I just finished a 4-week intermediate photo class with two sets of amazing students. My goal was to guide each student to consistently capture the world with their own vision. The key is consistency . . . that is, being able to create a beautiful photo each time you go out with your camera.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions for great Spring photos:
- For flowers, set your camera on Aperture-priority (the A setting on both Canon and Nikon). Start at ISO 400, which is a great ISO to start with both indoor and outdoor photos. Adjust your ISO slightly up or down as needed for the final picture. Get super close to an individual flower and set your aperture at F:4.0 or F:5.6. With that large lens opening, just the flower will be in focus, with everything softly out of focus in the background. A little hint – bring a large sheet of black paper to use as a backdrop if you have distracting backgrounds. The flower will “pop” out if the image! Be sure to use Exposure Compensation to adjust brightness/darkness if your camera is fooled by a light or dark background. Set your shutter release for single-frame.
- For scenics, get EVERYTHING in focus with a small lens opening – say F:22. Once again, start with Aperture-priority, at ISO 400. Set your aperture at f:22. Focus about 1/3 of the way into your scene, and everything in the scene should fall into focus.
- For action, start at ISO 400 and this time, set your camera for Shutter-priority (S for Nikon and Tv for Canon). Choose a shutter speed of 1/250 or faster. I like to shoot baseball and softball at 1/1000. If the sun is setting, bump up your ISO to 800 or higher to maintain a fast shutter speed. I suggest setting your focus on “continuous” for Nikon or AI Servo for Canon, which means the camera constantly refocuses as your subject moves. I suggest setting your shutter release on multiple – the high-speed multiple setting is best, if you have that option. Be prepared for the focus to jump to the background in some shots. It’s frustrating, but I always shoot lots of extra action photos to make up for little technical issues like this.
- For family portraits, you can be very successful with the camera on the P setting or “green box” setting. Fill the frame with faces for some wonderful memories to last a lifetime!
Then post your photos to share with family and friends!
Want to learn more? Here’s a link to an awesome e-book on digital photography: A Short Course on Using Your Digital Camera . I bought the PDF version several years ago, and it’s a wonderful learning tool! This version can be viewed online, with a digital download available.