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10 Beyond Basic Photography Tips

Digital photography is a fun hobby. Digital photography can provide instant feedback, which is what you don’t get when you shoot film (except if you were using Polaroid). Large memory cards also allow you to play with lighting and angles to your hearts content. These 10 advanced tips will help you improve your photography skills if you are beyond the beginner stage. You can share any tips with us in the comments section.

  1. Shoot in Raw. Many digital cameras can automatically capture JPG files straight out of the box. This allows you to share files quickly with family and friends without the need for post processing. You’re losing a lot of control if you don’t shoot in Raw, which is an unprocessed raw file that preserves the original image as it was captured by the camera’s sensor. Raw files allow you to adjust colors, exposure, black levels, sharpness and other attributes more easily than a compressed JPG.
  2. Consider Off-Camera Lighting. If you want to try flash photography for real, it is important that the flash be moved away from your camera. To do this, you can use a PocketWizard wireless remote system. The Strobist has tips and tricks to help you use off-camera flashes efficiently.
  3. You might have already tried different lenses. A specialized lens is great for those who are stuck in a creative rut or want to try new styles of photography. A macro lens can be super-sharp and can focus very close to small objects. A Lensbaby is another option. This creative lens system allows you to adjust your plane of focus to create photos with a sharp focus but softens it to make them dreamy. You have even more options if you own a mirrorless camera. Many lens adapters are available to mount almost any lens to your mirrorless camera for manual focus mode. There are also CCTV lenses that can be mounted to these cameras for manual focus. These lenses produce sharp images but are very fast. How to Use Vintage lenses on Mirrorless Cameras has more information. You can rent a lens online through LensRentals or BorrowLenses if you’re looking to test it out before you purchase.
  1. Maintain a clean sensor. These spots are often not visible at larger apertures. However, if you shoot at f/5.6 and smaller these spots could distract from your image. Visible dust and Lenspen offer methods to clean your camera’s sensor.
  2. Zoom during Exposure. It may take some practice. To give photos a dynamic look, event photographers will often use a little zoom to increase the exposure. If you are able to do it, you will get some great images by using a flash to freeze your subject’s motion. You can also use a longer shutter speed to change the focal length of the shot. The same technique can be used for long exposures of fireworks (without the flash).
  3. You should replace your strap if you plan to do a lot of photography. Don’t lug your D-SLR/mirrorless camera around with the original neck strap. There are many third-party options available, some of which are more practical and comfortable than the ones that came in the box. BlackRapid straps are used often by event photographers who have multiple bodies and heavy lenses attached. Op/Tech offers a variety of straps that can be used with everything, from light mirrorless cameras to heavy DSLs.
  4. A Workflow Application is a great investment. It will allow you to process the raw images. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is the best choice. This program offers a nondestructive way to edit photos. It records a list that must be made to the raw file, and then outputs a JPG/TIF version for sharing or printing.
  5. Play with Post-Processing. You can have fun with the final look of your photos. Lightroom can do so much, but there are times when you need a specific look that’s not possible with other Lightroom applications. The Google Nik Collection a collection of applications that can apply different film looks to photos and can be used for HDR processing. You can also find similar software for editing photos on a Mac at MacPhun.
  6. Print your work. While it’s easy to share photos online and view them in a digital frame, if you take a photograph that you love, you should print it. Although you can print from home with an inkjet printer, it’s better to use a dedicated printing service for best results. Smugmug or Mpix are great places to showcase your work. They offer prints on canvas, metallic papers, and true black-and-white photo paper for a more classic look. A custom photo book is also available. This is an updated version of the family album that includes your photos printed directly onto it.
  7. You should upgrade your camera for the right reasons. You don’t have to buy the most expensive camera in order to capture great photos. There are many reasons to upgrade. You’re better off upgrading to a higher-quality body than to a lower-resolution camera. Semi-pro D-SLRs have better-quality viewfinders and more physical controls. They also offer a stronger construction.

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