Here are five basic tips for taking digital photography. These are general tips to help you "see the overall picture".
It doesn’t matter if you have a simple point and shoot camera or digital SLR…these beginning photography tips should help. Keep these digital photography techniques in mind when you’re out shooting and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your photographs improve.
1. Be Patient
Hummingbird pictures, pictures of butterflies, funny animal photos…what do these all have in common? Well, it takes patience to “get the shot”. There can be a lot of waiting when you’re trying to capture the perfect moment, especially if you’re photographing fast-moving hummingbirds, butterflies, or dragonflies, let’s say.
It took quite a while for the rufous hummingbird pictured below to become comfortable enough with me that he'd allow me to stand close to his feeder to take his portrait.
I chased the tiger swallowtail pictured below around our yard for quite a while as he sampled flower after flower before I finally captured this shot of him on our rhododendrons.
2. Be Prepared
This is closely related to the previous point. Sometimes the perfect
situation can happen in the blink of an eye. You have to be prepared for the moment. If that means holding your camera to your eye, trigger finger at the ready, for longer than you feel you possibly can, so be it! It helps to be something of a naturalist. If you're familiar with your subject you have a better chance of anticipating their behavior and getting a winning photograph. And by the way, "anticipating behavior" should be on my list of tips for taking digital photography, but I'll just throw that one in for free!
When I knew the salmon were jumping in the ocean, waiting to swim upstream to spawn, it was a big waiting game to get the shot below. I hand-held my camera for a long time in the freezing weather, my finger poised on the shutter release, as the fish jumped this way and that. Getting the shot can sometimes mean hours of waiting.
Here's another example... When photographing the dragonfly in flight (shown below) I noticed that it would circle the area but always hover in the same spot. So I pre-focused on that spot, he flew back there and hovered, and I got the shot.
3. Use Humor
I’m particularly fond of trying to incorporate humor in my photography. Of course, if you happen to be taking pictures of trees it’s not always possible (although I’ve known some funny-looking trees in my time)! But let’s face it, everybody likes to laugh so if it’s at all possible, try to tickle our funny bones. Here's another beginning photography tip: if you want to inject some humor into your pictures, try photographing squirrels!
Oh, and by the way, if you happen to capture a great squirrel picture, please submit it to Funny Squirrel Pictures ...he'll be in good company!
I photographed this three-horned chameleon in Hawaii. I followed him around for quite awhile as he climbed from stem to stem. I don't think he was amused!
4. Look Closely
Here's one of the more important tips for taking digital photography that's often overlooked by new photographers. Don’t be in a rush. If you think there’s nothing to photograph, I suggest you step outside right now. Look at that bug on a dandelion. The closer you look, the more fascinating it becomes. Sometimes little gems are tucked away in the undergrowth or hidden in the petals of a flower. Take your time and chances are good that you’ll find all kinds of treasures to photograph.
5. Play with Focus
This technique works particularly well with macro photography. Focus on one element of your scene. It's one of the most tricky, but most fun, tips for taking digital photography.
Let’s say you’re taking a picture of a field of flowers. Pick one perfect flower to focus on. It’s even better if that one flower is slightly different from the surrounding flowers in some way.
If you have a digital SLR you have more control over your focus than if you have a point and shoot camera. I suggest opening up your aperture as wide as possible (don't forget, wider aperture = a smaller number, like f/2.8)…this will throw everything but the flower you’re focusing on out of focus. A pleasing blur or color will surround your one perfect flower. The closer you are to the flower of your choice, the shallower your focus will be. If you’re really close, you’ll only get part of a petal in sharp focus, for example. Congratulations, you just learned how to play with depth of field!
Well, that's it for Tips for Taking Digital Photography. Just remember the most important thing...get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot!