When you compose a picture, where are you looking? Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your camera and lens. One of the first things I learnt as a photographer, was to ignore what was in the middle of the view finder and instead look at the four corners of the viewfinder. When you see something worthy of taking a picture, you should have it already composed in your mind what you would like it to look (composition, crop, depth of field, etc.). When I’m out doing street shooting, I often have two bodies with two different lenses attached. Say for example, a wide angle zoom 16-35mm and a standard zoom 24-70mm or 24-105mm.
Have the image composed in your mind and learn which camera, camera/lens combination to grab. Have this combination pre-set for a specific composition. For example, when I’m done doing a specific shoot I always set the camera back to f/8 and the lens zoom back to it’s widest zoom range (ie. 16mm in the case of the wide angle and 24mm in the case of the standard zoom). By doing this I know when I grab the camera/lens I turn the aperture in one direction or another depending on the desired depth of field and the zoom ring in one direction to zoom in if desired. By the time I have the camera up to my eye I already have the camera and lens almost in the desired settings. Now I’m looking through the viewfinder and looking only in the four corners and ensuring I have cropped out the distracting elements that I don’t want in my picture. Assuming I have accomplished this, I’m firing away. In the above example, I already saw the boats and the reflections in the water and knew this is what I wanted to accomplish, so when the viewfinder came to my eye I already had the correct camera/lens combination in my hand and already turned the zoom close to the desired position. Only fine tuning was required at this point.
Practice this and you’ll miss far less spontaneous shots.
~ RoTP team