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How to Improve your DSLR Photography

How to Improve your DSLR Photography
How to Improve your DSLR Photography

This is one of the most developed subjects in photography: How to improve your DSLR photography? Wherever you are just starting in DSLR photography, or you are in the game for a while already, there will always be room for improvements.

As a photographer, it is effortless to forget fundamental things or to ignore them, but honestly speaking, we should not.

Hello and welcome to our post on HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR DSLR PHOTOGRAPHY. This post was written originally in April 2019 covering a few tips but greatly updated in mid-September 2019 with all the information required for you to improve your DSLR PHOTOGRAPHY.

It is simple to get started in DSLR photography but to improve yourself you must learn from different courses, tutorials, videos and so on. This post will try to cover all the information gathered with years behind the DSLR photography, and with unique tips, you can find only here.

To start with the beginning, I want to share with you for now 15 tips on how to improve your DSLR photography, followed by some niches in photography and other tips I recommend can apply.

15 Tips on how to improve your DSLR Photography

How to improve your DSLR Photography #1

Light is the key to everything.

sun hiding behind clouds - tips to improve your DSLR photography

Without proper light, our photographs would be truly terrible. Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you cannot take any pictures with too less or no light, or either over-exposed photographs.

What I am trying to say is, that ALWAYS adjust your camera settings and your eye after the lighting conditions in which you are taking your photographs, if you cannot manipulate them.

We may be taking photographs in environments where we cannot have control over any lighting, such as a concert, event etc (which later on the post we will speak about). But what we can do, is always to be prepared to face our challenges, as this may be one of the biggest ones for every photographer out there.

Expanding this subject, it is always good practice to look over your histogram on your DSLR if you are using live view. A histogram is a graphic which covers the lighting situation of a scene, from the darks and shadows to the highlights, including all mid-tones.

Also, ensure that you understand the difference between the light and shadows, darks, how to arrange elements in a scene in comparison with the lighting situations.

To improve your DSLR photography it is a good practice to understand the lighting overall.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #2

More photos are always better than one.

How to Improve your DSLR Photography
Selective Colour Photography – Photograph taken by Gabriel M. at photornia.com

This rule I’ve been following since my day one into photography.

Don’t be greedy about your space on the memory card. Always try to take multiple shots of the same subject, from different angles (if possible)

Is hard to imagine that you may think you have captured a masterpiece, and when you get home, you realise that the subject is not properly in focus or the background is in motion, or very simple somebody photobombed you.

That’s why it is always important to make sure you have at LEAST one good copy to use. Better safe than sorry.

When we think about arranging elements in a scene, we cannot speak about moving trees and buildings but using your imagination on how a photograph will look if the photo is taken from a specific angle with or without some elements into the photo, how far and where to focus.

It’s easy to forget the simple notions, therefore, I would strongly recommend that you take multiple photographs of the same subject or scene, to have a good one to select from.

Ensure that the photographs you are taking are not taken in a burst unless you need to specifically do it (such as sports photography)

In the case where you take multiple shots in burst mode of a moving subject, ensure that your focus is set to autofocus continuously, which is a mode to track the subject in real-time.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #3

Think different. Be creative.

fine-art, tips to improve your DSLR photography

Creativity is one key point I was talking in another post about why photographers fail in photography and how can you prevent that, mentioning that this is not something you can learn but develop in time.

Every person, every photographer have a different level of creativity and sees things differently in special through the eye-finder of a camera, but think about how can you be different from the others and how your creativity can make the difference in this industry.

There are plenty of tutorials and tips on the internet giving you ideas and helping you to get more creative in a quicker way. But let’s be honest here, how can you train the creativity other than spending more time with your eye on the eye-finder of your camera and take pictures.

And creativity is not only related to how you can take better photos but to be able to improve your DSLR photography, you have to think about post-processing your photograph, subject which we are going to develop in the next point.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #4

Shoot in RAW. Retouch your photos.

