Photography Tips for Amateurs

Get a PEZ on the hot shoe

Trust me the kid will just fail to look away. He has all his attention drawn on the PEZ dispenser put up on the camera’s hot shoe.Get some candies too. Incredible genius is what accomplishes will call you later.

Flashing day and night

If you are an outdoor photographer, the same kind of lighting is sure to get you bored. A wedding or an engagement is where the lighting can never be forced upon. The trick to changing the lighting is to the flash at maximum power. The subject will turn out to be extremely bright.

Likewise, in case you need it out to darken all the way, the background can be turned to night just by changing the focus of the subject to expose on your camera settings. There you go, Night in the middle of broad daylight.

Take the lens off

Take the lens off and hold it in front of your camera t makes it function like a macro lens. This is one of the neatest tricks to get the exact that works as if it is a charm.

Make a bokeh out of cardboard

Make a bokeh of any kind, and hold it over the lens. But the aperture has to be very large if you are using this kind of a bokeh. The bokeh is simply to be made by cutting out a cardboard to a shape, and then sharpening it by a knife. The shape should be large enough to accommodate a nickel.

Classifications of Commercial Photography

  • Aerial – This type involves clicking from a higher elevation using high end devices. They are mostly taken from balloons, helicopters, aircraft as well as parachutes. They use variety of concepts like focal length, frame numbers, fiducial marks, stereographic coverage and index maps etc. for the accomplishment of the purpose.
  • Advertising – This is mainly used for promoting brands or services though the magazine, newspapers, leaflets, etc. They can also be seen on billboards, television ads, websites and digital ads. They are fundamentally sales were driven and e usually accomplished by the design firms and advertising agencies.
  • Automobile – As the name suggests this type of photography is mainly put to use by the automobile dealerships and the car companies at the time of launching a new car, or making the customers aware of the existing features as well as the brand new add-ons if any.
  • Architecture and Interiors – This is used for capturing the buildings, structures as well as the interiors of the restaurants or any housing. A number of features like the proper techniques of lighting and the shooting tips are used by the shutterbugs to bring forth the beauty of the space. These are predominantly used in the real estate business and the restaurants to attract and turn the potential customers to buyers.
  • Sports – This one involves taking the snaps of the all the important happenings of the sports world. These are used for covering sports news or player-related news or cover the important events related to sports.
  • Jewelry – This is necessary for every jewelry business. For attracting the customers, the photographers see to it that every intricate and subtle design is highlighted in every piece of jewelry like that of the earrings, bracelets, rings, etc.

The above are only some of the varieties of commercial photography and there are many more. The significance of these is utterly enormous in today’s economic world for brand building and promotion.

Birefringence Photography

In terms of photography, birefringence involves using a polarized filter to take a picture of clear plastic that is already under polarized light. The result is photographs that show a liquid combination of colors instead of the normal clarity of light.

Birefringence photography basically involves the use of two polarizing filters: one between the subject and the light source, to polarize the light, and a second on the lens of the camera.

The first filter should ideally be linear, but the one on the camera can either be circular or linear. Polarized light sources are easy to find, because most LCD television screens and computer monitors already feature linear polarization. If you really would rather not use a screen or don’t want those RGB pixels, just try a light table that has polarizing paper sitting on top instead. If you don’t have a polarizing lens filter, you can use a polarized sun glass instead.

Here are some tips to get the best results from birefringence photography.

  • Providing back-lighting to the subject gives the photo-elasticity (the liquid look to the colors) the best effect. If you use a computer screen, make sure that it is pure white. The easiest way to get this is to open Paint or Notepad, and make the program full screen. Adjust the brightness as necessary.
  • Then, put the polarizing filter onto the lens. Turn it around to see how the appearance of the subject changes. If your camera has the “Live View” option, this is much easier to manage. Check out the LCD screen, and when the subject looks like you want it, take your picture.
  • If you want a stronger effect, apply more than one plastic layer.To make a hip, retro image of a cassette tape that would make a fun 80s party image for an Evite, set the cassette against the all-white monitor screen. When the polarizing filter is on your camera, you can see the swirling bands of color on the clear surface of the cassette.
  • After you take the picture, you can edit the background from white to the color of your choosing. Going with black allows the bright colors of your cassette to stand out with the most contrast.
  • You will wow the people on your invite list with your photographic wizardry!

