77 photography techniques

of 22 /22
77 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything Portrait photography techniques, tips and tricks Improve your photos of people with our quick and easy camera techniques Portrait photography technique 01: focus on the eyes While eye contact is not always desirable in a portrait, sharp eyes certainly are. Manually select an AF point that’s positioned over one of your model’s eyes, or use the central focus point to lock focus on their eye. Then, with the shutter release half-pressed to keep the setting locked, recompose your picture before taking the shot. Portrait photography technique 02: using a standard or telephoto lens Wide-angle lenses are a great choice for photographing environmental portraits, where you want to show a person within a specific context. However, wide-angle lenses used close-up will distort facial features and creative unflattering pictures. A better choice for portraits is either a standard lens or a short telephoto lens. The classic portrait focal lengths for a full-frame camera are 50mm, 85mm prime lenses and a 70-200mm zoom. These will help to compress features and provide a more natural-looking result. Portrait photography technique 03: use Aperture Priority mode Aperture Priority gives you direct control over the aperture, and as a result the depth of field (DOF). Fast prime lenses, such as 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.2 enable you to choose very large apertures for a shallow depth of field. This can help you create those creamy-smooth, out of focus backgrounds that give portraits a professional quality. Working with such a narrow band of sharpness means that you need to be accurate with focusing – the entire portrait will look soft if you don’t focus accurately on the eyes. Portrait photography technique 04: using window light You don’t need an expensive home studio lighting kit to take amazing portraits – a window and a reflector can help you achieve stunning natural results without spending too much. Position your model at an angle to the window and use a white or silver reflector to open up any shadows across their face. A silver reflector will give a crisper quality of light than a white one, although the effect won’t be as subtle.

Author: simone-winny

Post on 08-Nov-2015




0 download

Embed Size (px)




77 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anythingPortrait photography techniques, tips and tricksImprove your photos of people with our quick and easy camera techniquesPortrait photography technique 01: focus on the eyesWhile eye contact is not always desirable in a portrait, sharp eyes certainly are. Manually select an AF point thats positioned over one of your models eyes, or use the central focus point to lock focus on their eye.Then, with the shutter release half-pressed to keep the setting locked, recompose your picture before taking the shot.Portrait photography technique 02: using a standard or telephoto lensWide-angle lenses are a great choice for photographing environmental portraits, where you want to show a person within a specific context. However, wide-angle lenses used close-up will distort facial features and creative unflattering pictures.A better choice for portraits is either a standard lens or a short telephoto lens. The classic portrait focal lengths for a full-frame camera are 50mm, 85mm prime lenses and a 70-200mm zoom.These will help to compress features and provide a more natural-looking result.Portrait photography technique 03: use Aperture Priority modeAperture Priority gives you direct control over the aperture, and as a result the depth of field (DOF).Fast prime lenses, such as 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.2 enable you to choose very large apertures for a shallow depth of field. This can help you create those creamy-smooth, out of focus backgrounds that give portraits a professional quality.Working with such a narrow band of sharpness means that you need to be accurate with focusing the entire portrait will look soft if you dont focus accurately on the eyes.Portrait photography technique 04: using window lightYou dont need an expensive home studio lighting kit to take amazing portraits a window and a reflector can help you achieve stunning natural results without spending too much.Position your model at an angle to the window and use a white or silver reflector to open up any shadows across their face. A silver reflector will give a crisper quality of light than a white one, although the effect wont be as subtle.Be aware of any colour casts that may be introduced by features on the other side of the glass as well a lush green lawn can give skin tones a sickly quality, while late evening sunlight on a patio will reflect lots of warm light.Portrait photography technique 05: high-key portraitsDeliberately choosing to over-expose a photo to create a high-key effect results in a light and delicate look that can enhance feminine portraits and pictures of children.The trick is not to blow the highlights in-camera, but rather brighten up the shot later in software such as Photoshop.Shooting RAW files will give you the most editing head-room, as youll be able to extract more detail across the tonal range in raw compared to JPEGs.Portrait photography technique 06: baby portraitsWhen it comes to lighting baby portraits, natural light is the best choice. Flash will just end up spooking them. Try and position them near to a window and use a reflector to bounce light into any shadows.The more light you can get onto your subject, the lower ISO sensitivity you can use for the best quality photos.To catch a baby at their best, photograph them just after a feed or when theyve woken up first thing in the morning.Theyll be more active and alert than at other times of the day, and youre more likely to get the kind of cooing baby portraits that parents will love.Portrait photography technique 07: photographing childrenTaking photos of children is fun but challenging. Keep a kids portrait session short and entertaining. Play games with them: ask them of they can see their reflection in the front element of the lens is a good way to get some eye contact.Fit a wide-angle lens and shoot without looking, poking the camera into their face. Get them used to the shutter sound and not having to look down the lens and smile.Make the most of opportunities when theyre still for a moment, such as when theyre concentrating on a toy. Chat to them as you would with adults and once youve taken a few photos show them the results on the LCD screen, so that they feel involved.Portrait photography technique 08: shooting in burst modeWhether youre taking a childs portrait or a group portrait, set your camera in its fastest drive setting. You dont need to machine