6 Random (Yet Helpful) Beginning Photography Tips

There are some things that just don’t fit neatly inside a box. (You may even be one of theses things).

Well, there are some tips that just don’t fit neatly inside a post topic, so I created a post topic just for them. I know, special.

Tip #1: Use a Fast Shutter Speed When You Zoom

Example of Focus Point on Side (Tip #3)

This should be easy to remember since “zoom” and “fast” go so well together.

When you zoom in, any little movement on your part will affect the picture more. Think of how stable image is when you just use your eyes compared to when you look through high-powered binoculars. This is the same concept.

To make up for it, use a fast shutter speed (such as 1/250 of a second). If the shutter opens and closes lightening-quick, then you hand won’t have time to shake the image.

Tip #2: How to Lock Your Focus

With your lens set to automatic focus, hold your shutter button halfway until your focus is locked. Now, without letting go, recompose your scene. The focus will stay no matter how many feet away you originally focused.

Tip #3: Changing Your Focus Point

Example of Focus Point Up from the Center. Photo by Rachael Olson.

This makes a HUGE difference! When you look through your viewfinder you see circles or rectangles or dots (something along those lines). Those are the focus points for your camera. Whichever one lights up when you hold the shutter button is where you are telling your lens to focus. So if your composition puts the subject off to the side, you can change the focus point from the center to the side. Now your subject will be sharp instead of the wall behind him! This results in sharper images than the last tip.

To change your focus point, check your user’s guide. For Canon cameras, it usually involves pressing a button with a grid icon above it, and then using the arrows on the back of the camera. For a Nikon, you generally use the multi-selector on the back of the camera.

Tip #4: Leave Your Lens Cap Off

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve missed a shot because I was fumbling to get the lens cap off I might not be a millionaire, but I’d probably be able to get another fancy-schmancy lens.

Simple concept here: if it’s already off, you don’t have to take it off.

What about ruining your lens? Make sure you have a UV filter to protect your lens.

A lens hood can add extra protection from fingerprints and scratches all while reducing lens flare.

Tip #5: Download the PDF Version of Your Camera’s User’s Guide.

You can use the search feature to find something quick. And you don’t have to remember where you put your hardcopy.

Tip #6: Zoom in on Your LCD Screen to Check for Sharpness

If I had (let’s up the ante) a dime for every time I’ve looked at my LCD screen and thought I had a money shot only to find it slightly out-of-focus when I pulled it up on my computer screen, I’d at least be able to  get some new glasses.

Take the time to zoom in on the LCD screen and see how sharp your money shot really is. Then you hopefully still have the chance to recapture it right then – but a sharper image this time.

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