Pics tips

Keep it simple

Don’t try to pack too many elements into your image; it will just end up looking messy. If you just include one or two points of interest, your audience won’t be confused at where they should be looking or what they should be looking at.

The golden hour

Shoot portraits and landscapes in the golden hours — the light is softer and the colours are more vibrant. — Dean Bottrell

Have a camera on you at all times

You can’t take great photos if you don’t have a camera on you, can you? DSLR, point-and-shoot or smart phone, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you have access to a camera, you’re able to capture those spontaneous and unique moments in life that you might have otherwise missed.

Return the favor

Always remember that if you are shooting people in a different country, they are probably doing you a favor by posing. So the least you can do is return this favor some way or another. I often return to the same places year after year, so I bring along prints and look for the people I photographed previously. In some areas people do not have a picture of themselves. Imagine not having a picture of you and your family? Strange don’t you think? Yet many people don’t. So a $0.50 print can really make someone happy. It also opens doors for more photography further down the track. — Andrea Francolini

Shoot with your mind

Even when you’re not shooting, shoot with your mind. Practice noticing expressions and light conditions. Work out how you’d compose a picture of that scene over there that interests you, and what sort of exposure you might use to capture it best. — Leah Robertson

Be part of a photographic community

Like ABC Open! Not only will you be able to publish your photos for the rest of the country to see, you’ll be part of an active group that offers feedback on how great you are going. You can learn new things to help you improve your technique, and you might even make some new photography buddies.

Focal length

Keep it simple. I shoot with two prime lenses and one camera; A 28mm and a 35mm. For everything. I use the 35mm lens 70% and the 28mm lens 30% of time. It takes some time to get used to it, but once you work it out, shooting primes is the only way to go. It means you have to work with what you have and you can’t be lazy. Basically, this means more pictures and less fiddling around with zooming and maybe missing moments. It also helps for consistency. If you’re working on a project or a series, keeping the same focal lengths is a great way to maintain a powerful sense of consistency. — Justin Wilkes Justin Wilkes quit his job in Sydney this year to cover the political and social change in post revolution Egypt. He has since had his photographs published in The New York Times, TIME magazine, and The Jakata Globe to name but a few. You can see his amazing documentary work here.

Charge your batteries

This seems like a simple one, but pretty much every photographer on the face of the planet has been caught out before. Including myself. The trick is to put the battery onto the charger as soon as you get home from your photo shoot. The only thing then is to make sure you remember to put it back into the camera after it has been recharged…

Shutter speed

Being aware of your shutter speed means the difference between taking a blurry photo and a sharp photo. It all depends on what you are after. If you are shooting a sporting event or children running around in the backyard, you probably want your subjects to be in focus. To capture fast action you will have to use a shutter speed over 1/500th of a second, if not 1/1000th to 1/2000th. On the opposite end of the scale, you might want to capture the long streaks of a car’s tail lights running through your shot. Therefore you would change your camera’s shutter speed to a long exposure. This could be one second, ten seconds, or even longer.

Shade

Shade can be your best friend. If there is no way you can make the available light work for your photo, shoot in the shade. You’ll get a nice even exposure with no patchy highlights throughout your shot.

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