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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
                          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.

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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
                                      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.

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

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                                            Published on June 5, 2020

                                            Best 10 Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

                                            Best 10 Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

                                            There are different reasons why you might need to buy an extra keyboard. Your keyboard may be wearing out and one can only imagine the frustration you get each time you type ‘O’ when you actually wanted to type ‘P’.

                                            Apart from your keyboard wearing out, desiring more comfort and flexibility and reducing pain in your wrists and fingers as you type might be your main reason. You may also want to maintain the recommended minimum distance of 40cm away from the screen[1] or just want to have some additional functionalities on your keyboard which are not available on most keyboards.

                                            Whatever the reason, we all want to have the best keyboard that will suit our needs.

                                            Here are the 10 best keyboards under $99 available on Amazon. They were picked based on their ergonomic design and extra functionalities.

                                            Why You Should Trust Us

                                            We checked Amazon to find the keyboards that have multiple functionalities, promises comfort, have received several reviews, and rated at least 4-star from real users. At a price below $100, we believe that you can find the best keyboard for you on this list.

                                            1. Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                                            4.3-star, 8950 Reviews

                                              The Logitech MK 550 keyboard has a constant curve layout and integrated palm rest to reduce stress, eliminate lower wrist fatigue, and help you type more naturally.

                                              If you want something that allows easy navigation, then this might be the best keyboard for you. It has 18 programmable keys that you will find pretty useful if you frequently use apps that require rapid navigation.

                                              It also has an accompanying precision laser mouse that makes screen navigation much easier and faster than using your touchpad.

                                              One of the things that set this keyboard apart from the rest is its long battery life. You can continue to use your keyboard and mouse for 2 years without thinking of changing the battery; the keyboard’s battery can even last up to three years.

                                              If you are a programmer, secretary, writer, or you do something that requires typing a lot, this is a product you might want to consider.

                                              Pros:

                                              • Long battery life
                                              • A combination of keyboard and mouse
                                              • Wireless keyboard
                                              • Integrated palm rest to reduce wrist fatigue

                                              Cons:

                                              • Only compatible with Windows-based PC. Additional set up might be required to use with Mac or Linux.
                                              • The keyboard can be a little noisy when typing

                                              You can buy this from Amazon for $46.99.

                                              2. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Wired Keyboard 4000 for Business

                                              4.3-star, 5388 reviews

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                                                This is an ergonomic keyboard with a cord (about 6ft long). It has a comfortable design that enhances your natural hand, wrist, and forearm positions when in use. It also has a cushioned palm rest which helps maintain a neutral wrist position, eliminating wrist pain.

                                                The keyboard has 5 customizable buttons that you can assign specific commands to make your work easier and faster. This may be the best keyboard for you if you love ergonomic keyboards.

                                                Pros

                                                • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux
                                                • Relatively quiet
                                                • Sturdy, doesn’t swivel around

                                                Cons

                                                • The keyboard is a little bulky
                                                • Spacebar might be sticky at first
                                                • It doesn’t have a wireless version
                                                • Not good for gaming
                                                • Some letters and characters might begin to wear off with use

                                                You can buy this from Amazon for $59.95.

                                                3. Razer Huntsman Gaming Keyboard

                                                4.6-stars, 1442 Reviews

                                                  If you are looking for a superfast keyboard, the Razer Huntsman gaming keyboard is one to consider. Its new Razer Opto-Mechanical switches utilize optical technology for unmatched speed.

                                                  The keyboard’s Razer Chroma syncs fully with popular games, and its Razer hardware supports 16.8 million colors on backlit keys. It has fully programmable macros that allow for the execution of complex commands through all keys and keypress combinations.

                                                  This keyboard is originally made for gamers, but many users choose it for its super-fast speed rather than for gaming itself.

                                                  Pros

                                                  • Works for Mac and PC
                                                  • Stiff enough to avoid typos
                                                  • Superfast and customizable

                                                  Cons

                                                  • Because it’s clicky, it might be disturbing in an office environment
                                                  • The Synapse software is bad and might not install on Windows 10

                                                  You can buy this from Amazon for $89.99.

                                                  4. Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

                                                  4.5-stars, 3115 Reviews

                                                    This is a membrane keyboard for enhanced performance, whether you are working or gaming. It is designed to give you pleasant gaming experience with three zones of tweakable RGB backlight.

                                                    One of the features that make the Corsair K55 keyboard stand out is its dust and spill resistance, so you don’t have to worry about wiping off spills. It also has a detachable palm rest to reduce wrist pain when you are gaming or on a prolonged work.

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                                                    It has multi-key anti-ghosting features so those keypress combinations are executed without hassles. You also have direct control over your audio with the dedicated volume and media control keys.

                                                    Pros

                                                    • Competitive at its price
                                                    • No software needed for RGB lighting
                                                    • Quiet keys
                                                    • Programmable keys
                                                    • Media buttons are included

                                                    Cons

                                                    • Caps Lock and Num Lock indicators might stop working intermittently
                                                    • Game hangs for about 30 – 60 seconds whenever you use a controller

                                                    You can buy this from Amazon for $49.88.

                                                    5. Apple Magic Keyboard

                                                    4.6-stars, 1328 Reviews

                                                      The most remarkable thing about the Apple Magic keyboard is its rechargeable batteries and the fact that it can be used to enhance your typing experience on smaller devices such as the iPad and iPhone.

                                                      This keyboard can pair with any apple device that runs on IOS 9.1 and up. Therefore you can use the keyboard to type long text messages and emails on your iPhone. This may be the best keyboard for Mac.

