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17 tips and tricks for better digital photography

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The thirds rule. Sunny 16. Always shoot in RAW. The books are full of photo tips, some essential, others almost restrictive. But the photo tricks that border on life-changing situations are often not those that are picked up in books and blogs, but after years of shooting and trying.

To get the most effective hints, we went straight to the people who use them day after day: professional professional photographers. Most professionals like to put together a field kit that includes some basic supplies and accessories they always bring with them. And most of them remember where they came from, along with the little tricks they put on the skill ladder.

We talked to three professionals ̵

1; Caio Guatelli, Adrian Henson and Scott Mead – to share their proven tips on a quick breakdown of the inexpensive equipment they've used the most over the years. We've also added some of our own tips that we learned from years behind the lens.

Taking It With You: An expensive camera with more megapixels does not make you a better photographer, just someone who plans in higher resolution. But there is more to take than a good camera and a lens. In fact, some of the best parts of photography equipment are not designed for photography at all – nor are they very expensive.

Using Gaffertape

Gafers Tape offers endless uses in the photographic world – it's the photographer's tape, but better. It can be used to hold backgrounds in place, modify lights, hold flash gels, and attach lights to small props just to name a few. And unlike tape, it leaves no sticky residue, which means you can actually attach it to your expensive camera.

To get some useful hints, we went straight to professional photographers.

"One of my biggest consistent applications [for Gaffer’s tape] is to cover the switches on my lenses," says Adrian Henson, who photographs everything from senior portraits to commercials. "Camera makers have gotten a lot better at switching low-profile lenses, but there are still plenty of lenses with switches on, covering them with a small amount of gaffer tape so they can not be inadvertently switched off the desired setting shooting with the lens set manually can be very catastrophic. "

Velcro with Remote Shutter

A remote shutter is a must when shooting from a tripod, says Scott Mead. A landscape and wildlife photographer based in Maui, Hawaii. But fumbling for a dangling cord or a wireless remote can mean the difference between getting a shot and losing it when the light changes quickly. "By attaching a piece of industrial-strength tape to the top of a tripod leg and the back of the remote, you'll always know where your remote is located and it's within reach."

Invest in Gels and a Good Organizer

Henson often uses colored gels on his flashes. He will buy some of the Rosco Cinegel Swatchbooks, for about $ 8 a piece, so he has every imaginable color.

"The problem is that when you break up the sample book, the gels are impossible to match, so to manage my gels, I write the color code on the gels with a fine point Sharpie and then use a business card organizer to close them I've also tailored pieces of Gafferband to the size that I use when installing the gels on my Speedlight [flashes] and pasting everything over the outside of the organizer.This system makes sure I can always have the desired gel color and the tape I need to attach. "

Embrace the philosophy" Less is more "

Photographers who take photographs in dangerous or active situations sometimes have to move quickly. This means that their equipment has to be light and easy to carry. Caio Guatelli recommends finding out in advance what you will use during your shoot and to make a clear selection of lenses and other devices. The Brazilian-born photographer specializes in high-speed sports, namely Formula 1 racing and track and field. "I usually choose two lenses, a 35mm and a telephoto zoom of 70-200mm, if the frame does not match the subject, I'll move backwards or use a naturally trimmed frame if the subject is for my lenses far, I try to accept it in the size in which it appears or just wait for something better to shoot. "

Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 18, 2013: 50 thousand demonstrators occupied the main places of the city Sao Paulo. (Photo: Caio Guatelli)

Keep things on a level surface

"When photographing on uneven terrain, it's sometimes difficult to optically define a horizontal horizon," says Mead. "Acratech makes a neat double-axis spirit level that slides into your camera's hot shoe and makes leveling your camera a breeze."

Download some apps

Sometimes the best camera accessory is already in your pocket – a smartphone. This is not due to the built-in camera, but to the apps.

Most professionals like to compose a field kit.

"There is a plethora of photography apps for Apple and Android devices, but one of them is a must for any nature photographer: the photographer's ephemeris," says Mead. "With his solar and lunar calendar, which works with Google Maps, he offers photographers satellite views of their location with sun and moon overlays around the world, and it's a must to set up a shoot one day earlier come to explore the site. "

For even more great apps, check out our list of the best camera apps for iPhone users and the best at photography apps for Android

Relieve Yourself

Early on in his career, Henson realized how horrible it was to have a camera around his neck even after a short while. "When I started weddings, my equipment got bigger, heavier, and more lush, and one day after a wedding, my back got knocked over and I felt terrible, and that night I took off my camera straps and never put them back in. It required something Adaptation and I had to think ahead and manage my equipment better, but it was the best move I've ever made. "

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As a solution, he purchased a Spider camera-holstered belt. Mine holds two cameras and I can carry them all day with both cameras and still feel great when we're done at the end of the session, most of the days I just hold mine Camera in hand, but if I have to carry two or need a place to put one, if I do not take pictures, a camera strap is definitely the way to go, whatever you do, let that load off your shoulders Back will thank you. "

Take a look at our hands-on review of Spider's latest product, the SpiderLight.

Keep the Elements Out

Mead says shooting from a boat poses some challenges, especially when it comes to keeping your camera dry. "There are plenty of waterproof camera cases, but they're expensive, and many nylon versions cover important controls, fortunately there are a few affordable options available, Op / Tech USA makes a clear, 18-inch rain cover with a drawstring opening that's easy DSLR cameras with a lens of 100-400 mm, considering that you get two per pack for about six dollars, that's a good deal. "

" You can also use transparent bags if necessary Just make a hole in the ground with your finger and gently stretch the plastic to pick up the end of the lens for a 15-cent solution, "adds Mead.

