A while ago, one of the tips I wrote was called “Top Ten Ways To Become A Better Photographer.” What reminded me of this was a recent trip to a local bagel store. I ordered a dozen sesame bagels and the lady behind the counter dropped 12 into the bag. The thought that went through my head was, “Whatever happened to a baker’s dozen where a 13th one gets thrown in for free?” For you, I bring back the “good ole days.” I present to you a “baker’s dozen” worth of quick tips. Enjoy the 13th! In no specific order:
1) Bracket Tricky Exposures: With digital capture, I suggest you bracket in 1/ 2 stops rather than the default of 1/3 stops most cameras provide. In the days of slide film, a third of a stop made a significant difference. With upgraded digital sensors, this small amount is easily recoverable in RAW. Expand the range to acclimate to digital.
2) Depth of Field: Use apertures wisely. Open up the lens (f/4) to help throw a background out of focus and stop down (f/16) to increase depth of field. Photograph a given scene both ways. Check the difference in the capture on the LCD. Make sure you have a strong foreground, mid-ground and background, so you’ll be able to see the difference. In general, an out-of-focus background works well with people and wildlife, while landscapes work better with maximum depth of field.
3)Steady As She Goes: Use a Tripod: Not only will it guarantee sharper shots, it slows you down and forces you to think more about fine-tuning your composition