Advertising
Advertising

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.

          Advertising

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

          3406985580_c7dfd81a92

            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

                 

                Advertising

                tdedkQnQGCgIhk9eoEkP_DSC_0983

                  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.

                        Advertising

                        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
                          large_2251529011

                            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.

                                  Advertising

                                  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
                                      medium_4453552460

                                        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

                                        medium_6515330849

                                          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.
                                          medium_8123071604

                                            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.

                                            More by this author

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

                                            Trending in Technology

                                            1 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 2 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 3 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 4 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

                                            Read Next

                                            Advertising
                                            Advertising
                                            Advertising

                                            Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                                            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                                            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                                            Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

                                            Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

                                            Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

                                            In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

                                            1. ScheduleOnce

                                              ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                                              ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                                              ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                                              Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                                              Available on Web

                                              2. Calendly

                                                Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                                                You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

                                                Advertising

                                                Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                                                3. Assistant.to

                                                  For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                                                  From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                                                  While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                                                  Available on Web

                                                  4. Acuityscheduling

                                                    Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                                                    It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                                                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                                    5. Pick

                                                      Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                                                      At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

                                                      Advertising

                                                      Available on Web

                                                      6. X.ai

                                                        For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                                                        This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                                                        Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                                                        Available on Web

                                                        7. YouCanBook.me

                                                          is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                                                          They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                                                          Available on Web

                                                          8. Doodle

                                                            Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                                                            It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

                                                            Advertising

                                                            You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                                                            While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                                                            Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                                            9. WhenAvailable

                                                              WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                                              Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                                              Available on Web

                                                              10. Rally

                                                                Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                                                Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                                                Available on Web

                                                                11. NeedtoMeet

                                                                  Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

                                                                  Advertising

                                                                  NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                                                  While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                                                  Available on Web

                                                                  Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                                                  In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                                                  To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                                                  Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                                                  A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                                                  Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                                                  If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                                                  Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                                                  With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                                                  The Bottom Line

                                                                  Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                                                  Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                                                  Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                                                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                                                                  Read Next