Digital Photo Tips from Other Photographers

Black & White; There is often a B&W setting in your camera, but it only works in JPEG. RAW images are always in color, although they can be converted to B&W in software.
Blinkies: A flashing in the LCD indicating over exposed area (which will be washed out).
Blinkies: To eliminate in light areas, lower exposure. Go to any creative zone, except manual, turn power switch to the quick control dial setting, then set exposure compensation by turning quick control dial.
Burst Mode: On Canon, press the icon that looks like a stack of photos, just to the left of the "set" button. Scroll to continuous shooting. Press set.
Command Dial: On Canon cameras, rotating to the right gives higher numbers. In Av, it gives a smaller f-stop. In Tv it gives a shorter shutter speed. Think of a yard stick, with smaller numbers on the left and larger numbers on the right.
Compression of Foreground/Background: Use telephoto.
Convergence: To increase, raise camera height and shoot wide.
Depth of Field Preview: Viewfinder won't show true depth of field in LCD. Hit DOF button on front of camera near side of lens. Press & hold and look in viewfinder.
Depth of Field, Shallow: to get out of focus background, switch from wide-angle to telephoto and get in tight.
Fireworks: (1) Shoot on a tripod. (2) Use a cable release. (3) use zoom lens (ideally a 200mm lens). (4) set shutter to 4 seconds. (5) Set f-stop to f-ll. (6) Take a shot. If overexposed, lower shutter speed to 3 seconds. (7) Don't forget Bulb Mode.
Flash Pop Up: To lower the power of the pop-up flash on a Canon: (1) Press the ISO/Flash Exposure Compensation button. (2) Look at top of LCD and (3) Turn the quick control dial until you see a negative number. (4) Take a test shot and see if you need to lower some more.
Flash Techniques: Dragging the Shutter: (1) Take a meter reading in P Mode on your subject. (2) Switch to manual and dial in the f-stop & shutter speed. (3) Decrease shutter speed by 1 to 2 stops. 1/60th becomes 1/15th. (4) Take the shot with flash. The flash will give you sharpness on your subject and the slower shutter will allow the background to get some light.
Flash Techniques: Pro Tips: (1) Get flash unit off camera. (2) Set flash so it blends with the available background light, then drag the flash. (3) The smaller the light source, the harsher the light, so use a diffuser. (4) Bounce the light when possible. (5) Activate the Rear Sync (which lets the flash fire at the end of the exposure and thus the background is illuminated before the flash activates. Otherwise, the background is terribly underexposed (black).
Flowers: (1) Don't shoot them from a looking down position. (2) Shoot wide open to decrease DOF. (3) Zoom in to control DOF. (4) Best times are (a) cloudy overcast day; (b) right after a rain; (c) morning or late afternoon. (5) Artifical background is black velour or black velvet or white posterboard, all 3 feet from subject. (6) Best indoor light is a window with indirect sunlight coming in. (7) To stop effect of wind, shoot at 1/250 or faster. (8) Get down low and have the sun behind the petals for back lighting.
Set your exposure on the fog itself. Then hold the shutter button half way down to lock in the exposure. Now go to the camera's exposure compensation control and increase the amount of exposure by one stop.
Flash: Background Out of Focus: To shoot faster than 1/250 shoot at High Speed Sync. Its on the Speedlite. Press Mode until ETTL is displayed in LCD. Then, press High Speed Sync button until you see lightning bolt icon with an H.
Forests: Do not show the ground in picture.
Full Length Portrait Photo: shoot upwards, or while sitting in a chair so you are not at eye level.
Golden Hours: 15-30 minutes before sunrise to 30-60 minutes after sunrise and 15-30 minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after sunset.
Group shots: (1)Use interval timer accessory to get at least one shot with everyone's eyes open. (2) Have everyone close their eyes and open them on the count of three. One-two-three. Shoot at the next count (four). (3) have group pose around some object--like a porch pillar--instead of standing in a row. (4) Group three people in a pyramid of heads--close together.
Hand Hold Rule: The min. shutter speed is one over the focal length times the 1.6 crop factor for Canon cameras. A 100mm lens needs 1/160 sec or faster to hand hold.
Histogram: A graphic representation of exposure of an image. Spikes touching the right edge mean overexposure. Spikes touching the left edge mean areas of pure black with no details.
Horizon Line: Don't use dead center. If foreground is interesting, put horizon at top third. If sky is interesting, put horizon at bottom third of frame.
Landscapes: (1)Must have a distinct foreground, a middleground and a background (sky & clouds). (2) Focus one-third of the way into the scene.
Large Foreground/Small Background: short wide angle, shoot low and shoot very close.
Lashing Knot: (1) Form a loop at hexagon end of the bolt. (2) Double back behind the bolt with long part of string, and wrap it around both ends of the string that made up the loop. (3) Take the long part of the string and feed it through the loop from the front. (4) Now tighten the loop by pulling on the short end of the string. (5) Just straighten things up and screw the bolt thru the lashing to bring the lashing down against the head of the bolt and that's it. Thanks to Paul Kerins for this instruction.
