Author: Norm Bellisario
Four years ago, I became a Dad and a photographer at exactly the same time. With no experience behind the lens I had to learn how to get once in a lifetime shots of my new baby girl. And I had to learn fast. Through some experimentation I found a system that works for me and allows me to get those pictures family and friends can enjoy.
1. Get a Fast Camera
Shutter Lag can cause you to miss great shots, especially when your subject matter is on the move. Our first camera was a Panasonic DMC LC20. After a couple of years and a few thousand photos, I upgraded to a Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Shutter lag stats are not easy to find even in independent reviews. If possible, try the camera out in the store. Be sure to use a moving target. I had a friend rotate while I snapped photos when he was facing the camera. If the picture was of the back of his head I had to keep looking.
2. Get Plenty of Storage
You’ll need a memory card for your camera with as much storage capacity as possible. My 1GB card allows me to take 160 shots before having to upload photos to my computer. Having an empty memory card for each outing will help a lot. You can consider a memory card reader to speed up the process. You need to clear your card frequently so you don’t want a slow USB cable getting in the way. And while it might be tempting to cheat by using a low quality image setting, don’t. Always use the highest quality and resolution you can.
3. Get Used to Taking Lots of Shots
Priceless moments come and go in the blink of an eye. Don’t worry about getting your framing and zoom perfect. That can be fixed later. Just get the shot. But, take the time to learn how to use your auto focus. It’s difficult or impossible to fix out of focus shots after the fact.
4. Get the Buried Treasure
Once your images are on your computer, review them carefully to find the shot within the shot. If you’ve snapped enough, the gems will be there. A good image editing software package with and easy to use cropping tool is essential. ACDSee 9 Photo Manager works well for me.
5. Get Rid of Unwanted Pixels
Creatively cropping your photos will allow you to get a great shot out of some not so great raw material. Find the part of the photo you like and crop away the rest of it. You can highlight the subject matter and reveal shots that could have been missed if you took too much time setting up before snapping the shot.