Lens Hood

Lens Hoods

The hoods are supposed to prevent the lens flare or glare. But when it comes to lens hoods, the range of choices is quite large. Firstly, there is the basic version. This is similar in resemblance to a lamp shade and it is utilized on the lenses which work in the larger areas of the tele zoom. Since in this case the angle of vision is very narrow, the phenomenon of vignetting (obstructing the field of view used by the lens) will not appear. Today’s market offers various types of lenses which can start from wide and continue to telephoto regions. In this case, the regular lens hoods cannot be used particularly since they can cause vignetting.


The aspect of design is taken care of by using hoods which are specially created for this purpose. They are constructed by measuring the horizontal and vertical angle of vision in a separate manner. Normally, the horizontal angle is larger than the vertical one and the sunlight brought by it. This requires a design shaped as a flower or even a petal.

In what concerns the hood for every lens, this needs to be created according to the angle of the lens or else vignetting will appear. In addition to this, the lens hood also protects the lens from getting physically damaged. Some of the hoods for cameras (prosumer models) fix filters of teleconvertors directly on them. When it comes to macro photography, the short lens hoods have ring shaped LEDs placed over them. This way great lighting is assured from closer angles. The hoods mentioned are very flexible and offer great freedom to photographers. But when battery packs are included, the camera might lose its stability a bit.

Matte Box

The matte box is used especially in the video area rather than in the photo field because it can help the photographer adjust the length of the fins. Also known under the name of French Flags, the fins come with a great flexibility and freedom of movement. They are less used in the still photography and they are mainly dedicated to small environments such as studios (mostly due to the huge size of the matte box). Next to this, they also are a great place to fix plastic or glass filters.

Thus, when you decide to purchase an object of this type, you should also include a lens hood in the deal because it will provide a better quality when working with direct sunlight. This way a better contrast is created and pictures can look more powerful due to the hoods, since sunlight will not fall on the front elements of the lens.

Essential Accessories for DSLR

Camera Bag

Hauling your camera and its accessories around can be quite distressing if you lack the proper way to carry it. A camera bag eliminates all the hassle. Acquiring one should be based on how much equipment you have. Shoulder bags are the go-to choice for most as they offer easy access to the camera. It is likely that you will buy filters, flashes and lenses down the road and having a safe place to keep these will matter. Besides, a bag will shelter your camera from dust and rain.

Utility Strap

Holding on to your camera for the entire length of your photography session can be quite tiresome. If you need to use your hands, you are compelled to lay down your camera, which exposes it to damage and theft. This conundrum can be solved by investing in a utility strap. It will ensure the camera is close to you at all times. It is especially recommended since it eliminates all risk of you accidentally dropping your expensive DSLR.


Tripods are awkward to carry around, but their usefulness cannot be understated. It is a must have if you want to capture the most stead shots. You might not use it every time you are taking pictures, but it is very important that you have it with you. Aluminum tripods are good and sturdy, but also heavier to carry around. Carbon fibre ones are lighter, but also more expensive to buy.

These are the most important accessories to start out with. You might also want to think about lenses, density filters, flash diffusers and flashes as well if you want to make the most of your photography experience. The cumulative cost for a one-off purchase for all these can be quite high, so it makes sense to start out with what you will need for your kind of photography (nature, weddings, etc). The abundance of proprietary stores online should make it easier to find something that works with your needs, and budget.

Capture Objects In Details

Since customers cannot view the products physically, it is a huge responsibility to present every possible detail concerning the product. It is part of the process by which a customer gets acquainted to a product before it is delivered. When the image and the real thing have almost no dissimilarity, the bridge of trust gets stronger and business grows. Realizing the importance of presenting authentic details may be crucial to the success of any online vendor.

This two step job also requires the availability of right camera, lens, studio and a lot of other technical faculties and tactics. A product photography studio comes with all the facilities. The advertising photographers are constantly working on new techniques to take the best shot. Even after the invention of some of best lenses and cameras many commercial photographers opine that capturing of details is more about lighting properly. The straight from the top shot is a classical light setup. This with a combination of Soft gradient from the top and hard on the bottom, with the strip box through the diffuser and bare strip box, below the camera in front, respectively.

