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Cee’s Tips and Tricks: Be The Best

Tips and TricksWhen I first got serious about photography I bought a Nikon D80 with several lenses. I took a few photographic classes and learned a little about composition, lighting and the basic functions of a camera including aperture, shutter, ISO, and white balance.

041114 cttAfter the classes I rarely used the Auto function and usually programmed my photos. Since I am unable to stand for long periods of time, I slowly started using the Auto function more and more.  I really didn’t notice a huge difference in my photography.  I concentrated my energy on developing my eye for photography and creating my own artistic style.

041114 ctt (1)Almost any camera manufactured in the last five years is fairly smart.  On auto mode, it knows how to adjust aperture, ISO and shutter speeds to take a good picture.  It’s up to you to compose the scene to set up an artistic image.  A good beginning image is critical.

Here is a trick I learned about aperture, which is what gives your photo a sharp focus in one area and a soft in other areas. Pay attention to the focal points through your view finder or on your screen. The little boxes mean that part of your photo will be in sharp focus. Anything close to that same depth of field will also be in focus. That is why many times you will see more than one little box. The trick is to change your camera angle just a little and the your points of focus will change. By playing around with the focal points you are changing the auto function of the aperture.

041114 ctt (2)Getting back to the main point of this post, the first thing my photography instructor said was if you have a lousy composition there is nothing you can do with a photo to make it artistic and pretty. If the composition is good, you can create wonderful pieces of art. I took that to heart.

Next Few Weeks

Travel Tales of Life who has a wonderful photographic eye asked for some advice on some cool photos she took of totem poles she took near Vancouver BC, Canada.  I worked on four of her photos over the next few weeks you will discover and learn how cropping and editing can make an already great photo turn into art work.  So your homework assignment is to check out her post.

Have a great week everyone.

To view my other Tips and Tricks click here.

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16 replies »

  1. Thank you so very much Cee. As a beginner photographer I am so grateful for mentoring. All the very best to you along with my gratitude.


  2. I use auto a lot in my photography, preferring to focus on the composition. I had my first lessons in composition at school when I was 12. We were going on a field trip and my teacher was an amateur photographer and he wanted us to have some good photos to show our families. In those days it was just little box cameras with fixed exposures. Those lessons have always stayed with me. 😀


  3. Thanks for the tips! You explain things very clearly. I am going to have my husband read them all before our trip to France. He just bought a Nikon 5100 and two lenses, and he will be the one mostly documenting our trip. (I am an iphone picture kind of girl who just appreciates nice photography like yours!)


  4. Over the years I’ve learned to trust the auto mode and use it for the vast majority of my photos. However on my vacations this year I experimented quite a bit with tiny aperture when the subject was waterfalls. I found while my neutral density filter works great, the tiny aperture accomplished almost the same results.


  5. Cee, nice tips and good information and it was interesting to read of your perspective on using the auto function. I guess I am a bit of photo snob in that regard as I never use the full auto function. I always shoot raw, and 90 percent of the time I am in Manual mode. I think that once you learn your camera functions and your fingers get some muscle memory going its easy, particularly when you want to do things like bracketing or purposely over or under expose your photo for special reasons. I try to use the lowest ISO number that will get me a proper image but if I’m really in a hurry or lighting conditions are changing quickly (like in that last five minutes of sunset) I’ll go to Av mode and set ISO on auto.


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