10 tips for better photographs

Film Vs Digital

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Take photos of people

What Lens?

The type of lens you use depends very much on what you are trying to photograph. But then, as like all other rules in photography – they are also made to be broken, if the affect you are trying to achieve warrants it.

Lens - 18mm Wideangle
Wideangle 18mm Lens
Lens - 100mm Mid-range
Mid-range 100mm Lens
Lens - 200mm Telephoto
Telephoto 200mm Lens
Lens - 300mm Telephoto
Telephoto 300mm Lens

Wide Angle lenses are primarily used for landscape. They are great for showing an object in the foreground, as well as including that mountain range in the distance. This provides depth to the photograph. As well as this, they give a much better depth of field – ie. More of the photograph is in focus. (see Aperture and Depth of Field). Wide angle lenses include 18mm and wider.

Mid-range lenses are usually zoom lenses. They can typically be 28mm-80mm, 75mm-135mm and even 35mm-200mm. They are extremely versatile, in that, they will be useful for a lot of different types of photography. There is one drawback, however. They can be slightly less sharp than a prime lens and their apertures tend to be larger than primes. On the plus side, they tend to be much less expensive than primes lenses and the quality drop off is not that noticeable.

These can be used for everything from landscape to sports, but are especially useful for portrait when used at the 100mm to 135mm range.

Telephoto lenses are primarily used for sports photography. Included in this bracket are lenses from 200mm and longer. Because of their long focal length and fast shutter speeds needed to capture sports, a monopod and a fastest aperture of around F2.8 to F4.0 are musts. The problem with the latter one of these stipulations is that the faster the lens is, the more it costs. I have seen lenses cost more than a good second hand car!!

But don’t let that put you off. Unless you are thinking of turning professional and specializing in sports photography, there is no need to go to this extreme. There are plenty of telephoto lenses on the market in the F5.6 range that will do a good job.

Then there are the really specialist Macro lenses for extreme close up work with some focusing as close as 20cm from your subject. They are fantastic for close up work of small items, such as insects and flowers.

Tilt and Shift lenses are used to stop the converging vertical lines when photographing very tall buildings and are excellent if you do a lot of architecture photography.

For starting out in photography, a good wide-angle zoom lens and a medium telephoto zoom lens will be ideal. Something along the lines of an 18mm-55mm wide angle lens, and a zoom telephoto around 75mm-300mm are good starting points.

Then, when the bank balance has recovered, invest in an Ultra Wide Angle lens (if landscape is your favoured discipline), or a fast telephoto (if sports photography is your thing).

Happy hunting!


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