But how can some objects like cosmetic brushes or watch dials be shot with details. The correct use of lens with the ideal zoom can be applied. An alternate method could be to shoot the objects from 20-30 degree angle. The lighting must be arranged accordingly. Keeping the light from the top diffuser unchanged, it brings out even smallest details finely. This setting is perfect for product image of things like brushes. It helps to capture the brush hair in its original tone as opposed to its darker tone

Capturing the details of objects in commercial photography also include some other elements. For example how can one focus on the bricks while showing the interiors of a home? This is also a party of commercial product photography. The depth and also the variant of the atmosphere support the detailing. This helps to capture the best elements of the snapshot. The light even if it is controlled should flow seamlessly. It should to look contrived and generated. If it does the viewer gets distracted from the main theme.

35mm Film Camera Light Metering

The extinction meter was a beautifully simple solution, but in use it suffered from subjective interpretation, and variations in the sensitivity of the human eye, which differs from person to person.

Photovoltaic Selenium light meters came next. This material converts solar energy into electrical current, and generates a tiny voltage proportional to the intensity of light exposure. Both hand held, and built-in Selenium Meters became commonplace. They even allowed the development of simple automation, where mechanical systems exploited electrical deflection of a meter needle pointer to induce other physical changes (to set apertures or shutter speeds).

Selenium meters were inexpensive to make, and cost nothing to run, and did a pretty good job provided that they were not exposed to moisture. The most iconic exposure meter of all time – the Weston Master – was a Selenium meter.

The shortcoming of Selenium was that it is incapable of measuring lower light levels accurately. This became an issue as ever-faster films were developed, and so CdS (Cadmium Sulphide) replaced Selenium. CdS meters work differently, and exploit the phenomenon of photo-resistance. CdS is a material with an electrical resistance to the passage of a current that changes proportionately to the intensity of light exposure. Accordingly, CdS based meters require a battery to provide a current.

Most manufactures incorporated CdS meters in their cameras, as did the makers of hand-held systems, but CdS eventually gave way to another material; Silicone. This worked in the same way as CdS, but was even more sensitive to lower light levels, and reacted faster to changes in illumination levels. Silicone is today’s standard light measuring material.

Once Cds had been adopted, other forces (technological advancements, and consumer needs) conspired to make light meters an integral, and internalised component of the evolving camera, and design moved towards the exposure meter measuring light on its path to the film, rather than capturing an approximate measure of lighting levels in the vicinity of the subject. Here I am thinking and writing primarily about 35mm SLR cameras, and the development of through-the-lens metering.

The advancement of battery operated, CdS meter equipped camera brings us to the point of this article, since the following typical metering systems were adopted by manufactures.

Average metering

This is the simplest form, where the camera will use all the light coming from the entire scene to determine the exposure setting. No weight is given to any particular portion of the metered area, so an anomalous bright spot, for example, can result in overall under exposure. True average metering is a very rare thing. The vast majority of 35mm SLR film cameras employed the second form of metering.

Centre-weighted average metering

In this system, the meter concentrates between 60 to 80% of its sensitivity towards the central part of the viewfinder. The advantage of this method is that small areas at the edges of the viewfinder that vary greatly in brightness have less influence, and most subjects are generally in the central section of the frame anyway. In truth, centre-weighted metering was more of a consequence that design feature, since light scatter from the focusing screen coupled with the positioning of the meter cell(s) naturally caused an intensity fall off at the edges.

Partial metering

This type of metering works on the same principle as centre-weighted average, but intentionally ignores areas on the edges of the frame, which could otherwise influence the metering unduly if there are either very bright or dark. Partial metering typically concentrates on around 10-15% of the entire frame. Canon was a manufacturer quite keen on this system at one time.

Spot metering

Here the meter will only measure a very small area, typically at the centre of the view screen, and usually between 1-5% of the viewfinder area. Spot metering is very accurate and is not influenced by other areas in the frame. It is commonly used to shoot high contrast scenes. For example, backlit subjects, where perhaps a face is much darker than the bright halo of sunlight around the subject. Spot metering enables the photographer to select which element of a shot is correctly exposed, and the consequential under or over exposure of other, less important areas. Spot metering was usually a second option on high-end cameras, and not an every day metering pattern.

Matrix or Multi-zone metering

This is a much later development, where the camera measures the light intensity at several points in the scene, and then combines the results to find the best compromise exposure setting. Matrix metering was first seen on the Nikon FA, back in 1983. This pioneering camera didn’t sell well, because nobody understood how its metering system worked, and so didn’t trust its accuracy. Yet today, this system is the basis of evaluative metering, the name by which Matrix or Multi-zone has become more commonly known in digital cameras.

