Photographic Tip #2 by Kevan Dobbie

The continuation of a new series of blog posts that are here and available for your reading pleasure, I have decided to not only tell you about the amazing Sigma brand, but to teach you about how to use your camera along with your Sigma lens to capture photographic content that you’ve always wanted to have.

In our last blog we discussed photographic equipment, using your camera, and figuring out what works best for you through trial and error to suit your photographic needs. We then attempted to start off small and easy with still images such as household objects and/or a sunrise/sunset photographs to get exposure to natural light and colours. I then showed you my settings on my DSLR camera to capture a sunset.

In this blog, Photographic Tip #2 we are going to build on our skills and add to our knowledge from previous blogs and take it step by step to grow your skills as a photographer. In up coming blogs, we will develop your skills with your own photographic equipment, then we will move on to wildlife photography and enhance your photographic knowledge in the natural environment, but before we get there lets continue with a few more blogs to get you confident and comfortable with your own camera.

For this blog we are going to use our settings we learnt from the previous blog and the understanding of colour and natural light to construct a well-positioned and composed photograph before heading any further. Getting the settings right along with the understanding of light and figuring out what works best for you through trial and error on your own device/body is priority. Next in my eyes is a photograph that is composed well with space and the positioning of the object. The only answer I have to it and you will hear it from many photographers is known as the “rule of thirds” as depicted below.

Figure 1: Long-crested Eagle








I have selected a photograph I took about at least a year and a half back of a beautiful Long-crested Eagle. I want you specifically to notice the gridlines I included on the image, these gridlines can be seen when editing your image on Lightroom and they can also be custom set to be seen through the view finder of your DSLR camera.

I recommend using the gridlines through your view finder so you can get a well composed photograph before editing.

Gridlines showing the rule of thirds that divides the image into “thirds”, both horizontally and vertically. The subject should be positioned that it intersects those dividing lines with the subject facing the open space known as negative space.

So from this blog, my recommendations for all of you to attempt a well composed photograph, either of a still image in your household, a sunset or sunrise with this composition or anything that isn’t fast moving so you can put the rule of thirds to practice to compose a great image. Another option would be to change it up, try different lighting styles outside to develop your skills of understanding ISO settings while shooting on Aperture Priority depicted as “A” or “Av” as your mode of exposure. Rather keep it simple in the beginning when choosing an object, I like to say a less moving object is better. In the upcoming blogs, we will stretch our knowledge and move on to shutter speed and depth of field to further understand our cameras before exploring multiple skills to photograph wildlife and the natural world.

Here are my settings used on my DSLR camera to capture my chosen image using the gridlines through my view finder on my camera to compose my photograph.

  1. Exposure Mode of Camera: Aperture Priority (Av)
  2. Focus: Automatic (Back button focus)
  3. Aperture: f/7.1
  4. ISO: 640
  5. One-shot drive mode
  6. White balance: Daylight
  7. Metering: Evaluative

Now that you’ve read up about composing your image with the rule of thirds and gridlines in your view finder and editing programs, try it out using settings from our previous blog, settings I’ve used above and once again settings you feel works the best for you to achieve your own photographic potential. Send us some photos and feed back on how these tips are assisting you. In each blog we will contribute in growing your skills as a photographer.

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Kevan Dobbie
Wildlife Photographer

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