Have you ever had a photo ruined because your cell phone or camera couldn’t capture it right?

Anyone can take a cell phone photo, but only the best cell phone photos incorporate photography techniques. Replace your cell phone with a proper camera and those same techniques will bring your photos to the next level.

How do I take good pictures with my DSLR?

photography techniques aperture

Step 1: Lighting. Taking good pictures with your DSLR begins and ends with knowing how and when to change your camera settings. You need to know your basics before you can begin playing with those settings to achieve certain photography techniques. These basics involve light and fall into three categories: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

ISO controls how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. It allows you to get properly lit photos at dark school concerts AND outside on a bright sunny day. Theoretically, these two examples can be achieved by keeping all settings the same and only changing your ISO. However in real life you’ll probably also change your aperture or shutter speed to achieve proper exposure. Learn more about how ISO works, and how to determine when you need to change your ISO.

Shutter speed controls how long your camera sensor is exposed to the available light in your environment. Faster shutter speeds result in less light reaching your sensor, which is what you need in bright environments. You also need fast shutter speeds to freeze action. Slower shutter speeds are needed in low light situations. There is so much more to learn about shutter speed, get caught up here.

When your camera shutter opens to expose the sensor to light, the size of that hole is dictated by your aperture. The larger the hole, the bigger your aperture. Confusingly, a larger aperture is shown on your camera with a smaller number (e.g. f1.8). Larger apertures let in more light, but also help achieve blurry backgrounds in your photos. Still confused about aperture? We’ve got an entire article dedicated to it here.

How do you shoot good photos?

Step 2: focus. After improving your exposure, you need to nail your focus for better photos. This is one of the most common issues among new photographers. Even the best use of photography techniques can’t fix an out of focus image. Sharp focus can be difficult to perfect because so many different factors affect sharpness. Getting properly focused images will involve the right focus point, using the autofocus setting on your lens, a specific aperture, and a high enough shutter speed. We highly recommend spending the time to perfect your focus before moving onto more glamorous photography areas. Troubleshoot your out of focus photos here.

How can I take professional looking pictures?

photography techniques composition

Step 3: Composition The next step in your photography journey, before photography techniques, is composition. Without use of compositional guidelines, your image will feel flat and boring. The right composition will create interest in your photo and draw the eye to your subject. The rule of thirds, leading lines, and negative space are just a few of the rules we love. Luckily we have an entire article dedicated to improving your composition.

What are the different photography techniques?

Long Exposure

This is a highly addictive photography techniques for landscape photographers, that you’ll want to try again and again. You need to eliminate camera shake, otherwise you’ll end up with blurry photos. For this you definitely need a tripod, which will halt the inevitable shake from holding your own camera. An inexpensive shutter remote will prevent the vibrations caused by manually pressing the shutter button, however its an optional purchase. Use live view mode on your camera to lock up the mirror in your camera to prevent internal camera shake. Turning off the vibration reduction or image stabilization setting on a zoom lens also stops shake.

Your camera settings vary wildly between day or night and what sort of effect you’re looking for. A crisp sharp milky way photo will have a shorter exposure than a star trail photo. Long exposures aren’t limited to landscape photographers. This photography techniques can be used by anyone wanting to get the perfect shot of a popular old church without other people in your shot. Long exposures will essentially erase moving people out of your image. Neutral density filters are worth investing in for daytime long exposure shots. This filter blocks some of the light entering your lens which allows you to take longer exposures without blowing out your highlights.

HDR Photography

This photography techniques is partially done in camera and finished up in the editing stage. One location is shot at multiple exposures to make sure all parts of your scene are properly lit in one of the exposures. These images are then stacked using photo editing software into a single image to only show the properly lit part of each individual shot. This technique was more popular a few years ago, but this technique is still used quite a bit in real estate photography.

High Speed Photography

photography techniques high speed photography

This technique simply requires you to have a very high shutter speed. The captivating aspect of this type of photography is the ability to see how a subject moves that wouldn’t normally be visible with the human eye. A hummingbird in mid flight, or a popping balloon are two fascinating subjects of high speed photography. 

Motion Blur

photography techniques motion blur

The opposite of high speed photography, it slows your shutter speed while photographing moving subjects. While you normally wouldn’t want blurry images, this effect is a great way to show motion in a different way. The trick is to use a shutter speed only slightly slower than needed to get a crisp image. This way the blur doesn’t go as far as being indecipherable, and you still have context.

Smoke Bomb Photography

This is one of the simplest photography techniques as it is just a regular photo that incorporates a smoke bomb. There are nuances to smoke photography that can make or break an image. Avoid windy days and make the first few moments count before the smoke overtakes your scene.

