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7 Tips For Amateur Photographers You Need To Know

Photography is a fantastic hobby. For some people, it’s a lifelong profession. It gives people the chance to create works of art, capture precious moments, and make lasting impressions of our world.

If you are looking at taking up photography as a hobby or have already purchased a DSLR camera, you may find the process of getting started a bit daunting. After all, photography isn’t just about “pointing and clicking”.

To help you get started, here are 7 really helpful tips for amateur photographers.

Understand how to hold your camera

This might seem like a really basic tip, but you’ll be surprised to find a lot of photographers overlooking this critical point. A DSLR camera or any advanced camera is usually heavy and bulky. There is a wrong way and a right way to hold it.

Here’s how:

  • Hold the camera with both hands.
  • Pull the camera close to your body and use the viewfinder.
  • Ensure your elbows are tucked into your chest to provide extra support and stability. Some people simply hold their camera at arm’s length and this makes them less stable.
  • Use your right hand to hold the camera grip while keeping your index finger above the shutter. Your left hand should be cupped underneath or around the base of the lens.

Most importantly, ensure that you are comfortable!

Consider the importance of light

Light is one of the most important factors to consider when taking a photo. A digital camera has a sensor. This sensor is exposed to light when the shutter button is pressed and makes an imprint to create the photo. If too much light hits the sensor, the photo will be over-exposed. Alternatively, if not enough light hits the sensor, the photo will be under-exposed.

underexposed photo

Underexposed, normally exposed and overexposed photo

Note: Sometimes, photos with different exposures are taken on purpose for HDR photos

Try to look at the light balance in a photo and consider manually changing the exposure. If there are any predominantly light areas, lower the exposure. Conversely, if there are any darker areas, consider increasing the exposure. If you cannot get your exposure levels right, you can always alter them using a post-processing software.

Light also creates depth and can turn a plain photo into something special. Keep in mind that natural sunlight can provide beautiful highlights and add definition to objects. On the flip side, a lack of light can create haunting silhouettes and interesting shadows. Make sure to use light to your advantage!

Learn the various functions of your camera

As mentioned above, DSLR cameras have a plethora of buttons, features, and settings. Before you even start taking photos, it is advisable to have an extensive play with your camera. Read the manual, test out the buttons, and try manually altering the focus.

You should also dissect your camera menus. Find out how to change your image settings, how to format your memory card, and how to switch between single and multi-shot.

It is also advisable to be fully aware of how each part of your camera works.

Where does the battery pack go and how does it slot in? Where does the memory card slot in? How do you swap camera lenses or attach a flash device?

As the saying goes, knowledge is power!

Do not use flash excessively

Flash in photography can be truly frustrating. Most new photographers will simply use their flash to take low light photos and wonder why the results are poor.

It is important to remember these simple pointers:

  • DSLR cameras can take much better low-light photographs without the need to use flash.
  • Using flash to illuminate a dark photo will generally result in an overly bright and harsh concentration of light around your subject.
  • Use flash sparingly and when you do use flash, consider changing the flash settings to tone down the light intensity to try and create a softer effect.

Learn how to focus

To create clear and sharp photos, you must understand how to focus on an object or a particular part of an image. A DSLR will usually have a series of focus points on the viewfinder, which is usually small white squares.

If you half-press the shutter button, some of the focus points will turn green. Those green points are where your camera is focused on. Depending on the aperture, it’s what will appear “in-focus” in the photo.

blurred photos

Note: Blurred photos can also be taken on purpose – for example, to create bokeh effect

Most DSLR cameras have an auto and manual focus feature. To manually focus your camera, you usually have to twist part of the lens. As you twist it, the focus will move forward or backward. Take time to test both the manual and auto focus features and get accustomed to how they work.

Consider the composition of your photograph

Image composition can turn an OK photo into something spectacular. There are several rules and pointers to remember when composing your photo. For example, there is the rule of thirds.

