4 Basic Photo Tips I Wish I’d Learned Sooner

Perhaps you’ve been at this photography thing awhile. You’ve heard of White Balance, Shutter Speed, ISO, Aperture. You might even know a bit about what they all do. And if you’re lucky you’re starting to put all the ingredients together and shoot out of Auto mode a bit.


(If you still could use some support, know I’m here for you and Momtographie Online class is currently OPEN for registration here).

If you’re starting to put together these ingredients — AWESOME! But, that doesn’t mean you should forgo them once you get comfortable in search of some other magical photography tip, trick, or technique to bring the whole recipe together.

There is value in fully noticing and exploring a slice of the photography puzzle, rather than trying to know everything.

Because the secret sauce is in the noticing and digging deeper.

When you’re willing to grow more and go deeper that’s where the comfortable basics come to life and fill in with vibrant color, life, and understanding.

Let me paint a different picture for you to help understand this concept more.

We’re going to Disney World!


The land of the mouse has become a familiar spot for my family and it’s a blessing that we get to re-live the magical world of Walt Disney year after year.

Certain rides have this level of comfort. A feeling of ‘coming home’ and as such the trip doesn’t have the level of electricity and magic as that first trip had with our daughter 2 years ago.

It’s A Small World is one of those rides.

(cue annoying music!!!)

As I meandered through familiar line and entered our boat I was tempted to check out and tune out our ride. This was our 7th family trip round the world and the song has this lovely way of getting stuck in your head all day long.

But hidden in that temptation to stay comfortable was the desire to experience the magic with a fresh new perspective. There was an invitation waiting for me on that ride to notice the details and a challenge to find something new.


Which, with that intention in mind, was exactly what happened.

All of our old favorites were there: The pink floral tiger, the hot air balloon clowns, the annoying music ::wink::. But then I began to zero in on new details I’d never taken in before: the vibrant colors, the relationships between the boys and girl statues, all the happy animals!

As I sat there on that boat soaking all these old favorites in new ways, I thought about how my photography journey has also expanded just from coming back to noticing new things about basic photography ingredients time and time again.

Let’s take a peek at some of them shall we? These are photography tips that you may not fully grasp in your first go round, but by your 7th they become clear as day.

Tip #1: Shutter Speed

Your light meter (that line with the + and – when you switch to manual mode) are what control the shutter speed. As you adjust your meter toward the + your shutter speed goes down and as you adjust your meter toward the – the shutter speed goes up. You can also play with concept in A(Av) mode with the exposure compensation settings. Adjust your exposure compensation to the + your shutter speed goes down, toward the – it goes up.


Photo here: ISO 2000 f 2.8 SS 1/125

Tip #2: ISO

It’s ok to increase your ISO in decent natural light. When I first began my photo journey I was so afraid to increase my ISO because I had read it would cause noise/grain. But when your working on a cloudy day or in the shade or even with the window light in my home, where there is still natural light, increasing the ISO will brighten in all the right ways and allow the shutter speed to best do it’s job. In the indoor window lit photo above my ISO was 2000 and I hardly see any noise whatsoever!

Tip #3: Aperture

Get closer to your subject (through zooming in or physically moving yourself) to narrow your depth of field and get that amazing bokeh blur. You may know already that there needs to be distance between your subject and their background, but by also getting yourself closer you’ll increase that aperture blur even more.


Tip #4: Focus

Single point focus will allow you select what you truly want to be in your image. (learn more about single point focus here) But when you combine single point focus, Continuous focus, and continuous shooting mode during an action packed shoot you’ll increase your likelihood of freezing a moment 10 fold! Single point will allow you select your focus, continuous focus will allow your camera to track a moving target, and continuous shooting will take a series of shots in a row as you hold the shutter down.  Look up each setting in your camera manual, turn them on, and try it!

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.38.05 AMThere is value in learning the basics and really taking time to notice them, experience them, and put them all together in a really intentional way. That’s what we do by creating the perfect photo recipe during my 6-week Momtographie Online course. Registration is open now and you can begin today!. Click HERE now for all the details or to sign up. I’d love to explore what we can notice together as we craft your perfect photo recipe.


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