114+ tips for Dslr cameras

114+ tips for Dslr cameras

114+ tips for dslr cameras
If you buy a Dslr camera usually you experienced in photography, or at least has some experience. Most people buy compact cameras (or smartphones nowadays) first and only buy Dslr cameras if likes photography a lot, or not satisfied with the images the compact camera or smartphone can produce. But perhaps you buy a Dslr camera immediately when you start photography. If someone ask me whether to buy a compact camera or a Dslr I cannot give an exact answer which will be better for YOU. Compact cameras (or smartphones) are much easier to use, and these cameras are smaller, lighter and less expensive. If you buy a compact camera with a bigger sensor (often referred to MILC or mirrorless or CESC), the picture quality is also better, but the price is not necessarily cheaper than the price of the Dslr camera considered lenses as well.

Where the Dslr camera is still better ? For bird/wildlife/macro/action/portrait photography the optical viewfinder is a very big bonus. Other area is lenses. With a Dslr you have many unmatched lenses for anything at a much lower price, with better autofocus, and better optical quality.

madarak akcioban 3

The choice mostly depend on a person, I also feel sometimes Dslr’s big and heavy, but if you attach a long telephoto to a mirrorless camera the difference is not huge, at least the Dslr has a comfortable handling and optical viewfinder, and wayyy better battery life. For travel photographers mainly interested in landscapes the Mirrorless has a reason, as Trey Ratcliff and others switched to Sony. Smaller lighter kit, and basically the same sensor which is the same as the one in Nikon Dslrs made by Sony as well.

Though I love to take landscapes as well, I love bird/wildlife photography better, and also interested in macro and like to try and buy different lenses at reasonable prices.

First what the Dslr camera is ?

114+ tips for Dslr cameras
The thing simply there is a mirror in the camera, and there is a viewfinder at the top of the back of the camera. The mirror leads the light to your eyes through a pentaprism or pentamirror. When you click the shutter button, then the mirror flips up and the light goes to the sensor instead to your eyes, and the camera take the picture. This is the difference between the Dslr and mirrorless cameras. The Dslr name is an abbreviation means Digital single lens reflex camera. Earlier in the film age there was film Dslr cameras as well (not digital). There is a secondary mirror as well which leads some light to the autofocus detectors as well at the bottom of the camera.

Dslr camera makers

Most people use Canon or Nikon Dslr cameras, lot less people use Pentax or other types. As I mentioned in the main Photography tips page there are other makers as well.

Sensor size

There are basically two common sensor sizes (apart from the incredibly expensive middle format): a Full frame (around 36x24mm) and the Aps-C (around 22x15mm). Nikon calls them Fx and Dx. Cameras with bigger sensors are much more expensive. Other differences that the same lens gives wider view on the Full frame camera or narrower view on the Aps-C camera. To explain it more if you want your lens to be the widest for landscapes the Full frame camera is better, if you want your lenses to be longer for birds/wildlife the Aps-C camera is better. The difference is 1.5x – 1.6x. It is a huge difference.

114+ Photography tips for Dslr cameras

All images in this article made with Dslr cameras.

If you start photography with a Dslr camera and want quick useful tips to improve, or you experienced already but wants to learn more this article is for you. This is like a Dslr photography 101 or ABC for photography as I see it. These tips for broaden your perspective how you can create interesting images. Apart from Dslr cameras you can use it some of them on any camera, but most tips are catered for a Dslr.

This is dedicated for my awesome g+ followers as well, as one of them inspired the article before this one.

I. General tips 1-4
II. Usage tips 5-13
III. Composition 14-21
IV. Themes 22-40
V. Technique 41-61
VI. Meaning 62-64
VII. Cameras 65-76
VIII. Lenses 77-86
IX. Camera controls 87-96
X. Light 97-107
XI. Post processing tips 108-118

I. General tips, perhaps the most important ones

These are the most useful tricks, in order to improve.

