How To Take Better Photos

This post is meant for newbie photographers who want to experiment with a little creative control.

So, you’ve bought a shiny new ultra-compact, or the latest DSLR you could afford.  And, you just can’t wait to start shooting every thing that comes your way, eager to show off your photography skills to your friends and family.  But…

When you start using that fancy new camera, you begin to wonder if it was all marketing hype.  Surely, modern technology can’t get that bad?!  Surely all those $$$ you spent on your latest toy couldn’t have been a waste?!

It happens to many of us.  Sometimes, it can get quite intimidating for newbies to get good results from their new tool.  Yes, modern cameras make it very easy to get “technically” good results – provided you let your camera do the thinking.  That means turning the dial to the Green / Auto / Idiot mode and getting predictable, boring results.  But, if you venture into the Program/Aperture/Shutter/Manual modes, or start fiddling around with the 257+ menu items built into your camera, you may soon discover that the results are far from ideal.

If you still want to get more juice out of your camera, and don’t mind learning just a couple of things to begin with, there is still hope.

Here’s a simple 4-Step guide to get you started:

Step 1: Turn the dial to P for Program mode (Use A for Aperture if you’re shooting portraits instead)

Step 2: Compose your frame, Shoot the pic, and review on your LCD screen

Step 3 a: If happy with the result, go to Step 2 to shoot some more!

Step 3 b: If unhappy, find the [+/-] button on your camera, and change the setting to brighter/darker, and then go to Step 2

If your camera offers the option, review the “Histogram” for the pic, and tweak the Exposure settings till you get a well-spaced graph; It is the simplest way to ensure that you have got the required details in the frame, irrespective of the quality/size of your LCD screen.

Step 4: Rinse and repeat from Step 2, for each new frame.

Bottom line : If there’s one thing you need to master to get better results from your camera, it would have to be the Exposure Compensation.  Remember, all cameras “meter” (read the light) differently, and the [+/-] compensation you will need for every frame will vary.  So, learn to use that feature well.  Happy clicking!

Bonus Tip: If you are aiming for “accurate color rendition” in your photos, you will need to get comfy with the White Balance setting on your digital camera.  Again, there is no such thing as the ‘right’ setting – it’s a matter of personal taste.  But, it helps to know what Shade / Tungsten / Flourescent can do for each shot that is not taken in direct sunlight…

See Also : Understanding Histograms

David v Goliath – The Sequel

In early 2003, I wrote a post entitled ‘David v Goliath‘.  At the time, I was moving from a mid-sized organization with more than 800 employees to a specialist e-business consulting firm that employed less than 50 people.

A couple of years later, hungry for some large-scale enterprise experience, I would find myself joining an organization with more than 7,000 employees, and growing at the rate of more than a 100% each year.  I left that organization four years later, after I’d helped scale up business processes impacting more than 30,000 employees, and delivered solutions for a channel/partner network that was 4x the size it was when I’d first joined.  I would soon move to a sister company within the Group that was, at least in some respects, at an earlier point in evolution than the one I was moving from.  This, new, organization employed nearly 3,500 people, but dealt with a hugely diversified range of product & service offerings within the Financial Services space.

My associations with all of these, ranging from small boutique firms to very large enterprises, has been a very rewarding experience in more ways than one.

Over the past few years, when I looked back on all those stints, I could not help but ask myself : Is there a sweet spot for me, personally?  The answer I came up with was, “Yes!”

As of last month, I have accepted an exciting, new assignment as “Head – Business Solutions & Innovation” with a dynamic, highly respected and diversified provider of Financial Services.  While it has a rich past that goes back decades, it also stands poised to leverage new ideas and breakthroughs, offering me the opportunity to be a part of its growth story, in the years to come.

Here’s to a new beginning…

Being a Photographer

I’m beginning to fall in love with lists. 

Here’s a fascinating one on 100 Things Completely Right about being a photographer… (I’m just including a few items from it that I loved the most!)

02. Seeing something that no one else sees.
06. Traveling to weird unheard of places to shoot unheard of things.
28. Giving back.
29. Finding a patch of light to call your own.
31. Seeing a story develop.
43. Curiosity.
49. Having more expensive toys than your kids.
55. Forgetting where your flash is…since 2001.
68. Learning something new.
85. Leaving the suit and tie on a hanger in the back of a closet.
88. Dropping that last image in the FTP folder.

Needless to add, read the entire list… you never know what develops!