Photography tips:

Photography tips: These are 8 things that I do every time I’m out shooting.


What camera do you shoot with? Oh I wish I had a better camera! I’ve only got this cheap beginner camera, what one should I get?

The above questions I get on a weekly basis and in reality it’s not down to what type of camera I use but how I how use what ever camera I’m shooting with. These photography tips are the 8 things that I do every time I’m out shooting. You can be a full on professional, amateur, or just want better photos in a frame on your book case at home of family and friends.

Being Prepared.

This is a huge advantage to taking better images. Always have your gear ready to go, have back ups for your back ups, extra memory cards, extra film, batteries charged, and my personal favorite duct tape…… A good way to organize your equipment is to have a camera bag. I myself have two, one is very large and the other is a tiny little thing that holds one camera body, a flash, and an extra lens. For jobs large or small I can pretty much be ready in just under 10 minutes if I need to be. Does this happen often? Not really but there have been a couple of times when I needed to be though. So being prepared paid off.

For you professionals don’t forget a rain poncho and always have an umbrella in the trunk of your car….

How to hold your camera.

Holding your camera steady is key to a sharp picture. Place your camera in the palm of your hand and then hold the side of the camera body with the other where the shutter release/button is. If you do not have a tripod brace yourself against a tree, car, or building, I’ve used chairs, tables, cars or any solid object for that matter. Also place the camera up against your forehead and frame your images through the viewfinder and not the screen. You’ll get a much stronger image this way.

Also practice pressing that shutter, breathe in, exhale and then press at the top of your exhale just before you breathe in again.

Getting up close.

When it comes to portraiture get up close and get to know your subject don’t be afraid as you may make a new friend to. Fill up your cameras frame and fill it with your subject.

Now of course if you’re on safari I’d advise against this as becoming a meal is not making a new friend.

 Shoot Shoot Shoot.

Nothing makes you a better photographer than practicing constantly. Get out there and shoot, be known for always having a camera on your person. Also get your worked critiqued, there are plenty of camera/photography clubs out there that offer a bring your work in event where a group will give feed back on your progress.

I myself offer a work shop for beginners and more advanced students and I always encourage my students to keep in touch and stop by if they’d like me to look at their work. I’m always game to sit in a coffee shop and to look at images and offer feedback on a fellow photographers work. I only have one condition and that’s bring your thick skin.

Change Your Lighting.

Another question and concern I get is “how do I use my flash?”. If you’re afraid of flash then get rid of it. Use natural light to your advantage, place your subject close to a window or move them away from the window while doing this watch how the shadows fall on their face and how they increase and decrease in intensity.

As for out door light play with the sun and angle at which it falls on your subject also shoot out doors on a cloudy day and see the differences you can create. Once you’ve mastered this then move on to using a flash.


We’ve all seen that family album with that family member who always has red-eye. The reason for red-eye is because the flash passes through your subjects eye and then reflects back straight into the camera.

The easy fix is to just not use a flash but then when was life easy? So what to do instead is to bounce your flash off of the ceiling or go with a off camera flash and place your flash off to the side. Now I agree this is more than some people are willing to do just for simple family pictures so just bounce your flash off of the ceiling and you’ll never see red eyes again.

Go for Candid

 This is my favorite shot to get when shooting a wedding. Just blend into the crowd and shoot away. You’ll capture interactions between your subjects and take your photography to a whole other level.

When you go back and look at your images your subject should have no idea you even took the picture. To practice this go out on the street and take random images, street photography is my favorite but it can also be very challenging so patience is key here.

Create Your Scene

 I tell students in my photography class that photography is about telling a story sometimes that story is fiction and sometimes non-fiction. As your work progresses start to create scenes with your subjects, use random props and most of all create images that you want to create.


Finally, anybody can do the above with any camera and every budget level. So keep shooting and practice everyday. –Alister Photography



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