An A-Z of Photography Tips

Mario Calvo Bartolomé

I decided to have a little fun and make an A-Z list of camera terms. I came up with most on the spot, but a couple (looking at you X and V) I had to google and see what even fit!

  1. A – Aperture Priority (Av) Mode! This is a great mode to shoot in if you’re starting out. Nothing will compare to full manual (I promise!), but this is still a great one. You set your aperture and your camera will figure out the rest.
  2. B – Back Button Focusing! This is a game changer if you’re focusing on moving subjects, especially. You use your thumb to focus and just continue holding it to continue focusing. It takes some getting used to, but once you get it, you won’t go back!
  3. C – Cropping! Always give yourself a little wiggle room for cropping. So DO NOT crop in camera or shoot too tightly. Shoot a little wider and adjust later. It’s always good to have some room than to be too close and next thing you know, someone’s head will be getting cropped off for that 8×10.
  4. D – Distortion! Different lens focal lengths cause different levels of distortion to your subject. Always run a corrector in your editing program of choice to counter act it.
  5. E – Extras! Always have an extra battery, memory card, light stand, etc. Murphy’s law, man.
  6. F – F-stop! Pay attention to your f-stop number and make sure you’re not too shallow for the amount of people in the photos. I cheat and try to match up with however many people there are. So 2 people = f/2.8, 4 people = f/4-5.6, etc. It’s not exact, but it’s a good start!
  7. G – Grain! Good news is grain is back in fashion. Bad news is, that too much can kill a photo. Be mindful of your ISO and try not to let it get too high. Better equipment will help significantly with ISO issues. If you’re running into this a lot, it might be time for a body upgrade.
  8. H – Hot Shoe! This is that mount on the top of your camera. Most times an external flash goes here, but they make all kinds of accessories, too!
  9. I – Inkjet Printers! Ew! Please stay away from inkjet printers. They do not look even half as good as a chemical printer. That means CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and pretty much any big-box store are out! Check out a local print shop or even mpix.com for insanely better looking photos.
  10. J – Jpeg! This is the final format that your digital image will take. If you’re sending files to friends, family, or a client – this is the format you’d deliver them in.
  11. K – Kelvin! This is the scale used to measure the colour temperature. 5000 K refer to normal daylight.
  12. L – Lenses! Have a well-rounded collection of lenses that you’ll actually use. Not everyone’s bag will contain the same thing.
  13. M – Memory Cards! Get good memory cards! My preference is high-speed 32GB cards. I shop at Peoria Camera for these, because they offer a lifetime warranty on their cards. Cards WILL go bad. At least this way, I can swap out the bad one for a brand new one.
  14. N – Neutral Density Filter! These are fantastic for landscapes (especially of water or clouds) and metal objects, like cars and motorcycles. It reduces the amount of light that passes through your lens, because if it’s super bright outside, you might not be able to set your settings to get the desired effect.
  15. O – Overexposure! This is when your photo is washed out. Too much light has reached the sensor for the shooting conditions. You can increase your shutterspeed and/or aperture to try to compensate for how bright it is. Or even get a Neutral Density filter.
  16. P –  Prints and Products! Print your photos! There’s nothing like holding a print your proud of or displaying it on your wall. Make prints and products of your favorites.
  17. Q – Quiet! Most cameras have a silent shooting mode that makes your shutter click softer. This can be useful for things like ceremonies where people are very quiet.
  18. R – Reflector! These are great when you’re shooting and need to bounce a little more light onto your subjects.
  19. S – Shutter Speed! Shutter speed is what captures or freezes motion. The lower your shutter speed, the more motion blur (and camera shake) you can get. Usually, I try not to go less than 1/100th if I’m holding my camera in my hand. If you’re on a tripod, you can go as low as you want to get the desired effect.
  20. T – Tripod! A tripod can come in very useful in many situations. It allows you to up the shutter speed (see above) and focus more on your overall photo rather than making sure it’s perfectly level and composed each shot. It’s completely necessary for video, if that’s something you enjoy doing, too.
  21. U – Used Equipment! Don’t be scared to buy used from reputable sources! Good camera equipment is made to last, so get yourself something for a better price.
  22. V – Vignetting! This occurs naturally with certain lenses. You don’t really pick up on it, but it’s there. This is great and I love when this happens. What I don’t love is people adding vignetting after the effect. It’s an outdated look, just skip it!
  23. W – Wide-Angle Lens! Anything less than 50mm is actually wide, but most people think of the ultra wide angles in this case, like 10mm. Under 10mm, and it starts going fish-eye. Wide-angles are great for landscapes and shooting in tight spaces.
  24. X – X-Sync Flash! I tried really hard to find something more exciting for “X,” but this is the best I’ve got! X-sync flash is when the flash fires at the instant the shutter is fully open.
  25. Y – You! You are the most important factor in your photography. A better lens or body might help a little, but you knowing more about your equipment and how to use it will help 100x more than the latest and greatest.
  26. Z – Zoom lens! A zoom lens is actually any lens that is not one focal length. A lot of people assume a zoom lens only refers to a telephoto lens. So that 18-55mm is, in fact, a zoom lens. And of course, that 70-200mm is, as well.

Woo! All finished! That was harder than I anticipated. Do you have any that you’d do differently? I’d love to hear from you!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s