Panoramic Photography

Panoramic photography, much like HDR, relies heavily on post processing. Some cameras have a built in feature to help you take a panorama photo. But this feature is not needed. You can take successive shots while panning along a landscape which can then be stitched together using editing software.

Macro Photography

This is the only photography techniques that requires specialized equipment. You will need a lens specially designed to be able to take an image of a subject with a closer focusing distance. This allows you to take beautifully detailed images of objects you normally wouldn’t give a second thought to. Flowers, insects, foliage and even wedding rings are great subjects for macro photography.

Shaped Bokeh

photography techniques bokeh

This technique doesn’t involve any particular camera setting, other than a high aperture. It does require you to get a little crafty with some cheap materials. All you need is black paper or poster board cut to exactly fit your lens opening. Next cut one small hole in a shape like a heart or star in the center of your poster board cut out. When you’re out shooting, keep in mind that only the unfocused light sources in your photo will have the cut-out shape. This is a great technique to try at night.

What are the lighting techniques in photography?

These photography techniques are focused entirely on how light is used in your image. It sometimes requires the use of specific lighting equipment, which may require an investment beyond the typical lenses and cameras. Some of them can be done with a single flash and others can be done outdoors using the sun. Playing around with the placement of light around your subject and can result in a high fashion photography look, or a flattering portrait look. Lighting techniques provide a new avenue for creativity in your photography.

Split Lighting

photography techniques split lighting

This lighting technique creates a dramatic portrait of your subject by playing heavily with directional lighting and shadows. Your goal is to light only one side of your subject’s face by placing your light 90 degrees to your subject. You will end up with a shadow cutting straight down your subject’s face along the nose. This type of lighting creates a striking or more masculine look, so it’s often seen in musician or athlete portraits.

Rembrandt Lighting

This technique is very close to split lighting, except your subject is turned slightly more than 90 degrees away from the light source. This technique is named after the painter Rembrandt because he used this type of lighting on many of his subjects. The goal is to keep one side of the face in shadow, except for one triangle of light on the cheek. In order to achieve this look, the light source needs to be above your individual’s head. The shadows cast by this type of lighting helps round faces look slimmer. Be careful to limit the size of the triangle to the width of the eye and the length of the nose. Bonus if you can get a catch light in the eye on the dark side of the face.

Loop Lighting

photography techniques loop lighting

This type of lighting is very flattering on most people so it tends to be used a lot in portrait work. The light source is usually placed at a 30-45 degree angle from the back of your subject. A reflector is positioned so that the person falls between the light and the reflector. The reflector then bounces the light back onto your subject’s face. By bringing your light slightly above eye level the shadows are cast slightly downward. This lighting technique gives a slight contouring look which is more complimentary on people. Note this technique is easy to create outdoors with the sun as a light source.

Butterfly Lighting

This technique gets its name from the shape of the shadow cast under your subject’s nose. Your light is placed directly behind and above your camera so that shadows are cast downwards. This technique gets its name from the shape of the shadow cast under your subject’s nose. Depending on how high your light is, and how prominent your subjects cheekbones are, you may get shadows under the cheeks and chin. This technique is tough to achieve using a broad light source like the sun or a window.

Broad Lighting

This isn’t exactly a technique as is more or less used to describe how much of the face is in the light. When your subjects face is turned slightly in one direction, your lighting is broad if it casts the side of the face closest to the camera in light. It gives the illusion of making the face look broader, so it’s not the best choice if your subject is self conscious about having a wide face.

Creative use of shadows

Lighting is as much about where the light falls as where it doesn’t. Get creative in your photography techniques by deliberately incorporating shadows into your portraits. Use a chain link fence, window blinds, lace, or even a palm leaf to cast a patterned shadow on your subject.

Light Painting

photography techniques light painting

This is basically a long exposure shot with the added photography techniques of introducing a moving light. Different light sources can be moved in any way across the frame to create beautiful light trails. Flashlights, torches, el wire, glow sticks, lasers, poi balls, and light wands are among the light sources used. The longer your exposure the more time you have to move around the frame. Experiment by varying your speed while holding the light, incorporating more than one light source, and even including a still object.

How do you capture amazing pictures?

There is no requirement to use these techniques to get great photos, but they can certainly get your creative juices flowing. The key to becoming better is analyzing what settings you used when a photo goes wrong, but also when it’s right. Make a note of which settings you used, the amount of light, and where the light came from in your best work. Once you know how to quickly get your settings right for everyday situations, you can experiment with advanced photography techniques. Knowing where your limitations and weaknesses are also helps you become a better well rounded photographer.

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