                                                      Pros

                                                      • Comes with rechargeable batteries
                                                      • Though made for Mac, it’s also compatible with PC

                                                      Cons

                                                      • The keys are not lit
                                                      • Some keys, especially the arrow keys are quite small
                                                      • Be careful, refurbished items might be sold as new

                                                      You can buy this from Amazon for $94.

                                                      6. Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                                                      4.1-stars, 20,735 reviews

                                                        This is another great product from Logitech, especially for people on a tight budget. Like MK550, this keyboard also comes with a paired mouse and does have a long battery life as well.

                                                        Although cheap, Logitech still maintained the connectivity signal of 2.4 GHz, so you can use the keyboard within a 10m range and there won’t be dropouts. It also has 8 programmable hotkeys to boost your productivity when you type.

                                                        Pros

                                                        • Long battery life: the keyboard battery lasts up to a year while that of the mouse lasts for two years.
                                                        • Programmable hotkeys to boost productivity
                                                        • Budget-friendly
                                                        • Optical mouse included
                                                        • Wireless keyboard

                                                        Cons

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                                                        • Build quality is low
                                                        • The paired mouse looks cheap
                                                        • There might be random keystrokes delay

                                                        You can buy this from Amazon for $24.99.

                                                        7. Redragon K552-RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

                                                        4.6-stars, 1482 Reviews

                                                          This is a mechanical anti-ghosting gaming keyboard with RGB backlighting and lettering and conflict-free keys (n-key Rollover) to provide ultimate gaming experience.

                                                          This keyboard has adjustable rear feet to give you a typing angle to work fast and comfortably. It also has 12 multimedia keys to enhance gaming.

                                                          You won’t have to worry about your keys in tough gaming conditions as this keyboard is built with metal alloy and ABS with plate-mounted clicky mechanical keys and switches. It comes with a high-speed USB cable and a connection to establish a firm connection so you can enjoy gaming without hassles.

                                                          Pros

                                                          • Sturdy and compact; saves space on your desktop
                                                          • It has swappable switches
                                                          • A good buy for its price

                                                          Cons

                                                          • Clicky keys and loud switches. It may not be suitable where some level of silence is required.
                                                          • Some LEDs might break with continued use
                                                          • Support for Mac is limited, only Windows PCs are fully supported.

                                                          You can buy this from Amazon for $44.99.

                                                          8. Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                                                          4.4-star, 1116 reviews

                                                            This is an RGB lighting keyboard and mouse. It’s an all-metal panel mechanical keyboard with a floating design. It has 104 keys and each of the keys has individual switches with full n-key rollover.

                                                            The keyboard is ergonomic and has a detachable wrist rest to reduce stress and pain on your wrist. The mouse is also programmable and has DPI levels adjustable up to 4800 DPI. You can even customize your own lighting layouts on the keyboard and it stores and retains your configurations.

                                                            This keyboard is compatible with Windows, MAC, and Linux. If you like mechanical keyboards, this might be the best keyboard you’re looking for.

                                                            Pros

                                                            • Impressive build quality
                                                            • Great buy for its price
                                                            • Universal compatibility

                                                            Cons

                                                            • The blue switches in the keys are pretty noisy.
                                                            • Some keys might begin to malfunction with prolonged use.

                                                            You can buy this from Amazon for $62.99.

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                                                            9. Havit Mechanical RGB Gaming Keyboard Mouse Headset Combo

                                                            4.4-star, 6772 ratings

                                                              This is a complete gaming kit with an RGB lighting keyboard, mouse, and headset, all combined and synced together to give you that ‘rave’ feeling when you are gaming.

                                                              The headphone’s breathable soft fabric earpads and memory foam provide exceptional comfort. It also has a 50 mm sound driver and virtual surround sound for precision audio as you game.

                                                              Keyboard and mouse are plug and play and has universal compatibility. The headphone is also compatible with different devices and games, such as PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox, Xbox ONE, Nintendo, mobiles, tablets, and laptops.

                                                              Although the value for money lies in using it for gaming, it works well for just any other thing that other keyboards can do.

                                                              Pros

                                                              • The keyboard is well built and looks great
                                                              • Keys are solid and clicky
                                                              • Bright LEDs are bright and come pre-configured with lots of different lighting patterns.

                                                              Cons

                                                              • The keys are light but loud
                                                              • The headset is a bit bulky

                                                              You can buy this from Amazon for $90.99.

                                                              10. Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                                                              4.2-star, 3101 Reviews

                                                                You already know that Logitech produces wireless keyboards and mouse combo with batteries that last up to three years at an estimated two million stroke per year of office use. You also know that their keyboard has a cushion palm rest for the comfort of your wrist.

                                                                What you may find interesting in this particular model is its LCD dashboard that displays the icon status of your battery, caps lock, scroll lock, and number lock all at a glance. This might be the best keyboard and mouse combo by Logitech you can find.

                                                                Pros

                                                                • The keyboard is sturdy and does not wobble on a work desk.
                                                                • Keys are solid and soft, making typing comfortable

                                                                Cons

                                                                • Letters might start wearing out after some months of use.
                                                                • Only compatible with Windows operating systems

                                                                You can buy this from Amazon for $49.99.

                                                                Bottom Line

                                                                You will always find a keyboard with good functionalities for a price of less than $100. It is advisable, however, to choose one that is compatible with different operating systems and can connect to different devices.

                                                                Find the Best Keyboard for You

                                                                Featured photo credit: Gilbert Pellegrom via unsplash.com

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