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

When you shoot in RAW, first thing you will notice is that your images will look contrastless compared to the ones shot in JPEG. The main reason behind this is that RAW (or NEF) photographs are unprocessed photos whilst the JPEG are already processed in the camera before giving you the final results.

When we think about processing a photo, we think about retouching also. Every photographer is or should shoot in RAW for the simple ability to process your photos and use your imagination and creativity to create something out of the ordinary.

There are so many to keep in mind when we have to post-process. Naturally, we have to think about a few main steps to take in consideration: It is the lighting of the photograph good? Are the shadows within the range? What about highlights and colour temperature? Sharpness and other factors?

When we think about other factors which we can change when we are post-processing a photo, we have to think limitlessly. Not only that you can do the basic stuff but you can work out a masterpiece from a normal photograph. The above photograph was nothing but an empty graveyard during the day.

We can also increase the sharpness of a slightly blurry photograph, create a black & white photo with custom lighting and so on.

All of the above plus many others can be done in Lightroom. If you are looking to extend your knowledge, do as your imagination and creativity will let you, use Photoshop.

As a photographer maybe you have the basic knowledge of Photoshop. But do you know what can a good photographer with good photoshop skills can do? Anything!

Do you want to think further? Think about graphic design and photography.

None of the above would be possible if you shoot in JPEG, therefore, my strong recommendation is to shoot in RAW format.

You can choose to shoot in JPEG as well if your camera has a dual-memory card, a RAW version is delivered on the main memory card whilst a JPEG on the secondary one (at least with Nikon is like that)

Do you want to have an extra read about JPEG VS RAW for a better understanding?

How to improve your DSLR Photography #5

Use a tripod. Shoot long exposures.

moon long exposure, tips to improve your DSLR photography

Wherever is a cityscape at night or photographing the sea, a waterfall or some fast-moving clouds, without a tripod you are very limited in creating good and sharp photographs while trying to capture the motion into one single image or multiple photographs

You definitely heard before and if you are a photographer you may have a tripod already but what are the main benefits of the tripod and the advantages of taking it with us on our photo sessions?

Depending on the niche of photography you are in, a tripod is more or less important. As an instance, if you are doing astrophotography or simply photographing the night skies, without a tripod you cannot do anything at all. But if you are doing sports or street photography, a tripod is not mandatory to get the best results out of your camera.

When you take a photograph handheld, you need to be very steady. At a point, no matter how steady you are, your photographs will get blurry due to long shutter speed.

Some people can still take sharp photographs at a 1/60th of second shutter speed, while some others even at 1/15th of a second without a tripod or optical stabilisation on your lens or your camera.

With optical stabilisation, some lenses or cameras and of course a steady hand, you can take a sharp photograph up to half second shutter speed. At least this is my personal record.

Anything more than that, you definitely need a tripod in order that your photos are sharp, and some knowledge on how to make the best out of it.

What tripod do you need? That is another story for another topic.

What are the benefits of using a tripod in photography and to create long exposures?

  • Creating long and very long exposures (unlimited time) and the photos will remain sharp
  • Help you to control the camera remotely
  • You can do a self-portrait
  • Your photos will always look sharp
  • The ability to follow easily subjects in sport photography
  • Macro photography

The only disadvantage of overseeing this is that you must carry it with you and it takes time to install it. Other than that, I would recommend you use a tripod whenever you can for the best results in photography and to improve your DSLR photography.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #6

Tripod, Live view mode.

extension arm used for macro photography

We already spoke a little about using a tripod in photography but what about the live view mode?

To use the live view mode of your camera handheld is not actually the best option for the best results, but I do strongly recommend using the LV of your camera while mounted on a tripod.

Wherever you are doing landscape photography, long exposure, nature, macro or even portrait photography, when you use the live view of your camera you are about to discover and use a whole new set of tools.

