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Take Picture, It lasts longer

Posted On
May 22, 2015

Remember that old saying, "Take a picture, it'll last longer"? Well what if that picture doesn't turn out so well and the moment is lost? How can you get the best pictures out of what ever camera you're using? 

Guest blogger, photographer Gene Sweeney of Midway, Utah shares some tips from his 40 years as a professional photographer on getting the most out of your camera to get that perfect picture. You can see more of his photography at

Practice these tips this week with a scenic drive up the mountains from one of the several around Heber Valley. 

  • First and foremost, whether a smart phone or a $7000.00 Nikon D4s, learn your equipment and what it can do. Take the camera off "automatic" and experiment with all of the functions and what they can do for you.
  • Try to use the natural light to your advantage. Best time of day for photography is early morning (sun up to around 9:30) and evening (5:30-6 to sun down,) especially for landscapes. Worst time of day, on a sunny day, is noon to mid-afternoon. The light is very flat and boring. Unless trying for an effect, it is not best to photograph a subject or scene with your camera facing the sun. 
  • Try different angles. If photographing a group of trees, walk under and turn your camera up, it's a very different view. Bend at the knees, if practical get flat on your stomach. Don't be afraid to try different angles. With today's digital cameras you don't have to be concerned with film costs.
  • Be mindful of your background. You don't want a family portrait ruined with a pine tree growing out of some body's head, or antlers on each side of dad's head etc.. Now sometimes you can do this for fun, but normally a clean background when photographing people is preferred. Also, be careful when using a flash when your subject is against glass or mirrors. 
  • When photographing people by an object; locomotive, car, Ferris wheel and so on, bring your subjects out several feet from the object. That way there will be separation from the elements in your photograph, creating a three dimensional effect which is more pleasing to view. Give your photograph depth and don't be afraid to get close to your subjects.
  • If photographing something that is moving, try to show movement. With a slow shutter speed and a panning motion you can show the object moving through a blurred background. Or try keeping the camera still and allowing the object to move quickly through the plain of view. This will keep the background still but show movement in the object.
  • If using a smartphone for video; TURN THE PHONE IN A HORIZONTAL POSITION! Video is a horizontal medium, not vertical.
  • Practice keeping your camera steady when shooting at slow shutter speeds. Us your car, a tree, or a building as a body brace. Breathe slowly. I have been a professional photographer for almost 40 years and I rarely use a tripod. They certainly have their place, but they restrict your movement and by the time you have your tripod set, you may have missed the moment you were looking to capture. When photographing wildlife with telephoto lenses, or doing very long exposures, they are a must, but learn to rely on yourself and your resources to steady your camera.
  • Last but not least; have fun. If you don't like what you photographed, delete it and try again. With the digital world we live in now, it's free!




Photography, Outdoors