gun the shutter release, but shooting in short bursts will ensure you capture a fleeting range of expressions.It also improves your chances of getting a shot where everyones eyes are open in a group portrait.Even if you dont capture everyones eyes open or their beaming smiles, having a range of shots taken fractions of a second apart means you can easily swap faces in Photoshop.Portrait photography technique 09: posing group portraitsWhen youre arranging a group portrait, the first thing youll probably consider is height, putting taller people at the back and shorter people at the front.However, keep a close eye on clothing too. Its easy to miss clashing colours while youre focusing on everyones height, and that will be more noticeable in the final picture.To ensure everyone appears sharp, you need to use an aperture of at least f/8 with a wide-angle lens. But if youre taking an indoor group portrait, youll need to use a high ISO in order to shoot at that aperture and get sharp handheld photos.Photos may end up full of noise, and even then the shutter speed may not be fast enough for sharp images. A trick here is to arrange everyone in a line along the same focal plane, then the aperture doesnt have to be so narrow.Portrait photography technique 10: family photo posing ideasThink about how your arrangement of people in a group family portrait can tell a story about the relationship between the different members.A simple idea is to place the emphasis on the patriarch or matriarch of the family, or the newest arrival. By grouping the rest of the family around them, youll be able to create a clear focal point.For larger family group photos, use furniture whether thats a sofa for indoor shots or a gate for outdoor portraits to break the group up. Sit the children in front of it and have the adults standing behind it.Portrait photography technique 11: candlelight portraitsWhen youre taking photos by candlelight, youll need to push the ISO to 1600 and beyond and work with large apertures if youre to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze any motion in your model, the camera or the candle flames.Turn your cameras flash off and use Manual exposure mode. Switch off any lights, take a meter reading from your portrait-sitters face and let the rest of the room slip into darkness.If youre planning a candlelit portrait shoot, use more than one candle. Not only will it increase the amount of light available to make the exposure, but it will allow you to spread the illumination for softer shadows.Landscape photography technique 01: using ND grads, strong Neutral Density filters and polarisersLandscape photographers often carry a range of filters to help them solve exposure problems or achieve an effect thats difficult to recreate in photo editing software.Although HDR photography and exposure blending in Photoshop have reduced the need for ND grads in the field, solid ND filters and polarising filters still have their place in the landscape pros camera bag.Solid Neutral Density filters reduce the amount of light entering the lens, extending shutter speeds for long-exposure landscape photography.Polariser filterss remove reflections from the surface of water and shiny leaves, and boost the contrast between blue skies and white clouds.Both of these effects are tough to pull off authentically in Photoshop. Theyre also more fun to do in-cameraLandscape photography technique 02: level horizonsMost of the time youll want the horizon in a picture to be level. This is especially true if youre shooting seascapes, otherwisethe water will appear to be running out of the frame.Your cameras Live View screen has a grid overlay that can be activated in the menu to ensure horizons are level, and it may also have an electronic level display that can be superimposed over the image.If your camera lacks these features, use the rows of autofocus points you can see in the viewfinder as a rough guide to keeping the horizon straight.Landscape photography technique 03: hyperfocal focusing techniqueDepth of field is an important consideration when photographing landscapes. Its often desirable to get as much of a view from foreground details to the distant horizon to appear as sharp as possible.To increase the depth of field, choose smaller apertures and then manually focus at the hyperfocal distance. This is the point at which the depth of field will stretch from approximately half the hyperfocal distance to infinity.The hyperfocal distance changes according to the focal length and aperture being used, so wed advise using one of the many useful hyperfocal smartphone apps available to do the calculations for you.Landscape photography technique 04: long lens landscapesIts instinctive to reach for a wide-angle lens when photographing landscapes, but a telephoto lens is also an essential part of the creative landscape photographers camera kit.A telephoto lens enables you to compress the elements of a scene, making the foreground and background appear closer together than in a photo taken with an ultra-wide lens.Zoom in with a long lens and mountain ranges will seem more tightly packed, trees in a forests more densely populated.Telephoto lenses can also make it easier to compose landscape photos as they capture a narrower angle of view compared to wide-angle lenses. Being able to simplify a scenic often makes for stronger pictures.Landscape photography technique 05: HDR landscape photosHigh Dynamic Range (HDR) photography enables you to capture detail in all areas of a picture from shadows through to highlights that you normally couldnt squeeze into a single picture.HDR photography essentially involves taking a number of photos at different exposures either manually or using your DSLRs autoexposure bracketing function and then blending the best bits of each exposure into a single image.Enthusiast and semi-pro DSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800 have built-in HDR photography modes that do the blending for you in-camera. However, for more control and flexibility, do it later in specialist software like HDRsofts Photomatix.Landscape photography technique 05: HDR landscape photosHigh Dynamic Range (HDR) photography enables you to capture detail in all areas of a picture from shadows through to highlights that you normally couldnt squeeze into a single picture.HDR photography essentially involves taking a number of photos at different exposures either manually or using your DSLRs autoexposure bracketing function and then blending the best bits of each exposure into a single image.Enthusiast and semi-pro DSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800 have built-in HDR photography modes that do the blending for you in-camera. However, for more control and flexibility, do it later in specialist software