1. Try to visualize your picture before you take them.

This is the main trick here, just for you:). Cannot give a better trick and I give it in the very beginning. Think about the picture before you take it or think about it “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” as Ansel Adams said. In Dslr photography photographers many cases blend more images together, so these are not realistic images (if you look the same scene looks different). Nothing wrong with that until you claim it is real. But the argument look like this: I want a more dramatic sky, more blue water, more stars in a row, wider dynamic range (more detail in the shadows, in the highlights) etc. The way to do this you can find at post processing. The point here is to think about what you like on your picture and what you don’t like and find ways to achieve your goal (make more frames of the same subject with different exposures etc).

2. Think about your pictures and how you take them.

114+ tips for Dslr cameras
It is like a careful design of the process as well. Where you go, in which part of the year, in which part of the day, and so on. It is much quicker to think, than to go to a place and miss a shot because of wrong sun direction. It is not exclude spontaneous fun photography. The photograph is not really looks like as we see with our eyes (dark parts most cases only used as a shade in landscapes to give some dynamics for the photo). The really light parts of the image usually burn out, dark parts lacks details, pictures are not 3D like as wee see, but more 2D like. Some time is required to learn how your camera works, and what can kinds of results you can expect in certain situations and act accordingly.

Other important thing where you place the focus. Many nice photographs using shallow depth of field to give some depth or feeling to the photo, in this case very important where is the focus, this is the dominant part of the photo, the other parts can be blurred.

3. Try to get high quality lenses if you can afford them.

If you want really nice images, 1 or 2 really good lens doesn’t give you any harm. It is important though to properly understand what you need. If you mostly interested in landscapes a macro lens is perhaps not the best investment. See lenses and their usage in more detail practically at the bottom of this page.

Good quality lenses doesn’t lose any value during the years, while cameras very quickly lose their value. Many lenses cost more when they first produced while some cameras has half or less price in 1-2 years. So invest in quality glass !

4. Light has a dominant role in photography

Light is very important in photography, so properly understand light is essential. The amount of light and the direction of light both very important. Photography is about light and if light is missing cannot really change to anything else. Images made with great daylight cannot be bettered any other way. Artifial light can help in certain type of photography.

II. Usage tips

Photography is connected to the camera. Either a film camera, digital camera or smartphone is needed. No camera no picture. But even a missing memory card can lead to the same result.

5. Bring the camera (or lens) with you every time if possible

If I left my camera or lens at home many times I missed it, because of missing some excellent opportunities. Nothing to explain that this is just like this. As Murphy said in the opposite case I found many times why I brought this camera with me ?

6. If you travel somewhere do not leave your camera at home.

I learnt this lesson many times. You are there at the perfect place in the perfect situation with the perfect subject but no camera. Can be really frustrating.

7. Bring your camera with you everyday, and make photos of every interesting thing, or everything.

This tip is perhaps not for everybody, but if you like to learn, improve, exercise as much as you can. Make pictures of everything. Most of them end up in a garbage, but some of the will be a keeper.

8. Charge batteries

No explanation needed I think, same can happen if you have the camera but cannot use it.

9. Extra battery and memory cards

One more tricky thing if you remove the battery cards for some reason check if it is there. What I usually do before leave, make some pictures to see if there is any problem, or anything missing. The extra batteries and memory cards help in case of any failure.

10. If you want to grow in your quality get rid of photographs you don’t like.

Select the best ones and learn from them. “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Ansel Adams. Delete all pictures you don’t like or need. I usually take many photograps, but perhaps 90% end up in a garbage (If I would have time to delete all of them). You can learn a lot from your deleted photos as well.

11. Dust issues

If you use a Dslr camera for longer periods, and change lenses often you will have dust issues sooner or later. If you good at cleaning dust, no problem. I am not really good at it, especially if the dust is on the sensor. Other thing I don’t like to change lenses very much (always not the good lens on a camera, searching for lens caps, etc). If you can afford buy two cameras and you can use a lens on each without changing too much. Some used older Dslr cameras are very cheap today. There is one thing to be careful about, the shutter problems, see in cameras section.

