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How to take better pictures #photography

I have a DSLR now but back in 2008, just 10 years ago, I started with a Fuji bridge camera with a much smaller sensor which wasn’t so good in low-light. It was really hard to set the aperture, ISO and white balance and so I mostly used scene settings either the one for landscape or the one for portrait. The former gave me a narrow aperture and the latter a wide aperture. Then I realised something, I could set the camera on the landscape setting and sometimes the camera would shoot at f/8 and sometimes wider. It depended on where in the frame I was focusing. If I focused quite close then I got better pictures at a wider aperture. In this shot, I wanted the whole building in focus but I focused on the sign for the hospital which was so new they were still building it.

Better pictures

My Fuji only had one focus point and that was on that sign. My depth of field would be deep and so things start to go out of focus as we go farther away from where the sign was. It’s hardly noticeable and shooting slightly wider gave me a lighter image. A lot of my pictures came out too dark on f/8 which was the narrowest aperture. You won’t get better pictures doing this on some cameras. I saw some shots taken with a smart camera yesterday and the foreground and background were out of focus. I don’t know what the settings were, the camera probably decided everything and set the aperture really wide with the focus being in the middle ground.

Shutter priority versus landscape

I took some landscape shots yesterday on the landscape setting and then again on shutter priority. The difference wasn’t that discernible. On shutter priority I checked the aperture as I  focused on different parts of the scene, the farther away I focused, the narrower the aperture. The aperture varied from f/6.3 to f/11. I had the shutter speed set to 1/100 of a second and the ISO set at 100. On the landscape setting, the ISO went up to 400 and the shutter speeds were much faster typically 1/320 of a second. The colours were a little different as well. In theory the faster shutter speeds should give me sharper pictures but the higher ISO could introduce some noise. I think I got the better pictures on shutter priority with partial manual control. My camera tends to pick up noise when there is fluorescent light and sometimes when the sun is bright. On this occasion, it was sunny but I was in the shade. Overall, I think I will get better pictures doing the settings manually. I usually use aperture priority but I shall try shutter priority more because the camera is quite good at setting the aperture. 1/100 of a second is usually fast enough for landscape shots and it will be interesting to see how the camera sets the aperture on shutter priority in a lot of different situations. I will try some shots with the focus points on distance objects and see what aperture the camera sets and whether the shots come out dark on ISO 100.

I also seem to get better pictures on shutter priority when I’m using a flash so I’ll try that more and see how the camera controls the intensity of the flash.

That’s all for this week. Even if you’re taking photos with your phone where the aperture is fixed try to focus on objects that aren’t very far away.

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