Friday, April 25, 2008

Photography Tips (part 1)

I thought I'd offer a few tips on how to use your camera to produce better photographs and have a better experience with your equipment. These are random thoughts, but things you might not be doing.

1. Always put on the neck or wrist strap. My sister-in-law was using a camera on the bleachers (Nikon film body and lens) and somehow dropped it. It fell roughly ten feet, hit the ground and the lens mount (which was plastic) shattered, so the body bounced in one direction and the lens in another. Not a good day. Don't drop your camera.

2. If you're using your camera at the beach, wrap it up. I was in about a foot of water a few years ago at Virginia Beach shooting pics of the kids and a wave came up behind me and two tiny drops landed on my vertical grip. I wiped them off immediately, but the grip was toast. Salt water kills cameras.

3. Use two hands. Blurry pics can happen because the shutter speed was too slow and either the subject moved or the camera moved. You can only control the camera, so learn to keep it steady. I think it's hilarious watching people hold their cameras out with one hand and snap while their talking. I can actually see their hand moving during this process, so you know there's going to be a lot of camera shake. Try this: Use two hands. Bring your elbows into your body and lock them against your ribs. Spread your feet out slightly, back foot at a different angle than the front. Press the viewfinder against your eyebrow (if you have a viewfinder). If you don't have a viewfinder, then just try to focus on holding the camera steady. Depress the button half way to get focus, then continue squeezing to get the shot. DO NOT push the button and immediately let your finger fly up like you've tapped a piano key. If you watch a military commando turn his whole body with his eyes and weapon in the same direction at all times, and squeeze slowly to fire, that's very similar.

I'll post more later.

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