the noise, its a boring picture”.

“I am happy when I read a good book, listen to a good song, play with my dog, joke with my mother, take a walk in the wild, watch the stars in the sky, help someone, spend time in solitude, speak the truth, watch kids play. Happiness is both within and without.” – Priya Kumar

Music is a universal motivator. I feel, I make good photographs when surrounded by music. Music lifts my soul & freeds it from any anxiety which in turn let me concentrate better on getting the photographs I envision. Try it. Put on your favorite play-list on your mobile phone, plug in the earphones & begin to photograph. You’ll feel motivated & that will show up in the photographs you make.

Music is also known to divert the mind from fear & anxiety. If you or your clients feel uncomfortable, let the music flow into background as you shoot. Playing their(clients) favorite song will make them drop their guard resulting into more natural photographs.

And at times when you cannot foresight any photography, sit down, close your eyes & listen to music for a while. Let it pierce through your soul. When you’re done, you will experience a new vigor to photograph. So put on the headphones & grab your camera to go on a journey to make musical photographs.

Watch the background. It is the background which will often make or break your image. No matter how good your subject is & how pleasant the light is but a cluttered background can ruin your entire photograph.

The key to a good background is to keep it simple. Often including too many things can give the background a cluttered look. Even if you shoot with a shallow depth-of-field, a cluttered background will still look busy. If you’re shooting outside, be on the lookout for streams of light which may be passing through tiny gaps in your background. These can be a nuisance. Instead try to get a clear single coloured background which would not compete with the subject. Often we see tree branches poking out of people’s head. Unless you want to portray your subject as a reindeer, its better you take time while framing to avoid this common mistake.

Most amateur photographers are tempted to include a flashy background which off-course looks good but directs the viewer eyes to the background than the point of interest in the photograph. You do not want this to happen. A good background is one which complements the subject & not one which competes with the subject.

There are many tips on how one can get a good background to shoot but that will demand an entire post. I’ll do it in future. For time-being, watch the background & see how your photographs improve radically.

Depth-Of-Field Preview is perhaps the most ignored featured found in camera’s. Most of the people don’t either know of its presence in the first place or if they are aware of it, they don’t know how to use it. To tell you the truth, its not difficult to learn what it does & know how to use it. Its very simple & once you know it, you’ll most often be using it. Let me show you how.

First, let’s talk about Depth-Of-Field(DOF). Depth-Of-Field is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to making a photograph. A good photograph often showcases proper use of Depth-Of-Field. Depth-Of-Field in simpler terms is the area in your photographs which is in acceptable focus(sufficiently sharp). A good photographer should be able to utilize DOF correctly so as to keep the subject as the main focus point which creates an appealing photograph.

As we set an aperture to suit a certain frame & look through the viewfinder on our camera, the camera doesn’t changes the aperture to the one we have set rightaway(Its is changed when you release the shutter). It still shows the image in the viewfinder at the maximum aperture(minimum F no.) the lens allows at a particular focal length. This is done, so you can get a bright viewfinder display & can frame easily. In such a case, if you want to preview the effect of a certain aperture the DOF preview button needs to be pressed & held as you look into the viewfinder. The button is generally found below the lens mount on either of the sides(depending on manufacturer) & often it is unmarked. Now the camera will set the aperture you’ve dialed in & give you a preview as to how it will affect the DOF. However at times, its very difficult to find out how much area is in focus & how much is not in the tiny viewfinder. In such a case(& always), I strongly recommend you use Live View. It is much easier to check the DOF in live view. The procedure remains same, switch the camera’s live-view on & then keep the DOF preview button pressed, the screen should display the DOF changes. Still finding it tough to discern the DOF changes, hit that zoom button(one you use to zoom into images) & you can magnify while you keep holding the DOF preview button. Still want to see the changes more fluidly, tether the camera to your computer & check the DOF preview on big screen else via camera’s HDMI-out attach an external monitor on field.

There you go, you’ve learned DOF Preview. Now try it & see how it can prove useful for shooting macro, portraits & almost all genres of photography.

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