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The Most Useful Photography Tips and Tricks that Make You Look Like a Pro

The Most Useful Photography Tips and Tricks that Make You Look Like a Pro

The simple act of taking a good picture seems like it should be pretty easy, but the truth is, there is a lot more to it than just pointing-and-shooting: the art of good photography takes quite a bit of practice. When you’re just starting out, it’s hard to sift through all of the  information on the web about what you should know. What we did here was pack together a bunch of the most popular tips and tricks for newbie photographers.

Photography Tips 2

    Exposure

    Exposure is one of the most important things to take into account when learning photography. The two main points when talking about exposure in photography are shutter speed and aperture: two things that have to do with light.

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    shutter

      Choosing the right shutter speed is super important: if the shutter is open for too long, the image can blur, or the light sources in the image can be streaky-looking (like little comets).

      aperture

        Aperture is the size of the opening that allows the light into the camera (the lens). By making adjustments to the aperture, you change the depth of focus, and can draw the focus of the observer to a particular part of photograph. A couple of good image examples can be found in this article on the basics of aperture.

        Learning the settings of your camera

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        ALL lenses

          Knowing what the heck your camera can actually do is a great place to start, so don’t be afraid to mess around with some of the settings to see what they do firsthand. However, if you are just starting out, you may have no idea what all those industry-specific words are. Having a good plain-language glossary of photography and camera terms can help you understand a bit better.

          Choosing the correct lens for the shot is also super important. When you are limited by the number of lenses you have, you might want to practice taking pictures that are best suited for the lens you currently have. But how do you know what works for the lens you have? Having a calculator to figure out the focal length will help you determine which lens you should use when setting up a particular shot.

          When you are in the market to buy a new lens, you will need to know a little more about what different types of lenses do and how to choose the right one.

          Rule of Thirds

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          rule-of-thirds

            A cool trick for getting the right balance in an image is to use what’s called the Rule of Thirds. Essentially you’ll want to divide the image up into three rows and three columns; basically a tic-tac-toe board. Then, decide where the important parts of the picture are and make adjustments so they are near where the places the lines intersect. What this does is makes the important part stand out, and shows just the right amount of background. If you are taking a more action-oriented image and can’t pause the situation to better position yourself or the target, this principle can also be applied when cropping the image afterward.

            Using negative space

            negative-space

              Using the Rule of Thirds can make it easier to use negative space. In addition, using different exposure techniques to focus on a particular part of an image can help you master using negative space in an image.

              Practice, practice, practice

              While you can know every single technical term and possible setting to get the optimal photograph, the only way to improve is to practice. One good way to get into the swing of things is to join a beginners’ photography group: Flickr is a good place to look for groups of beginner photographers that you can join.

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              Another great way to practice is to use photography challenges: having a weekly topic will give you something to focus on for the week (pun intended.) Many of these challenges will give you a an adjective describing something to capture in an image—the descriptive word might talk about something wet, or moving, or a view from a distance. No matter if the challenge is an old post or one that is currently happening, it’s a good idea to get a list of things to take pictures of. You can then compare your images with those taken by other people.

              Featured photo credit:  Man sitting on Lava rocks taking pictures in Hawaii via Shutterstock

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              Last Updated on January 21, 2020

              The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

              The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

              Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

              your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                Why You Need a Vision

                Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                How to Create Your Life Vision

                Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                What Do You Want?

                The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                Some tips to guide you:

                • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                • Give yourself permission to dream.
                • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                Some questions to start your exploration:

                • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                • What qualities would you like to develop?
                • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                • What would you most like to accomplish?
                • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                A few prompts to get you started:

                • What will you have accomplished already?
                • How will you feel about yourself?
                • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                • What does your ideal day look like?
                • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                • What would you be doing?
                • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                • How are you dressed?
                • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                Plan Backwards

                It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                • What important actions would you have had to take?
                • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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