One of them and the most important one is the ability to use digital zoom on your subject and manual focus for the maximum sharpness. The second one is the usage of the histogram. We can also add up information of the camera levelling, all those settings seen in real-time, the grid for the rule of thirds etc.

There are so much many options to use when the camera is on LV mode. Just make sure you take advantage of them and to be able to improve your DSLR photography, to use the zoom-in function and the manual focus.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #7

Learning the manual focus

Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.2 manual focus lens

Related to the above point, the manual focus is one of the most important parts which a new photographer have to learn and to develop. How hard it can be?

It is not hard at all to be able to use the manual focus of your lens, but to extend this skill, have a quick response of using manual focus and for the best results in different scenarios, you have to practice a lot.

I wrote a post, a beginner guide into manual focus if you are interested in some extra reading.

Pointing this out, I have had bought recently a lens “Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 manual focus” which is a fully MF and aperture lens, one of the best options to learn how to MF and the manual mode of your camera.

If you are willing to learn it, and I very recommend if you are aiming to improve your DSLR photography, learn as much as possible to use the manual focus of your favourite lens.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #8

Understanding in-depth the Exposure Triangle.

aperture on exposure triangle

Hey how! This tip should be number #1 of how to improve your DSLR photography! Why is only here?

Let’s use the logic! It is logic indeed that if you want to improve your DSLR photography it is mandatory to give up the automatic mode and start to learn how to shoot in Aperture mode, in Shutter mode and how to control the ISO on different lighting scenarios.

To understand in-depth, you will have not only to learn them but to practice as much as you can.

As an instance, to understand the aperture mode, you will have to shoot different subjects and scenes with different apertures of your lens and how everything works in relation to the depth of field.

To be able to understand the shutter speed, try working and exposing scenes and subjects to different exposure levels.

When we talk about ISO, we have to think about the sensitivity of your camera image sensor, and when to use it on different scenarios.

How well do you know the exposure triangle and when is the last time you were thinking about it when you were taking photos with your DSLR?

How to improve your DSLR Photography #9

Time of the day

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

If you are taking photographs at 13:00 hours in mid-day with the sun up in the sky on a beautiful day, you would probably won’t be able to take the best shots, unless you are either indoors, in a forest or somewhere away from the strong sunrays and the pale colour which normally ruins your photos.

Is not about to describe “ruining” more than “creating” an unpleasant mood of your photograph, marking it as being “nothing special”.

If you want you can do the “one-day photography challenge” to understand the best times of the day when to take photographs in relation to your photography niche?

Try taking a photograph to the same scene every two or three hours, from early morning (before sunrise) to late evening (after sunset) and then compare them to see which is the best looking scene and how can you use that to improve your DSLR photography for your niche.

But to short answer, for the majority of photography types, the best times of the day where photography will look much better is the golden hour, before and after the sunset.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #10

Knowing which lens to use

Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.2 manual focus lens

One of the greatest advantages of owning a DSLR camera is that you can attach and interchange many lenses from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, from prime to zoom lenses, giving you the endless possibilities to use your DSLR camera

To improve your DSLR photography you will have to know what you are aiming for. Here are two main categories I want to talk about

  • Prime vs Zoom Lenses

A post I wrote about Prime vs Zoom lenses will explain in detail the difference and the advantages/disadvantages of using a prime or a zoom lens for your camera

To make a 3000 words post short in just a few words, the main advantages of using a prime lens is the wide aperture and the sharpness compared to the zoom lenses, and the advantages of zoom lenses over prime ones is the ability to zoom at different focal lengths.

What type of photography or niche you are in? Think and decide which is the best lens for you in order to improve your DSLR photography.

  • Focal Length of a lens

For you to better understand it, related to the niche of photography you are in, what focal length you do need? As an instance, are you or you want to be a landscape photographer, portrait, sports, street photographer?

