Something a bit different today. I have my camera by my side every day…it works hard for me and I am rewarded with beautiful memories to pass onto my children and grandchildren. My birthday is just around the corner, so my wonderful husband, who knows my obsession with photography suggested I upgraded to a newer more modern camera….as a birthday present. Who am I to say no!!
It took me 6 months to read and research all the information I could find about buying a new camera. I used comparison sites to compare specifications, checked different brands available, compared photographic quality of photos and read many reviews. There are a lot of cameras out there! My old camera was a Sony Alpha 3000 bought in 2014 and has served me relentlessly well. I am not a professional photographer but now I feel I can call myself a reasonable amateur. There is always room for improvement and my “photographic eye” has become better over time. Joining a photographic competition site helped me immensely. I learnt from people better than me, I am still learning and improving.
Finally I decided on what I would like to upgrade to…a Sony Alpha 6000. I toyed with the idea of changing brands but came to the conclusion, that for me, Sony suited my needs the best.
We made the long trip to Budapest, the capital, and bought my new camera, a Sony Alpha 6000 with an additional zoom lens… something I have never had before. The sales assistant seemed keen to tell me all about Canon and the packages they had to offer…I got the impression he was on a commission. My mind was on Sony and I told him that. The young sales assistant spoke good English which for me was a massive bonus as my Hungarian language skills are not great.
Getting it home and on charge was my main priority but imagine my disappointment when I found I needed to buy a memory card for the camera for operation. Not deterred, the next day we travelled to the closest electronics shop and asked for the appropriate memory card…home again and realised we had been sold (on their guidance) the wrong memory card. Frustration overload!!! I have now bought the correct memory card online and accepted I have wasted money on a useless memory card locally.
My new camera has many additional features and a manual that would make long time bedtime reading! My new camera is lighter than my previous one and smaller making it ideal for walking any sort of distance. It has a tilted screen, high quality video recording, wireless for transferring photos and image stabilization on the new lens. I am hoping for many photo opportunities and can’t wait to get started.. in particular taking shots of moving subjects, birds, animals, people etc these have not been my strong point in the past.
Anyone who is interested in photography will know that overwhelming desire to improve our image taking. Over the years I have “learnt on the job” what a good photo is and what a GREAT photo is. In these days of sophisticated mobile phones, cameras seem to have taken a back seat. Mobiles are easy to use with just a point and click action. It could be argued that mobiles take as good a photo as a dedicated camera. Bearing this in mind I put together a list of my tips for better pictures. Trial and error plays a part too and being self-critical is not always easy. I thought my photos years ago were excellent until I looked back and spotted glaring errors. I started experimenting and learning different ways to do my photography and I was pleased with the results.
My Top Tips for Better Photography
- ALWAYS level your horizons. It improves the look of your photo immensely. If you do find you have not got a straight horizon, adjust it in an editing programme on your computer.
- AVOID taking photographs in the mid-day sun. Your photos will glare too much. The ideal time is early morning or early evening. Better to be slightly dark than too bright. You can amend the darkness successfully by using the lightening function on an editing programme.
- ALWAYS be aware of the background of your shot, study it in your viewfinder, adjust your positioning if necessary. There is nothing worse than seeing washing hanging out on the line or a unwelcome mop bucket in your view.
- DON’T always use automatic settings. Your camera is a sophisticated piece of equipment and gives you a multitude of settings for different scenes and environments. Learn from your manual or go online to discovery how versatile your camera is. You will surprise yourself with amazing shots.
- TRY photography from different angels and levels, lay on the ground, look up to the sky, tilt your camera be brave and experiment.
- HAVE a focal point for EVERY photo.
- TRY Macro photography. The definition is: Macro photography is a unique form of photography that involves photographing small objects to make them look life-sized or larger in the photo. The usual subjects include flowers and small insects, which we don’t normally get to see up close with the naked eye.
- TAKE a walk with your camera after the rain, if it is foggy, or after a snow-fall, build your portfolio with interesting weather shots.
- USE your camera indoors, create an interesting scene, food shots to make your mouth water, still life in colour or black and white, perfumes bottles or interesting jewellery, anything you like. Be aware of the lighting and the inevitable reflections and bright spots.
- FINALLY, do you see dark spots on your photos when you upload them?…this is because dust has got inside your camera. Clean your external lenses regularly and use a puffer to remove those annoying dust spots from the inside.
The main principle of good photography is excellent lighting and knowing your camera inside out. I have found good editing programmes are essential to improve my photographs, every photo needs a second look…and an edit. It is habit forming and for me is another essential for good photography.
Imagine someone else is looking at your photo – what will they see? What are you trying to tell people? Every photo tells a story, what is yours?
I joined www.gurushots.com for practice and competition. It is free and you have the opportunity to look at other peoples photographs, compete for prizes and get ideas for your next photoshoot. Undoubtedly this has improved my photography.
Remember: Enjoy photography – you are making memories.
What sort of camera do you have….do you agree with my tips? Can you add any more? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.