Aug 2, 2008
This post covers just general advice around photography. While this series of posts is about digital SLR's the advice given here can be applied whenever you pick up a camera, SLR or not.
PractiseThis is perhaps the most obvious advice of them all, but it is worth repeating. Practise makes perfect. Since you are dealing with a digital camera make sure you take lots of pictures, with no cost per photo there is no reason to hold back. Try different things, try out all the settings on the camera. Experiment. Every time you take a photo you will improve your skill and your handling of the camera.
Hold your camera properly
This is very important and will help you get sharp photos. Getting your photos sharp is very important. While a photo can still be quite good with a little bit of blur, getting it sharp makes for really good, maybe even perfect photos. In order to get the picture sharp you need to support the camera properly. If you have one of those SLR's that allow you to use the big screen at the back instead of the viewfinder, stop using it. Holding your camera at an arm's length to see the screen properly you are not steady enough to hold the camera well. Start using the viewfinder. Holding your camera close to your face gives you much needed stability. The rule of thumb is that you can shoot 1/[focal length] by hand. So if you are shooting at 300mm your shutter speed should be 1/300 of a second to ensure it is sharp. I often go almost double this to make sure I get a sharp photo, so I would shoot at 1/600.
Avoid the 'Full Auto' setting
This may seem a bit strange, shooting at full auto you get the camera to make all decisions and adjust the camera accordingly. This is good, at times. If you are shooting things that quickly change, like animals or sports events it is probably good to go full auto. On the other hand, whenever you shoot in manual you have much needed flexibility. In fact most of the things I will advice you to do is only possible when using the manual setting.
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