12. Dust cleaning

I do not recommend to use anything on the camera’s sensor other than an air blower. For lens cleaning the thing called Lenspen is the best. The third thing you need for dust cleaning is the micro fiber cloth. With this three cheap tools you can start the fight against dust.

13. Make more pictures

If you are in a unique situation in a very unique place (or in a paid hide for example), where you cannot go very often, take many pictures, use different exposures, focal lengths (wide angle, telephoto, macro, etc), Raw files, different settings, multiple copies in order not miss anything afterwards. You can get rid of what you don’t like afterwards. It can be very frustrating to miss one of your best shot just because you made few images. Think about the shots you want to take before arrive the location.

III. Composition

“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” Ansel Adams

14. Use the rule of thirds for composition.

(Put the main subject in the 1/3rd of the frame in both directions, put the horizont there as well
either upwards or downwards). It is not a rule just a guideline. Most important to like what you see.

15. In some aspect there are 2 types of photographs

a wide one (for example a city panorama) and a detail
(for example a statue, parts of building facades, portrait, bird, etc). Try to master in both of them.

16. Think about a foreground a main subject and a backround as well.

114+ tips for Dsl cameras
Pictures without a main or dominant object (tree, hill, building, boat, animal or people) usually not works very well (there are some exceptions), foreground and background is also very important.

17. Try different angles

One of my favorite perspective is low angles (around ground level), but try to climb up to higher places to take photos from there, try to imagine before how these photograps would look like. You can experiment with a flower for example. Use different shooting angles, different zoom ratios, wider and longer shots.

18. Use different zoom ratios for longer periods.

Try to use a given angle for longer period to learn about it. If you have a fixed lens this is exactly that. You can learnt a lot about composition.

19. Try to fill the frame, go close.

As Robert Capa said: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” He used a fixed 50mm lens on his Contax/Nikon, we can fill the frame with a zoom as well.

20. Find the highest point in your city/neighborhood and take pictures from there.

In my case it is the Gellert hill and Buda hills in Budapest. It is always a good experience to go there. If you leave in a flat city you can find a tall building or a hill in the neighborhood.

21. You can use some motion blur on your pictures

If you very good at sharp pictures, you can experiment with lower shutter speeds to give some motion to the pictures.

IV. Themes

Most cases the theme determine our success in photography. If we start at the wrong subject no way to have the preferred end result.

22. Search for interesting subjects.

Travel is almost always needed. My best photographs were taken not where I live. But it depends where you live.

23. Take lots of sunsets photos, and photos of the sky, when the sky is interesting.

Most images with a great visual impact contains sunset or sunrise. (Mostly sunset I guess).

24. Try the get the most out of every season

(tree foliage in Fall, snow in winter, birds in Spring and migration) if you have seasons. Obviously cannot make pictures of snow in summer. Every season has a speciality, get the most of it you can. Flowers bloom in spring, summer is nice on the beaches, in fall the trees can have different colored foliage, etc.

25. You can creatively use reflecting surfaces like mirrors, metal sheets or water surfaces to compose your photo.

use reflective surfaces to compose your photo
Even you can make a nice photo from a bubble. Mirrors, metals sheets all gives some creativity. Water ponds can be used as well after the rain.

26. Take pictures of campfire, candle light, fireworks, xmas lights.

These thing are usually very interesting on a photo. Tripod perhaps needed.

27. Take pictures of different roads.

Roads can look nice, you can use a telephoto lens to give some depth. You can experiment where to put the focus. Sinuous roads, rivers or railways also can be quite interesting from an above perspective.

28. Try to capture events, like concerts, festivals, sports events.

Especially helpful if you want to live from photography. You can have some photos full of life.

29. Find interesting themes in architecture.

Architecture is an Art, you can have some inspiration from here as well. Interesting forms, shapes, colors.

30. Water is usually very nice on the photographs in any form

Many of my keepers include water or have photos around water. You can see me in discounted size in the bubble :).

31. Photograph cats and dogs.

Baby cats and dogs are especially cute.

32. Photograph babies.

Babies are simply fantastic.

