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20 Easy Photography Tricks That Will Make You a Picture Taking Master

20 Easy Photography Tricks That Will Make You a Picture Taking Master

According to Ansel Adams,”a good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Turns out, it’s a bit more complex than that, but you don’t have to be an expert photographer to take meaningful photographs. Capturing moments with your camera has never been easier with the ever improving smart phone capabilities, apps, free photography sites and e-books. Whether you are striving for more impressive Instagram-worthy shots on your smart phone, or you are a DSLR photographer in the making, these tricks will help lead you down the road of picture taking mastery.

1. Use the Aperture Priority mode to get those professional looking portrait shots with the out of focus background
Portrait

    Using the “A” or Aperture priority on your camera’s mode dial gives you control of depth of field. Aperture settings are measured in “F-stops.” One thing to note is the wider apertures actually have lower numbers, while the more narrow apertures have higher numbers. For example, a F2 has a wider aperture than an F22. A wider aperture decreases the depth of field in your shot making the background more blurred out, but keeping you subject in focus.

    2. Mix artificial and natural light for ideal city night shots
    Cityscape

      Time the taking of your images so that the light levels from each source (artificial and natural) is the same, which will produce an evenly exposed shot. Take a spot meter reading from both the sky and an area of the shot that’s well artificially lit. When the sky is still slightly brighter, start shooting using the spot metered setting for the artificially lit part of the scene. Continue to take pictures using the exposures. You should have a few shots that are perfectly exposed during the ten minute window where the scene will be perfectly lit.

      3. Use Apps, such as Camera Awesome and Camera+, to enhance your smart phone pictures

      Screenshot 2014-12-03 12.17.41

        Photography apps on smart phones have come a long way. While smart phones don’t offer the professional capabilities of DSLR camera, you can still use these apps to help adjust and enhance your photos to take them to a new level.

        Two favorites are Camera Awesome (iphone and Android) and Camera + (iphone). Camera Awesome has an easy-to-set timer and burst feature. It also allows you to set ISO, white balance and exposure separately.

        4. Use burst mode to capture a fleeting range of expressions, motion and improve the odds of a good group shot  

        groupportrait

          In burst mode, several photos are captured in quick succession. This feature is available on most digital cameras, DSLRs and through app features on your smart phone. You shoot in this continuous high speed by holding down the shutter button on your camera.

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          5. Be in two places at once with an easy panoramic trick  

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            With the help from a friend and a little jogging, you can pose in the frame multiple times. Open your phone’s camera app and select the panoramic mode. Have your friend start on the far left of the frame and slowly pan to the right. As soon as you are out of the frame run around behind your friend and pose again somewhere to the right. Play around with it to see how many times you can squeeze into the frame.

            6. Speaking of panoramic shots, change the direction and angle 

            shutterstock_101360515 (2)

              These aren’t complicated, but they might be something you haven’t realized yet. Change the panning direction by simply tapping the arrow and it will switch direction. Take vertical panoramic photos by rotating your smart phone so that you are holding it in landscape orientation. Instead of panning horizontally, pan vertically from low to high, or high to low.

              7. Perfect “Jumpology” photos using burst mode and faster shutter speeds

              jump3

                Get low to take the photograph so the jumpers appear higher! If you have your subjects try to create shapes with their bodies instead of jumping straight up and down, it will give more of a floating effect. To ensure sure you capture the perfect moment, use the burst mode on your camera and a faster shutter speed to freeze the movement.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                8. Find the best spots for stunning sunrise and sunset photos using The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) app to map out the position of the sun

                 

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                  It’s a map-centric sun and moon calculator, allowing you to see how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on Earth. It’s especially helpful in planning for early-morning shoots, when it’s harder to pinpoint exactly where the sun will rise.

                  9. Don’t look through the viewfinder to capture more candid street shots 
                  stree photo

                    Go a bit under the radar and see where it takes you when you don’t look through the viewfinder. Select your camera’s Program mode and set the drive mode to silent if your camera has this feature. Pre-focus the lens manually about five or six feet.

                    Place the camera on your strap at a longer length over your shoulder and press the shutter release in short bursts as you stroll around an interesting people watching street.

                    Make sure to review your shots every now and then to make any small adjustments to focal length and the position of the camera.

                    10. Use Inexpensive Macro Filters to Get Close-Up Magnification

                    IMG_1622__

                      If you can’t afford a dedicated macro lens, you can get a similar effect for a fraction of the cost with macro filters. When using a macro filter however, you will want to keep your aperture small – such as f11 to f18 – to get a good depth of field (so more light is required).

