When it comes to photography, timing is everything. It can make the difference between a photo you’d rather bin immediately and one you want to proudly display for all to see. But how do you make sure that you never miss that perfect photo opportunity? In this article, Xpozer photographer Stephan gives you his top 5 tips for always being ready to catch that “picture perfect moment.”
This is the secret of spontaneity. Timing is key when capturing that perfect moment. But that doesn’t mean that the perfect photo will happen when you’re expecting it to. That captured smile on a bride’s face right after kissing her new husband can speak volumes in comparison to the kiss itself. Posed photographs are often stilted and less natural than candid shots. So make sure you’re shooting continuously. You never know what moments you’ll capture that you might otherwise have missed.
Take In Your Surroundings.
Look around you. Try to predict where the best photos will happen, what angles will be best to shoot from and how the lighting will affect your images. It’s one of the hardest things to learn, but after plenty of practice it will start to come naturally.
A quick tip for choosing the best background: put your camera or lens on manual focus and focus on something that is close by. Now move around and look for a background that looks good when it is out of focus. This way you may see things that are different from when you look for a background with your own eyes. Don’t forget to turn your auto focus back on!
Full Battery, Empty Memory Cards.
Charge your battery after each shoot and get into the habit of making sure memory cards are empty and ready to go. That way you will always have your camera on hand, even for the unexpected moments. You’ll never miss big milestones like your child’s first steps or funny moments like the dog chasing it’s tail.
Carry Your Lenses With You
This tip is especially for the photographers who now have a well-filled camera bag. “Carry your lenses with you” may sound like an obvious tip, but maybe I can teach you something new. When hearing this tip, photographers often think they should take their entire studio with them. They set off with huge backpacks, extra camera bodies and the entire lens kit, There is nothing wrong with that, but make sure you also have a smaller bag with you to hold one or two lenses.
If you only carry a huge camera bag with you, you‘ll probably find that exactly when you need that one lens, your camera bag is still in that back room or inside during a nice walk in the woods, because it was just too big and heavy. You can take a small shoulder or lens bag with you more easily and it often also offers space for an extra battery and memory card.
Get To Know Your Camera.
Perhaps the most important tip to never miss that “picture perfect moment”. Know how your camera works. It’s hard enough to be ready in the right place, it would be a shame if your photo was underexposed, moved or completely out of focus. Even when you’re capturing photos with your phone, go and discover how exactly your phone camera focuses and how you can adjust the exposure!
Manual is just another option
People around me often say you can only take great photos when you photograph in Manual Mode. I don’t think that’s true. When you know what you want and know what your camera does in certain circumstances, a different mode can help you capture the moment. A tip: try the aperture priority setting, often marked with an “A” on the settings menu of your camera.
This is especially useful when it alternates between cloudy and sunny, when you are photographing outside or when you are going back and forth from indoors to the outdoors. Using this setting means your camera will leave the f (aperture) value as selected and the camera will control the exposure by adjusting the shutter speed.
Note: you also have to set the ISO manually, however a lot of cameras also have the “AUTO ISO” option. Taking some worries away and allowing the camera to do the work for you.
Choose the correct metering mode.
When you’re not shooting in manual mode, it’s important to know how your camera controls exposure and what the best exposure settings are. Your camera measures the light (metering) and determines what the settings will be. But when the camera analyzes the entire image, there may be a different outcome than if only the center point of the image was analyzed. For example, when you capture a portrait of someone in the shade with a bright blue sky in the background, it makes all the difference where the camera measures the light.
Extra tip: use the exposure compensation if you want your camera to capture a slightly brighter or darker photo than normal.
Choose the correct autofocus setting
In addition, it is incredibly important to take a good look at you camera’s autofocus settings. Adjust the autofocus to fit your needs and the subjects you photograph. Nowadays there’s sone very advanced autofocus systems on the market, sone can even recognize an animals’ eyes. It might not surprise you there’s a wide variety of adjustments you can make here. For example, check your settings to see whether you’re focusing on an adjustable point or whether your camera chooses the entire image for focusing.
Blurry photos when you’re capturing moving objects? Check whether your continuous autofocus is active . In some cameras, you can also set the speed of the continuous autofocus. Have a look at your camera’s manual if you’re not sure what everything means.
The most important tip: go and try everything. That’s how you prepare fully to catch “that perfect moment.”
Have you captured your picture perfect moment? Join our Monthly Photo Contest for a chance to win some awesome prizes, including an Xpozer 4Pack worth $239.95