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Contents

Equipment

Nikonians are well used to NAS — Nikon Acquisition Syndrome, a compulsive desire to purchase more and more equipment. However, since there is no photography without at least a camera and a lens, careful choice of equipment is essential. Lens choice and camera choice are part of a photographer's competence. Buying a used lens is often an economical way to complete a system.

Photographers also need to consider software, tripods, filters and flashguns, and camera bags, which should be stocked with essential accessories. Investment in good cleaning equipment is essential for good camera and lens maintenance.

Camera technique

Camera technique is the set of skills for controlling the camera. It requires an understanding of camera basics, and a set of learned skills to ensure good control of Depth of Field (DOF), minimal shake, and good dynamic range.

Using your tripod

  • Make sure the center of weight is not too off from the center! If you are on soft ground, this is even more important. We have an extensive guide on how to usetripods in our resources section at Nikonians.

Using your monopod

  • When you are using your monopod, remember that you can be the "missing two legs" yourself. For more on monopods you may want to read our How to use your Monopod article
  • A monopod, combined with VR allows you to shoot quite low shutter speeds, more than either tehcnique alone allows. The dynamic duo!

Composition technique

Composition is the arrangement of all the elements within a scene to exactly convey your photographic intention. Composition generally begins by previsualising the final image, and ensuring that the image captured is well conceived. It can be further enhanced by cropping and, to some extent, in postprocessing

Cropping images

Cropping is a key technique for perfecting an image. Three key concepts are rule of thirds, the Golden Section and Negative space

Posing

In portrait and model photography, the most critical aspect of composition is generally posing the sitter or model. A professional model will generally have a range of standard poses which he or she is able to adopt easily, and will also be able to accept direction from the photographer. An amateur model, or a sitter for a portrait, may struggle to pose well, and the psychological aspects of posing then become very important.

Posing groups requires particular skills from the photographer.

Lighting technique

Lighting technique is the set of skills for organising light to best illuminate the image.

Available light photography

Also called natural light photography, available light photography is about making use of sunlight and other ambient light as you find it to produce effective pictures.

Better flash photography

Pros use flash in a completely different way from beginners. The three key areas to explore are fill flash, off-camera flash and light modifiers such as reflectors.

Studio lighting

Studio lighting, usually with studio strobes gives complete control of shadow, colour and tone. But it is hard to achieve natural effects without practice. Here is an introduction to studio lighting.

Storing and Documenting images

Film negatives can be archived in files along with their contact prints, and diapositive slides can be stored in a variety of formats. For valuable originals, this should be done in controlled environments. Digital images are more volatile, and must typically be loaded in software before they can be inspected. For this reason, digital asset management (DAM) systems have been developed which allow the photographer to catalogue digital images, and in some cases to postprocess, print and display them. Digital photographers must also consider the issue of backup, as digital images are vulnerable to power failures, hard disk failure, and, when stored on optical media, to degradation.

EXIF data is now included in all digital photographs, which includes the lens, shutter, ISO and other camera data. GPS attachments are available for most Nikon dSLRs which add the exact time and three dimensional location of the camera when the image was taken. Some GPS adaptors include a digital compass which also gives the orientation of the image. Images can be tagged with embedded IPTC information, including copyright owner, title and caption. Although an international standard, many local newspapers will not routinely check IPTC data. Within Photojournalism, an image without a descriptive caption has virtually no value.

To annotate digital photographs is a mean to add information such as people included on the image, names of objects/buildings and more to the image. The annotation process often include keyword tagging.

Processing technique

In digital photography, most images benefit from some form of postprocessing. Film images can be processed in a wet darkroom, or by a commercial processor. A film image can be subsequently be scanned and postprocessed digitally.

Printing technique

Most images are created with the purpose of them being viewed. Although internet and online viewing is now common, most photographers at some point produce prints, which will be more or less successful dependent on good print technique, which relates to the final stage of postprocessing and the physical printing of the image. Traditionally, prints from film are made in a wet darkroom, but for digital photography, prints may be made on an inkjet printer, dye-sublimation printer or through a half-tone process, such as a laser printer or commercial offset litho system. Commercial photographic laboratories generally offer contone prints which are produced through dye-sublimation.

Photographic disciplines

Photographic disciplines include (with a link to the relevant Nikonians forum and guides)


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