Any niche in photography will benefit more by choosing the right lens with the right focal length. As a street photographer may like the 35mm lenses, a landscape photographer maybe goes with an 18mm lens. Sure thing that you can use a 35mm, 50mm or even a telephoto lens for landscape photography, but you have to think yourself, which lens is the best for you in order to improve your DSLR photography?

Think about sharpness and other benefits of the lens of your choice.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #11

Creating HDR images

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

HDR comes from High Dynamic Range and is the ability to stack different exposures of the same image for better control over highlights and shadows, into one final image

With so many things to remember to keep in mind when we are taking photographs, it is easy to forget about HDR and how important it can be in so many situations, in special around cityscapes, landscapes and sunset, nature and other scenes where the highlights are spiking out of the graph and the shadows are too dark.

I would recommend having a read on my other post about how to shoot in HDR if you want to know more about it.

Mobile phones have the option (at least the iPhones) which allows you to shoot in HDR, creating phone photography greater than anything. But here we are talking about DSLR photography and what can we do to improve it right?

The easiest way to shoot HDR with your DSLR to the same scene is as follows:

  • Pick up your scene you want to shoot and set your camera on a tripod (handheld is fine also)
  • Set your camera as required per scene and set your EV compensation to -2 and take a shoot
  • After each shoot, add some value to the EV compensation (e.g. -1.7,-1.3,-1,-0.7,-0.3,0,+0.3,+0.7,+1,+1.3,+1.7,+2) and take a shot for each value.
  • Make sure that you do not move your camera at all or your focus, and you do not shoot in AUTO mode.
  • You can use 3 exposures for an HDR photo or 15 of them. More you use better control over the dynamic range.
  • The images you can stack (simply) in Lightroom, or Photoshop. Cannot say anything about other post-processing software.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #12

Training your photographic eye

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

You may’ve been heard about photographic eye or having an eye for photography. But how can you actually train this and what can you do to improve your DSLR photography in relation to the eye for photography?

Although this doesn’t apply only with DSLR photography but photography in general, this is one of the most important steps possible to become a brilliant photographer. You can have in-depth knowledge about photography but without a photographic eye, you may not be able to take exceptional pictures.

Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to arrange elements into the composition, how to chose the scene, to know how to work with the lighting available, and to know what does worth being photographed and how can you do this better than some other photographers out there.

Training your photographic eye requires something a bit more than knowledge: practice and the real passion for photography in order to accomplish that.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #13

Creating a challenge

Wherever is a 30-day challenge, 90-day challenge or 365-day challenge, you must be in a photography challenge if possible

Shooting every day with your DSLR will definitely improve your DSLR photography and you are not shooting blindly without any plans in place, you will follow a challenge.

It is also good to make either an album or share on social media your photography progress throughout the challenge.

Applying all the other tips from this post to a photography challenge can change the way you learn and develop your photographic skills.

But because I want to get you into this and to help you achieve your photography goals by improving your DSLR photography, I will put down a 30-day challenge created by me (unique though lol). The idea is to take a photograph every day for 30 days with your DSLR as per challenge (you can share them on social media if Instagram use the #photornia to share it with us)

What you need for this challenge is: A DSLR camera, lens, tripod and the dedication for you to do this

