Photography tips

Camera len cleaning tips

You'll often have specks of dust on your lenses, and a few won't matter, but if there's a lot, try a blower brush rather than a regular brush – when these come into contact with the lens surface can end up leaving smears behind. If you have smears on the lens, don't reach for the cleaning solution straight away – try 'huffing' on the lens and a gentle wipe with a microfiber cloth.

Sharp shots without a tripod

There are times when it isn’t wise to set up a tripod, such as on a bustling city street, and times when you need to stay mobile. Shutter speed becomes a prime concern in these situations; increasing the ISO, employing shake reduction, firing short bursts of shots, pulling the camera strap taut and bracing yourself against a wall or other available ‘furniture’ can all help.

Shooting in a new location

While it’s easy to explore Google Images to get a feel for the photographic potential of a location, if you’re visiting a spot for the first time, it’s worth pausing and getting a sense of place before trying to express it in an image. It might be tempting to attach your camera to your tripod, but there’s a lot to be said for exploring different viewpoints with a handheld camera to find the right angle and height to shoot from first.

Include odd numbers

Odd number of objects typically give more balanced compositions than even numbers, whether you’re shooting a group portrait, a sporting event or a landscape. So three is not a crowd... it will usually look better than a pair

Use the dioptre adjustment

Many cameras enable the viewfinder sharpness to be improved using a feature called dipotre adjustment. Keep an eye on the readout in the viewfinder rather than looking at the image as you make any adjustments.

Activate highlight warning

You can set the playback display to flash a warning for highlights that are at risk of being exposed, which is a quick way to check exposure. Read more: How to always get your exposure right

Remember to reset your camera

If you’ve been making adjustments to your camera for a specific shot, such as dialling in exposure compensation, don’t forget to return the settings to normal when you finish shooting, ready for next time.

Pre-focus for action

If you’re able to predict where a moving subject is going to be, pre-focus the lens on that spot: this can speed up the time it takes for the autofocus system to lock onto the subject and give you a much better chance of grabbing the shot.

Try photographing fireworks

Capturing fireworks is easy once you know how. Put the camera on a tripod, set it to B (bulb) mode and keep the shutter open while the fireworks are going off. You can do a few tests beforehand to work out the best exposure time for the ambient lighting and the surroundings.

Try Aperture Priority

Shooting in Aperture Priority mode enables you to control the depth of field as well as the exposure. Keep an eye on the camera’s shutter speed in the viewfinder, though, otherwise you might end up with shots ruined by camera shake.