Photography tips

Think about light

Reportage and travel photographer Stuart Freedman says: "Light is key to photography. Learn to visualise the final image and move if it looks like it’s not going to work."

Relax and talk to people

Reportage and travel photographer Stuart Freedman says: "Great pictures aren’t usually luck. Often they’re the result of a negotiation between the photographer and subject. A smile goes a long way. Relax and, crucially, be honest. Explain what you’re doing: if people trust you, it’ll show."

Dreamy portraits

Fine-art photographer Lorna Yabsley says: "For dreamy portraits, open up your lens to the widest aperture, and shoot your subject into the light. Use exposure compensation to push your exposure and to expose for shadows."

Use a tripod

Natural history and wildlife photographer Adrian Davies says: "I always try to use a good solid tripod for my natural history work, particularly when I’m shooting subjects such as plants. Not only do they hold the camera nice and still, enabling slow shutter speeds, but they also slow you down, making you look carefully at all parts of the frame for distracting items, and deciding on the correct aperture before releasing the shutter." Read more: The best tripods for travel

Buy some smoked salmon!

Adrian Davies says: "I use a wide range of reflectors for bouncing light into shadow areas of subjects such as plants and fungi. One I use a lot with fungi in particular on dull autumn days are the pieces of card that come in smoked salmon packs, gold on one side. They give the subject a nice warm tone."

Visual missionary

Art photographer Paul Hill says: "The power of the medium to inform and reveal, whether publicly or privately, cannot be overestimated. Most of us see hundreds of photographs every day, but do we even look at one to find out what it ‘says’? Photography is an essential part of modern life, with millions made every day, and thousands of manufacturers and service industries dependent on it. The effect on our civilisation is enormous. Practitioners should feel uncomfortable regurgitating clichés. They should be visual missionaries, converting the public to the importance of the medium with the power of their images. Photography can be fun, of course, but its makers have to take it seriously. As well as being attracted to the unusual and unexpected, I am mindful of three things when making a photograph: frame, light and vantage point."

Avoid sensor dust

Although it’s easy enough to digitally remove dust spots on images, you can reduce the chances of dust being deposited on the camera sensor by avoiding changing lenses in exposed and windy locations. If you’re working in these conditions, consider fitting a zoom lens so that you don’t have to change lenses so often.

Street smarts

Approaching strangers and asking to take their portraits can be a challenge, but a little chutzpah really pays off. Even if it sounds like your idea of hell, making it obvious that you’re taking pictures can elicit interesting reactions. In fact, skulking in the shadows and sniping with a long lens is a sure-fire way to attract the wrong kind of attention.

Lens corrections

If you’re planning on working up your shots in your preferred raw conversion or photo editing software, like Camera Raw or Lightroom, it pays to frame views a little wider than perhaps feels natural when you’re shooting. The reason for this is that if you correct lens distortions in software, you can end up losing detail at the edge of the picture.

Use Manual exposure

If the light is consistent and you have time to set the shutter speed and aperture, use your camera’s Manual exposure mode. This locks the exposure setting in, so it makes a good choice for keeping a subject correctly exposed even when the background changes.

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