Three Important Photography Rules

Today, I’m talking to you about three important photography rules.

Every professional photographer had to learn his craft somewhere, somehow.

Just like you, there was a day when even the best of photographers picked up their cameras for the first time and had no clue about how to use them. Decades later, people are pouring through the internet to see and admire their work.

No person alive is born with a knowledge of their craft. And that goes for techniques and rules of photography.

 

In this post, I want to introduce you to three of what I consider some of the most important rules in photography. So lets jump in!

 

Shoot in RAW

You will often be told by non-photography people that you should not edit your pictures. They will say things like: “real professionals don’t edit,” “you are not representing the scene in a natural setting” or some other nonsense along these lines.

Although there are many people who believe that most published photographs are unedited, we do not know any professional photographers who do not post-process their pictures. And if they do it, you should too!

To maximize your editing options, you must shoot in RAW. This is the first of our three important photography rules. Why? Because when you shoot in JPEG, your camera does a tremendous amount of compression that severely limits your editing capabilities. When shooting in RAW, that compression does not take place.

When first setting up your camera, you will come across a choice of what format you want your pictures to be taken. A lot of beginners go for large JPEG format. Although this gives you the maximum quality that a JPEG can have, this also puts you within a tight frame of limitations.

However, RAW format captures all of the details in highlights and shadows. It takes in

as many colors as your sensor can handle, and tries to preserve every little bit of information. When you choose to shoot in JPEG, that information gets compressed and eventually deleted. After all, an average size of a JPEG is 5MB while RAW files can often be up to 45MB in size.

To make your editing process easier, and give yourself more options, stick to shooting in RAW. RAW files will always outperform the best quality JPEGs, and the final product will always be of a more professional quality.

 

Use the Rule of Thirds

You need to start your photo with a good composition. With good composition, you can lead the viewer into the

picture, find new and interesting angles, and emphasize the main part of your photograph. Though it may sound difficult, there is a secret rule to help you get there – the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds states that you divide the picture into three equal parts vertically and horizontally. This creates a grid with nine squares and four intersecting lines. The four places where the lines meet are where your picture’s focal points should be placed. And if you are taking a picture of a landscape, you can use the horizontal lines of the grid to create a perfect balance between your horizon and the sky – a pretty nifty trick, eh?

Of course, there are more techniques for a good composition that professional photographers use. But for someone who is just starting out, with not much knowledge or experience in photography, the rule of thirds is a great place to start. It is a simple, elegant, and very natural way to compose your pictures.

(For more on the Rule of Thirds, go get my free eBook: A QuickStart Guide to Digital Photography – for Beginners.)

 

Shoot During Golden Hour

The final of our three important photography rules is regarding the Golden Hour.

Golden hour is a magical time, one hour after sunrise, and one hour before sunset. It’s when the sun is low on the horizon and it gives the most amazing warm light. Shadows are dramatically increased and the colors of nature really “pop”. This is the time that all of the pros aim for when photographing clients, landscapes, etc.

Having the sun high in the sky makes everything flat and overlit. There are no shadows, and the color of light is pretty dull. Generally, this results in pictures that are boring and lack any character. The only exception to this is when the sky is cloudy. Then the clouds act as diffusers, softening the light and helping you light your portraits.

But your real aim in timing for your photos should be in that magical period we call Golden Hour.

 

I hope you take these three rules and apply them! To learn more, check out Evan Sharboneau’s Photography Masterclass course. I took this course and it helped me tremendously!

Three Things

Three Things You Should Never Do With Your Camera.

Here are the three things you should really avoid!

Don’t leave your camera in your car.

(The first of our three things, I’m guilty of this one.)

Three things you should never do

It’s not just the danger of your camera (and gear) being stolen, it’s also that, if you leave yo

ur camera gear in the car it can get too hot or too cold.

The electronics inside your camera are incredibly delicate, and depending on the season, they can freeze or fry. Nether of these two options are good.

The image sensor, in particular, is extremely sensitive, so leaving your camera in your car exposes it to increased danger of suffering from extreme temperatures.

It’s not just the sensor that can suffer, either. You might find that after a hot afternoon in the car that your LCD and other electronics don’t work too.

So, if you’ll be away from the car for awhile, take your gear with you, or better yet, if you won’t be using your gear, just leave it at home!

 

Don’t Shoot One-Handed

(I’m guilty of this one too.)

Shooting one-handed is only inviting a disaster.

Without a stable base, your camera is susceptible to camera shake. Camera shake occurs from the minute movements of your body as you hold the camera, and those movements are only amplified with you shoot with just one hand.

But, it’s not always possible to have a tripod handy, so if you have to shoot handheld, at least give yourself a better chance of a sharp photo.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and angle one foot outward to increase stability.

Tuck your elbows into your chest, too, to help prevent your arms from moving as much as possible.

