Today I have some fantastic tips for everyone that wants to take better pictures [I know I do!] from the lovely Jill Facer of Jill Facer Photography. I just love this girl. She is the most genuine person that right when you meet her you immediately want to be friends. She has been our photographer for so many important moments in our life and I wouldn't want anyone else to capture those because I know I will love her work every time. You can see our maternity photos, birth photos, newborn photos, and family photos that all showcase her amazing skills behind the camera. If you are in the Orange County area, she is your gal for photography. You can also follow her Instagram for updates and the most beautiful images.
Are you looking for a few tips to become BFF with your new SLR Camera? Everyone always wants beautiful photos once they make that big [and expensive!] purchase, but it isn't as easy as just pressing the shutter button. That camera came with a thick owner's manual, which is a valuable asset to initially getting acquainted with your camera and figuring out what every button and dial can do for you. To add to that, here are five tips that I personally feel helped me way back when I shot with my first SLR and I still stand by them today.
1 | SHOOT IN MANUAL
Learn about ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture. These are the three variables that work together to make a great exposure. If you have no idea what they are because you have always set your camera to automatic, now is the time to research what they do and how to use them to your advantage to get the shot you envision. I promise you will not get far if you stay shooting automatic. You can start in Av mode, which allows you to choose the aperture and the camera selects the shutter speed, but try to aim for shooting in manual.
ISO is what I adjust first when I factor in my lighting conditions. I always keep my shutter at 1/250 or faster so my images are sharp and not blurred from camera shake. Aperture is how wide your shutter is open, which also will indicate how much of your shot is in focus. A sharp, crisp face that is in focus with a blurred background indicates a low aperture.
2 | GET A NICE LENS
I know the SLR camera was expensive enough, but you won't fall in love with the kit kens that comes with the camera. Do some research on lenses and figure out what you will use or need the most. You will definitely notice a difference in image quality. I shoot canon and I would recommend the 50mm 1.8 for starters. It is only around $100 and is a very sharp lens for the price.
3 | FIND THE GOOD LIGHT
Photography is essentially all about lighting. Good lighting makes a good exposure [and less editing]. There are certain peak hours of the day that are known for pretty lighting. I'm sure you can guess that I'm talking about right after sunrise and the hour[s] before sunset. This doesn't mean you can't shoot mid-day but you have to know your camera settings to adjust according to your light, namely ISO. You should also take note of the direction the light is hitting your subject. When shooting indoors, always shoot in the room that gets the best light near a large window or sliding glass door. I never use my flash unless it is absolutely necessary, like at an evening wedding reception.
4 | USE YOUR FOCUSING POINTS
Check out your camera manual if you haven't figured out how to adjust your focusing points in camera. I am talking about those little red squares that you can see in your viewfinder that move around, depending on which part of the photo you want in focus. This allows you to be more artistic and take control over the final outcome of your image . . . something you can't do while shooting in automatic, so take advantage of the option!
5 | PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
I always give out this advice first. Play around with your camera! There is only so many photos you can admire and tutorials you can watch, but the real learning comes when you are hands on and taking notes of what works and what doesn't. It can be overwhelming to try to master your new SLR but you have to start somewhere. Ask a friend to be your model. Try out shooting in manual and adjust your settings after every shot to see the difference in an underexposed and overexposed photo. Soon enough, it will become second nature and you'll be adjusting your settings with ease while snapping away and focusing your efforts on your composition.