like HDRsofts Photomatix.Landscape photography technique 07: tilt-shift landscapesTilt-shift photography enables you to combine the sharpness of large lens apertures with the extensive depth of field you normally associate with small apertures.This is achieved by using a tilt-shift lens, which can be both tilted (to control the plane of focus) and shifted (to correct any converging verticals).However, by tilting the lens to give an ultra-shallow plane of focus and, you can make landscapes look like miniature models.The most convincing tilt-shift landscapes combine an element of hardware (trains, boats, cars) and a raised shooting position to mimic the view of looking down at toys on a bedroom floor.Tilt-shift lenses are expensive though, so why not create a fake tilt-shift miniature photo in Photoshop? The results can be just as effective.Landscape photography technique 08: black and white landscapesIf you want to take great black and white landscape photos, shoot in colour. By using your digital cameras raw picture quality setting rather than JPEG, youll record a colour image that you can convert to black and white later in photo editing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop.Doing it this way means that you have full control over the black and white conversion, such as using dodging and burning techniques to make specific areas of the photo brighter or darker, split-toning the image or adding a colour-popping effect.Even though youre shooting in raw format, select the Monochrome picture style on your DSLR. This will give you a useful black and white preview of the image on the rear screen, even though youre recording a colour image.Landscape photography technique 09: panoramasInstead of using an ultra-wide angle lens to try and squeeze an entire view into a single frame, why not try shooting a panoramic landscape photo instead?To build a panorama, first take a series of overlapping shots with the camera positioned vertically this will give you much larger panoramic image than if you use the camera horizontally.Although specialist panoramic tripod heads are available, theyre not always necessary, particularly if youre using software that stitches a panorama automatically. The latest version of Photoshops Photomerge app is particularly adept at this process.When you take the pictures that will be combined to make the panorama, use manual settings manual exposure, manual focus and a manual white balance preset to ensure consistency across every picture.Landscape photography technique 10: infrared photosAlthough you can create a fake infrared effect in Photoshop, nothing beats the thrill of doing it in-camera. Infrared landscapes can be in black or white or colour, with both offering a very different look and feel.For the best photos, its worth considering getting an old DSLR converted to infrared. You wont be able to use it for regular colour photography once the IR conversion has been carried out, but its much more convenient than having to mess around with IR filters on an unconverted camera.Landscape photography technique 11: minimalist landscapesUsually black and white, often square and frequently realised with the help of Neutral Density filters, minimalist landscape photographs are more about what you leave out than what you leave in.Telephoto zooms will help you to frame interesting details that would make for a great minimalist landscape. Look for single trees, lone clouds and isolated rocks. Fog, snow and featureless skies will provide a suitable blank canvas for this type of picture too.Macro photography technique 01: manual focusSwitch off autofocus when youre taking macro photos. Depth of field (DOF) can be measured in millimetres when youre shooting close-up details, so accurate focusing is critical.Manual focusing is made easy with your DSLRs Live View. By magnifying the area you want to focus on on the Live View screen and turning the lenss focus ring, you can position the point of focus precisely.Go easy with the focus ring though, as the difference between razor-sharp and just sharp enough is slight. Youll also need to use a tripod, as even small movements of the camera can throw the focus completely off.Macro photography technique 02: choosing the best apertureTo increase the depth of field the area in front of and behind the subject that youre focusing on that appears acceptably sharp youll need to use small apertures.Switch to Aperture Priority mode, as this will enable you to manually set a specific aperture. For small apertures, dial in large f-numbers, such as f/16 and f/22.Avoid the highest f-numbers that your lens offers though, as this will lead to soft pictures as a result of diffraction (where the light is bent out of shape by the aperture blades in the lens).If you cant get everything you want sharp at a single aperture setting, try using the focus stacking technique in Photoshop to increase the depth of field.Macro photography technique 03: using depth of field previewThe image you see through an optical viewfinder is always shown at the largest aperture available on the lens. Although this gives the brightest available picture, it makes it impossible to judge the depth of field at smaller aperture settings.To be able to see what will look sharp and what will look blurred, press your cameras depth of field preview button.This will stop down the lens to whats known as the working aperture. The image will get darker, so youll need to let your eyes become accustomed to the change.Depth of field preview also works in Live View. When combined with the Live View magnification control that allows you to zoom in and check focus on specific areas of the image, it becomes even more useful than checking DOF through the viewfinder.Macro photography technique 04: parallel camera trickTo make the most of what little depth of field there is, position your DSLR so that the back of the camera is parallel with the subject.This is especially important when youre shooting frame-filling shots of flat subjects with strong patterns, such as leaf or feather. If part of the image is blurred it will ruin the impact of the photoMacro photography technique 05: break the rulesYou dont have to use small apertures to make an impact with macro photography using the largest apertures available on your lens is just as an effective technique.Youll need to be spot-on with your focusing though, as the wafer-thin depth of field leaves little room for error.Using wide apertures and selective focusing to sandwich a sharp subject between a blurred foreground and background is a popular food photography technique, while completely defocusing a lens can lead to abstract blurs and beautiful bokeh a trick thats often used in contemporary flower photography.Macro photography technique 06: sharper