100 Great Tips for the Amateur DSLR Photographer

Project Report, 2010

206 Pages


About The Author

After many years in the commerce, Michael Paulse's has decided to pursue his passion: Photography. His father was an astute and accomplished photographer who started his career as a laboratory assistant at Kodak Eastman in Cape Town, South Africa in the 1960's. lt is from these rich roots that instilled in him his love of this art.

Mike holds an MBA and currently lectures Economics, Logistics and Management at the various local universities as well as freelancing as a photographer. He enjoys the commercial, sporting and creative genre of this fine art.

He shoots almost exclusively in RAW and is currently dabbling in High Dynamic Range (HDR) post- production imaging. Mike rank's Michael Freeman as one of his inspirational authors.

COPYRlGHT 2010... All Rights Reserveeedd.. This book/ebook is copyright under the Berne Convention and as such no pppaaarrt of this book/e-book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any meeeaaans including photocopying, recooorrddiiinnggg, oorrr bbyy any other innnfffooorrrmaaatttionnn stooorrraaagggeee and retrieval system, without permission inn writing from the publisher.


For my dear friends, Michelle and Deon Eybers, who have been stalwarts in their persistence that l start this project.

For my sons, Brett and Cole, and especially for my beautiful wife who is always there by my side (not necessarily quiet by my side, but by my side, nonetheless.)

And finally for my late dear Dad, who is still (l suppose) keeping us in his focus!


The Cape Town Best Seller e-Book Series ® is finally here! After years of contemplation, procrastination and false starts, l have finally knuckled down and penned what is already proving to be a successful local p-book and e-book brand.

My desire to pen my passion for photography came to fruition following Cape Town's (South Africa) successful hosting of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Amidst the sweet cacophony of the Vuvuzelas, l was commissioned to shoot a series of night time photographs of the Cape Town Soccer Stadium in Green Point, a lovely suburb adjacent to the famous Cape Town's V&A Waterfront. And soon after this project, came the requests to do something more. With my association with sites like www.lulu.com, www.m yebook.com and www.digital-photo-secrets.com are slowly allowing my dreams to take shape!

This e-book is the inaugural flagship of The Cape Town Best Seller e-Book Series ®. lt is my first entre into the e-book genre and the initial interest has been phenomenal. These e-books will be available in PDF readable by Linux®, Windows®, Android® and Apple Mac® operating systems.

The title , 100 Great Tips for the A m a t e u r DSLR Photographer, addresses the basic ‘must know' and ‘need to know' tips to get you going with your DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. lt is written in a language that is easy to understand and cuts to the chase. No complicated technical jargon, or sequential training methodology.

My method is one of emersion - YOU are thrown in at the deep end! YOU, the learner and aspirant photographer, yes YOU, decide the pace, the topic or tip, the duration of practice, etc. And it is all demonstrated in clear photographs# that illustrates the underlying tip. Just page to the topic of interest and ‘Voila!', it is explained in one or five (?) printable and descriptive photographs! Take this with you and go and practice it. There are 100 easy to understand tips - all beautifully illustrated by yours truly in about 190 or so photographs covering all the issues you need to get you going and truly enjoy this fine art form.

It is my intention to use The Cape Town Best Seller e-Book Series ® brand as a platform to bring out the best of local South African writing and artistic talent. Exposing and bringing to the international audience contemporary African literary masterpieces that are not only creative but reflect and highlight the social issues affecting youth in South Africa. lssues such as drug abuse, poverty, gangsterism and hope! You, too, can play a part and the purchase this e-book certainly goes a long way in supporting this initiative.

A lot of material and know-how has been drawn from personal field-work experience, mentors, other photographers, the internet, etc. But it would only be prudent to acknowledge authors such as lan Bradshaw, Michael Freeman, Darren Rowse (http://digital-photography-school.com) among others and it is through their collective wisdom and teachings that have shaped my progress in this medium.

#I have had to reduce the resolution of the inserted pictures in order to keep the size of the e-book a little more manageable from about 600 to 72 dpi. Hopefully it has not deterred too much from the message and quality of the publication. Consequently some pictures may be slightly blurred at high resolution. My apologies for this.

“The more l practice, the luckier l become.”

--- GGaarrry Plaayyyeerrr

Thank you.

Tip ##1

3D Photography and the Wireless Flash.

With the ability to physically separate your hotshoe flash from your camera, affords you the ability to give your images a three dimensional dynamic. This is achieved by varying the amount of illumination (light) on the subject. ln the case of Sony, this is done wirelessly. Very creative shots can be generated by “attaching” additional wireless flashes to your camera. One can act as a key light i.e. firing directly onto the subject (and from an angle) and the second can, for example, be “bounced” off the ceiling thereby bathing your subject in a gentler and softer light.

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Tip #2

Action Shots - The Art of Anticipation.

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Getting the shot and being ready for it is of crucial importance. l would dare to say, more so than the correct exposure or composition. lt is about being ready for the expected ‘unexpected' to happen. By positioning yourself to where you anticipate the next “ move” to be taking place is critical. But it can also be a bit of a hit and miss affair. You need to, it goes without saying, understand the nature of the game or sport.

