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When you're a beginner photographer - heck, when you're a veteran photographer for that matter - not everything goes smoothly.
There will be times when you mess up the camera settings, get the composition all wrong, and otherwise make the exact wrong choice for what you're trying to do.
Your bad photography experiences aren't just limited to those technical things, either. In fact, you can have a lousy photography experience because you're using the wrong lens or because you have a terrible camera strap.
In this quick guide, I offer up some lessons I've learned over the years that will help address these kinds of problems.
The result? A much-improved photography experience!
Learn Advanced Camera Modes
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Problem: Your photos have washed out highlights or featureless shadows
Solution: Take more control over the exposure settings
Shooting in full auto mode gives you the advantage of not having to think too much about the camera settings you're using.
The issue with that is that the camera tries to determine what the best settings are for the present conditions, and while it can do an okay job in some situations, it's not foolproof.
The key to having a better photography experience - and better photos as a result - is learning how to take more control over your camera.
You don't have to shoot in full manual mode to do that, either.
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If you're taking a photo of a subject that's not moving, try using aperture priority mode.
This mode gives you control over the aperture and ISO setting while the camera determines a shutter speed for a well-exposed image.
This also enables you to select apertures that suit the situation. For example, you can select a very large aperture to minimize the depth of field for a portrait or select a small aperture to maximize the depth of field for a landscape shot.
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Alternatively, if you're photographing a subject that's moving - say, your kid playing soccer - you can use shutter priority mode for improved shots.
By controlling the shutter speed and the ISO setting, you get to determine how the motion is captured while the camera determines the aperture.
For example, if you want to freeze the movement of your child as they go to kick the ball, you can dial in a fast shutter speed and the camera will select an aperture that matches it for a well-exposed image.
Something as simple as learning how to use these two camera modes can have a huge impact on your photography experiences!
Upgrade Your Camera Strap
Problem: You don't shoot for very long because your neck and shoulders are fatigued
Solution: Get a better camera strap
The camera straps that come with cameras are just plain terrible.
They're flimsy. They're poorly constructed. They have no padding. They degrade over time. It's just a bad situation!
But the solution to this all-too-common problem is simple: get a better camera strap.
Fortunately, you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a strap that's more comfortable, functional, and durable.
In fact, you can get a camera strap that ticks all those boxes for under $30.
The HiiGuy Camera Strap uses high-end materials that ensure you get a strap that's durable for the long-term.
That includes upgraded metal fittings that ensure a secure connection between the strap and the camera.
Speaking of secure connections, the Hiiguy Camera Strap has a safety tether that acts as a fail-safe just in case the primary screw mount disengages.
What's more, the big, comfy shoulder pad has a silicone covering that helps it grip your shoulder, giving it a secure connection to your body that allows for a comfortable carrying experience.
But this strap isn't just about comfort...
Instead, there's tons of functionalities, too.
The strap is highly adjustable, so no matter if you're shorter-than-average, taller-than-average, or someplace in between, this strap can accommodate your needs.
Another ingenious feature of this strap is the integrated zipper pocket on the shoulder pad.
It's a perfect size for keeping a spare battery or memory card. No more digging through your camera bag to find them!
Just imagine being able to take photos for hours and hours. That would be nice, right?
With the HiiGuy Camera Strap, you can do that in supreme comfort. Talk about a great way to fix your bad photography experiences!
Change Your Perspective to Change Your Photos
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Problem: Your photos all look the same
Solution: Challenge yourself to shoot from varying angles
When you look at a bunch of photos you've taken, do they all look the same? Are they on the boring side?
If that's a problem you're dealing with, an easy solution is to find new angles to photograph the same subject.
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For example, most people take most of their photos from their eye-level.
That's all well and good, but that's how most of us see the world - from an eye-level perspective.
Instead of just standing there and snapping a photo, try kneeling down, sitting down, or even laying on the ground to alter the point of view of the shot. Doing so will give the subject more presence in the frame and make it seem larger than life.
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Conversely, try finding an elevated position like a hilltop or a balcony and shooting down towards the subject.
With a higher perspective, you can get a larger, grander view of the subject. Though the primary subject will occupy less of the frame, including its surroundings will provide context to the image that might help you tell a more compelling story.
And in the end, that's what photography is all about - telling stories.
If you can learn a few advanced camera settings to improve the quality of your photos, find a better camera strap so you can shoot longer and more often, and use compositional tricks like altering your perspective, there won't be anything stopping you from turning your bad photography experiences into full-blown successes!