photosSmall apertures reduce the amount of light passing through the lens, and this can lead to slow shutter speeds and long exposure times.Any slight movement even the vibration caused by the mirror moving inside the camera will increase the risk of blurred pictures.To combat this, activate your cameras Mirror Lock-up function, or shoot using Live View (where the mirror is automatically locked up) and trigger the shutter using a remote release or the cameras self-timer.Increase the ISO to get a faster shutter speed if necessary, although youll get the cleanest looking shots below ISO 1600.Macro photography technique 07: make a DIY a reflectorIt can be challenging to ensure a small subject is evenly lit, particularly if youre using a shorter macro lens to take life-size images the camera will need to be very close to the subject and this can limit your creative lighting options.A simple reflector goes a long way to solving this problem. You can make your own DIY reflector using a piece of aluminium foil: screw into into a ball and then flatten it out again to create a more diffuse quality of light.Position it on the shadow side of a subject to reveal previously hidden details.Macro photography technique 08: using longer macro lensesMacro lenses with longer focal lengths offer the same 1:1 magnification as those with shorter focal lengths, but do so at a greater distance from the subject.Because you dont need to be as close, you get more room to position a flashgun or other light source near to the subject.The extended working room also makes longer macro lenses a better choice for bug and insect photography, as youre less likely to disturb them.Macro photography technique 09: start earlyIf youre planning on doing some outdoor macro photography, set your alarm clock. Its worth getting up early, not just because thats when the light is invariably at is best, but because wind is usually at its weakest at this time of day.Wind is the enemy of the garden photographer, as the combination of a slight breeze and the slow shutter speeds typically required for close-ups can lead to blurred images of flowers, plants, spider webs and other delicate objects.For long-stemmed flowers and plants try using a specialist macro support . These are essentially clamps on the end of a small stand that can be used to hold a subject in place.A DIY solution is to tie the stem to a cane that youve wedged into the ground next to the plant.Macro photography technique 10: create your own macro backgroundsThe quality of the background can make or break a macro photo. Macro lenses with longer focal lengths will enable you to restrict what makes it into the background of a picture, but distracting colours and out-of-focus highlights might still be unavoidable.Build up your own collection of backgrounds that you can substitute when necessary.Sheets of coloured card, matte prints of blurred natural backgrounds youve previously taken hell, even an item of clothing could provide a soft, even background that helps the subject stand out.Macro photography technique 11: make a macro home studioOne of the (many) appealing things about indoor macro photography is that it doesnt require a great deal of space. All you really need is a small area of table, kitchen worktop or floor, plus a tripod that can get you close to that surface.Wildlife photography technique 01: learn fieldcraft tricksWhile a telephoto lens with a focal length of at least 300mm is pretty much essential for wildlife photography, good fieldcraft makes a bigger difference to getting a frame-filling shot.Knowing the behaviour and habitat of the animal youre photographing is key. That might sound like were stating the obvious, but the best wildlife shots are rarely taken on the spur of the moment.Do a Google search on your chosen species, and the best locations and time of year (and time of day) that you can expect (or are allowed) to get close to them.Wear camouflage or neutral-coloured, rustle-free clothing, ditch the deodorant and be on the spot when the animals are most active thats usually dawn or dusk.Wildlife photography technique 02: use your car as a hideGetting close to wild animals and birds is the most difficult part of wildlife photography, thats why a hide or blind is an essential part in the professional wildlife photographers kit.However, we dont all have a suitable location in which to set up and leave a hide, nor the time to sit in it for days. One solution is to turn your car into a mobile hide.Wild animals are surprisingly tolerant of vehicles, although youll still need to avoid sudden movements once youre parked up.For the sharpest shots, use a beanbag or even make your own DIY beanbag to support the lens on the door frame, activate the camera or lenss stabilizer and switch the car engine off to stop any vibrations.Wildlife photography technique 03: taking photos of garden birdsPractise makes perfect, and its easy to do that with portraits and landscape photography less so with wildlife photography. A good way to get to grips with the basics is to photograph garden birds.The trick here is to set up your own garden bird studio. Clamp a branch in place in front of an uncluttered natural background, hang a feeder close by and, over time, birds should start using your branch prop as a landing post before heading to the feederWildlife photography technique 04: Practice at the zooZoos and wildlife parks provide the perfect opportunity to hone your big game photography technique, but youll usually have to shoot through wire fences or glass enclosures.Getting as close as possible to wire fences, focusing on animals that are far away from it and using a large aperture to create a shallow depth of field can make the wire fence almost imperceptible.When youre shooting through windows, youll need to get the front element close to the glass in order to reduce reflections. A collapsible rubber lens hood can work well here, allowing you to press the lens against the glass.Wildlife photography technique 05: take eye-to-eye animal portraitsMake the effort to get down to an animals eye level as this will result in a more intimate portrait. Manually choose an autofocus point that corresponds with the animals eye, too.If you leave it to the camera to select an AF point its likely to focus on the part of the creature thats closest to the camera and thats likely to be a snout, a beak or claws (depending on how close youre getting!).Wildlife photography technique 06: use a spotting scopeBig lenses cost big bucks. A professional-quality 600mm lens costs the same as a small family car. However, you get even more magnification for much less if you go the digiscoping route.Using an adapter, you can attach a DSLR or compact camera to a spotting scope and get frame-filling shots of distant