Embrace the Histogram

Histograms place each pixel in the image in a chart, and viewing this chart is one of the best ways to determine if your exposure is off. The idea is to observe the peaks and prevent the slopes from being cut off at the edges. If these pixels are cut off at the left edge, the image is too dark. On the right side? Too easy. Of course, the histogram is for correct exposure, so it does not work to intentionally overexposure or underexpose an image to create a certain mood. That is, the histogram will tell you if your exposure is so far away that you can not recover details in the mail. Take a look at our quick guide.

Resist the Temptation to Check the LCD Screen

Checking a resulting shot on the LCD screen of your camera is an impulsive reaction, but this behavior may betray you, says Guatelli. As well as being able to miss a peak moment by looking too often at the screen, the habit can be misleading.

"Most outdoor shots are taken in light conditions where the camera screen does not accurately reproduce the tonal detail of the shadows, reflections on the camera's screen or surrounding lights or darkness may create a sense of false exposure cheated the wrong representation of the shot and immediately adjusts the controls to brighten the scene and make the picture more than necessary. "

Ametista do Sul, RS, Brazil, 28/02 / 2008, 09:08: In search of amethyst, a semi-precious stone, miners dig tunnels through the mountains in southern Brazil. (Photo: Caio Guatelli)

He recommends using a photometer in spot mode. "Select the brighter side of the scene to set the measurement, if you do not have spot meter mode, try a 2/3 underexposure and do not follow the on-screen results of your camera Checking your computer in a dimly lit room gives the photo a richer color, better contrast, and much more editing space, though a picture like this requires almost no manipulation. "

Turning On Flashing Lights

The histogram can be tricky to learn, but most cameras have a highlight feature that lets you know when you overexpose the image by flashing over-exposed areas. Photographers sometimes affectionately call this "the Blinzies," and the setting is usually in the playback menu, although the exact position may vary depending on the camera model.

"I always want to have as much detail as possible in my pictures that the exposure is as bright as possible without blowing the lights," says Henson. "While the histogram is useful information, I find that the flashing highlighting feature is more useful in almost all cameras for maximum detail in my images."

"I'll usually shift my exposure to the point where the lights start flashing and then my exposure returns to 1/3 stop for my last shot," adds Henson. "This will create a file with the most information possible for the current scene."

Change your color settings

Achieving a good color means more than getting a good white balance. With digital cameras, you can even set a color profile that adapts the tones in a picture to your personal taste and saves you a lot of time during post-processing. Most cameras also have a number of presets, such as Standard and Vivid, as well as several customization options.

"Before you start recording, you can change the factory settings of the camera," explains Guatelli. "Adjust the contrast, sharpness, saturation, and sound settings of your camera – it's almost the same thing oldschool photographers used to do when choosing a particular type of film, some having richer reds, some more contrast, and others grainy Situation requires a different setting of contrast, saturation, etc. Once you're used to it, you can use your creative possibilities. "

Flash also has a manual mode

Most new photographers are learning manual modes on their way to more experience Lover. But too many call themselves "natural light photographers", not because of the nature of natural light, but because they do not really know how to use flash. Flash does not always lead to sharp shadows and obvious flash look. When shooting with the flash in manual mode, you can adjust the light in the scene so that the subjects light up, and the untrained eye can not even assign a flash to you. A manually-adjusted flash is essential for tricky lighting – such as sunny days and backlit subjects – and is the next step in controlling exposure.

Flash does not always produce hard shadows and obvious lightning.

Unlike manual exposure, there is no meter that can guide you, but with some experimentation, manual flashing can be an incredible tool. Even the pop-up flash on more advanced cameras has a manual mode, which means you do not have to invest in a hot shoe. If you happen to have a hot shoe, adding a lightning diffuser will also help.

Vary Your Composition

Guatelli says that changing the composition is the key, even when doing action like sport. Using a different focal length, adding a foreground element, adjusting the position, and changing the height with knees or finding a higher viewpoint will help create a more interesting album – and a wider selection of frames to choose from. "Maybe you're trying to change the distance to include the details that can balance the composition," he says. "When the depth of the field is shallow, try photographing with unfocused elements that are near the camera, not just those in the background."

Think about the entire frame

The choice of subject is important (and obvious) step when you take pictures, but to check the rest of the frame before you shoot is equally important. If you look at the entire picture before shooting, you can avoid distractions, often just by moving your feet. At the same time, not only can you think about your topic, but also fill your frame with useful information that enhances the overall picture or provides useful details. "Do not fix your eyes on the subject or in the center of the picture. Think before shooting, move your eyes through the edges of the rectangle and move the camera," Guatelli suggests.

Port-au-Prince, HAITI, 20/03/2011: Street basketball game next to ruins of a church. (Photo: Caio Guatelli)

Create your own moment

While genres such as photojournalism and street photography need to wait for the right moment (done right, you can make seemingly impossible shots), sometimes photographer's job is to create that Moment. Imagine, you work as a wedding photographer and the bride is a bundle of nerves – the wait will do nothing but strengthen those nerves. Portrait photographers sometimes need to help create the right moments by telling a joke or personal story to find the right response. This often calms the nerves that can come when standing in front of the camera.

Experiment on Your Own

Learning from seasoned professionals helps young photographers get their work started. For example, when talking to an experienced sports photographer before the first game, it is often the difference between the shots and the attempt to spend too much time on trial and error. But there is also a time for experimentation. Take the time to find your own style – and even your own tricks.

This article was originally published on March 17, 2014. It was updated on 6 March 2017 with additional tips.

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