This means that if you are shooting an object, it should be positioned in the left or right third of your photo horizontally and the top or bottom third vertically.

leading lines

Another rule says to consider making use of leading lines. Look for any sort of flow or lines within your photo that directs your eye towards a particular area or object. Make use of leading lines to naturally draw attention to parts of your photo and to make it easy to follow. For example, leading lines can be found on the sidewalk or pavement of a road leading off into the distance.

roads photo

Roads are one of the most obvious examples

Learn how to perform basic post-processing

Many beginners believe that once you have taken a photo, that is it. You can’t do anything to fix or improve it.

However, in today’s modern world, we have plenty of post-processing programs, such as Photoshop, Luminar, or GIMP, which allow users to edit their photos and improve their quality ten-fold.

You can change the white balance and exposure and also improve color saturation. You can also re-position photos that were mistakenly taken at an angle. In short, you can use a post-processing software to salvage photos you felt were unusable and add that finishing touch to your work.

We hope you have found these tips for amateur photographers both insightful and interesting. Photography is a fun hobby and once you understand the basics, the quality of your work should improve!

The post 7 Tips For Amateur Photographers You Need To Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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About Darren Webb

Hello & Welcome to my blog. My name is Darren Webb and i'm on a magical successful journey and also helping others have a more stress free relaxed life. I truly hope that you find a lot of useful information on my blog and that it helps you through your life. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

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10 Things to Avoid Before Going to Bed

You're reading 10 Things to Avoid Before Going to Bed, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

After working for the whole day, running from one place to another, handling boss and irritating colleagues, the only thing which can make your day is a good sleep. But good sleep doesn’t mean lying in bed for 9 hours and still feeling exhausted after waking up. A good sleep means that even after taking 6 hours of sleep, you should feel recharged again to work for the whole day.
Although there are many things which you can do to get a good, relaxing and deep sleep there are also many habits which you should never follow before going to bed and in this blog post, we will be looking at those 10 things which you should always avoid before going to bed.

1. Alcohol
A small glass of wine before going to bed sounds like a fascinating idea and it surely will help you to fall asleep but if you are concerned about the quality of sleep and then you should never consume any type of alcohol before going to bed.

2. Mobile Phone
Many studies have shown that using a mobile phone, tablet, e-reader or even watching television before going to bed can disrupt your sleeping. So, if you want to experience a deep sleep, then you should always avoid any light-emitting device before going to bed.

3. Caffeine
Caffeine stays in our body for almost 10-12 hours and even a small cup of coffee contains at least 80 to 120 milligrams of caffeine. And you must be aware of the working of caffeine in our body and how the employees of late night shift consume it for staying awake. So avoid consuming any type of caffeine before going to bed.

4. Chocolate
If you are a sweet tooth then consuming chocolate after dinner as a dessert might sound like a very good idea but you should know that even chocolate contains a significant amount of caffeine and especially dark chocolate. So replace your idea of consuming dark chocolate with any other dessert which will not keep your eyes wide open even at midnight.

5. Big Meal
Devouring a big meal before going to bed can also disrupt your sleep. The reason behind this is after taking a big meal, your metabolism has to kick in and that can affect your sleep. It can also lead to gastroesophageal reflux diseases, weight gain, and other serious bad effects on your body.

6. Lots of water
Drinking water is very much necessary throughout the day but if you have completed the quota of your water consumption in a day, then there is no need to drink a jug full of water before going to sleep - it will result in unnecessary trips to the bathroom which obviously disrupt your sleep.

7. Wrong food
Including foods like a cheesecake in your everyday dessert sounds very delicious but you should know that, food products which are high in saturated fat and sugar are a major cause of disrupted sleep.

8. Smoke
Although smoking is injurious to your health, regardless of the time you consume it smoking just before going to bed can cause disruption in your sleeping habit as well. Many people think that smoking will help them relax but the nicotine content in products like cigarettes can make your insomnia worse.

9. Exercise
Just like drinking water, exercise is also very much necessary for keeping you in shape and good health but doing it just before bed allows your-feel good hormones to get active and thus it can also affect your sleep.