33. Try to include stars or the moon in your photos.

You can use these planets creatively as well to form part of your composition.

34. Experiment with forms.

Different circles, rectangles or 3D shapes can give your creativity.

35. Make portraits with traffic lights in the far backround.

Usually if we lucky these lights can form interesting background highlights on the picture.

36. Flowers, trees, cat, dog, wildlife, babies, old people, abandoned buildings are good themes for your photos.

And there are many more, it depends only on your imagination.

37. You can play with silhouettes in backlight situation.

At sunset silhouttes offer creative opportunities, if you don’t want silhouettes fill with the flash.

38. Try to fill a picture only with light.

Interesting experiment but you can learn lot from it.

39. Try to fill a picture with shadows.

Dark pictures can have a special feel. You can also leave a little light somewhere, to experiment with it.

40. If you make a picture in street or city leave at least one or two people on the pic.

Without people such pictures can be looking/feeling empty. One tip is to find an upper spot and wait for your people to come, in this case you can have the composition you want.

V. Technique
41. Search for light on the scene, which are the brightest parts ?

Try to figure out always which are the brightest part what you see, these are the best for your camera. Try to combine light with something interesting.

42. Search for contrast on the scene.

Contrast give life to your pictures. Dark and light parts of your pictures equally important.

43. Use portrait position as well.

(When the camera is rotated 90 degrees) In some cases works really well, not just for portraits.

44. Try to make pictures when the sun shines parallel to the ground.

This can results your finest images. Light parallel with water also can be very interesting.

45. You can use camera flash to fill light in backlit portraits

Backlight can give a nice feel for hair, but then the face is in a shadow. In very bright situation sometimes not work, because of the slow flash synch speed.

46. Think about light directions and shadows as well.

Light rays are very good to your photography and shadows also can be part of your composition.

47. Try to make pictures close to the water

A simple trick, close to the water hold the camera a smaller angle relative to the water surface.

48. For landscapes find the best places and positions for shooting.

Where you stand is very important, especially with ultra wide angle lenses.

49. Try to make a blurred picture, which you like for some reason.

Interesting experiment. Blurred photos show motion, and give an extra expression to the photo.

50. Use a tripod or some kind of support for landscapes.

Try to use the lowest iso setting if your camera allows that (it depends on light quantity and how long shutter speed your camera allows). If not try little higher iso.

51. Try Black and white

Sometimes too much colors on the photo. Get rid of them and concentrate on forms and light instead.

52. Think about different colors and ways how you can use them on your pictures.

roe deer osh
This picture was quite popular in g+. One of the main factor is the green color of the early wheat I think. Other factors are the nice depth and interesting subject.

53. Practice to take many photos and learn from them

Easiest to learn by practicing. It won’t be excellent first, but after can be very good.

54. Try scene modes

Some cameras has scene modes, like snow, fireworks, landscape, portrait, etc. It is interesting to experiment in these mode what does the camera, how handle the different situations and learn from it.

55. Take photographs of colorful subjects

Very simple thing yet powerful. Fall colors or the sky, or the sea can add a lot to the photo.

56. Take pictures when the sun is parallel to the ground.

Golden hours as it is called at sunrise and sunset. I guess sunset is much more popular.

57. Try to blur the background using your camera lens longest telephoto setting

and put the subject as close to the camera as possible. Experiment with this.

58. If your camera has exposure compensation try to make high key

(slightly overexposed, too bright) or low key(darker) images. In some cameras these modes can be accessed in preset modes.

59. Experiment with light and shadows on the same picture.

This gives dynamic to the photo. Experiment with different proportions.

60. Experiment with colors. Concentrate on one color at a time.

You can put a red rose on a BW photo for example.

61. Prefocusing can be useful, half press the shutter release button and the camera prefocusing.

This makes your camera faster.

VI. Meaning or meaningful photos

I start photography for fun, but after some time you want to express something with your photographs as well, this can be a simple feeling like joy, sadness, inspiration, awe, but can be more complex content as well as friendship, marriage, and many other things. One of my favorite game to think about something you want to express and create a picture for that.

