Photographer tips on how to set up your camera and take better pictures.

Sometimes better photos result from a better understanding of the critical ways you set up your camera. Here are some things that will make all your photos better.

  • Flash cards. Always buy a brand name (e.g Sandesk, Lexar, Kodak). Get the fastest speed you can afford. The bottleneck for the camera being ready for the next image is the speed that the camera can download the photograph to the card. The larger the image, the longer it takes, but the faster the card, the quicker it is. This is really important if you use your motor drive a lot.
  • The best way to delete images is to always format your card in your camera, never just erase the images. You will find the format command in one of your in-camera menus.  You should download the images to your computer after each photo session, no matter how short, and make a backup copy of course, then format the card.
  • Never transfer files from your camera to the computer. There is a lot of technical reasons not to do it this way. The best, safest, and quickest is to get a usb card reader. They are inexpensive, and you just take your memory chip out of the camera, insert it, then download from there. You should have at least two cards; I usually have five. If you are doing a really important shoot, do half the shoot on one card then the other half on the other. If a card goes bad, you only lose half the images. Always format the card before you use it again.
  • File size. Most people are confused by this, as companies like to tell you how many images the card is capable to hold, usually the smallest size. Most cameras are set to a very small file size out of the factory.  Memory cards are cheap; so set your file size to always the finest detail quality, then largest or at least medium size. If you want to do any printmaking, your file should be at least 1.5 megs in size, 3 or 4 is better. Remember, you might want to crop the image too, which reduces the file size.
  • You can always downsize any image (which you should do if you email or post it on a social site) but you cannot increase an image size without degrading the image a lot.

Last few quick things:

  • In low light always use a tripod or stabalize the camera on something so it won’t blur. You can also amp up the ISO on the camera – its “speed” – but older models will show grain. Just remember to put it back once you get into normal light.
  • Try to have your flash off camera, it gives a more flatteringly light. You can also bounce it off the ceiling or use a diffuser to soften and spread the light.
  • If you want to “warm up” your image, set your color temperature to shade or cloudy. The camera will think the scene is blue and add yellow or golden tones to it. A fantastic trick to amp up the life in sunsets.

These few tricks will give you better images with more confidence.


Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.