                      11. Take backlight photos at golden hour for desirable portraits with a warm glow

                      medium_9898022514 (1)

                         The golden hour in photography is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day, where you get the desired soft light for halo like portraits. And if you really want to be precise, there is an app for that. The Golden Hour App shows you the path of the sun in the sky for the location and date selected.

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                        12. Capture Both Sides of the Moment with the Frontback App 

                          The app (on Google Play and in iTunes) uses the front and back of your camera to capture what you see and how you feel at any moment. Some have described it as having your face being the emotion, or caption, for what you are seeing and experiencing. If about to bungee jump off a bridge your #frontback image might show the view of the drop and perhaps your anxious selfie before the jump. Once you’ve taken a photo, you can share it in a single image to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the app’s news feed.

                          13. Turn a Turkey Pan into a DIY Beauty Dish for Under a Dollar
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                            Beauty Dish is used by portrait photographers to get a flattering lighting effect on their subject. The intensity of light on the subject compared to the surrounding, and the silver color reflected off of the aluminum add to the effect. Cut a hole in the center of the turkey pan, add some aluminum in front, assemble as shown with the flash/bulb inserted.

                            13. Use a Drop of Water to Create Your Own Macro Lens on Your Smart Phone

                              Another Macro Lens trick is to use a straw to drop a small droplet of water on your smart phone lens to magnify your image immensly. A small drop won’t run off when you pick up your phone to take a picture.

                              14. Use a plastic bag on your lens to get a haze and blur effect
                              medium_5651449243

                                Crumple a plastic bag, wrap it at the front of your camera lens and fix it with a rubber band. Tear it at the center using your hand which will create stretch marks and create a fading transition effect from blurred to sharp region. You can double up on bags to achieve an even greater blurred effect.

                                15. Overexpose your photo in low light situations.

                                Essar Steel

                                  Use your camera’s exposure compensation capability to dial the exposure compensation to the positive side in order to purposefully overexpose your photo. The scale on most DSLR’s allow from -3 to +3 stops in 1/3 stop increments.

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                                  16. Perfect the simple silhouette by taking an exposure reading from the sky

                                    Put your subject in front of a light source (often the sun) and turn off your flash. Set your camera to spot metering and point the camera towards a brighter part of the sky (but not the sun). You can take an exposure reading by pressing your shutter button half way down.

                                    17. Use Bulb mode for stunning moonlight photos
                                    medium_8834083832 (1)

                                      Using one of the standard modes the longest exposure possible is 30 seconds, so you’ll need to use Bulb (B) mode instead which will allow exposure of any length. You do this with a remote shutter release.  Press and hold/lock the remote to keep the shutter open for the desired time. This will help you with your night sky photography.

                                      18. Lower the shutter speed and pan to create motion
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                                        To capture your subject in motion, choose a shutter speed that is around two steps lower than needed. Keep your camera on your subject, with your finger half way down on the shutter to lock to lock the focus. Take the photo and pan the camera with them as they move.

                                        19. Choose Aperture Priority and a deep depth of field to get dramatic architecture pictures at night

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                                          For these shots, a tripod and cable release would be ideal, but not a necessity. Set your camera to Aperture Priority and choose a small aperture for deep depth of field so the building is sharp. You can also play with your shutter speed to allow for more light to come through.

                                          20.Slow down your camera’s shutter speed and with a neutral density (ND) filter for dreamy landscape shots.
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                                            You can have more control over your image when using a ND filter. You can take photos where the faster moving water looks calm and silky, or moving clouds look like surreal streaks in the sky. The filter allows you to better regulate the amount of light and slow down your shutter speed to get the same exposure you would have gotten without the filter.

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                                            20 Easy Photography Tricks That Will Make You a Picture Taking Master

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                                            Last Updated on May 28, 2020

                                            18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

                                            18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

                                            No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

                                            If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

                                            But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

                                            Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

                                            Let’s dive straight into the list.

                                            1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

                                              If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

                                              RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

                                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                              2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

                                                If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

                                                This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

                                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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                                                  This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

                                                  Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

                                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                  4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

                                                    Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

                                                    Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

                                                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                    5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

                                                      There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

                                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                      6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                                                        Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                                                        Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                        7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                                                          Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                                                          This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                                                          Available on iOS and Desktop

                                                          8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                                                            This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                                                            This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                                                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                            9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                                                              Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                                                              MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                                                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                              10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                                                                1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                                                Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                                                                11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                                                                  When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                                                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                                  12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                                                                    This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                                                                    Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                                                                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                                    13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                                                                      This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                                                                      Available on desktop (macOS)

                                                                      14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                                                        Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                                                        The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                                                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                                                        15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                                                          Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                                                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                                          16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                                                            Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                                                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                                            17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                                                              This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                                                              Available on iOS and Android

                                                                              18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                                                                Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                                                Final Thoughts

                                                                                The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                                                                So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

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                                                                                Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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