Camera Advice

Taken on a Canon 1300D, 180mm, f.18, 1/200sec

Stuck on settings, composition or equipment? This space will have advice on all of that and more! Keep checking regularly for updates.

Portraits like a pro

Where to focus – For the best photos of a person’s upper body/face, focus on the eyes. Try this using f.11 and the face will appear nice and sharp, conserving the detail.

Prevent awkward poses by handing the subject a prop – Most people don’t know what to do with their hands – this is your solution. Simple.

Don’t insist on a smile – In some cases a moodier or more atmospheric picture can be achieved by a straight face instead of a posed smile. This captures genuine emotion, but generally works best for more artistic shots.

Headroom? Only for cars – Don’t leave too much headroom above the subject. Keep the portrait sharp and simple by composing the picture to have the subject’s face in the top third of the picture.

Never look into the sun – A tip for the models anyway. Always have the sun behind the subject so that they are not squinting. This also makes the subject back lit which can give the picture a ‘dreamy’ quality

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Secrets for a perfect landscape

The best way to expose a bright landscape – Sunsets require the perfect exposure to even be considered a great atmospheric picture. The best way to do this without offsetting built in light metres is to aim the camera just above the sun and hold the shutter half way down then to set exposure levels. Then simply re-compose the camera (still holding down the shutter) and take the picture.

Always, always, always have a clear subject – This is essential. Without a clear subject in a landscape it can be hard to ‘explain’ the shot and it will look far too aesthetically busy.

Wait for the weather – Never try beat the weather, always work with it. If it is a cloudy or overcast day then go to a local stream, bump up your shutter speed and aperture and make some magic.

A bit foggy on fog? – Then don’t fear. Most cameras struggle to pick up on fog in the way our eyes do. To combat this, simply focus on the fog (hold the shutter button half way down) to take an exposure reading of the area and then increase the exposure compensation by one stop.

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Shooting the sharpest sport pictures

Fast shutter speed equals frozen images – When shooting a sporting event and you want to freeze the action the best way to do so is with a fast shutter speed. Shooting at around 1/640 or higher will freeze fast sports, though the opposite principal applies if you want to blur action; simply reduce the shutter speed.S

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General advice

Shoot at the lens’ optimal aperture – In the case of most lenses this is two f stops smaller (but two numbers larger) than the widest it will go. For example, if your lens has a largest f. of 3.5, the sharpest apertures would be f.4 and f.4.5. This isn’t the case for all lenses and the best way to work it out on your lens is just to take as many photos across a wide variety of apertures and see what is sharpest. You can find this information by simply looking at the photo data.

Choosing the right modeAperture priority: Perfect for landscape and portrait photography. This mode gives you control over background blur and your camera will select the right shutter speed. Shutter priority: Highly useful for sports as it freezes the action. The camera will choose the appropriate f-stop for exposure. Manual: Used mostly for professional shoots with studio lighting. This mode allows you to set all settings. Program mode: If you just want a simple ‘point and shoot’ picture, but no flash then use this mode.