62. Try to tell a story with your photo.

The story can be anything, how you tell it also interesting.

63. Try to capture or express emotions with your images.

Not as easy as you may think, but with some tricks not really hard either.

64. Make pictures which represent a city, district, river, lake, etc.

Symbolic shots are interesting.

VII. Cameras
65. Camera types

As I said there is Full frame and Aps-C Dslr cameras. It would be too long to list all differences in this article, but in short full frame cameras are usually much more expensive with better low light performance. These cameras has wider view as well, mostly used in portrait and wedding photography. The depth of field is also shallower, meaning blur the background more. Lenses usually much more expensive for FF cameras.

66. Camera classes

a, entry level
b, prosumer
c, pro cameras
What are the differences ?
a, Entry level cameras usually has only one dial, not so robust build, not so durable, and there are some restrictions as well, for example no focus motor in Nikon entry level cameras which limits the lenses you can use conveniently. Usually small size which is not as convenient for people with large hands. Cheapest cameras.
b, Prosumer – better more durable build and shutter, more functions, two dial.
c, Usually full frame sensor, very quick autofocus, very durable, fast burst mode.

67. Which camera you need

I bought a prosumer camera immediately but nothing to lose with an entry level camera. You can have a second camera if you want a better more expensive one. Of course the camera with 1/10th of the price won’t give you the same results as a more expensive one. If you don’t use your camera extensively I see no point to buy an expensive camera.

68. Which manufacturer

For landscapes I recommend Nikon because of more colors and better dynamic range. For wildlife I think Canon has more interesting offerings in the cheaper segment. Canon 400mm f/5.6 to be precise. For portraits, macro, sports what you like better. In Hungary where I live most lenses are available for Canon mount. For this reason prices are much lower, you have more options, etc.

69. Used cameras

Dslr and all other types of cameras, unlike quality lenses lose their value or price very quickly. What does this mean ? You can get very fine cameras at a bargain price if you willing to use 2-3 year old models. Today cameras like the Canon 5d II or a Nikon d700 you can get an absolutely bargain price, half or less when theses cameras were introduced. One thing is important though. There is one part in Dslr camera which is moving.

This is the shutter. If someone use the camera very long, the shutter can broke and the replacement is usually not cheap. If the shutter has some problems there are some indicators, one if the camera makes black frames lens caps removed or the sound is not as nice as a new one. To know this check the shutter sound of a new camera and you will know that how heavily was the camera used. But I think relatively easy to find a good deal on cameras even with a shutter replacement. Some very old camera shutter replacement is not possible it is good o check before.

70. How much actuations the shutter can bear

I bought a camera and very quickly after about 10,000 frames the shutter broke, and other camera has 170,000 actuations in it, and I put as well a huge number and still no problem yet. So it is hard to know how much you can use the camera. There are guidelines that entry level cameras designed for 25-50,000 actuations, prosumer cameras for 100-150,000 pro models even more, but even the new camera has no guarantee for this.

71. What are the most important thing in a camera

For me the most important is the picture quality. The most important part of the camera is the image sensor. Other is durability, battery life and lens compatibility, and more importantly lens choices. I don’t plan to change cameras every year. Other thing which is very nice is the fully moveable LCD which some models has. This is especially good for video recording as well. I don’t really care for very slight improvements in high iso or dynamic range though. Don’t really care for af system (mostly I use the center point) or other gimmicky features.

72. Picture quality

Test datas not always tell you the story. I more rely on my eyes. What is important the colors, contrast and noise levels. This is where FF cameras are usually better. Canon and Nikon has different looking pictures, not similar. It is a personal preference which you like better. Pentax has the same sensor as Nikon and the Middle format cameras as well, all manufactured by Sony.

73. Noise

In higher sensitivites cameras produce digital noise. It is ugly on your pictures. I do not want slightly more detail at the expense of much more noise at even lower sensitivities. To understand noise to thing is important to understand or three. First how good the sensor is, second how good the in camera software which try to remove noise. Canon cameras after the 8-10 megapixel to the early 18 megapixel cameras produce quite high noise even in base sensitivites.