10. Bath
A nice warm bath can help your body to relax and then after sometime, you can get lost in your dreams of the deep sleep but if you are planning to go instantly to bed after taking bath then instead of feeling relaxed, it can keep you awake for late night as well.

A good sleep is as necessary as food, air and water are for the body and brain. So, if you want to sleep properly throughout the night, without feeling exhausted for the whole day, then you should always avoid the above-mentioned things before going to bed.


Saurabh Gupta is a technical content writer at Cloudwalks His area of expertise includes software, cloud computing, cybersecurity and life lessons.

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From the Experts: 6 Tips to Stay Motivated, Anytime, Anywhere.

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We all have our own moments of doubt, distress, and complete laziness. But what usually determines someone`s success or failure is your ability to stay motivated especially during their toughest times.  I`ve worked on this topic for years and below are some of the things you can do to stay motivated.

1. Work Your Negative Thoughts Out
Tony Robbins was right when he said the difference between you and success is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself. These limiting beliefs are keeping you in doubt and the only way to stay motivated is by exposing them to journaling and expressive writing. Studies have found that those who completed four weekly journaling sessions for eight weeks were less worried and more motivated, than those who didn`t.

2. Remove Performance Barriers
Tim Ferris has a simple learning technique that works like magic. Whenever you`re about to learn a skill or do something new, take some time to list all your reasons to quit.

Your goal, after identifying these barriers, is to complete the first five sessions of whatever you want to practice. Why five? Because that`s what your brain needs to create wirings for new habits.

3. Do Less of The Things That Aren`t Aligned With Your Goals
Sales mogul, Grant Cardone once shared a story about someone who worked with him at McDonald`s. Unlike Cardone who was only there for the money, this guy was super pumped to go to work. Why?Because his goal was to learn everything about the business and open his own McDonald`s franchises. Soon Cardone was fired and that dude went on to achieve his dream.

4. Create Necessity
Brendan Bouchard once asked a client, an Olympic sprinter, who he thought was going to win the race. And the man replied, “I will get on the guy who gets down at the blocks, looks at the finish line and says ‘I`ve got to do this for my mom."

This is the power of WHY. Whenever you lack motivation, ask yourself why, or for whom, do you want to reach that goal. If you keep digging, you`ll always find something worth working hard for.

5. It`s like a bath
“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar
You usually hear people saying, “I don`t feel motivated to chase my goals.” Well, maybe if you write them long enough you`ll eventually feel pumped to go after them.

You must commit to writing your goals at least once a day, every day regardless of how good or bad you feel because, at the end of the day, the quality of your life will come down to what you`ve chosen to pay attention to. So you`d better pay attention to something worthy.

When listing your goals, write down whatever makes you pumped. If “I`m making my first million before my 25th birthday” doesn`t motivate you, then think about listing all the things that you want to buy, or experience, when you make your first million. A trip to Italy, a courtside seat in a Lakers` game, spending X amount of dollars guilt-free…etc.

Forget about what others tell you goals should be, as long as the ones you`ve chosen make you feel excited then you`re good to go.

6. Get a Quick Jump on the Day

It`s much easier to change feelings with action that to do it the other way around. Why? Because you have more control over actions than over feelings. As William James once said, "By regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling."
If there`s one nugget I want to leave you with then let this be it: Productivity comes before motivation and not the other way around. This is why you must start the day with a bang regardless of whether you`re an early bird or a night owl.

The quicker you start the day with a victory, the more motivated you`ll feel during the rest of it. So cut Facebook, meaningless texting or T.V., and focus all your efforts on getting something done.

Any sort of productivity, no matter how small. Just remember that once the ball starts rolling you`ll feel motivated to get more done. An object in motion will stay in motion, so sayeth the law.

Marwan Jamal is a fitness and health blogger at and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym, and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

You've read From the Experts: 6 Tips to Stay Motivated, Anytime, Anywhere., originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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