birds and animals.There are drawbacks: you wont have autofocus, and you wont be able to change the aperture as you can with a telephoto lens. Its manual all the way.Its also harder to get sharp images when digiscoping. The extreme magnification means that the effects of camera shake (or scope wobble) are equally magnified in the image.Youll also need plenty of light, as the effective apertures is small and consequently shutter speeds can be slow.Wildlife photography technique 07: Panning with animals and birdsPanning is a technique where you move the camera and lens to follow a moving animal. The idea is that the subject stays more or less in the same position within the frame, so they appear sharp in the photo, while the moving background is recorded as a blur (as long as the shutter speed is slow enough).Its an essential technique to master for birds in flight photography.Using a tripod fitted with a ballhead can help to ensure that the pan is as smooth as possible and the image is sharp where it needs to be. If youre shooting handheld, a lens fitted with an image stabilizer that has a panning mode will help.Wildlife photography technique 08: better compositionWith wildlife photography, very often its a case of nothing happening for ages and then everything kicking off all at once. Composing pictures quickly can be a challenge, but there are a few tricks you can use.Off-centre compositions are often recommended for more balanced images, and thats particularly true if the animal is looking to the left or right. Compose the shot so that the creature is off to one side and with more room in front of it to look into than behind it.When it comes to positioning the animal off-centre, use the cameras AF points in the viewfinder as a guide.Alternatively, activate Live View and use its 33 grid display. Position the entire animal, or its most important feature, where the lines on the grid cross.Try improving your photo composition by cropping the shot later in your preferred photo editing software. Try to keep the original aspect ratio, as this will help you develop your eye for stronger compositions in-camera.Wildlife photography technique 09: use manual metering for consistent exposuresMany animals have either very dark or very light fur or feathers and this can cause problems for a cameras metering system. Dark subjects can come out looking too light (overexposed), while light subjects can appear too dark (underexposed).For consistent exposures, switch to Manual metering, point the lens at a mid-tone subject in the same light, such as patch of grass or a rock, and adjust the aperture and shutter speed until the exposure indicator lines up with the 0 on the exposure scale in the viewfinder.You can now recompose your picture and be sure that the animal should be correctly exposed.Wildlife photography technique 10: sharper photos with a monopodA big, heavy telephoto lens requires a big, heavy tripod and specialist tripod head if youre going to get shake-free shots.However, lugging this kit around can slow you down a good thing for considered compositions, but another thing entirely when it comes to following an active subject.If you need to do a lot of chasing through the undergrowth, do what sports photographers do and use a long lens on a monopod. What you lose in the stability that three legs provides, you gain in mobility.Treat a monopod as another weapon in your arsenal rather than a substitute for a tripod and you wont go far wrong.Its a perfect choice for those locations where theres not always enough space to set up a tripod, such as at the zoo or other captive animal collection.Wildlife photography technique 11: safe shutter speed for handheld photographyFor sharp handheld photos, you shouldnt let the shutter speed be any slower than the equivalent focal length of the lens being used. If you do, you run the risk of blurred photos through camera shake.On a full-frame camera, you can just use the actual focal length of the lens as a guide if youve got a 300mm lens fitted, then the minimum recommended shutter speed for blur-free pictures is 1/300sec.An APS-C has a crop factor of 1.5 or 1.6, so the lenss focal length needs to be multiplied by this amount for the safe handheld shooting speed.The same 300mm lens fitted on an APS-C body would need a shutter speed of around 1/500sec for sharp handheld shots.Obviously this is just a rule of thumb, and the actual speed you need depends on your handholding ability, whether the animal is moving or not, whether the lens has stabilization and whether youre able to brace the lens on a fence, tree or railing.Night photography technique 01: use a tripodIts become rather a photography cliche to recommend a sturdy tripod for general photography, but its sound advice when it comes to night photography. Youll be working with long exposures, even with the aperture at its largest setting.You can of course use a high ISO sensitivity in order to get faster shutter speeds, and in brightly-lit areas of towns and cities this can make handheld photography at night possible.However, to reduce noise and achieve clean colours and to get the most from the camera sensors dynamic range, theres no substitute for a tripod, low ISO sensitivity and the slow shutter speed it entails.Night photography technique 02: set up earlyIts better to set up your tripod and camera equipment before it gets completely dark. Not only will this enable you to compose and focus shots more effectively, it also allows you to capture some colour in the sky.Floodlit architecture often looks its best when the sky is a deep blue colour rather than coal black. As well as adding depth and interest and providing a cool contrast to the warm lighting, it also makes it easier to create a balanced exposure.Night photography technique 03: choose the wrong white balanceA quick and easy camera technique to enhance landscapes photographed at night is to use the Tungsten white balance preset.This is tuned to reduce the warmth of pictures taken in artificial light, and it gives scenes shot in moonlight a cool blue tone that accentuates the mood.Combine this with a touch of underexposure, and even scenes shot during the day can appear as if they were taken at midnight.If you shoot raw files you can leave the white balance adjustments till the raw conversion stage, as well as fine-tuning the exposure then too.Night photography technique 04: shooting light trailsThe classic night photography technique, requiring patience and persistence rather than a ton of specialist camera kit.Simply use a slow exposure to render a moving light source whether thats car headlights or a fast fairground ride as bright streaks through the frame.Lock the camera off on a tripod so that other elements of the picture are captured sharply, and time