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Take photos like the pros

Want to make your photos look even better than your memories? We asked an expert to show you exactly how

by WideWorld

04.05.2009

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© David Strohl

You know the scenario: After hours of hiking, you reach the top of the mountain and can’t quite put into words the beauty of the landscape before you. Thankfully, you’ve got your spanking new Nikon to capture the moment. Once you see the pictures on the computer screen, they’re too bright. Or dark. They seem… rubbish. Fear not. American photographer David Strohl has 10 indispensable tips to make you a happy snapper.

1. Don't trust the built-in light meter in your camera

Cameras tend to average out the exposure, which only gives you the correct setting if the light source is at your back. If you're shooting into the sun, or in certain other conditions, you may need to over or under-expose the shot. Observe what works and why. Don't be afraid to experiment with your exposure settings.

2. Get some photo editing software

Read up on how to adjust contrast (via levels or curves). While Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard, at around 300, it’s not feasible for the average photographer. Check out cheaper alternatives like Adobe Elements, GIMP, or Paint Shop Pro. And learn how to crop!

3. Get a tripod

You'll be amazed that once you shoot on a tripod, it's hopelessly addictive. It also helps you relax while composing your scene. Additionally, now you can shoot night-time landscapes with a stable long exposure. Don't miss out just because it's dark outside.

4. Shoot at the highest image quality possible

A lot of people will lower the quality so they can fit more images on a single memory card. Don't do that: memory is cheap, plus you'll be hitting yourself over the head when you can't get a big print of a great shot because the file is too small.

5. Keep your horizon line level

Sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how most amateur photographers don’t get this right. Shooting subjects with ‘wacky angles’ just doesn’t work (i.e. tilting the horizon line 45 degrees). I promise, as quirky and fun as you think it is, it's not. It just looks wrong.

6. Learn your camera

Know what your camera can and can't do.....

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This is a teaser of the full article. To view the full article register with WideWorld today or login.

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Comments (1)

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Reste

25:01:2010

Thank you for this article....learned a lot. I'll always keep this in mind. Can you also post an article on how to start your own home digital studio and the basics of lighting? Thanks a lot...

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