View Full Version : Techniques to better Photos

12-07-2014, 12:34 PM
In this section we will discuss specific aspects of photography that can help you take better shots. Many of these techniques will deal with a physical aspect, but traditional "golden rules" can also be available here and can also be discussed in this section.

As I mentioned, we are looking at the physical techniques first. These techniques will help you improve your photography by emphasizing the importance of body control.

The following techniques are fairly straight forward, but I will illustrate most of them to give you a better understanding of what I mean.

-One way to help you get better shots, especially in aquarium photography is to hold your breath. By breathing in and out in a very relaxed manner right before taking a shot, and holding it right before pressing the shutter button, it will allow you to take sharper shots when dealing with slow shutter speeds. You can breath through the shooting process as well, but you have to keep a very relaxed breathing pattern. Typically, if you are not shooting with speedlights, you will be dealing with either very high ISO (which you do not want), or very slow shutter speeds, which will cause blurry photos if you do not hold still enough, so this technique is crucial.

-Of course one of the things that would help with slower shutter speeds is also a tripod. A good technique when on a tripod is to employ the delay shutter release. You can also use a remote trigger which is even better IME. Typically, the shutter delay is anywhere from 2-30 seconds. I will typically use the 2 second timer and this makes it so that your hand does not introduce shake to the camera. One drawback to this technique is that if your shutter speed is too slow, you have a very high probability to get blurry photos because discus can be fast movers. You have to play a game of balance here. Keep your shutter speed high enough so that you do not get blurry discus by their movement, but slow enough that it warrants the tripod.
http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o387/simplydiscus1/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01980-1_zps7dabf5cc.jpg (http://s341.photobucket.com/user/simplydiscus1/media/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01980-1_zps7dabf5cc.jpg.html)

-Another time tested technique is holding up your body on something around you. This can be a wall, a door way, a car, etc. This helps anchor your body, and it helps reduce camera shake. All of these techniques help to try to reduce camera shake which is one of the main contributors to why people typically get blurry shots. Of course there are other important factors to blurry pictures, but these techniques help reduce the camera shake effect.
http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o387/simplydiscus1/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01952-1_zps92fac35b.jpg (http://s341.photobucket.com/user/simplydiscus1/media/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01952-1_zps92fac35b.jpg.html)
In this photo you can see that I am leaning against a dresser. Not the best thing to lean on, but it gets the job done. It is better than shooting stand alone. Any anchor point can be used to your advantage.

-If your aquarium is not very far from the ground, then another technique you can use is to get down on one knee and having your elbow on the other knee for support. Typically you will do this when there is no wall or larger physical object to lean against. Keep in mind, typically, if your aquarium is very high off the ground, a shot from the knee position will not be a very flattering one. You can possibly introduce distortion and can include the light fixture in the shot, which is not a great idea.
http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o387/simplydiscus1/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01961-1_zps20694bd3.jpg (http://s341.photobucket.com/user/simplydiscus1/media/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01961-1_zps20694bd3.jpg.html)

-Keeping your elbows close to your chest to anchor the camera is also a very valuable technique. This ties in to another good technique which is to try to use the viewfinder as much as possible. When your elbows are pressed up against your body, the natural pose for taking the shot will be to put your eye right up against the viewfinder. Many people like the idea of a large LCD screen, but many times it is a deterrent more than anything. Try to rely on the viewfinder as much as possible, and try to use the LCD only when necessary.
http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o387/simplydiscus1/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01972-1_zpsc53f6815.jpg (http://s341.photobucket.com/user/simplydiscus1/media/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01972-1_zpsc53f6815.jpg.html)
The depicted way of shooting should be AVOIDED. You do not want to be relying on the LCD alone unless your camera does not have a viewfinder. Having the camera so far from your body introduces unnecessary camera shake.
http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o387/simplydiscus1/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01974-1_zpsda7cb47c.jpg (http://s341.photobucket.com/user/simplydiscus1/media/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01974-1_zpsda7cb47c.jpg.html)
This shooting style SHOULD be used. Pressing the viewfinder to your eye actually creates an anchor point and stabilizes the camera more so than not. Also notice that the elbows are tucked in.

Lastly, if you do happen to have a remote flash of any kind, try one of two things, either have the flash on your camera and shoot it up to the ceiling (preferably a white one) like shown here:
http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o387/simplydiscus1/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01983-1_zps2b65864e.jpg (http://s341.photobucket.com/user/simplydiscus1/media/Rick%20Edited%20pics%20for%20members/For%20Photo%20Center%20section/DSC01983-1_zps2b65864e.jpg.html)
or, you can activate the flash from the top of the tank itself. I do not have a picture of that but you get the idea. Off flash trigger is a bit more complicated than I would like to get in to, but we can discuss that another day.

Disclaimer: please excuse the somewhat blurry pictures but my daughter (7yrs old) took them with her camera :). I was trying to get her to employ some of the same techniques I was trying to depict here.