Any photographic tips or tricks you'd like to share?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Leslie Reid, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Last year we had a thread in which people provided tips that made their photographic life easier [link], and I’m still benefitting from those suggestions—my Muck boots now have somewhere around 300 miles on them (thank you, Julie H), and my camera now stays firmly in place in portrait orientation on my tripod (thank you, Ed), amongst others.

    Over the past year I’ve found some new fixes to problems I was wrestling with, and I figured it might be time to start another tip thread. Here are my contributions:

    1. I tend to do a lot of low-light photography in forests while hiking with people (or a dog) who aren’t particularly patient in the presence of a tripod. I found I can get an extra one to two stops of stabilization if I attach a gorilla-pod to the camera and use it as a shoulder support (like a video camera shoulder support). This comes in particularly handy when I’m chasing bugs with my non-image-stabilized macro lens, but it’s also allowed me to get hand-held silky waterfalls with an IS lens.
    2. I’m now carrying a digital voice recorder in my camera bag to take notes for particular images—it’s been particularly useful for documenting conditions for nature images and for keeping track of experiments with lighting.
    3. I was having a hard time correcting strange white-balance issues with scanned color negatives in Lightroom, and clicking on something that was supposed to be neutral wasn’t helping. I found that if I racked the saturation up all the way, the nature of the color casts became a lot more evident (and it also became obvious that they weren’t going to be solved using the temperature and tint sliders).
    So have you found any useful tricks that are helping you make the images you’re trying for?
  2. Well I'm sure I have a few, but the only one that comes to mind right now: the background is more important than your subject. It is better to photograph a turd against a pleasant background than it is to photograph a naked woman against a mediocre background.
  3. When you go out shooting, just shooting because you want to, do this:

    At the first spot that you find that is out of sight of your car or your home or whatever it is that you 'left' to go shooting. Sit down — on a rock or a log or a bench or a curb or the ground. Take your gear off of your body, out of your hand. Just sit there for two or three or however many minutes it takes for your mind to stop chattering about whatever it was or is that you just left or are in the middle of. Wait until you can hear ... whatever it is that's there. Then go shooting.

    This is not some new age voodoo baloney. It's simply getting into the shoot.
    Baconbits and Wayne Melia like this.
  4. I have found setting up night shots difficult even with a flashlight at times. So, i will set ISO to the highest value, e.g. 12800, set the shutter to a long enough exposure to frame the shot then expose appropriately. Attached image was taken at 5s f/2.8 ISO25600 then reframed for a final shot

    Also important: when you are going out in the woods for an all day trip bring toilet paper!

    DSC_8469 UTAH campsite night BW 1000 web.jpg
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    If you are a long time film user and accustomed to spot meters when the lighting is difficult, it oftens helps to set to spot metering and choose the area for the spot to get the emphasis you want.
    For street or action set to manual, set speed, F stop and hyperfocal distance - you will need to get a chart for lenses that lack a scale.
    I won't entirely support Karim, but you must always See the background. Errors can be corrected more easily in the digital world but it is often a lot of work.

    Most important, always follow the light, I don't believe there is a "golden hour", I think it is more like the "pies" in darts there are early and late periods where the opportunities are statistically great.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    beegeedee likes this.
  6. There's a golden hour, assuming the sun is out of course, in the common meaning of the words, but if you always shoot during it, all your shots will end up having the same light and look. This becomes boring very soon, and will end up looking like everyone else's shots who thinks that the golden hour is the only time to shoot.
    donald_miller|5 and Wayne Melia like this.
  7. When you're driving or walking and happen to be carrying a camera, always remember to turn around and look behind you . . . if it's safe.
  8. I know that Sandy knows this, but remember that a spot meter (any meter really) wants to make pure white into medium grey and dark grey into medium grey; therefore, if the area of emphasis is white, then the meter will suggest an EV that will underexpose that area. OTOH, if the area of emphasis is dark grey, the spot meter will try to make that area look medium grey, by suggesting too high an EV. MANY photographers think that the meter is trying to make white and grey look like what it actually is, when it's not at all trying to do that. Spot meters can cause a lot of trouble for those that don't understand how they work.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    beegeedee likes this.
  9. Just a test, trying to find a way to unfollow a thread I didn't request to follow.
  10. See "Unwatch Thread" at upper right of page.
  11. Doesn't work. This happens quite often. I will "unwatch" this thread now that my reply has reset it to "watch" and I will still get alerts.
  12. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    if you’ve had a momentous day and wish to preserve the memory, remember photographing even the smallest, most unlikely, things can act as a trigger for future reference.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  13. akocurek and Sandy Vongries like this.
  14. Surely it has already occurred to you, but a monopod can be a hiking staff as well as support,

    Unless you have a dog on a leash, then you need three hands to do any photography, regardless, says the photographer with a new puppy.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  15. Ed, last year I did a night shoot at an Audubon location, Corkscrew Swamp. When you signed in, they told folks not to use anything but a red light and even gave pieces of red gel and rubber bands to put over flashlights. A dozen of us including a ranger
    all using red lights,
    were photoing hundreds of roosting birds in front of us on the board walk a mile out into the swamp for half an hour... til someone came along and shined a white flashlight straight at the birds. The birds left. He denied he caused them to leave and walked off.
    beegeedee likes this.
  16. As long as I'm going to get these alerts whether I want them or not, I might as well put in my two cents. Heres my tip: go outside and take some pictures.
    beegeedee likes this.
  17. make it a habit to use your camera's user setting (U1 or U2) and when you start shooting, switch from user to something and back again.
    do i need to tell anyone without a perfect memory why?
    because sometimes we forget we changed sumpin' and shoot without remembering the customizing we last did.
    not that i ever did that, however. :rolleyes:
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  18. had similar when scuba diving. was about to take a picture of a giant centipede like thing (10+ feet long) in a cavern and someone foreign to english turned on her light which was forbidden and it took off, argh!

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