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Last Updated on December 21, 2017

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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                                            Published on September 20, 2018

                                            11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                                            11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                                            In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

                                            Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

                                            In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

                                            Minimizing Tabs

                                            Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

                                            Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

                                            Incognito Mode

                                            Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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                                            1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
                                            2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
                                            3. Download extension New Incognito Window

                                            This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

                                            Save Webpages as PDF Files

                                            Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

                                            Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

                                            Open Recently-closed Tabs

                                            Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

                                            One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

                                            The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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                                            Solve Mathematical Problems

                                            Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

                                            For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

                                            Play Media Files

                                            Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

                                            In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

                                            Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

                                            With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

                                            Stay Focus(e)d

                                            Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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                                            Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

                                            With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

                                            This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

                                            Grammarly for Editing

                                            Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

                                            You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

                                            Loom

                                            There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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                                            There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

                                            With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

                                            Chrome Calendar Extension

                                            No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

                                            Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

                                            Final Thoughts

                                            Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

                                            Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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