your shots to record the maximum amount of streaks.When shooting car light trails or bursts of fireworks, it often pays to shoot numerous exposures and then blend these together in Photoshop. This way, pictures will feel much fuller and livelierNight photography technique 05: photographing star trailsIf youre not a patient photographer, look away now or at least move to the next night photography technique. Photographing the sky at night as the Earth rotates can take hours.Switch your camera to manual settings, and focus the lens at infinity. Using Bulb mode, set a low ISO to reduce digital noise, and a wide aperture such as f/2.8 to gather as much light as possible and keep exposure times comparatively short.Keep the shutter held openwith a lockable remote release for several minutes. You may find it requires an exposure of 30 minutes to record a substantial amount of trailing.Shooting a number of shorter exposures and stacking these in Photoshop to build a dramatic rotating starscape image can help to reduce digital noise, compared to doing it all in one long exposure.Night photography technique 06: light paintingTry using a torch or flashgun to paint a scene during a long exposure at night. Light painting is a popular photography technique that can be used on everything from still life photos to sweeping landscapes.Youll need to set the camera to Bulb mode and use a lockable remote release to keep the shutter held open while you illuminate the subject.Judging the perfect light painting exposure for a given scene and power of your light source, but exposures typically run into many minutes.Keep the torch moving to prevent any hotspots, and check the exposures using the histogram on the rear screen the light-painted features should be bright but not burning out.Night photography technique 07: zoom burstsWhile a zoom burst can produce dynamic photos in daylight, its a photography technique that comes alive with night photography.Zooming the lens either in or out during a long exposure while there are artificial lights in the frame creates bright, colourful light trails that transform the most mundane scene or subject.For the straightest streaks, try this technique with the camera fixed to a tripod. Make sure the focal point is in the centre of the frame, and try adding a blip of flash to add a sense of sharpness to static objects.Night photography technique 08: photographing the moonThe rise of a full moon is one of the most predictable things in nature, so capturing the best moon photos comes down to preparation and prevailing weather conditions.To make a photo where the moon looks large enough in the frame youll need a telephoto lens and the longer the better.Youre really looking at a 400mm lens as a minimum, which gives the equivalent view of a 600-640mm lens when attached to an APS-C DSLR.Take a test shot and check the histogram. Its easy for the moon to be overexposed and you may need to dial in negative exposure compensation to reduce the brightness levelNight photography technique 09: remove UV filtersIf you use a UV or Skylight filter to protect the front element of your lens, now is the time to remove it. Leaving a UV filter attached for night photography will just create internal reflections particularly noticeable effects when the moon or light sources in the frame.Fit a lens hood instead. This will protect the lens from bumps and scratches, and also block stray light from entering the lens.Were more used to shielding the front element during daylight hours, but street lights can cause flare just as readily as the sun.You can also make your own DIY lens flare buster for night photography using a simple piece of black card it can really make the difference when youre shooting under strong street lights.Night photography technique 10: photographing cities at nightIn terms of technique, photographing buildings at night draws on the familiar low light principles of long exposures, a tripod-mounted camera and a remote release to fire the shutter.Its easy to overexpose brightly lit buildings, so take a test and check the histogram activating your cameras highlight alert function can provide a quick guide to potential hotspots too.Head out on clear nights following a day of rain, and use reflections in puddles to add brightness and colour to dark foregrounds. Of course, rivers and canals can be used to capture reflections of buildings too.Night photography technique 11: indoor photo projectsTaking photographs indoors in the dark can be just as rewarding as shooting outdoors at night.One fun photography project to try is to shoot creative light spirals or spirograms. By suspending a lightweight pen torch from a ceiling using a length of string and sending it spinning, you can record the light patterns it creates using a long exposure.Youll need to position your camera directly beneath the torch, so make sure the torch is secure!Other tabletop home studio projects which work better with the lights off include smoke photography, water drops with high-speed flash and light-painting a still life photo.Street photography technique 01: choose shorter lensesAvoid using long zoom lenses for street photography. Rather than making you inconspicuous, these will actually draw attention to you. If someone clocks you sniping from a distance, theyre more likely to confront you.A small, standard zoom lens that offers focal lengths somewhere between 24mm and 50mm forces you to get closer, and this can have a positive effect on your street photography. Getting in amongst it allows you to react to situations faster.Street photography technique 02: camera settings for fast reactionsDont walk around with a camera pressed to your face. Not only will you look conspicuous, but youll miss potential pictures. Take the time to absorb yourself in your surroundings before you start taking pictures.That said, youll need to react quickly to the fleeting moments that make for the best street photography. Use continuous drive mode so that you can burn through frames when needed (although time your shots to capture the decisive moment).Continuous focus will allow to track action, although youll need to manually select a focus point to prevent the camera locking onto something you werent expecting.Finally, start shooting in Program mode as the camera will set both the aperture and shutter speed (and ISO in Auto ISO mode), so you can concentrate on grabbing the shot.If you need more depth of field or a faster shutter speed, turn the cameras control dial to enter Program Shift mode.Street photography technique 03: best locations for street photographyRather than running around a town or city chasing pictures, stake out a promising location. Look for crowded areas where theres a constant stream of people.The greater the footfall, the