Noise disturb you the most if you use high shutter speeds with long dark lenses (resulting high iso), or in dark rooms in wedding or portrait photography. Second case you need a bright lens and a Full frame camera. In entry prosumer segment regarding noise the Nikon is better, but not as big the difference as you might think. What is important ISO 3200 is not the same at all cameras. My old Canon 30d for example has 25% more sensitivity than the reality, some Nikon has less. To check put the same lens at a same controlled situation and check the shutter speed. If both camera has iso 3200 and the shutter speed is three times at one, it seems someting is not ok. Most Dslr produce ok images up to ISO 1600, or maybe iso 3200. DXOmark measures the real ISO valuse at different cameras.

The same iso is much different at different light levels. In dark always worse even at base iso 100.

One more thouht about exposure. If you expose your image brighter (using slower longer shutter speed) there will be less noise if you expose darker (using faster shutter speed). From this seems better to expose the image as bright as possible without burn out details. In some cases I also don’t care about burning some parts of the image out.

74. Camera functions

Live view, HDR, My Menu, configurable buttons, picture style, interval shooting, in camera stabilizer, highlight optimizer etc. Some old models has no video function, nore live view which means use the Dslr as a compact, compose the pics on the back LCD, this is not possible with some very old models. Inevitably newer cameras are better to use, has quieter shutter, more functions.

75. Live view

For landscapes the live view function is better for composing the picture according to my experience. For quick action it is slow though.

76. Picture style

Some Dslr cameras produce boring flat images. What can help apart from post processing is the picture style. Give a little contrast, more sharpness, little saturation and the pics looks much better.

VIII. Lenses – lens tips

nikon 600mm fl ed vr

77. Kit lenses are good but limits you

If you curious you can see very easily very high quality images taken with Dslr cameras in many places over the internet like Flickr, G+, Instagram and who knows where. I must state that the most high quality images are NOT taken with cheap kit lenses.

It is not means you cannot make a wonderful image with your kit lens, but there is a serious limitation, especially in bird/wildlife, macro, action and portrait photography. If you want a decent lens for birds/wildlife photography to my standards which is not the highest, but wants really good images, you must spend at least 1000 USD on a lens.

78. Lenses for not bird or wildlife

If you are not in the bird/wildlife/sport business you can get very good lenses at lot less money. You can get a very high quality macro lens for 300/400 dollars. Unfortunately the most useful wide angle zoom and telephoto zooms can be also very expensive. Why I tell you this ? Because you can get a nice superzoom compact camera for lot less, with much more focal length to play with.

79. Image quality mostly based on a lens

From this you can guess what I would say, the image quality is mostly based on a lens. Even with a cheapest Dslr camera with a good lens attached you can make wonderful images.

80. Ultrawide angle lenses

Ultrawide angle lens on Aps-C cameras has a focal length less than 16mm. On a Full frame cameras less than 24mm. There are two types a fisheye and a “normal” ultrawide angle lens. The difference is the distortion. Fisheye lenses has strong distortion, while normal UWA lenses has moderate distortion. It is not as easy to use these lenses. Where you put the camera is extremely important. These are so-called foreground lenses. For me the 16/24mm seems the most useful, rarely want wider.

81. Wide angle lenses

Wide angle lenses are used the most. I prefer zoom lenses here. (A good wide prime is extremely expensive and not so versatile). The best range is 15,16-85mm according to my experience. The long end is in a telephoto range. The problem with this is the brightness which is f/5.6 or f/4 at the long end which is not very good. 17-50mm lenses can have constant f/2.8 aperture, but the 17-50mm range is not very versatile. It is like a 3xzoom compact camera, little wider, not as long. Lenses with huge range like 18-300mm not good anywhere. At the long end is the weakest, and at the wide end also not very good.

