How To Improve Your Photography, Tips
You may not be aware of this, but I have setup my photography gallery here on lukezeme.com so that you can improve your own photographic skills. If you simply click on the Photo of the Day I can show you how using the information given on this page you will be able to drastically improve your own image making. Some things to consider when viewing one of my images might be- is the subject frozen sharp or blurred showing movement, what time of the day is it (e.g. sunset, night, blue hour or middle of the day), the composition and angle of shot.
Click on any image post in the Photo of the Day and I can show you what to look out for.
Knowing how to use these settings on your camera are crucial to improving your own photography because they are essentially the building blocks to making an image. They aren’t intended to be used individually but rather as paired or groups of settings. But that said each individual setting can be built around to create a particular image feature such as a fast shutter speed for capturing action or a High ISO for night photography.
Time: One which you will probably gloss over is the time, but this is really the most important setting that I could provide you. Once you know what time of the day the image was taken then this can be used to reproduce similar settings when you are out doing your own shots. Time should be paired with ISO and if you can start to notice patterns in my work this will be beneficial for you understanding how your camera works.
ISO: This has to be the 2nd most important setting that I can provide for you as it is the film speed. Using the correct ISO for that particular time of day will free you up with other settings, its importance in image making is underestimated. Always start with a low ISO of around 100 and if your image doesn’t have enough light start to increase this number > 200, 400, 800… 1600 and so on until you find adequate light in your image. The downside to using a higher number is that you will introduce more noise into the image. These are those little speckles in the image and they aren’t ideal, so thats why we try to use as low as ISO as possible.
Focal Length: This lets you know if I made a wide angle image or one from a telephoto lens. Ranges like 10-24mm will be wide angle shots and ones that are 70-300mm focal lengths will be from tele-photo lens. You can also pair this setting with the image location, so if you ever were planning to visit the locations of one my images and try and reproduce it for yourself you would know what type of lens and focal length to use to recreate it.
Aperture: The aperture is just as important as ISO as it is the size of the hole you have in your lens and it controls how much light you let into the camera and therefore onto the sensor. It also controls the depth of the image as well as having a symbiotic relationship with the shutter speed. Try having a look through a few of my images in the gallery and see what kind of values you see for (time & aperture + shutter speed) and you will find out very quickly that these values are all very much interlinked.
Shutter speed: This one is a personal choice each time you make an image but if I am after a silky white look in water, for example, I would attempt to achieve a shutter speed of 2 seconds but on the other hand trying to catch the movement of a crowd of people frozen in time I would try and get a fast shutter speed of anything lower than 1/100th of a second. There are many ways to manipulate your shutter speed and this can be done by understanding how it relates to your aperture & ISO as well as the amount of light (time of day).
HDR info: I provide how many images I shot in the bracket and then subsequently used to create the HDR image. Mostly I use 5 images on my Nikon D800 and then tonemap them in Photomatix Pro and these nearly always have increments of 1EV. So a standard HDR bracket for me will have EV values of -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2. On occasions where this is not the case I have provided the values and number of shots.
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Many of my images in my photo blog, I have provided you with the location via a Google map. This is purely so that you can return yourself and recreate the shot if you wanted to. You might like to look at the Attributes too, such as – time, ISO, aperture, focal length, HDR info and shutter speed. It’s also for potential admirers of my photography who wish to purchase prints from a particular area and wish to know the exact location of the work.
All the maps can be interacted with, so you can move the map around or zoom in and out as highlighted in this image by the red ellipse.
Knowing how all the information in the Gallery works together to create an image will propel you forward in leaps and bounds to improving your own photography. A big step in moving forward is understanding what settings to use at which particular time of the day and by providing you with the time in each image I was essentially giving you a very BIG platform from which to work off.
Good luck with improving your own work and if you have any questions you can leave them below,