First of all, you should invest on a high memory so you can always make high-quality photographs. You can do this in JPEG format. But if you want to have a lot of detail than it is the best to use the raw format. But this will require more after editing then the JPEG photography. This will give you the advantage to correct any little flaws in your pictures without losing any picture quality.
Regarding your memory cards, be sure to use a card with high writing speed. In case you go on a holiday, be prepared to take enough memory cards with you for your trip as you can or a small hard drive, this will enable you to continue your photography throughout your holiday.
Extra Memory Cards
The advantages of extra memory cards has the advantage that you don’t have to erase pictures on a card that is full. On the camera LCD screen you also cannot see in great detail, if a picture is sharp or not. I will always choose to remove a certain picture, after I can see the quality on a big screen. So try to prevent erasing photographs inside your camera, you will not be the first person that accidentally removes the complete content of his memory card.
Always have some spare batteries and check if you have enough charged batteries, the day before you go on a trip. The same counts for your flash, in case you have a separate flash device.
Always check if your lens is dust free and look if there are no drops of any kind on the lens. The best way to clear your lens is by using a microfiber cloth, that you can buy in every camera shop for a few euro. Never use ordinary cloth like the ones you use to clean your glasses, the dust particles can damage the coating of your lens. In case you’re using a polarization filter or any kind of other filter, then also make sure that these are also clean.
Cleaning the filters will prevent “lens flare” when light enters the lens under a certain angle.
Another method to prevent lens flare is by using a solar hood. I always use a solar cap under all circumstances, even if it is not so sunny, to prevent other light sources to enter the lens under a unusual angle. Another advantage, of using a solar hood is that it can prevent damaging your camera, should you by accident bump into one or the other object. The hood captures the blow. Lens flare is not always negative, you can also use it as a creative agent.
Don’t forget the sensor of your camera. After a while dust particles will gather especially if you change lenses often. These particles will be visible when using an diaphragmatic value with a higher a.s. value.
Don’T Reset Your Iso
Increasing the value of your ISO setting is often used to get some extra light on your sensor, so that the shutter timing will be high enough and the photograph will be sharp. Better to have some extra noise on the picture then a un-sharp photograph. And if you did not adjust the ISO afterwards, when you go outside to continue making photographs than the rest of your session could fail.
I always try to adjust the ISO value, even when I am in the same area, I will always try to decrease the ISO to have a constant good quality. Constantly check the shutter timing on the camera. Before I go to a new location I always reset all my settings to standard to prevent any mistakes. ISO is always set back to 100 or 200 if you own a Nikon camera and the diaphragmatic value to F/8.
In the after editing you can use the noise reduction to prevent the negative effects of a high ISO value. You can always of course use it as a black-and-white photo.
Another mistake that is made very often concerns the horizon, when it seems that the sea is running out of the picture on the left side. While shooting, your concentrating on a specific subject and forgetting the whole picture. These mistakes happens relatively often when you hold your camera in portrait, your head is then bend and it is not easy to see if everything stands straight up in the picture. I myself make this mistake often in my enthusiasm and forget to check certain things.
New camera’s like the Canon 7D, Nikon D300, Olympus E-3 and the Pentax K7 have functions to show if the camera is held horizontally. In some other cameras there are some help lines on the LCD screen. In case you don’t have any of these functions then you can also use the two focus points that are the farthest away from each other, horizontal as well as vertical. Check if both are on the same line in the composition then the picture will be level.
A nice extra aid is a tripod, that I use in almost all of my landscape photographs. This will force you to work a little bit slower, and to look at your composition from somewhat more distance on the LCD screen, and because of this you will also see better if the horizon is a bit of.
It is nevertheless easy to adjust afterwards, when editing to adjust the horizon back to level.
Editing software often offers some help lines that show you is the horizon is straight. But don’t forget that you will lose part of the picture.
No Clear Subject
The more elements there are visible beside your subject, the more difficult it is for the viewer to focus on.
Regarding compositions we can say the simpler the better. The more elements there are in your viewer the more difficult it is to focus on the real subject. Your eyes will go back and forth without having a rest point. So try to prevent any extra elements and go for the important ones. For instance prevent any bright colored elements in the background or at the edges of your photograph that can distract you from the initial subject. The human brain can ignore those interfering elements, but the camera lens cannot make that choice.
Another way of simplifying a composition is to move more closer. You can do this by using a zoom lens, but why not take a few steps forward. That way it’s much more easier to see what the subject is. The person who looks at the picture afterwards will be more involved that way. It can also use some paths or lines that will guide you to the initial subject.
To increase or decrease your point of view could also make your photographs more interesting. Try to look at your subject from a lower position or higher. Notice the background, the subject sometimes falls away in a dark background or you suddenly see a tree branch or a lamppost in someone’s head. To prevent these kind of circumstances you can adjust your point of view.
Get Rid Of Your Own Rules
It is sometimes better to get rid of your own rules. Every subject asks for a different kind of approach. Sometimes it’s better to have your subject in the middle of the picture, or the horizon not horizontally or to use any other crazy sharpness focus point. The most important thing is that you will have fun doing your hobby or work.
Go out there and the photo that you take is always better than the one that you will not take. With much practicing and experimenting, you will get the hang of it, and don’t take it too serious enjoy the process. Good or bad does not exist, a composition that works is by definition a good composition.
How often did it happen to you, that when looking at a small version of your photograph, it looks good, but when showing it bigger fails regarding sharpness. Un-sharp photographs can have different causes.
Most of the time the required shutter time will be to slow so that movement will be visible. The higher the shutter time the better the chances for sharpness. Safe shutter time for a sharp photo on your handheld camera is a minimum of 1/60s. But this also depends on the lens or how steady your hands are.
And easy to remember way is that the minimum shutter time should be as fast as the focal length of the lens. Do you photograph on hundred millimeters, and the shutter time should be a minimum of1/100s, and when photographing on 200 mm then the shutter time should have a minimum of 1/200s. This is equal for a camera with a crop sensor and equal to a camera with a full frame sensor. Things like image stabilization or vibration reduction can help to make this a bit easier.