82. Normal lenses

On FF cameras 50mm is a normal range, as we see with our eyes (I found little wider more around 35mm). Most people used these lenses exclusively on film cameras in the past, like Henri Cartier Bressom, Robert Capa and others. What is important it is 30mm on Aps-C, not 50mm. The 50mm on Aps-C is a portrait range. The thing why these lenses so popular is the bright aperture, which allows nice blurred background and higher shutter speeds at dark.

83. Macro lenses

nikon 105mm macro af-d     3
A true macro lens has 1:1 magnification. Basically there are three types.

-Around 50mm focal length, sometimes shorter, cheapest but the subject must be very close to the end of the lens
-80-100mm focal length, good range for portraits as well, better working distance
-150-180-200mm focal length, most expensive with the best working distance.

A true macro lens is usually extremely sharp not just at the macro range. The images you can make with a macro lens you cannot make with any other types of lenses. Important quality how the background blur looks like, as these lenses has closer focusing distance which means can blur the background significantly better.

84. Telephoto

A 70-200mm or 70-300mm is good for portraits or cat, dog, flower distant people kinds of shots, for bird/wildlife not long enough. Telephoto lenses blur the background more, which is very good for portraits.

85. Super telephoto

A super telephoto lens has a focal length of 400mm or more. Usually the price is super as well. There are zoom and prime lenses. Prime lenses has better image quality but usually lot less versatile. Typical for zoom lenses that a focal length written on the lens is not correct especially at close distances. A 500mm is in reality 440mm or a 600mm is 550mm etc.

86. Teleconverters

If you have a very good quality telephoto lens, some cases you can add teleconverters to have even more reach. It is like an extra optical zoom. There are two types the 1.4x and the 2x teleconverters. The 1.4 multiply the focal length by 1.4x, and steal 1 stops of light the 2x is by 2x, lose 2 stops of light. Prime lenses are usually much better with teleconverters.

IX. Camera controls

114+ dslr photography tips

87. Experiment with camera settings and learn your camera very well.

Most important settings are: iso, aperture, exposure compensation, zoom amount, flash settings. The possibility to regulate these settings are different camera by camera.

88. ISO

Double iso double shutter speed. If there is no dedicated iso button must seek in the menu. Auto iso can help to not messing with this.

89. Exposure compensation

Want the pics to be lighter or darker, than the normal value.

90. HDR

For HDR most cases you need 3 frames at -2 0 +2 EV exposure compensations. The function that does this called bracketing. You setup the values and just shoot three frames afterwards.

91. Metering

I used mostly matrix / evaluative metering, rarely spot or center-weighed average. The easiest to ruin the shot is spot metering, if you have little time.

92. White balance

Inside the room in artificial light WB is harder with Nikon cameras. Kelvin white balance can help, if your camera allows it, from 2500-10,000 you can adjust values. Usual values

2000 – candle light (reddish)

3200 – lightbulbs at house

4000 – fluorescent

5200 – 5500 – daylight

5600 – overcast day

7500 – shade

9000- dark shade

it is not always easy if the light is mixed. Smaller values are reddish than becomes more bluish. If your camera don’t have a Kelvin white balance, you can check preset modes or use a white or 18% grey card.

93. Shutter speed

If I want sharp images try to use high shutter speed. In some cases use long shutter speed to have some blur on the picture. With longer lenses higher shutter speed is preferred, and if the subject is more far or moving fast as well.

For shorter lenses try at least 1/100s
long telephotos 1/1000s
114+ tips for Dslr cameras
some blurring 1/20-1/200 depend on focal length
long exposure – multiple seconds
max 30s for stars photography if we don’t have a special equipment compensate star movement

94. Aperture

Sweet spot: most lenses the sharpest at f/5.6 long telephotos sometimes at f/8, most lens is really soft beyond f/16.

95. Flash

Most Dslr cameras has a flash. Usually the flash power can be adjusted. Lots of different diffusers available in order to make portraits not as harsh. In daylight we can fill flash in backlit portraits. External flashes gives us more power and versatility, especially if we not attach them to the camera.

96. Auto iso with Manual mode

With some cameras auto iso works in manual mode this case we can adjust aperture and shutter speed as well, and the camera add the iso value.