30-day photography challenge

  1. Rule of thirds – Take a photo to a subject or scene were applying the rule of thirds have a positive impact on your photograph
  2. Black & White – A photograph taken with your DSLR to anything of your choice, in black&white. You have to use your imagination for the best results
  3. Shallow depth of field – Take a photo to a subject where the depth of field is very shallow and captivating
  4. Sunrise or Sunset – Are you able to take a good sunrise or sunset photographs?
  5. Long exposure (water) – Find a river, waterfall or any moving water source and take a long exposure shot of it. Make it silky
  6. Panorama – Capture a panoramic shot of a scene
  7. Cityscape – Take a photo to your town or city (if possible) from the outside. Create an amazing cityscape picture
  8. Spot colour photograph – Are you okay to try some post-processing? create a spot colour photograph for this day (you pick the subject). Have an extra read about spot colour photography
  9. HDR picture – Create an HDR photograph by taking a series of different exposures of a scene of your choice.
  10. Landscape Photograph – You are on your third of your challenge. You have to take a good landscape photograph. Are you able to do that?
  11. Leading Lines – Take a picture where the leading lines are highlighting the scene. Have a read about the leading lines (external link)
  12. Architecture – Are you able to take any architectural photographs? I guess you are living in a place close enough to some buildings with a nice structure. If not, any building will do (only if not. It’s a challenge, remember? xD)
  13. Ambient light – Wherever is a candle burning or an ambient light, set up your camera on a tripod and take a good ambient photograph. Try to match the same lighting (don’t overexpose the candlelight though)
  14. Reflection – A puddle, lake, any water which is calm and have a nice reflection will do. Try to take a photograph of the scene through the reflection.
  15. Macro (or close-up) photographs – Here we are on your half-way through the challenge. If you own a lens with macro capabilities, now is the time for you to do a macro shot. If you don’t, a close-up will be okay. You can have a read more about macro photography here.
  16. Silhouettes – Have you ever done silhouette photographs? it is not hard. Have a read here for more information (external link)
  17. Emotion – Try to photograph anything which can create an emotion, a message or a mood. As an example, a sad old person sitting in the park on the bench.
  18. Candid – Capture the everyday life of people in a public place (like going to work, talking etc.)
  19. Nature photograph – Take a photo in nature, showing the beauty of it. If its winter time, show the opposite of beauty.
  20. Street photography – now you did two-thirds of the challenge. It is time to take some good street photographs.
  21. Fine art – Create an artistic image which can be considered fine-art.
  22. Textures. – Are you able to take photographs to a scene where the main element is a texture? (example, uniform brick wall)
  23. Light trails at night – Have you ever took light trails photographs? It is not hard as long as you have a tripod. Have a read here for more information about how to photograph light trails
  24. Bokeh. – Take a photo to a subject with nice bokeh in the background. It would be nice if this is done during the night, but not mandatory.
  25. Portrait photography – Now is time for some portrait photography. A friend, family member or a known person can help you if you are not willing to do it on a model.
  26. Lens flare – shoot against the sun and get some crazy-good-looking lens flares.
  27. Fast shutter speed – Take a photo to a fast-moving subject with fast shutter speed. Freeze the time. (car running, helicopter blades, high-speed bikers)
  28. Vertorama – Create a vertorama to a scene (vertical panorama)
  29. Food photographs – Everyone likes to take snapshots for Instagram of food. Now is the time that you do this professionally with your DSLR.
  30. Astrophotography – And the final challenge is to get out at night and take some crazy astrophotographs of the night sky, the milky way. If by any chance the 30th day is cloudly (which I doubt), wait for the first clean night in order to finish this challenge.

The above challenge would definitely improve your DSLR photography overall. Keep in mind (my challenge recommendation) that for the everyday challenges, is better to take a series of photographs or even have a photo session on the specific subject. In this way, you can learn a bit more from everything.

I created this challenge with the mission in my mind to be realisable to complete even by a beginner photographer and not some crazy scenarios where you have to go on a mountain or do some underwater photographs. But do not say it twice 🙂 xD

How to improve your DSLR Photography #14

Black and white photography

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

Indeed a real technique to improve your DSLR photography and the images you took is to convert them in black and white. Did you know that b&w photographs are considered to be the timeless photos?

To shoot directly in black and white from your DSLR camera although it’s possible, I do not recommend it. Scenes, street photography and so many scenarios where normal coloured photography may look okay, a black and white one can look fabulous.

With black and white photography is everything about retouching your photo and not only converting it to b&w. Think about the fact that those photos are actually made in greyscale from the very bright white to the very dark black.

