DIY Photography Tips

When arranging for a professional photographer is not an option, we recommend the following if you choose to do your own photography and are a novice.

Camera Choice

There are two main types of cameras:

  • SLR (Single-lens Reflex)
  • Point and Shoot

Both of these are conveniently available as digital cameras today. If you intend photographing with older style cameras, we shall need to scan the original transparencies / negatives or photographic prints which would result in a loss in quality.

There are numerous factors that contribute to a good photograph, but generally for best quality results we recommend using a Digital SLR camera.

Resolution

Resolution is the amount of detail that a digital camera can capture. It is measured in megapixels. Generally the higher the megapixel count, the more detail is retained in the photograph.

A higher megapixel amount also enables an image to be reproduced at larger sizes. For example a 10 megapixel image can be printed at size A4 with no loss in quality.

It is possible for us to enlarge images using computer software, however doing so does not increase the amount of detail within the image. Hence at some point, the limited detail shall become obvious, and the image perceived to be of low quality.

camera-dialCamera Settings

Camera Mode

If you are unsure about the icons on the dial at the top of your camera, the safest setting is for it to be turned to 'Auto' or 'P' mode.

This lets your camera automatically adjust to the viewing conditions to provide the most satisfactory result.

image qualityImage Quality

Please set the image quality in your camera menu to be of the best quality (usually referred to a 'Super fine').

Resolution

As discussed above, the higher the resolution the more detail can be captured. This results in a larger file size. To accommodate more photographs, your camera may be set to capture at a smaller size. Please check this and set your camera to photograph at the largest size available.

Camera Shake

If a camera is not held steady when the button is depressed, the camera could move while capturing the image causing a blurred photograph.

Camera shake is a common problem with small light weight cameras where even the pressing down on the button could move the camera.

If the photograph is taken in a low light situation, the camera could still be operating for some seconds after the button has been released which makes the camera more vulnerable to movement during this time.

Holding the camera with BOTH hands while lightly pressing the button shall increase the likelihood of a sharp photograph.

Using a good tripod is the better way to reduce camera shake.

Despite using a tripod, camera shake is still possible. For best results, use a shutter release cable if you can, or otherwise the camera's self-timer.

Photo composition

Framing

As we can crop a photograph using software, it is not so important for you to follow typical photo composition rules in framing the photograph.

If you are able to photograph at high resolution, we suggest taking long shots that capture the foreground and background of the subject. Avoid taking close-ups of a subject where part of the subject is cut off.

Background

An image can lose impact if the background is busy. Try to look around for a plain and unobtrusive background to photograph your subject against.

Lighting

The key to good photography is lighting. There are no good and bad rules, as what may be undesirable from one photograph may just be what's requried from another.

This is complex topic which we understand you may have little control over on location. Here are some factors to consider:

Harsh shadows

Harsh shadows can be good for dramatizing three dimensionality. But it could also destroy a photograph, particularly if we are to blend this photograph with another or we are to cut it away from its original background.

Diffused light sources are often the safest. When outdoors, try to photograph on a cloudy day. When indoors, avoid positioning the subject in direct line of a light source. If using an adjustable flash on your camera - aim it at the ceiling to bounce the light off it.

The broader the light source the softer the light – this may mean positioning a light source closer to the subject.

Backlighting

Unless a silhouette is desired, avoid photographing a subject where the light behind is stronger than the light in front. For example avoid photographing against the sun, or a bright window.