Finally, get a firm grip with your right hand on the camera grip and place your left hand under the camera body as shown above.

This optimizes stability for the camera and will get you a sharper photo. 🙂 You’re welcome.

 

Don’t Turn Your Camera On and Off

(Alas, I’m guilty of this one as well. 😞)

Though it might seem strange, constantly turning your camera on and off will kill the battery much faster than if you simply let it go to sleep.

That’s because each time you cycle from off to on, the LCD, the sensor cleaner, and other electronics suck power out of the battery.

Instead, just let your camera go to sleep, and if you need to shoot again in quick order, simply wake it up.

You can determine how long your camera stays on, too, ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes.

Check your camera’s owner’s manual for specific instructions regarding how to change that setting.

 

I hope this quick post has been helpful to you! Remember to treat your gear with respect.

Also feel free to check out the shop to see some cool merchandise that I use form business!

If you like this kind of stuff, feel free to join my Facebook Group!

 

Photography Education

Let’s Talk Photography Education

There are a lot of ways that you can go about photography education. There’s crash-coursing it, college courses, mentorships that you can pay for, Youtube videos, and then there are my favorite: digital courses. The reason I like these so much is that they combine video education (similar to that of Youtube), but from a professional, and all for a much lower cost than college courses.
You may be asking why you you couldn’t just go get the information for free from Youtube. You could, but then you have to spend time finding the specific videos that you want to watch, spend time watching them, and then if you ever want to reference them in the future, you have to spend more time looking for them again.

That is all avoided by learning with a digital course. These courses are built and curated specifically with the beginner photographer in mind, they are quite extensive, and they can be accessed from your home computer, a laptop or from your smartphone, while you are on the go! I found two courses online that are wonderful and that I believe could help you if you are wanting to gain a deeper understanding of photography.

What I have for you!

The first is the Photography Masterclass Video Course, put together by Evan Sharboneau, and this course is the real deal. In total, you’ll receive 29 videos, totaling 11 1/2 hours of tutorials, covering everything from camera basics, all the way up to intermediate editing. I bought the course, and it’s fantastic! And for $59, it’s a steal. you can’t even buy a college photography class textbook for $59!

The second is the Landscape Photography eBook by award winning photographer, Kajo Merkert. This ebook places a very direct approach toward landscape photography and how to use even the most entry-level DSLRs and equipment to get stunning landscape photos. He also teaches, in-depth, the editing, retouching, and blending processes. This ebook is priced at $19 and, believe me, it WAY underpriced.

I hope you find value from one of these products that I went out and found for you. I’m all about helping new photographers out, and I believe the Photography Masterclass Course and the Landscape eBook will do just that!

See them below for more info!

Photography Masterclass PhotoLandscape Photography

Eneloop Battery

Eneloop Battery Regular Rechargeable Whites

I felt the need to write this review because I have a lot of photographers, both beginners and pros, ask me what kind of

batteries I use in my speed light and my flash triggers (transmitter/receivers). Batteries are a tricky subject. Often, they can be really expensive and not really put out very good results. So let me start at the onset of this post and say that I have used many different batteries for my photography equipment – from low-end disposable batteries from Dollar Tree (the worst), to the very best (in my opinion), the rechargeable Eneloop Battery by Panasonic.

One battery that I spent a while using, before the Eneloop Battery (pronounced: ANY-loop), was the Energizer Recharge® battery. These were very good for short photoshoots and portrait sessions, however, when it came to weddings, they just couldn’t hold up. I found myself changing them out of my speed light 2-3 times at every wedding. I just don’t have the time for that. On top of this, the speed light recycle time was not very great.

With the Eneloop Battery, the recycle time is virtually instant when the batteries are full, and then the recycle time lags about .5-1 second once the batteries become worn out. They come fully charged, from the factory, which is something that you don’t normally see in electronics or batteries.

Eneloop Pro rechargeable battery

Now, the Eneloop Battery is a little more on the pricey side when it comes to something like batteries, however, they’re not much more expensive than the Energizer Recharge® option. One key thing to keep in mind when buying rechargeable batteries, is to make sure you get the set with the charger the first time you buy them. Otherwise you’ll be buying some really expensive disposables! Haha!

Now, the Eneloop batteries come in two options: the regular version (white) and the pro version (black). With the regulars, you have a very strong, reliable battery that boasts up to 2100 recharges and lasts 5 years (or longer). That’s pretty amazing. With the pro version you basically have a rechargeable battery on steroids. While the pro version only boasts 500 recharges and a 1-2 year life, they really make up in the area of performance. Which, let’s be real, is the reason they have a significantly shorter lifespan than the Regulars

 

If you want to look into buying your own set of Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries whether they be the Regular (White) or the Pros (Black), simply click one of the photos above!

Stay tuned for more awesome reviews and posts coming soon! To see more of the equipment that I use, please visit my Store.