Two very important factors which can have a major impact on black and white photographs and to improve them are:

  • Contrast. In this type of photography, contrast is very important to set some boundaries on the greyscale area, where the darks and shadows should not always be a pale sort of grey but a true contrasted black. This won’t always work and it will be different with every photograph and in every scenario, but controlling the contrast you can control the intensity of the photo itself in relation to the monochrome levels.
  • Lighting. In direct relation with contrast, lighting has a direct impact on how a b&w photo can look. As there are no colours, the intensity and clarity of the highlights and the lights, in general, can have a great impact on the look of an image.

Behind a great b&w photograph and the ability to create b&w images from the ordinary ones, underlines the importance of this point on improving your DSLR photography which is not always related to camera techniques and ideas.

How to improve your DSLR Photography #15

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

Respecting the 5 main key points

If you followed my blog you will probably notice that along with some posts I largely spoke about the 5 main key points to succeed in photography and prevent us to fail as photographers. The subject is largely debated on my other post “why photographers fail in photography and how can you prevent that”

In DSLR photography, the same 5 key points apply as in the image above. In order to be a successful photographer and know how to use your DSLR on another level, you have to work around with those 5 points.

5 key points to succeed in photography

  1. Consistency
  2. Knowledge
  3. Creativity
  4. Dedication
  5. Mental awareness
  1. In order to learn DSLR photography and to improve it, you have to be consistent in what you are doing and to shoot regularly not only to post on social media or to boost your portfolio. Although this is like learning to ride a bike which you will probably never forget how to do it in your lifetime, without consistency in photography you will forget in time even the basic things.
  2. Knowledge is a golden key towards the success and you have to keep it shining. Reading this blog post I hope gave you some basics knowledge on how to improve your DSLR photography but is not only about that. Keep yourself updated, read and watch videos, take regular courses and get some knowledge about photography. A person can learn a lifetime from others, no matter of the experience.
  3. Creativity. As I’ve spoken about creativity, this is not something you can learn from a book or courses, but something you can develop in time by practising. Every person is creative in different ways and has different levels of creativity. Although this cannot be learned but gained as a skill, getting some tips about some creative ideas can help you develop yourself faster.
  4. Dedication. With dedication is everything depending on the photographer and how much you are willing to get the things done, how far are you willing to go in order to improve your DSLR and photography in general and how much do you wish your success in photography?
  5. Whenever you have a bad day or feeling under the weather, do not force or push yourself over the limits to get better in what you are doing because sometimes this can have a different result. Be aware and set yourself a realistic goal, hope, and you will see that naturally, your photography skills will improve.

Improve your DSLR photography by your niche.

When you are a “general photographer” you are shooting from landscapes, street, portrait, nature, macro and so many other types of photography. It is hard to keep up not only with information to do it properly but to get experience throughout all the niches.

There are a few percentages of photographers, this includes me, who are not specialised or focused on any specific niche, although they have some knowledge, what can I say about underlining the top niches in photography where I can give some tips about how to improve your DSLR photography on the niche.

Focusing on a niche will help you to develop your DSLR skills in that niche and learn way much faster than being a general photographer.

Landscape photography

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

In landscape photography, you will need a few key things to be able to be successful, such as patience, dedication and a great passion in order to do that.

A landscape photographer sometimes will have to wait many hours for a good photograph of the scene, for the lighting condition to be good, for the weather to be optimal etc.

In terms of gear and to improve your landscape photography, keep in mind that you will need a minimum of a good DSLR camera (pref. full-frame), sharp wide lens, a tripod and ND / Polarizer filters.

A polarizer filter will diminish the reflecting waters, increase the contrast of the image and darkens the sky a bit while the ND filters will stop a great amount of light to come into your camera sensor allowing you to take long-exposure photographs, somehow essential for landscape photography.

