7 Tips for Better Photos

Thanks to Rich Daley for sending this link.

“On occasion I receive a tip from a friend.  This site is awesome.  7 Great tips and the lesson is free.  The principles of photography are the same for iPhone, Canon, Nikon, etc.  I just replaced the iPhone with the word Canon.  It is a safe site.”  Check it out!



Here’s an article we can all use as new information or an awesome review and reminder when heading out to take photos!



Getting Ready

  • Read your manual; take your manual; read your manual again
  • Charge your battery and carry a second charged one
  • Clear your SD card of past photos and carry additional cards
  • Reset the camera for the anticipated shooting conditions
  • Put address labels on all equipment, especially lens caps
  • Clean the outside of the camera with a tooth brush
  • Clean the inside of the camera with a hand held blower while holding the camera with the lens opening facing down (Not canned air)
  • Use an ultra violet UV filter on your lens to protect it
  • Take a small first aid kit and small flashlight
  • Pack a lens cleaning cloth
  • Travel with a buddy
  • Make sure your hot shoe is covered. If it gets wet it can damage the camera’s electronics
  • Research your subject and plan where and what you are going to do
  • Plan for the best time of day for the best light to shoot the subject
  • Bring a spray bottle to add water drops to flower photos


  • The rule of thirds places the subject in one of the four places in the image created by             intersecting lines at the upper    and lower third and the   right and left third
  • The ’rule’ of thirds is a ‘guideline’ which can be ignored in special situations
  • Hi-key means that the photo is blown out or overexposed
  • When taking a shot in full sun watch out for your own shadow
  • Study your subject to get the best angle and composition
  • When photographing landscapes always turn around for what might be a better shot
  • Birds and animals are best when they are doing something
  • The eyes on birds and animals must be in focus and a catch light in the eye is best
  • Get down at eye level with pets and small children
  • Put the horizon above or below the mid-point of the image
  • Frame your shot loosely to leave room for cropping later
  • Go to the internet for images of the theme you will be shooting
  • Be aware of intrusions in the background
  • To achieve a black background, under expose
  • Hold a flower against the sky to get a white background
  • Frame an image with tree branches, flowers, a building or other foreground objects which will not be in focus
  • Create silhouettes by shooting into the light with objects in the foreground

Camera Settings

  • Reset the camera settings every time you have a change in light
  • Continuous shutter setting avoids bad focus from hand shake
  • A lower ISO gives a better quality image
  • Set white balance on cloudy for richer color in landscapes
  • Don’t accidentally cover a portion of your flash with a hand or finger
  • f/8 is the best setting on any lens
  • f/16 –f22 gives a deep depth of field where everything in the image is in focus if you focus on an object 1/3 into the image
  • f/4-f/6 gives shallow depth of field where the background will be out of focus


  • When using a tripod, turn off your image stabilization’ IS’ for Cannon or vibration reduction ‘VR’ for Nikon
  • When shooting less than 1/60th of a second, use a tripod to get tack sharp images
  • Most telephoto lenses do not focus well at infinity. Thus, when using manual focus, do not extend to the maximum
  • Keep your camera bag zipped
  • Butterflies don’t fly in cold and rainy weather
  • When travelling consider a theme such as doors, steeples, fences, lettering, windows, door knockers, etc.

Shooting birds in flight at a raptor center

  • Learn where the birds are going to fly from so you can position yourself.
  • The background should be out of focus. This is accomplished by panning your camera with the birds as they fly, setting the auto focus on continuous servo and single area spot metering. A similar effect can be found by setting your selector knob on top of the camera to the sports setting and let the camera automatically set these functions.
  • Set the aperture to 5.6 or less.
  • Set shutter release on continuous for multiple shots
  • If it is cloudy the ISO setting might need to be 400-800. (Experiment)
  • Shutter speed should be 250-500 but can be less depending on the light. (Experiment)
  • White balance should be set to cloudy.
  • Use a telephoto lens of 200 to 300mm.
  • Do not use a tripod or a monopod as it will be in the way.
  • When you are panning the camera, move your body at your hips not your head at your neck.
  • It is much easier for you to capture the bird when it is flying across in front of you rather than coming at you. The camera has difficulty focusing     on a bird coming at you.
  • Give the bird room in your frame. Do not zoom in too tight or you won’t have room to properly crop the shot on the computer.
  • Lead the bird so there is room in the frame ahead of it.