more opportunities there will be for taking opportunistic photos.On a practical level, choose a wide pavement for your street photography as it will give you more room to work.Street photography technique 04: find graphic shapes in citiesLook for a location that offers clean lines, bold shapes and strong design. Pre-visualise your photo and then wait for the right people to walk into shot.Stairwells, shot from above, are a good place to try this photography technique. Or why not try getting low, and framing peoples legs and the pavement against an interesting backdrop.Shadows can also be used as a strong visual element and even become the focal point themselves. Try shooting from a high position and allowing peoples shadows to take on a life of their ownStreet photography technique 05: shooting from the hipTry taking street photos without looking through the viewfinder. Select your cameras Program mode, set the drive mode to Silent if your camera offers this feature, and manually pre-focus the lens at around five or six feet.Go for a walk on a busy street with the camera on a strap over your shoulder, and press the shutter release in short bursts.Review your shots regularly on the rear screen, as even small adjustments to focal length and the position of the camera can make a significant difference to the success of this technique.Street photography technique 06: follow an interesting subjectOnce you spot a subject with potential, follow them. Were not talking about harrassing individuals, chasing the around the streets.But if someone with memorable hair, unusual clothes or interesting looking dog crosses your path, make the most of the opportunity.This approach will work best in areas that you know well. If you keep your street photography local, and have built up a mental map of prime locations, youll be able to put yourself in a position where subject and background come together.Street photography technique 07: use juxtapositionLook for ways in which you can capture unreal or witty street photos, without slipping into photographic cliches. An old woman walking past a poster advertising underwear is a predictable choice that doesnt say very much.But finding a composition where the billboard advertising is interacting with a person a giant hand appearing to push her along is a different case altogether.People in front of shop windows that provide a visual joke make for good juxtaposition pictures (a bald man in front of hairdressers is a cliche, but you get the idea). Juxtaposition and forced perspective can also work hand in handStreet photography technique 08: using forced perspectiveForce yourself to finding a camera angle that enables you to bring two unrelated and often quite distant objects into the same world.Think of a fountain in the background appearing to spring from a bottle in the foreground, or someone leaning against an iconic landmark, such as Big Ben.On a smaller scale, balloons being carried at head height (particularly effective if the balloon has a face painted on it) or dogs appearing to drive cars are classic examples of forced perspective.Youll need the objects to be in similar light to create a convincing effect, and use a fairly small aperture to extend the depth of field through the scene.Street photography technique 09: candidsOne of the hardest aspects of starting out in street photography is building the confidence to take pictures candidly.Chances are, you dont want a subject to see you and get angry or start smiling for the camera (although its good to get a few examples of this type of shot in the bag, just to add variety to your street photography portfolio).Shooting candids is likely to mean working at the longer end of a zoom lenss range, but remember that this may draw attention to you.In the UK youre free to take photos of people in public places, but bear in mind the sensitivities of certain subjects and locations.Take some example photos with you so that you can show that you have a passion for photography if you are confronted on the street.Street photography technique 10: blurring people in crowdsUsing a slow shutter speed to introduce motion blur into your street photos will help isolate and emphasise a stationary subject.Try using it to show the movement of crowds around one of those silver-sprayed street performers just remember to give them a tip!Youll need a tripod to pull off this technique with precision, but if its too crowded to risk setting one up then youll have to make do try resting the camera on your camera bag on the ground instead.Youll need a small aperture and low ISO in order to achieve a slow shutter speed. Aim for 1/4sec to begin with, check your results and speed up or slow down the exposure as necessary.If the lighting is too bright to achieve a slow enough shutter speed, fit a standard ND filter or polariser.Street photography technique 11: emphasise colourThe urban environment can be populated with rather drab colours and flat tones. Actively look for colour to give your street photos a stand-out quality. Carnivals, street parties, urban art, road signs and vehicles can all be used to add vibrancy.Alternatively, remove colour altogether and try the picture in black and white. Shoot colour images in camera and do the black and white conversion later in software, adding grain and boosting the contrast for a classic old-school street photography look.Flash photography technique 01: using fill-flash in daylightFlash isnt just for studio and night photography its also useful for outdoor photography on sunny days, particularly when it comes to portraits.Rather than asking your portrait sitter to face into the sun, which will result in them screwing up their face and squinting, get them to face in the opposite direction. With the sun now behind them, simply use a burst of flash to brighten up their face.The camera will do a decent job of creating a balanced exposure. However, if the ambient light requires a shutter speed thats faster than the flash sync speed, you may need to use a smaller aperture, fit an ND filter on the lens or activate your flashguns high speed sync function.Flash photography technique 02: how to use TTL flash compensationIf youre trying to subtly blend a flash exposure with an ambient light exposure, use you the flash exposure compensation control offered by your camera or compatible flashgun.Negative flash exposure compensation will underexpose the flash try a subtle amount of 1/3 or 2/3 of a stop to start with. Then take a test shot and increase or decrease this amount to taste.Remember to reset flash exposure compensation once youve taken the photo, as its all-too easy to end up dialling in compensation on top of compensation!Flash photography technique 03: flash exposure lockFlash metering can underexpose or