A good full-frame camera with a sharp lens is essential in order to deliver the best out of it. A wide lens is a photographer choice. As I’ve probably mentioned above, some photographers like to take wide-angle landscape photographs with an 18mm or 24mm, some others don’t mind a 35mm or 50mm

But did you ever think about doing landscape photography with a 105mm maybe or a telephoto lens?

Here is a video on YouTube from Andy Mumford explaining the importance and the capabilities of using a telephoto lens in landscape photography with great results.

Street Photography

shop night photograph handheld

What is the mission of a street photographer? to take great street photographs? Not necessarily! To deliver a message, an emotion, a story from behind the “streets” of a city.

As a street photographer and in order to improve your DSLR street photography, you will have not only to take good quality and unique images out of your imagination but to deliver a good story.

A photo is a thousand words. Add a few more up.

When you are on the streets with the camera in your hand, think what can you do to improve yourself, to make the best out of your camera? Imagination and creativity.

Black and white photography is a key part of street photography. Not all the photographs have to be black and white, but then you create a story, an emotion, a message.

Moreover, you can try to do night street photography, which is another story!

Those ideas or techniques, as you will like to call them, cannot be learned but have to be experienced by yourself.

There is this video on YouTube from Pierre T. Lambert who created a video about night street photography (external link). Many photographers enjoy street photography and the experience of being a street photographer.

Although I am not a person dedicated to any niche, this is the one I enjoy the most.

Astrophotography

milky way taken with 50mm f1.2 prime lens

In order to improve your astrophotography (DSLR), you have a long journey as this is probably one of the hardest niches in photography to get amazing results. But in the end, this will worth every second and appreciation.

In astrophotography, always remember my “4s rules” in order to improve it.

  1. The 500 rule of the night sky. To be able to take sharp photographs of the night sky without any star trails, you need to divide the number 500 to the focal length of your lens (e.g. 500/24mm= 20.8) About 20.8 seconds is the maximum exposure length you have to take to avoid creating star trails. But always cut 2 extra seconds for safety.
  2. When you are taking night sky photographs, to improve your DSLR photographs of the night sky think to take a series of exposures rather than a single exposure. As an instance, a series of 10x15sec exposures will help you reduce the image noise a lot in post-processing.
  3. One another tip from my 4s rules in astrophotography is the scene. Most of the times try to take night sky photographs with foreground elements (such a lighthouse) because those will always boost the beauty of those photographs
  4. The necessity of a wireless shutter remote to avoid inducing any shakes to your camera. Also, set your camera on quiet, when the first trigger of the shutter will open the mirror and then the second one will expose the photo. This also reduces your image noise resulted from the mirror slamming every time you take a photo.

Have a look at this video by Cory Schmitz on YouTube who is largely talking about beginner DSLR night sky astrophotography.

Portrait photography

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

In portrait photography, you need a few things to get you successful (and one of them is the experience, too.) First I want to mention is the gear and what is the best gear you can have as a portrait photographer.

A full-frame DSLR always goes above an APS-C DSLR due to the larger sensor which allows a shallower depth of fields, beautiful bokeh and better low light photography.

A prime lens will come first. Again, wider aperture, shallower depth of field, bokeh, better sharpness.

The focal length. A portrait photographer can use lenses between 24mm and 105mm for the best images, 50mm and 85mm looking the best. Not all the photographers will approve my sayings because everyone’s eye for photography is different, but from my personal point of view and most photographer’s choice would be a 50mm or 85mm prime lens.

And not the last, but one of the key factors of success would be your model of course. And not only your model to look good or your subject (which is not always that important) but communicating with him or her.

Communication is a key factor. Expressing moods and feelings through your images will add great value than taking some simple images. Do not forget to be in charge when is about communication.

Watch this video from Taylor Jackson on YouTube about Portrait photography in natural lights.

Macro Photography

How to Improve your DSLR Photography

Thinking about some extra tips on how to improve your DSLR in macro photography, there are a few things behind which I want to talk about.

