So some people on Tumblr said they might be interested in seeing some book photography tips. And rather than do a massive post I thought I’d focus on one particular tip at a time. These tips will be pretty specific to people using a DSLR as I don’t know how to do any of this on a camera phone (because I don’t use mine much). These will also require that you have a basic knowledge of using your camera (exposure, aperture, and ISO). I haven’t really picked the best book to demonstrate this with as the cover has a grainy texture, but oh well.
Photography Tip #1 – Always shoot in RAW (if you can).
Many cameras by default will collect your images as JPEG files. JPEG files are fine and usually what you will need at the end, but you have much higher flexibility if you shoot in RAW format. RAW format basically saves all the data from the photograph, the exposure, shadows, highlights, etc, and this allows you to basically change any of these in post. You will however need an editing program that allows you to edit RAW files, such as Adobe lightroom (which is what I use). Most DSLRs will be able to shoot in RAW, you’ll just need to find it in your settings.
You may think, why wouldn’t I just try to get it right when I’m actually taking the photo?
Photography Tip #2 – Don’t always expose for your subject.
Sometimes, you will have an awesome background that is brighter (or have bits that are are brighter) than your subject. If you expose for your subject, your background me be over or under exposed, and you lose all that beautiful detail in your highlights.
For example, below is my ‘before’ photo with zero editing.
[Canon 600D, 50 mm, F~2, 1/80 sec]
I know what you’re thinking. That’s way too dark. Idiot doesn’t know how to use a camera! But this photo was taken so dark on purpose. See all that golden highlight detail in the highlights? If I had exposed this image for the foreground, all that would just be overblown white blobs and you’d lose all that beautiful detail of the leaves and branches. Basically, I can’t expose a single photo for both the background and the subject when one is much brighter than the other, and you can recover far more detail in your shadows from RAW images than your highlights.
So, by taking this woefully unexposed photo in RAW, and exposing for the highlights, I was able to recapture all that the details in the shadows without losing any of the detail in the highlights. And so the final image look like this:
Now you could even lighten up the subject more, but personally, I like a bit of darkness and moodiness in my photos, but you can see the flexibility shooting in RAW and exposing for my highlights rather than my subject gives me. An added bonus of this is also that you can generally use a higher shutter speed, which will give you clearer images, especially if like me here, you’re using a lens with no image stabilisation. However, there is a limit to how much detail you can bring back from your shadows without it getting grainy, so make sure you don’t go too far, and try to keep that ISO as low as possible.
So, was this helpful? Would you like more tips like these? Do you have any tips of your own you’d like to share?