Want to spice up your Instagram feed? Or just take more beautiful vacation photos? With these simple tips and tricks, you can master the craft of photography like a pro. It doesn't really matter which camera model you own. Nowadays, you can even get really good pictures with smartphones. Have fun reading and trying them out!
1. choose the right time of day
Different times of day and weather conditions have an enormous influence on the image result. Basically, it is important to avoid the midday sun, as the solar radiation is too strong. Night shots can also be a challenge for beginners. You will get particularly coherent photos two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. If you're shooting indoors, make sure you have enough daylight. It's best to stand near a window and pull aside the curtains to get the maximum amount of natural light. Always shoot from the window into the room, not the other way around!
Once you're familiar with the technical features of your camera and a little more practiced, you can tackle more difficult lighting situations.
2. automatic mode off - manual mode on
Admittedly, shooting in automatic mode is the most convenient. But if you want to get the best out of your photos, you should familiarize yourself with the technical settings of the camera. In manual mode, you basically set at least three parameters: The ISO value, the aperture and the shutter speed - also known as "the exposure triangle". All three affect the brightness of the photo. To achieve an optimal result, these values must be coordinated with each other.
3. instead of the flash, use ISO
It is advisable to avoid using a flash, especially in the beginning. This is because the flash creates artificial light, which can quickly make images appear pale and lifeless. Instead, set the ISO value higher in the dark. The less daylight there is, the higher the ISO value should be set. This way you can create bright images without flash. But be careful - depending on the camera model, the image quality deteriorates as the ISO value increases. This results in so-called image noise and the loss of details in the image. Therefore, it is better to start with a low ISO value and slowly work your way up to higher values.
4. the aperture - the eye of the camera
The aperture is also called the eye of the camera. The wider the eye or aperture is open, the more light enters the camera and the brighter the photo becomes. In addition, the aperture affects the sharpness of the background. With a wide open aperture or a low f-number, the focus is on the main subject and the background thus appears very soft and blurred. This is also referred to as depth of field. This function is suitable for portrait photos in which the model should be the focus of the image. With a closed aperture, on the other hand, the entire photo appears sharp and no object is in focus. This can be used, for example, for landscape photos in which distant objects should also be clearly visible and sharp.
5. photograph motion with fast shutter speed
With the shutter speed you control how much time the camera needs to take the photo. The shutter speed also plays an important role in the exposure of the photo. Because if the aperture is open longer, then logically more light falls into the camera and thus the end result is correspondingly brighter. With a fast shutter speed (e.g. 1/125 sec), the photo is taken very quickly and thus the subject does not appear blurry, even if it is moving. Slow shutter speeds (e.g. 2 sec) are good for waterfalls, for example, because this allows you to achieve a so-called "veil effect". At a shutter speed of more than 1/1000 sec, it is worth using a tripod to avoid a shaky result.
6. white is not equal to white
Light occurs in countless shades of color. The human eye automatically adapts to the different sources of illumination. Thus, humans can always see white objects in white, regardless of the type of illumination. Cameras, on the other hand, do not have this ability. To avoid an unattractive color cast, it is recommended to adjust the white balance to the prevailing weather or exposure conditions. Most cameras have a selection of preset temperature profiles that are already set to the various conditions. These range from cloudy to daylight to artificial light. You can also set the white balance completely manually to achieve perfect results. But don't worry if you get the white balance wrong - you can always correct it afterwards with image editing programs like Photoshop.
7. apply the rule of thirds
With the third rule you divide the image with two horizontal and two vertical lines into nine equal squares. To do this, set the grid or raster function on your camera. Position your main subject on one of the four intersections - either in the upper or lower third and either on the left or right side of the image. This looks more interesting to the viewer than if the subject is in the center of the image.
8. do not zoom, but get closer
Often, image details look better when you get closer to the subject. If possible, do not use the zoom function, because otherwise your photo could look blurred.
9. clean the lens regularly
If the lens is dirty, you will see it in the photos. That's why you should clean the lens before every important shoot. The best way to do this is with a microfiber cloth.
10. change your perspective
Lying down with the camera in front of you or holding the camera with your arms stretched out - you've probably seen some photographers strike such unusual poses. A professional knows that perspective is a crucial element of image composition. Changing it can lead to surprising results and significantly influence the image's message. So don't be afraid to bend your knees a little next time and shoot your subject from different angles.
11. practice makes perfect
No professional photographer has ever fallen from the sky. As with almost any new skill you want to learn, photography is no different: Practice makes perfect. Be confident and willing to experiment. You'll find that the more you practice, the easier photography will become, and over time you may even develop your own unique style.
12. sometimes throw all the rules overboard
We hope that our tips will make it a little easier for you to get started in photography.
Our tips are great starting points, but exceptions prove the rule. Listen to your gut feeling and try something totally crazy. This often results in the best snapshots.