50 Things to Know About Photography: Taking the Perfect Picture

50 Things to Know About PhotographyOf all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.

—Walt Disney Company


1.  Know Your Camera

Read all the instructions and information that comes with the camera. However, do not stop there. Go on-line to look for additional information about your specific camera model. Also, look for posted comments from others who have your type of camera. You can learn much from reading about the experiences of other amateur photographers.

2.  Practice with Your Camera

Experience is the best teacher. Use your camera diligently for a few days, taking pictures of everything. Do close ups, inside shots, outside shots, and candid family snaps. Learn what every button on your camera does. Try the same shot with and without the flash. Practice shooting under a variety of lighting conditions and from different angles. Try each of the built-in features included in your camera.

3.  Take Plenty of Pictures

The great thing about digital cameras is that you do not have to “waste” film, so snap away. Not only are you more likely to get the perfect picture, but the more pictures you take, the better you will become at doing so. Review the pictures you have taken to determine what methods work best for various shots.

4.  Buy a Big Memory Card

Buying a big memory card allows you to take and keep many pictures. Remember: we said that experience is the best teacher, so you want to snap a great number of pictures. Consider buying an extra memory card, “Just in case . . .”

5. Charge Your Batteries

Always keep charged batteries with you. Put your batteries in the charger every time you finish a photo session. Have spares and keep one charging while you are using your camera. Just do not forget to make sure you have a charged battery in your camera before taking off for a picture taking session.

6. Carry Spare Batteries

Digital cameras use up a great deal of battery power, especially when you use the LCD screen. There is nothing worse than having your battery die in the middle of an event or activity you are photographing and not having a charged spare. Many photographers have three batteries: one in their camera, a charged spare with them, and one in the charger getting ready.

7. Consider an External Flash

Many digital cameras have a built in flash feature that pops up automatically when lighting is low. These are convenient, but you may want to get an external flash. Doing so gives you more control over lighting. Examine your camera for a “hot shoe” near the top where the external flash unit attaches to your camera. Make sure you take the camera with you to the store to obtain the right model of external flash attachment

8. Trap Your Shots with a Tripod

When you are taking photos of small objects close-up, minor movements may ruin your picture. Avoid them by using a tripod. Having a tripod makes panning easier and more fluid. A tripod is also great for nature shots, when you may only have a few seconds to capture the shot. Take your camera to the store to make sure you get the correct tripod for your camera model. A good tripod will help steady your camera and ensure sharp pictures. In addition, if you have a tripod, you can be in the pictures of your family.

9. Remember Your Strap

Always put the strap over your wrist when you pick up your camera. The old saying, “An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure,“ is applicable here. Should your camera slip out of your hands, the strap will keep your camera from hitting a possible hard surface and shattering.

10. Use a Carrying Case

Your camera probably came with a carrying case. Use it. If your case just holds your camera, consider buying a larger case that will hold all your equipment, such as extra lenses, memory cards, and spare batteries. Take your camera with you to the store, so you are able toreceive advice as to the best carrying case to meet your needs.


Please read all 50 Tips and learn more about this book:50 Things to Know About Photography  by Lisa Rusczyk Ed.D.