Typically, l may set my camera to the Action (or Burst mode) setting. But these have their shortcomings such as poor and incorrect exposure because the Action setting uses Evaluative metering and auto focusing. l prefer, instead, to set my camera to P- or Program Mode, change the drive mode to Burst; change the Auto focusing to Single Shot and the metering to Centre Weighted metering.

Finally, l always use a telephoto or zoom lens (especially for sports photography) and l may marginally ramp up my lSO number setting to at least 400 to 800 to compensate for the one or two lost stops due to the telephoto lens' polarizer filter. A lens hood is also recommended to deal with glare and potentially washed out shy lines.

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Tip #3

Angle shots.

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The idea here is to compose your shot from an angle that is unique and unnatural. You may employ placing your camera on an extended pole and firing “from above” i.e. sort of a bird's eye view composition, or going down low and viewing the world from a dog's perspective.

“ l know… photography can be a dog's life…”

Climb a tree, use a ladder, and if necessary, attach you camera to a balloon, get down dirty on your belly or (l kid you not) attach your camera to Jacky, the local pooch, to get some unique insights.

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(Public Announcement: The usual disclaimers apply. No animals were hurt during the production of this publication.)

Tip #4

Aperture Priority.

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This, along side with Shutter Priority Mode, is your gentle entre into the world of (semi-) manual manipulation of your DSLR. The AP allows you to fix the aperture setting i.e. you have total control over this aspect of the camera, and the camera's computer decides what the other complimentary exposure settings must be e.g. lSO and Shutter speed. AP, therefore, determines the amount of light entering the camera and simultaneously assigns a depth of field.

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AP - very useful stuff, indeed.

Tip #5

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Preparation is vital and so is your professionalism when you are on assignment. lt is the right thing to do given the fact that you are getting remunerated for your services. And service is everything in this highly competitive game.

Secondly, it also instills a sense of confidence in your client. You are putting him at ease so that you will deliver against his brief. You need to without question interpret this brief as best you can and test your interpretation with your client as appropriately as possible. And l suggest even advising him on how to get closer to his expectations.

Go and scout out the site before the day of the shoot (not an hour before the time, or arrive late on the day in question). Check out angles, light sources, etc. Also prepare a “Shot List” or a “List of Rough Sketches” to work against. Let your clients also suggest scenes that they want specifically captured. Finally l always shoot in RAW for superb results especially if it's an assignment that is not repeatable such as a wedding.

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(For interest, the next page show s a typical visual sketch list for a Wedding Assignment…)

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Tip #6

Backlit Subjects.

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R u l e o f T humb: Always take a photograph with the illuminating light source behind you! Sometimes shooting into the light is unavoidable. ln cases like this, the camera's AUTO mode and metering may often get the exposure wrong (even with modern Evaluative, honey-comb etc. metering algorithms.) The resultant pictures may have a bright background and a foreground with subjects that are terribly under-exposed. To solve this problem, the foreground subject must be spot metered and the exposure settings locked with the camera's AE Lock button. Thereafter, the shot can be re-composed and captured with the now correct exposure settings. A further enhancement may be to fire the flash as well.

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Tip #7

Backup Buddy - Your Second Camera.

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Always ensure that you have a second back-up camera in case your primary one fails. l have had my camera's flash fail on me whilst on assignment. Ensure that your backup is functional i.e. has clean lenses, extra memory cards and is fully charged (and that you are still au f a i t with its intricate workings).

Your backup may also have an alternative lens attached to it. lt's highly recommended that you change your cameras and NOT your lenses on site. Often there isn't time for this. So typically, l have my standard 50mm or 18- 70mm lens on my primary Sony Alpha and my 70-300mm telephoto lens on my backup Sony.

Tip #8

Basic Lighting in the Studio.

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The thought of doing studio work can be quite intimidating to the novice photographer. However, following these basic principles will assist you. Needless to say, a couple of fundamentals worth reviewing:

(1) Remain calm and confident after all you are the expert.
(2) Camera on a tripod.
(3) Avoid direct illumination - said with caveats.
(4) Use an appropriate backdrop.

Studio time is costly so plan and simulate what needs to be achieved before walking into any studio. And position your lights such that you get a 3D effect i.e. varying light intensity and angles reflected onto your subject. l also like to use a basic combination of a single key light, a gentler soft box and some background (behind the subject) illumination and where necessary, reflectors and poly-boards. Experiment.

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Tip #9

Beach Shots.

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The ocean has a truly therapeutic effect on people. l think particularly so if you from Cape Town - the closeness to the sea and our ever imposing beautiful mountain, Table Mountain. This cathartic effect must extend to your pictures as well.

The ocean as backdrop must simplify the scene and draw the viewer's attention to the subject in the foreground. l have found that using a narrow depth of field with the focus firmly locked on the subject(s) yields pleasant results. l am often reluctant to choose between metering techniques (particularly for beach and snow shots) but l have found that in fact all the options produce acceptable results.

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Black and white Dramatic HDR Portraits.

Tips #10

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The same HDR methodology applies in this case, however, the fundamentals of good portraiture is of paramount importance. Once captured, l desaturate the image to classic black and white, or re-tone e.g. sepia my final shots. l may also intensify the contrast levels in GlMP®.

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Excerpt out of 206 pages


100 Great Tips for the Amateur DSLR Photographer
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Michael Paulse (Author), 2010, 100 Great Tips for the Amateur DSLR Photographer, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/171017


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