Lens Fogging: Keep lens in a zip lock bag inside a suitcase so it doesn't cool off in the A/C. Or, use fog eliminator cloth.
Lens Sweet Spot: Usually 2 stops smaller than lens' wide-open aperature. For an f4 lens that is f-8. For an f5.6 lens, that is f-11.
Lightning: (1) Use a tripod. (2) Use a shutter release cable. (3) Set on Bulb. (4) Start at f-8. (5) trip the shutter and hold for seconds or until you see a second lightning flash, then release shutter.
Macro Shots: (1) Turn Auto Focus off. (2) use cable release. (3) shoot at f-22 for sharpness.
Milky Water: The minimum shutter speed is 1/8 sec.
Museums: Get a 50mm 1.8 lens for shooting w/o flash.
Overcast skies: Avoid them. On gray days, frame your photo so as to avoid showing the sky, if possible.
Overexposure or Underexposure: Scott Kelby says correct exposure is the goal. However, overexposure (too light) is better than underexposure (too dark) because using Photoshop to lighten an underexposed photo introduces more noise.
Polarizing Filters: Work best at 90 degree angles--when the sun is not behind or in front of photographer.
Portraits: (1) The portrait lens is 85 to 100 mm. (2) Shoot from 10-12 feet away. (3) F-ll is usually the ideal f-stop. (4) Focus on an eye. (5) Put the eyes 1/3 of the way from the top of the frame. (6) Open shade is more flattering than open sunlight. (7) Use window light when possible. (8) Shoot profiles in horizontal (landscape) mode, not vertical (portrait). (9) Shoot wide and push in tight. Use a wide-angle lens and have the subject on one edge of the frame, looking forward or into the frame, with establishing stuff in remainder of frame to give picture context. (10) Try to keep the background simple and uncluttered. (11) Don't shoot shoulders straight on. (12) Get couples really close together, especially their heads. (13) Don't leave too much space between head and top of frame (i.e., keep the eyes at the top 1/3rd).
Portraits, Outdoors: (1) Shoot outdoor portraits shallow--to create DOF. Shoot at the widest f-stop you have.
Rainbows: At max. strength a polarizing filter can make a rainbow disappear. At minimum strength it will enhance a rainbow.
Rear Sync: This causes the flash to fire at the end of the shutter speed instead of the beginning. In turn, this lets the background get some light and then the flash fires to properly expose the subject.
Sharpening: Although you can do this in the camera, don't. Oversharpening causes artifacts like halos around edges.
Shooting Tethered: Using a USB cord to go from the camera to a laptop or monitor. Software is required. The needed software is included in Lightroom. It is also on the EOS software that comes with a Canon dSLR.
Silhouettes: Position your subject so he is directly in front of setting sun. Expose for the sky, not the subject. Shoot in Av.
Speedlite: To keep it from going into sleep mode, go to flash's custom function 01 (C.Fn-01) and turn off the Auto Power Off setting. This will use up batteries much faster, but flash won't go into sleep mode.
Sun on Shoulder: (1) Position sun so it is behind subjects, not behind you. (2) Put the brightness of your flash on low and use it.
Sunsets: (1)Choose "cloudy" as your white balance to make a warmer sunset. (2) Take an exposure reading on the sky, but make sure the sun is not in the viewfinder. Hold shutter button half way down to lock in the exposure and then recompose to include the sun in the frame.
Tack Sharp: (1)Use mirror lock. Then press remote shutter release twice--once to raise mirror and once to relese shutter. (2) shoot in burst mode to increase chances at least one shot is sharp.
Travel lens: Canon 18 to 200 mm IS lens is great.
Travel Shots: (1)Work people and pets into your shots. (2) Shoot the local food. (3) Shoot signs so you can remember where you took shot.
Tripods: (1) Use mirror lock. (2) Use cable release. (3) Take Image Stabilization (IS) off. (4) After focusing, put lens on MF (Manual focus). (5) Weigh down tripod with camera bag. (6) If doing a long exposue, place viewfinder patch over viewfinder. (7) Watch your ISO. (8) Zoom in to check sharpness of focus. (9 )If putting you tripod on an incline, place only one leg facing you (i.e., behind your legs). Also, don't extend the legs all the way up.
Waterfalls: (1) For milky water shoot 1 to 2 sec in Tv; (2) If too much light, add a polarizer; (3) Go to f/22 and tripod to increase shutter time.
Water, (1)Use polarizing filter to eliminate reflections in water. (2) Glass-like surfaces are found in the morning, before the wind starts blowing. WHIMS: (1)W: White balance check.(2)H: Highlight warning on. (3) I: ISO check. (4) M: Mode check. (5) S: Size (JPEG or RAW).
Zooming In: If you are zooming in, use a high shutter speed to keep pictures sharp.