Tips and tutorials

6 Tips to Take Your Photography to the Next Level

The art of photography has evolved as a profession over the past decade. Photographers of all skill levels have the ability to transform your rarest emotion into more realistic and professional snapshots. To make your photography skills shine, it is necessary to get the right merger of all critical elements of photography, such as aperture, shutter speed, focal length, and ISO sensitivity. Listed below are a few essential tips to help you take your photography to the next level.

Photo Courtesy: Antontag/deviantart

Tip 1. Understanding Aperture

Aperture measurements are fundamental to clicking the best quality picture. Light passes through the aperture to the sensor to form an image of the subject. If you choose a wider aperture, you allow more light to pass through.

The size of the aperture is denoted by f-stops (like f/3, f/5.3). The smaller the f-stop number, the wider is your aperture and vice versa.

Read: Introduction to Aperture

Understand Aperture Measurements

When you buy a lens, you will see the maximum aperture setting written on the side of the lens. A zoom lens will show two measurements that indicate the maximum aperture setting at lower and telephoto focal length. So if you buy a lens which has a wide aperture, you can take shots in low light conditions.

Don’t use Aperture to Compensate Lighting

Eventhough aperture controls the amount of light getting into the camera, but, if you do tamper with your aperture settings to compensate for poor or unfavorable lighting, you will end up messing up the depth of field. If you choose a wide aperture, you the area of focus in the image will be small. So, choose  the right exposure settings.

Gorilla portrait
Photo Credits: Joachim G. Pinkawa

Set Wide Aperture When Clicking Portraits

If you use a wide aperture in a camera lens, your subject will become the central focus while the background objects blur. This is called a shallow depth of field. These settings are ideal when you are doing portrait photography to draw all attention towards your subject.

Set Narrow Aperture for Landscapes

When clicking landscapes, you require to keep every object in focus. This is known as a long depth of field that can be achieved by choosing a narrow aperture.

man climbing a mountain
Photo Credits: Greg Sims

Read: How to use Aperture priority mode in your digital camera [Video]

Tip 2. Check the lens diameter when buying new filters or reverse ring

The diameter of your lens (filter diameter) is indicated by ‘ø’ symbol on the front of the lens barrel. You should check this before buying a new filter as this number may be different for each lens you own. In this way you can buy appropriate filters for your lenses. This filter diameter is not just meant for filters. It is useful for finding the right macro filters, reverse ring (for reversing lenses for macro) etc.

Read: Poor man’s macro — The reverse Lens Technique

Tip 3. Use a Circular Polarizer filter to make vivid photographs

If you have just one filter, the best bet is to make it a circular polarizer. This helps you get a clear picture of the sky and passing clouds, giving it a vibrant blue tone. Another benefit of using a circular polarizer is the intensified contrast between different objects in the scene.

Small lake near Ophir, Colorado
Photo Credits: Danilo Faria

Tip 4. Go with the Rule of Thirds

You can make your photos more dynamic by applying the rule of thirds. So, what is rule of thirds? Divide the frame you are going to capture into thirds by two equally-spaced vertical and two equally-spaced horizontal lines. If you keep the subjects along the points where these lines intersect, you will end up creating a more aesthetic image since it adds depth to the image. If your camera has the feature to show an overlaid grid on the rear LCD to help you position the subjects (refer your camera’s manual), you can use it to implement the rule of thirds.

Tip 5. Choose the Right Exposure and Focus Settings

The shutter speed defines the exposure time when clicking pictures using a digital camera. The best way you can auto-correct the focus and exposure settings is by half-pressing the shutter release on your camera. If you press it completely, you capture the entire frame.

First up, you need to frame the scene and half-press the shutter to lock focus and exposure settings. You can then recompose to position the subjects on one-third power points.

Horse hurdling sport
Photo Credits: Giuseppe Peppoloni

Tip 6. Use your camera’s light meter

If you don’t know how to use manual mode or the semi-automatic mode in your camera, you can take help of your camera’s auto mode to know the settings that will give you the best result. You can view the auto-mode settings, and then set the manual mode and replicate those settings. Once this is done, you can change the elements to suit your needs. In this way you will learn how to use the manual mode and take complete control over your camera.

If you are a beginner, these tips will help you meet accuracy with minimum effort.

About the Author

Vishal Chaudhary is an emerging blogger and a hobbyst photographer who contributes on behalf of

Guest Post: This article is a guest post. If you wish to contribute to Shutterstoppers, please read our guest post page.

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