With the right tools and skills, anyone can turn themselves into an amateur photographer, capturing breathtaking shots of the world around them without breaking the bank. Of course, there are other ways to do this too! Here are 5 unbelievable photography hacks you can do at home that will make you feel like an all-star photographer even if you’re just using your smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera to capture candid shots at your next party or family event.
1) Get closer to your subject
A huge part of photography is getting good shots of far-away subjects, but sometimes it’s hard to get a good shot when you’re too far away from your subject. To get closer without being intrusive, invest in a telephoto lens (which can cost as little as $100) and use your camera’s zoom feature. Failing that, you can also take several pictures at different focal lengths and stitch them together using your computer software! This lets you crop into an image without sacrificing quality.
2) Take advantage of natural light
The harsh artificial light that fills most interior spaces is not going to produce great photographs. Natural light is free and provides soft, beautiful light that you can control by moving your subject around. At its worst, natural light creates harsh shadows and creates hot spots on your subject (the closer to a window, for example, the brighter it gets), but if you know how to use it, natural light can create gorgeous photos every time. Try positioning yourself near large windows or outdoors when possible. If you don’t have easy access to a window (and some rooms are darker than others), bring in additional lighting like soft lamps or candles during daylight hours.
3) Use wide apertures
By using a wide aperture (small f-stop), you can control how much of your photo is in focus, allowing you to create crisp shots. The lower your f-stop number, the more in focus your photo will be. This can also lead to brighter images. For example, say you’re taking a picture with an aperture of 2.8 and another with an aperture of 4.0 – your photos will look nearly identical; however, each shot will be captured differently by how open or closed up these numbers are: 2.8 versus 4.0 is a big difference!
4) Lower your ISO setting
It’s amazing how a simple tweak to your camera settings can make a big difference in picture quality. Most cameras come with automatic ISO settings that tend to increase as the light starts to get dimmer. This is great for average lighting situations, but if you want to capture clear photos in low light or indoors, lower your ISO setting so you can use shutter speeds that are longer than 1/100 of a second. For even more control over your shot, check out these 10 advanced camera hacks every beginner should know!
5) Shoot in RAW format
As a professional photographer, you must shoot in RAW format. The term RAW refers to digital images with greater color depth and control over exposure as compared to JPEGs. Because your camera processes and compresses JPEGs automatically, pictures tend to lose quality, especially after they’ve been edited. If you shoot in RAW format, however, all of your shots are saved without any image processing until after you open them on your computer—meaningless quality loss. This means that if you accidentally take a blurry shot or one with too much contrast or saturation (which are easy to do), there’s still room for improvement before uploading it to Facebook and sharing it with friends.