FIVE DSLR Photography Top Tips to Take Great Photos

Your DSLR camera has many features but it is important to understand the basic photography principles. Learn these basics and you will get become a better photographer with photos you will proudly want to share.
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Photography is best when we keep it simple.

Dog in front of Tamarama Surf Club taken by Terry Rogan and Picture Me Sydney Corporate Photography Classes.-003

So you have just purchased that new DSLR camera or perhaps you have always trusted the camera in auto. Now is the time to get yourself taking great photos with your DSLR camera with these simple tips. Take your camera out for a day and find some interesting things to photograph.

1. Get your camera off AUTO!

AUTO does not automatically make the photo right. The auto setting in most DSLR cameras will take control of every setting and trust you only to push the button. You must progress your knowledge in the capture mode and start with `P’ Program mode. Program is like an intelligent persons auto as it does about everything that auto does but it allows you to use your flash or change the exposure combination. If you take a photo in auto and then in P capture setting you will see little difference in the photo. The P capture mode will allow you to start to understand better what the camera is doing and how to get the photo you want. Program mode will show you the aperture and shutter speed exposure in each photo. If you don’t know what this means, then you must read on below.

2. Aperture Priority mode for family portraits and landscape photography.

If you like taking photos of family and friends or you travel and love landscape photography, then Aperture Priority is the capture mode for you. Simply change your capture setting from Program (P) to (A) or (Av) aperture priority capture mode on your DSLR camera. You then control the aperture (size of the lens opening) by changing the f number with your selector dial. A small f-number or f-stop of f (2.8) or f (4) will give a blurry background whilst an f (13) or f (22) will give a sharper background. A blurry background (shallow depth of field) at f (4) is ideal for portraits or closeup, macro photography. Landscape photographers and travellers who want a sharp background (larger depth of field) will enjoy f (16) or thereabouts. Ensure your auto focus is on your subject and let the aperture give you the look and style you want. Picture Me Sydney offers a photography masterclass that will take you to many different locations to shoot landscapes, portrait and macro.

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Focus on your subject and the f-13 will allow more sharp detail in the background

3. Shutter Priority mode for action and movement.

A silky smooth water flow, car headlights that seem to be a stream of light or that split second the tennis racquet swings and hits a tennis ball are all images that are captured with the right shutter speed. Shutter speed controls the subject movement and the time of the exposure. Use your shutter speed to capture the action or emotion of the moment in photography. Fast shutter speeds are ideal for sports photography or `freeze the moment’ and are 1/500 or faster. A slow shutter speed is 1/30 or slower and your best photography will be with a tripod. Normal shutter speeds are between 1/60 and 1/400th of a second. Set your camera capture mode to `S’ or `Tv’ and dial in the preferred shutter speed. Be careful with your exposure and remember slow shutter speeds let more light in and fast shutter speeds let less light onto the exposure.

4. A simple formula for good photography.

All DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras allow you to adjust the aperture (f.stop) or the shutter speed in `P’ Program within correct exposure limits. If you are not comfortable with your photography knowledge and want to avoid taking a photo incorrectly exposed, I recommend you leave the camera on P. Use the thumb or finger dial adjustment to change the aperture if you want to correct the depth of field or shutter speed for movement in the Program mode setting. You must decide what is most important, the aperture or shutter. You then adjust that one setting. The other setting will adjust automatically. Advanced photographers will select both the aperture and shutter speed in manual mode but most social photographers will be more than happy with their photos on `P’ mode. Picture Me Sydney has a great four hour outdoor photography class that can also fast track your path to taking great photos with your DSLR camera.

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An early morning fog and no trains allows for great composition and leading lines

5. Composition and Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a common photography term that helps us frame the photo. The fundamental rule in good photography is not to put your subject in the middle of the frame. To assist us with framing the photo, most modern DSLR cameras and smart phones have a grid lines option in the menu. This will overlay two horizontal and two vertical lines on your frame. You will then have an equal segments of a top third, middle third and bottom third. A right third, middle and left third of the frame. Try and place your subject in one of these thirds that is most visually impacting and at one of the cross points where the horizontal and vertical lines cross.

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An f-4 will keep the subject sharp and blur the background

Taking great photos with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera is so rewarding. The beauty of digital allows you to try different things and see your result immediately. If you do not like your photo you can delete the photo and try another setting. Our beginner and night photography class can help you take great photos with your DSLR within four hours. Good photography has no boundary so let yourself be free to explore your camera and the world of photography. Cameras don’t take photos, people do so trust your camera and create some great photos.

If you want to look at what photography courses and tours Picture Me Sydney offer, please just CLICK ON THE LINK HERE

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Terry Rogan

Terry Rogan

Terry is one of the most experienced photographers in Australia. He initially founded the National Photo Training College in 1988 which was Australia’s only private, fully accredited, photographic training college in NSW that had reciprocal accreditation in VIC, QLD and ACT. This quickly evolved, training hundreds of students annually and he was the driving force for the first and Australia’s only Photographic Retail Traineeships Cert II and III level that helped revolutionise the photo lab industry sector.

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