Photography is the perfect marriage of science and art. Some photographers revel in the technical side. For others, it’s all about creativity and aesthetics.
They’re both important. You can have all the style in the world, but if you don’t have the technical side down, it can hold you back.
To make high-quality photographs, you need to understand how to work with light, and know your camera inside out.
Here are 8 secrets for taking high-quality photographs.
Shoot In Raw for Quality Photographs
You have heard this one a million times before, but for high-quality images, you need to shoot in RAW.
This is not to say that JPEG files don’t have their place and that you should never photograph in JPG. You might be a high volume shooter like a wedding photographer. For you, it can sometimes make absolute sense to shoot in JPG. The files will take up a lot less space on your SD card and JPEG files are already processed.
The drawback of JPG is that you’re limited by how much retouching you can do. Every time you retouch a JPEG file, you lose information. A couple of edits can result in an image of very poor quality. RAW files preserve most of the information from the camera, like sharpness and contrast. It does this without processing and compressing.
This will give you more control over how your image looks. It will allow you to correct the white balance in post-processing.
You can retouch the file as much as you like without affecting its quality. And you can convert it to JPEG or another file type upon export.
A RAW file has 68 billion more colors than a JPEG file. It offers increased brightness and a higher dynamic range.
JPEG is a convenient file format that is easy to open and share. But a RAW file will give you much better quality photos.
Understand Your Light
Light is the foundation of photography. After all, it’s referred to as “painting with light”. Without it, the photograph couldn’t exist.
But many new photographers don’t pay enough attention to it.
Being able to “read” the light and set your camera is very important for getting good exposure.
You need to know how to get the correct amount of light into your camera. And you also need to understand how the direction of light will affect your final result.
Study incident light and reflected light, as well as basic principles of physics such as inverse square law. This will help you predict how the light will fall off when you’re shooting.
The more you understand how light behaves, the better the quality of the images you’ll be able to shoot.
Understand the Exposure Triangle
The exposure triangle is the combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO that gives you your exposure. You need to balance all three.
When you change one setting, it affects the others. Understanding the exposure triangle is fundamental to photography.
ISO relates to how sensitive the camera is to incoming light. The lower ISO number, the more light you need to achieve a good exposure. For example, ISO 100 is best used with studio lights or bright sunshine. A lower ISO will also give your image less “grain” or “noise”.
Shutter speed refers to how long the shutter in your camera stays open. Thus, how long it lets light into the camera.
Aperture controls how much light is allowed into the camera. We measure aperture in f-stops.