Obviously, as we move down this list, the metering systems become potentially more accurate, but the desirability of any system really depends on what you mostly want to photograph. There are no hard and fast rules to say which type of metering is most appropriate, and familiarity with the performance of any metering system is really the best way to exploit its particular strengths and weaknesses.

Once upon a time, the photographer might notice a bright spot in their centre-weighted metering viewfinder, and realise they needed to compensate, without recourse to more sophisticated metering systems. Evaluative metering has found its place in the modern age because photographers now want cameras to do the thinking for them, and they trust their superior powers.

Auto Focus in Digital Camera

Autofocus vs. Manual

It sounds very simple and it is, but there are a few points to remember before you shoot the picture. On the most simple auto-focus cameras the area analyzed by the auto-focus mechanism will be in the center of the frame; it will be this part that the camera focuses on even if the main subject is to one side and therefore out of the auto-focus range. It’s very simple to learn how to alter the focus by manually overriding this mechanism. The true art lies in knowing when it’s the best situation to use either manual or automatic focusing, if you can figure that out then you’re well on your way to becoming a much better photographer all-round.

More Beams, More Accuracy

Some of the more sophisticated cameras have a larger area of focus than that of the central spot found in the more simple models. These more sophisticated cameras send out three separate beams and make a ‘judgement’, either from one of these or from a combination of all three. Many of the single lens reflex cameras (SLR) that take interchangeable lenses are of the auto-focus type. Most of these will, of course, have a manual override for focusing but when in the auto-focus mode the same alterations may be required.

The Advantages of Automatic Cameras

If your camera has auto-focus then most other things will be automatic too. Here are a 5 reasons why choosing an automatic camera is more advantageous;

  • It allows for spontaneous and creative pictures to be captured instantly without time-consuming dial adjustments
  • The built-in flash provides quick, on-the-spot lighting for every occasion
  • Light exposure is metered automatically, saving on adjustment and measuring time
  • ‘Hands-free’ pictures can be taken using the self timer; so even the photographer can appear in the shot
  • The small and compact shape makes the camera easily portable in all situations.

Ways to Improve Photos

Things to do Before Taking Pictures

One of the first things that you can do to help you get the best possible photos is to prepare before taking them. You want to make sure that you know all you can about the equipment that you are using. This will allow you to make any changes in focus, and other settings on the camera. It is also important to pay close attention to the lighting on the occasion you are taking pictures. Light coming from the wrong angle can cause a variety of problems with the photos you take. The subjects could end up with red eyes or look washed out. Furthermore, if there is not enough light, you will need to use flash to help you get the best photo possible. Pay close attention to what is going on behind the subjects in your photo, as you do not want things in the background that will detract from them once you have taken the photo.

Editing Software

Even when you are as careful as possible when taking photos, there are going to be things that arise that will need correction. There are other times where you may want to enhance a photo. With the creation of editing software, it is possible to do both, fix and enhance your photos. There are numerous ways to improve your photos, from removing red eye, to enhancing colors, and even completely removing people or objects from photos to make them exactly what you intended them to be when you snapped the image. No longer are you stuck with the random stranger in your photo when you are at a famous landmark, with the right photo editing software, it is possible to remove them.

Photo Editing Effects

  • Stylizing Action – What could be cooler than making an action photograph look more dynamic. You simply have to create duplicates of your original image and change the color channel so you will have a variety of color scales to work with. Predominantly green or blue are great for dynamic, stylized action photos. When the stylized image duplicates are placed side by side in a single layer, a good blurring effect is achieved.
  • B & W – For the fact that people are constantly bombarded by color, vintage styling remains important. When trying to emphasize the action that your subject is performing, a Black and White photo is effective. High contrast photos tend to underemphasize the background, so be sure to adjust the white balance and brightness so as to get the right balance of light and color your final product.
  • Pre-set Filters – Instagram and several mobile photo editing tools use pre-set filters to change the color temperature and contrast level of photos. Take advantage of your iPhone or Android device to take photos! Being away from your PC or Mac shouldn’t hinder you from using available tools to express and create yourself. Nevertheless, always remember to shot at highest possible setting. It’s worth noting that you can remove pixels from an image but cannot really add pixels to it once an image has been shot. That’s why photographers like to shoot in the RAW format, knowing full well that it consumes a lot more space.
  • Sharpen Images – Digital sharpening through Photoshop and other similar software reduces or removes noise but also sacrifices some of the detail on your photos.