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4 ways to Improve your photography

April 12, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

A question I get asked more than anything... "What camera should I buy?"

Usually this question is from someone who is frustrated that their pictures just don't seem to be the quality they'd expect. They take a few snapshots on the baseball or soccer field and end up disappointed.

There is a belief that buying a fancy new camera will magically improve your photographs, and yet there are many other things that I think have a much greater and quicker impact on photograph quality:

1) Education: taking a course to understand how to use your camera (even if it is an iPhone), will almost always have the biggest impact. There are two elements important to education at the start. First is getting to know your kit - maybe as simple as studying the manual or buying a good camera guide book. Second is learning true photography skills - e.g. composition, color, posing, etc.

2) Lenses: Several years ago I invested in a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens. Wow! Having previously used a Nikon18-200mm, the difference in the quality of the photo was immediate. I would rather have one professional lens, than several cheaper options. Did I say how much I love my Nikon 70-200mm?

3) Camera: I can still take great photos with my old Nikon D200. If you've invested in great education and lenses, only then would I start looking at whether your camera could give an improvement. Which camera is a topic for another day.

4) Other: I don't often use a tripod when taking photos, but getting your camera steady can yield big improvements to the sharpness of your images. I use a monopod when shooting mountain biking, or when out and about. It is portable and easy to use. A tripod can have big benefits, although for my kind of photography I prefer not to have that weight. Add a good flash - not just for night time shooting, but also for adding in light during the day.


Geotagging Photos

March 18, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Wow. It is not often you find a really simple, low cost app that really solves a problem. I just tried out Geotag Photos Pro with Lightroom 4.

I've been looking for an inexpensive and easy way to get GPS tagging into photos that I take with my Nikon DSLRs. One solution is to buy a GPS tagging device (there are a few out there), but they are typically bulky, chew up battery and they cost more than $100.

With Geotag Photos Pro app on my iPhone I synched the time with my camera, then started tracking my movements. It does consume more battery on the iPhone, but not too bad. I then take photos. When done, I loaded the track onto the Geotag web site. Later I imported my photos to Lightroom 4 and imported the tracking log. Lightroom then inserts GPS coordinates and does a full lookup of the address and inserts that detail into every photo.

There are options on how often the app logs your location - more frequent consumes more battery. You can email or upload the logs, and it gives options on accuracy - all well explained in the user guide.

I love this app and I can't wait to test it out when I travel.

There is a more complete description of the app and using it in Lightroom by Terry White here.