There are a few things that are more annoying than coming home after a long day of taking pictures, importing your photos, and then seeing that you did not get the photo you wanted. Maybe you have overexposed it or missed the focus or did not nail the composition. Just make sure this does not happen again.
In this article, I will use landscape photography as an example, because everything is beautiful and slow. or at least it does most of the time. The steps are the same for other types of photography, though you may need to skip test shots ̵
The first step to getting a photo You want to decide which photo you want to take. This may sound a bit of a truism, but the reality is that most photographers do not spend enough time thinking. It's easy to arrive at a beautiful place, grab it, and assume that you have a good picture because everything is beautiful. When you come home, you will be disappointed. With the image on your computer screen you will notice the telephone cables and tourists that you did not see when you were there.
Slow down the speed, look around and think about what kind of photos you want to take. Would you like to catch the waves on the beach or the beautiful rock formation? In general, various settings are offered. For example, I have taken this photo:
And this photo:
About 20 minutes apart. When the sun was below the horizon, I saw that I had the opportunity to take a delicate black and white picture. As soon as the sun was high enough, I wanted all the colors. Both photos were a deliberate decision based on what was available at the time.
I'm not saying that you have to spend hours thinking about every possible shot. You just have to slow down and spend a few minutes thinking about what to look for. It's one of the few surefire ways to take better pictures.
Think What You Need to Do
When you've visualized the image you want in your head, it's time to turn it into reality. You need to find out how to transfer your ideas to the memory card of your camera.
The first step is to judge if you can achieve the desired image at all. If you do not have a telephoto lens, you can not take close-up pictures of some seabirds. If you do not have neutral density filters or a tripod, it is unlikely that you can balance water with a long exposure.
Assuming you have everything you need, the next step is to play with your composition. Walk around, occasionally look through your camera and try different focal lengths until you find a strong image. Remember to try to include both foreground and background elements. If you are using a tripod, now is the time to build it and lock everything.
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Once the composition has been sorted, the next step is to decide which combination of Exposure settings should be used. We have instructions on how to choose the right shutter speed, how to choose a suitable shutter, and how to choose the ISO to use. So check if you are stuck.
It's almost time to press the trigger. The last step is to focus on the subject to get a nice sharp picture. You can either use the autofocus of your camera or, if the scene is a bit difficult, focus the lens manually.
Take some test shots
When everything is set, you can start taking photographs. Do not worry about getting everything right right away. You should see your first photos as test shots. On the screen on the back of your camera, you will often notice things that you have not seen through the viewfinder. You may also need to adjust the exposure settings or focus.
If you have taken one or two frames, you can view them on the back of the camera. Use the zoom function to make sure the areas are clear and sharp. If this is not the case, you will need to adjust either your focus or your iris.
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Also, check the histogram to make sure you are not destroying shadows or blowing out highlights. The histogram and the blinkies give you a much more accurate idea than just looking at the photo. If you lose the gloss or shadow details, you must either adjust the exposure settings or record a few bracketed frames that you can use for a composite HDR image When you take pictures
Take this last picture
Now that you are pretty sure that everything is selected, it is time to take the final picture. Press the shutter button – or better still, use a remote shutter – and check the photo.
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Personally, even after I've made it I think I want a few snapshots do. I shoot some deliberately underexposed and overexposed pictures, just in case I want the extra detail. I also do some alternative compositions just because I can. Mostly I go with my main photo, but sometimes, when I look at everything on a bigger screen, I realize that one of my alternatives is the better one.
And there you have it.
To summarize: slow down, think and re-evaluate. Do this when taking pictures and you are almost certain that you will take the pictures you want home. As you get better with photography, every step becomes second nature, and you can do it right away.