We know that one point is the usage of a tripod when taking macro photography (not all the time). Did you ever try with an extension arm? If you want to read more check our macro photography post.

When you use your DSLR to shoot macro from a tripod, you can use the live view mode and zoom into the image, then manual focus on your macro subject.

Think about aperture and depth of field. One another best tip in Macro Photography is to use the focus stacking method (Wikipedia link). Taking a series of images on the same subject while focusing on different focus distances on your subject, then stack in Photoshop, allows you to create images with the subject very clearly in focus and the background having a shallow depth of field.

This will probably not work on moving or flying subjects such as insects, but with flowers or any other macro elements will do just fine.

Macro photography outdoors can be a nightmare on windy conditions. When magnifying on 1:1 or 1:2 it is hard to keep and to focus on your macro subject. Even a light breeze can make this harder and much harder.

If you want you can watch this video from Photography Life about macro photography tutorial for beginners.

Wedding photography

If you want to get yourself better and improve your wedding photography, the first thing you have to tick is the knowledge you have about portrait photography.

Wedding photography is portrait taken on another level, group photographs and keeping yourself extremely busy by shooting the bride (with the camera, of course).

Things can get more complicated when you are over-requested by clients and to take thousands of photos, it can be hard to do it by yourself and to carry all the gear. An assistant will be priceless to help you with everything

Moreover, wedding photography is about the tons of gear you need to have, incl. the lights, reflectors, cameras, lenses, batteries, maybe a drone etc.

But highlighting how to improve your DSLR photography in relation with weddings, is to master your gear, to know how to work with any scenes and scenarios given, to master the lighting but the most important part is to be in charge when it’s about photography.

Event or concert photography

concert event photography

What can be worse when you do not have any control over lighting and you find yourself in a crowd with a DSLR in your hand but you want to take some good shots?

Over the years I’ve participated and took part in some concert photography and there are a few things I want you to remember when is about that.

First to know is to get a good spot or position. Concert? Get a spot close to the scene or backstage. Events? Get a spot closer to where the actions are happening. People tend to be okay to let photographers be in the first row or near the event spot. If you cannot get anything, look for alternatives

The second thing to keep in mind is to have the right lens for your DSLR in relation to the event or concert. As an instance, if you are in Spain where toreadors are taking place, you will probably need a telephoto lens as you do not want to get too close. If you are backstage of a concert, you probably need a short focal distance lens such as 35 or 50mm prime lens with a large aperture.

Yes, a large aperture is crucial when is about concerts. You do not have control over lighting, therefore, you need some control over the shutter speed. A wide-open aperture on a lens can offer you that without to crazily boost your ISO where all the images are going to be noisy. An f/1.4 or f/1.8 should be just fine.

And one another thing is that if you got a contract to a photoshoot at a concert or event, make sure you have a second camera not only as a backup but to avoid interchanging lenses, with two good lenses which will fit the best for that type of event.

A new day, a new fresh start!

There are millions of photographers around this little planet, millions of people who had to work hard to learn their way in DSLR photography. Everything is related to you, how much you are willing to go to improve your DSLR photography, and not I am not talking about courses and books, I am talking about doing something to help you do this.

When I first started this photography blog, I had my intention to help other photographers and people in photography with the best tips I can provide. Recently, I started to update all the post and to put all the passion behind every each of them to create the best material you can find on the internet when is related to photography.

With hard work, this will be possible. This is my dream as a blogger and a photographer. But you as a photographer, what are your dreams? what are you aiming to achieve?

Improving your DSLR photography or better said photography, in general, will definitely help you achieve those things as it helped to achieve mine. Years back, I was reading tutorials and watching videos. Now I want to share all of the above tips and ideas with you.

For sure this post will see more updates in the future, but for now, I have to say goodbye and I hope you found this helpful. You can have a little more read on some of the posts I wrote below in the recommended section.

Take care, my friend. Give us a share to spread the love of DSLR photography

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