XI. Light
97. There are basically natural light and artificial light.

Natural light is usually sunlight or moonlight while artifical light can be flash, reflectors, street light, etc.

98. In terms of direction can be frontlight, backlight or sidelight.

The most used is frontlight, for sunset and sunrises backlight.

99. Sidelight is more dramatic for artistic portraits

45 degree light is the most used for these type of artistic portraits.

100. Frontlight is the most common one, but with usually little shadows

In Harsh light the results are not so nice, softer lights are better for photography.

101. Backlight is good for silhouettes or sunset shots

For most photographs backlight is not preferred. Lens flare can occur and contrast can be reduced. For silhouettes or snsets it is good though.

102. Trick for bird photography

More light, more shutter speed, equals sharper pictures. The trick is two trick in reality. First shoot white birds, you will have faster shutter speed and sharper images. Second trick flying birds. If you point your camera upwards immediately gain 2 stops of iso or better shutter speed.

103. Light modifiers

If you want to dig deep in portrait photography things like beauty dish, white umbrella or other such things have a good benefit. Lumiquest produce such things among others.

104. “Golden hours” is the area before sunset or after sunrise

These times are very good for photography either for landscape or wildlife.

105. In big cities at night you can make very nice photos

In night there is a big contrast, which looks interesting. Sometimes the difference is too big, the solution to take more frames at different exposures and blend them together afterwards.

106. With bright lenses highlights at the background can create interesting images

Xmas lights or car reflectors in the far background can add an interesting flavor to the picture.

107. Bright background makes the main subject more pronounced

Let’s take a photo of a flower for example. The bright background enhance the main subject effectively. On the other hand same color background can be boring.

X. Post processing
108. Post process your images with the free Gimp, Photoshop or Lightroom software.

If the photo is very weak can be because of overexposing. This typically can happen in the forest if we measure light at a dark object. The photo will be too light. To help this we can use curves function in Gimp or Photoshop/Lightroom.

Other thing if the contrast is weak which is also correctable in post processing.

Sharpening can be made with many programs, which also can help.

Three things cannot be corrected:
a, wrong autofocusing/manual focusing
b, burnt out or too dark details
c, totally blurred photo because low shutter speed

109. Sharpening

Usually there are two types of sharpening, normal and unsharp mask. The second gives some contrast as well, but gives hallos around the edges, better for really unsharp shots.

110. Add contrast

Usually we can add constrast just by pulling a slider.

111. Add saturation

Same, but the result will be better.

112. Desaturate

If we want Black and white photos from colored ones.

113. Curves

Very useful function. The curve shows the image pixels. Dark pixels left, bright pixels right. By lifting the curve we can make the image brighter.

114. Layers

We can add multiple frames together with layers function.

115. Layer mask

Layer mask allows to change some parts of the image. A very useful function. We can add more than two layers as well as we like 3,4 or more.


If a photo is not working due to the following reasons:

a, the subject is not really interesting (most cases)
b, composition is not good (not the best angle, distance, light situation, in these needs to master)
c, not the best moment captured
d, shutter speed problems, in too dark the picture is blurred, low iso
e, autofocus problem, the focus is not where it needs to be.
f, metering problem, too dark or too light photo
g, equipments (camera, lens) are not good enough

How to create a really successful photo ?
Easy success with Dslr cameras

The following situations where you can have a quick and relatively easy success:
a, Sunset shots, or sky
b, macro or closeup shots
c, shots at really nice exotic places
d, shots with some really deep or strong meaning like a revolution, many people on an event, old couples, text with something around it etc

Which Dslr camera should I buy ?

First if you serious about photography and can afford a Dslr forget compact cameras. You can get a Dslr with a kit lens for 300 USD/EUR or even less.

I would buy a Canon or Nikon Dslr. No compact camera rival with a Dslr. But if you don’t want to mess around camera settings perhaps better served with a compact point and shoot.

If you like the article and want more tips give me a g+ on top of this page or share the article if you like to with a link.

Thanks for reading !

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