Rodney Campbell's Blog

Photography Hints & Tips Part 4 – Photographic Recipes…

by on Apr.03, 2010, under Life, Photography

Whilst as in life there are no guarantees – there are however a few things you can do in certain situations to improve your chances of achieving the look you want. What follows are some basic photographic recipes for taking certain types of photos.

Portraits/Wildlife/Flowers (limited depth of field, soft background, isolate subject):

  • Use Aperture Priority (Set Mode dial to A or Av) and select lowest f-stop value you can (e.g. f/5.6 or below)
  • Focus on the eyes
  • Use a Longer Focal Length (zoom in – e.g. 100mm or more – telephoto compression more flattering than wide angle facial distortion)
  • Move closer to your subject

Portraits/Group Shots (not so limited depth of field so more in focus):

  • Use Aperture Priority (Set Mode dial to A or Av) and select an f-stop value like f/11 or f/8 (if the background is simpler/non distracting)
  • Use a Longer Focal Length (zoom in – e.g. between 60mm and 90mm)

Sports/Action (freeze the action):

  • Use Shutter Priority (Set Mode dial to S or Tv) and select a fast shutter speed (e.g. for most things 1/500 or higher, for very slow subjects you might be able to go as low as 1/250 or 1/125, for very fast moving subjects (race cars, fast sports) you might need 1/640 or above)
  • Raise the ISO to produce a brighter exposure if needed
  • Use a Continuous release mode (motor drive) for multiple images per second
  • Pan (move the camera with the subject) with a slower shutter speed to show motion (background blur)

Landscape (maximum depth of field):

  • Use Aperture Priority (Set Mode dial to A or Av) and select a high f-stop value (e.g. f/16 or above)
  • Focus about one third of the way into the scene
  • Use a Shorter/Wider Focal Length (zoom out – e.g. 28mm or less)
  • Compose the shot so there is foreground, middle ground and background
  • Use a Tripod
  • Shoot during the “golden hours” (the time between 30 mins before and after sunrise and sunset)

Waterfall Shots/Nighttime Shots:

  • Use a slow shutter speed (1 sec to multiple seconds) to create a misty look to the water/light trail effect

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