overexpose a photo in the same way that normal metering can. If someones wearing dark clothes and in front of a dark background, then the flash exposure may be automatically increased in order to brighten things up. This will cause skin to be overexposed.The same is true of bright or reflective backgrounds. The flash meter will reduce the flash exposure to prevent a picture being overexposed, but this means that people in the foreground will appear too dark in the photo.You can also use the flash exposure compensation function to correct this, or alternatively use your DSLRs flash exposure lock button.This enables you to take a reading off the subject rather than the background, and lock that setting in for the next shot.Flash photography technique 04: flash diffusersTo soften the light emitted by a flash, fit a flash diffuser on the flash head. A wide range of commercial flash diffusers are available, ranging from the rigid plastic Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce to larger collapsible units like the Gary Fong Lightsphere.Options for diffusing pop-up flash are more limited, although there are a number of DIY flash diffuser solutions such as using a plastic milk carton to soften the light.Flash photography technique 05: bounce flashDirect flash is hard and directional shadows behind the subject will be obvious, and theres a greater risk of hotspots and red-eye when shooting portraits (although its easy to learn how to remove red-eye in Photoshop).For a softer, more even illumination, bounce the flash from a wall or ceiling. Most flashguns enable you to swivel and angle the flash head, although you can achieve a similar effect with a pop-up flashgun using a piece of white card held at an angle.Bouncing the flashgun will reduce the flashs reach, and you need to bounce the light from a neutral-coloured surface otherwise youll introduce a colour cast to the photo.Flash photography technique 06: off-camera flashTaking a flash off camera gives you more creative lighting options. Of course, youll need a flashgun to do this, and even then you need to consider how the camera and the flashgun will communicate.The easiest option is to use a remote off-shoe flash cord, which screws onto both the camera hotshoe and the base of the flashgun. The reach of a typical flash cable is limited to a few feet though.A wireless flash trigger will give you more freedom for flash placement. These are two-piece units based around a transmitter and a receiver.More expensive RF based wireless systems enabling you to position one or more flashguns completely out of sight of the transmitter.If your flash isnt compatible with a wireless off-camera system, try using simple, cheap flash radio triggers instead.Flash photography technique 07: coloured gels for flashWhen youre carrying out flash photography in areas lit predominantly by warm light whether thats natural warmth of sunset or the artificial glow of tungsten bulbs the cool blue light from a flash will be stand out a mile.One way to solve this problem is to use coloured gels in front of the flash head. An orange gel will add warmth, helping you blend the flash light with the ambient light. The result should then be interesting rather than obvious.Another option is to fix mixed white balance in Photoshop, using the selective adjustment tools in Adobe Camera Raw. This way you can adjust the white balance in those areas lit by flash or by the other light sources.Flash photography technique 08: slow-sync flash photographyYour cameras slow-sync flash setting enables you to combine slower shutter speeds with flash. Many of your cameras shooting modes are programmed to produce a well-exposed foreground subject with flash, but the background can look too dark.Slow-sync flash gets around this by combining a slower shutter speed with flash, ensuring that the flash output is balanced well with the ambient light.Some cameras default to slow-sync flash in certain modes Canon EOS DSLRs use slow-sync flash in Aperture Priority mode, for instance while others have a dedicated Night Portrait mode that does the same job.Whichever you use, make sure the camera is supported well during the longer exposure time. Otherwise the areas of the image illuminated by ambient light may be blurred.Flash photography technique 09: high speed flash syncYou need to know the maximum flash sync speed of your flashgun if youre going to avoid flash exposure errors.The maximum flash sync is the fastest shutter speed at which normal flash photography is possible typically 1/200 or 1/250sec.The limiting factor here is how fast the shutters in front of the camera sensor can open and close, not the speed of the flash itself its burst is blink-and-you-miss it fast, after all.A flashguns high speed flash sync mode known as Auto FP on Nikon cameras allows you to use shutter speeds beyond the maximum flash sync.Use it when youre shooting portraits in bright conditions, as it will allow you to freely choose wide apertures (to blur backgrounds) without worrying about the shutter speed being too fast for the flash exposure.The downside of high speed flash sync is that it reduces the range of the flash youll need to be close the subject to create a balanced exposure.Flash photography technique 10: second curtain syncSlow-sync flash is also a creative technique to use when youre photographing moving subjects. The slow shutter speed will record moving elements as a blur, while the short burst of light from the flash will capture a freeze-frame of the subject. The combination of sharpness and blur gives a very effective sense of motion.Normally the flash fires at the start of the exposure, and this is known as first curtain sync. Although this allows you to time the flash exposure perfectly, it means any blur from the slower exposure will be recorded in front of the subject, which looks odd.Switch the flash to second curtain sync, and it fires at the end of the exposure. This means any motion blur appears behind the subject. Although this looks more natural, it can be harder to time shots perfectly.Flash photography technique 11: underexposing the backgroundAn effective way to add drama to outdoor portraits shot in daylight is to illuminate the subject with flash but underexpose the background.The technique for doing this depends on the DSLR youre using, so its worth referring to the camera manual.For instance, on Canon cameras you control the flash exposure and ambient light exposure separately all you need to do is use exposure compensation for the ambient light, reducing the exposure by 2-3 stops.Nikon flash exposures are handled slightly differently: using exposure compensation reduces the total exposure, including the flashs. Youll need to increase flash exposure compensation by the same amount to fix this.