Photography, Website & Print Design solutions.

Basic photography tips

Here’s a few tips/suggestions on taking and editing – or post processing your photos, I hope this post helps you get creative and take better photos if your new to photography.

Two most important tips with any camera to produce better photos:
1. CLEAN THE LENS! A dirty lens results in poor quality photos as it smudges the light hiting the sensor and can add dust speckles.
2. HOLD THE CAMERA STILL! The biggest cause of blurred images is caused by camera shake – this can happen just by the pressure of pressing the button. Ideally support your camera or your body with a tripod, wall, rock or something soldid. Improvise if you have to.
And a couple more:
3. Use the available light to it’s best advantage for your device. Move your position to try some different angles – be aware of back light subjects, they will come out dark.
4. Composition. Generally “the rule of thirds” works best for balanced photos – however, I consider it it more of a guideline than a rule. Divide your image area into thirds and line features up like eyes, horizons with these lines as can be seen below. In most cameras and phone settings you can turn on a grid/guide to help you. Always try to keep the horizon horizontal – unless you’re deliberately doing it for artistic reasons.

Rule of thirds - more of a guideline.

Rule of thirds – more of a guideline.

If you use a phone, there are some great free apps that allow you to do some impressive stuff quite easily before uploading. If you have an Android phone, Snapseed (by Google) is very easy use with a introductory tutorial.
I now use one called HandyPhoto, which is similar but I find it more powerful and doesn’t seem to introduce as much grain when pushing HDR and some other filters – I’m not sure if these are available on Apple’s store.
Unfortunately neither of these will let you put text for a watermark over your image, but “Photo Editor” will (though it’s a little clumsy) and it will also let you crop and resize the image before uploading.
If you are concerned about your photos being stolen – and unfortunately it does happen, you should add a subtle watermark and upload them at a reduced size – around 1200px wide or 800px high is large enough to be viewed online but won’t print very well at larger sizes. Reducing the size before upload also saves your data while your roaming 🙂

you can see more detail on a big PC screen than a phone screen when editing. On PC I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, which is brilliant but quite expensive! It is the last version which doesn’t require an ongoing subscription. You may be eligible for the discounted education version of Adobe Creative Cloud or Lightroom if you are a student.

For a very powerful FREE editor, try GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program.
It’s open source and available for PC and Mac.
I haven’t used it in some time but it has many of the tools in Photoshop.
There are tutorials and documentation available on the site – and also search the university of YouTube 🙂

I took this shot on my old Samsung Galaxy S3 using the built in HDR (Hight Dynamic Range) mode below, which brings out the detail in high contrast areas (highlights and shadows). The camera takes several shots and combining them automatically so you do have to hold it still.
By experimenting and using a phones inbuilt features you can get the best out of it and achieve surprisingly good results.

Sunrise Hobart HDR and edited.

This Photo was taken on a Samsung Galaxy S3 using HDR mode and edited with Snapseed.

Original Normal mode Jpg

This is the original unedited “normal” mode JPG from the S3.

Unedited HDR mode JPG from the S3.

This is the original unedited JPG in HDR mode on the S3. You can clearly see much more detail in the highlights and shadows.

I stumbled upon the following handy image size guide for uploading to different Social media on Pinterest – thought I’d share here.

Original source:

I previously had a problem with Facebook compression making some of my images look pretty ordinary.
By experimenting before I found the guide above,  I got the best results with images 1000 – 1200 pixels which were not compressed before uploading. In Photoshop I set the jpg image quality to 10. Looking at the chart above I got it right 🙂

By cropping and resizing your images correctly before upload you also save on Data which is important if on a limited plan.
If uploading some photos from your phone to Instagram, you can share it from the same upload to FB, Tumbler, Flickr and a few others – which saves time and multiple uploading / data.


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