Notice on Photos in Slideshow: The original photographs are much larger and more detailed. Due to requirements by rootshed.com and the Web, the photos have been made smaller for easier loading. If you are interested in seeing the photos in their original format, I intend to get an actual portfolio started eventually.
Ah the greatness that is taking pictures of friends, family and loved ones. One of the things that most professional photographers will tell you is that the best pictures to take are the ones you least expect to find. In this article you will learn about how to take great on the fly photos, and also learn the most common mistakes and hiccups that can happen along the way.
As you can see in some of the images that are in the slide show, you can notice that the images are always kinetic (they are not stationary, or at least most of them are not). This leads us to the first actual concept within taking pictures on the fly.
The Faster the Shutter Speed, the More ‘Frozen’ The Picture Will Appear
Shutter Speed is the major factor when trying to create that perfect ‘freeze frame’. This technique has been applied by Sports Illustrated and countless other ‘fast action’ photographers for years. The higher your shutter speed setting on the camera, the quicker that iris in your lens see’s the shot. Note, this is not without it’s pitfalls. The faster the shutter speed also means that the sensors will be exposed to the image not as long as normal, hence the photo may appear horribly underexposed. That leads us to…
Shutter Speed Can’t Handle It Alone, Check That ISO and f.Stop!
The shutter can only do so much, be sure to double check the Aperture on your camera (this is why if you have a D-SLR, that running in ‘Auto’ mode is not key). If you are adventurous, and you are running in Auto, switch to either Manual or a similar User Select function to better unlock the power of your camera. However, it’s important to practice using these functions so truly master your device.
You probably played the game ‘Still Waters’ as a kid, where you had to stand as still as possible for a certain period of time, this is true for photography, especially in low lighting situations. Try your best to stay as still as you can, the lower the light in your set the more susceptible to motion blur your camera will be which leads to the next important tip.
When You Can – Get In The Light (but also know when there is too much)
Standard Point-and-Shoot users utilize cameras with built in flash. On D-SLRs while they may have a Flash built in too, the flash is not built to really do much good. Some beginners notice that when they utilize the on-board flash, the image becomes horribly distorted and Red Eye can ruin the shot. That’s why it is much better to either utilize your ISO, f Stop, and Shutter Speed to better get a decent shot. At the same time, remember to adjust the settings as to not get an over-exposure reading (that’s why I love newer SLRs with the identifier bar at the bottom, the closer to ‘0’ you are, the more balanced you are.
When In Doubt, Set White Balance to ‘AUTO’
White Balance assures that your picture will come out brilliant every time. Most photographers, consumer and professional set their cameras to ‘AUTO WB’ to allow the camera to adjust better on the fly, which really takes a load off of one’s mind when taking that quick shot. Depending on your camera make and model, it will also have some other options, like:
– Closed Shade
– Low Light
When In Doubt, Read Your Manual
Along with just tinkering with your camera, a great area of wisdom is the manufacture’s manual that came with your camera. It may have come either in a pamphlet form or in the form of a CD. This is a great resource if you are looking on how to use your device, unlock it’s true potential, and even general upkeep. Read and arm yourself with knowledge!
“Practice makes perfect”, this is a true statement. Whenever in doubt, test out your camera using the above tips (and also by reading your manual) to see what you can create. Remember! No one gets it right the first time… so keep at it, and have fun too!
Hopefully these tips will help you along in your journey to become an aspiring photographer. Don’t forget, have fun and go out and explore. Life’s an adventure, get to it!