Photography has come a long way since the 1830s.
Instead of chemicals, copper plates, and long exposure times, all we need now is a reliable camera, the right batteries, and enough memory cards!
Digital photography is faster and more convenient than ever before. Still, there are a few tech tricks to remember as technology only continues to advance — whether you’re a beginning photographer or one with decades of experience.
Luckily, this guide will cover the best software and tech tips for photographers of all skill levels. Read on to learn more!
Know Your Camera’s Settings
Are you shooting in automatic mode instead of manual? While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, learning how to use manual mode will ultimately give you a greater sense of control over your photos.
That way, if your photos just aren’t coming out the way you wanted, the adjustments you make in manual mode will help you get to the root of the issue.
There are several settings in your camera that you need to understand. Aperture is perhaps one of the most important.
Your camera’s aperture is measured in f/stops. It refers to how much light passes through the opening of the lens, referred to as the diaphragm.
Lower f/stops represent larger apertures, thus resulting in more light. Higher f/stops represent smaller apertures, resulting in less light.
Once you get this down, you’ll need to learn how shutter speed and ISO affect the outcome of your pictures — especially when combined with different f/stops.
This is commonly referred to as the “exposure triangle.” When you change one factor — like your aperture — you’ll usually have to consider at least another factor, such as your ISO in low light, or your shutter speed when capturing motion.
The relationships between these variables are illustrated through the exposure triangle. If you’re not sure which variables to adjust, this is a great place to start.
Then, you’ll need to master the lens. Each lens you attach to your camera body comes with its own features and unique settings, including:
- Drive modes
- White balance
If all of this sounds overwhelming, there are YouTube tutorials available for almost every camera and lens combination imaginable. Spend a few hours experimenting with yours to better understand how your features work and what your preferences are.
Trust the Tripod
There’s nothing worse than a blurry photo — unless, of course, you intended for it to come out that way. Fortunately, there are a few ways to improve your camera stability, and thus the clarity of your photos.
For starters, learn to hold the camera the correct way. One hand should be around the body, and the other around the lens, with the camera close to your body for support.
Then, know your shutter speed. A good rule of thumb is not to use a slower shutter speed than your focal length. For example, if you’re using a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be no lower than 1/50th of a second.
Use this formula to keep it straight:
1/Focal length (in mm) = Minimum shutter speed (in seconds)
Then, use a tripod whenever possible. If you find yourself asking, “What do I need for photography,” be sure to add a tripod or monopod to the list.
These tools help keep your camera stable — especially when working with slower shutter speeds or long exposures in low light.
Additionally, your tripod or monopod will come in handy if you ever want to experiment with the self-timer or remote shutter release.
Change Your Perspective
You’ve probably heard it all before: the Rule of Thirds, negative space, balance, and leading lines. While these “rules” of composition may come in handy, remember to break the rules every once in a while, too.
Once you’ve mastered the rules, you’ll be better equipped to violate them as you see fit — whether you’re conveying an emotion, telling a story, or just trying to get the viewers’ attention.
Don’t forget to shake it up in your portraiture, too. Point of view in photography actually plays a key psychological role in the way your photos are received.
Eye-level point of view creates a sense of equality between you and the subject. By shooting at eye-level, you are making the subject seem closer and more approachable than it may actually be. This makes the viewer feel more connected to the subject.
Bird’s eye view helps convey the size and magnitude of your subjects when shooting landscapes. But, when shooting portraits, remember that this perspective puts the viewer above the subject – literally.
This creates a sense of superiority or even condescension since the subject will appear smaller than it actually is.
Worm’s eye view accomplishes the opposite. By shooting from below, you are making the subject appear larger than it actually is. This produces a sense of power and even creates an optical illusion.
Find the Right Photography Software
Let’s be real: Not everyone has the funds — or storage space on their computer — for a full-fledged Adobe subscription. So, what can you use for editing instead?
The best software for photographers is affordable, user-friendly, and high-powered. Some free photography software subscriptions for your computer include:
- DaVinci Resolve
For your smartphone or mobile device, you might consider Adobe Lightroom Mobile or Snapseed.
But what happens if your software can’t convert the files you shoot in? While plenty of software is familiar with file formats like RAW, it may not be able to handle the rarer ones, like HEIC.
What is HEIC? Developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group, HEIC is a High-Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format. A step up from the JPG, HEIF files only require about half of the storage space to achieve the same quality images.
If you shoot in HEIC and aren’t sure how to convert your files for use on a Mac, read more here: https://setapp.com/how-to/convert-heic-to-jpg-on-mac.
Finally, when it comes to editing and storing your photos, don’t underestimate the value of an external hard drive or backing up to the cloud.
Photo files can eat up storage space on your computer quickly. If you don’t want to keep purging every few months — or slowing your computer down — store your photos in a secondary location.
Then, organize your photos to make them easier to find. You might sort them by date, subject matter, or location.
More Tech Tips for Photographers
There’s a lot to remember as you delve into digital photography, and this guide only scratches the surface.
For more tech tips for every photographer, be sure to check out the rest of our website. Whether you’re shooting on an Apple or Android smartphone, our mobile section will offer a little something for everyone.