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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

25 Pro Tips

Try these tips from some of OP’s top professionals to get your best shots ever!

This Article Features Photo Zoom

We polled a number of professionals for some of their best photo tips, and in the spirit of our 25th Anniversary issue, we’ve come up with a list of 25 that are sure to help you make better photographs. There have been some astounding innovations in photography over the past 25 years, and several of these tips apply to digital technology, but it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some of our pros’ thoughts apply just as much to shooting with a DSLR today as they would have if you had been standing next to Ansel Adams on the roof of his car with a wooden 8x10 view camera and emulsions coated onto glass plates. Give these tips a try. We guarantee results.

1 Set Up For A Complex Shot Ahead Of Time
Make sure your camera’s complicated menu is set ahead of time to accommodate the anticipated conditions (thinking of the Milky Way shot here, where all settings were tilted to long exposures). Long exposure, low noise, mirror lock, manual focusing were all done in advance. —Jack Dykinga

2 Try Predictive Autofocus For Birds In Flight
I’m not the fastest kid on the block, so when it came to photographing birds in flight, I had a challenge getting sharp images of these avian critters winging toward me. But with the amazing technology of predictive autofocus, the camera does the job with a little help from me. By locking one of the focusing brackets in the viewfinder on the bird and depressing the shutter button ever so slightly, the camera locks onto the subject and tracks its movement across the viewfinder. I’ve even been able to focus-lock on birds that are mere dots in the viewfinder. —Jim Clark

3 People In The Landscape
Adding a small person to a landscape image can provide both a focal point for the eye and perspective to the overall composition. Often, without a person, it may be difficult to grasp the scale of a scene, such as a swirling sandstone slot canyon. By adding a person to the scene, the brain immediately recognizes the scale and tells you what you’re looking at. If I have an assistant with me, I’ll often capture a landscape image both ways, one with and one without a person. Also, a scene including a person may be easier to sell. —James Kay

4 "F8 And Be There!"
For years, this was the cry of the photojournalist. It meant that 90% of a great photo was being in the right place at the right time. True, it was simplistic, but in the Age of Photoshop, this maxim is too often forgotten. No matter how much you play with the bits and bytes, the best images always start out with a great vision, clearly and cleanly seen. Be in the right place at the right time, set your camera to “Program” and get the shot. In the film days, some pros would joke that the “P”, which ostensibly stood for Program, really stood for Pro Mode. Being where you need to be is more important than micromanaging your camera’s controls. —Dewitt Jones

5 Dial Down Exposure By A Half-Stop
To Give Colors A Boost The magical ingredient of great color! The simple addition of -.05 exposure compensation brings color to life. Next, that underexposure takes the shadows down so those blacks are really black. That’s important because our vision seeks certain colors like black, and when it finds them, the mind then goes out and says if that’s black, then that’s red or green or yellow, so those colors already pumped up now become more alive. Lastly, those blacker blacks give a fine line to many elements in the photograph and that tricks the mind into seeing things as sharper. So with one simple setting, you can bring life to your photographs that others will just scratch their head and ask, “How’d you do that?” It’s a powerful tool! —Moose Peterson


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