Improving Your Photos-Part 3- Tools

“Our camera has the best automatic noise reducing, warming filters that are Guaranteed to have you winning awards tomorrow and maybe even a Pulitzer Prize for photography.”

Yeah, right. There have been great advances in the tool called camera, but it is just a tool to allow you to make art. It is not capable of doing any of it without you. In fact it is really just a hunk of metal without the operator.

There is a phrase in photography, “get it right in the camera”. That means make sure your settings are correct in the camera before you snap the picture.  Making sure you have the right exposure, speed and aperture. Yes, I know these may be foreign terms. They are terms that involve what is the photographic triangle.

How much light is allowed in, is a function of those three factors.  Too much light allowed in and it is over exposed, not enough and it is under exposed.  If the shutter opens and closed too fast, under exposed. If the shutter stays open too long, the picture is over exposed. Close down the aperture (like the dark spot in your eye) and the picture will be underexposed and vice versa. When you see a photographer fiddle with their camera, that is likely what they are doing. It is also why we take test shots.

For the everyday person, the camera makers have included setting for different scenes such as night shot or  action shots. These preset the triangle with settings specific to the type of shot you are taking. They are not perfect, but helpful. Know these settings, and use them appropriately.

When your camera is setup for what you want to shoot, set it down and look at what you want to shoot. Ansel Adams was famous for photographing national parks. He would sit and wait for just the right light before taking a picture. That is true in the gym as well taking a picture of students playing basketball. What shot do you want? A layup, or a defense shot. Think out what you want and then work to get that shot.


The best tool you have to make great pictures is you. Your brain is what makes it all work well. Hone the thinking skills first. By the way, you can shoot great pictures with whatever you have. Back in the day people were using shoe boxes very effectively.

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