Photography is a complex form of art that requires a lot of time and dedication to master. Anyone can be a good photographer thanks to today’s technological advancements, but it takes just a little bit extra to become a great photographer. Smartphone cameras have become increasingly better each year and although photographs taken with smartphones aren’t quite on par with DSLR photographs, technology is closing the gap. [no_toc]

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Whether you’re using a DSLR camera, bridge camera, compact camera, action camera, waterproof camera, smartphone camera or any other type of digital camera, here are 4 tips & tricks that will surely improve the quality of your photographs from now on.

Using Aperture Priority Will Create Better Portraits

The majority of DSLR and digital cameras have a setting called “aperture priority”. It’s noted with an “A” and should be found on the mode dial. With it you can control the depth of field of your photographs. The settings related to aperture are measured in “F-stops” (F2, F8, F22, etc). The narrower the aperture, the higher the F-stop number. For more blurred out backgrounds, select a wider aperture (a smaller F-stop number).

Changing the aperture of your shots will help you understand and use depth-of-field to keep the focus of the photograph on the subject, instead of the background.

Burst Mode is Your Friend

A lot of people avoid burst mode thinking that most of their photos will be blurred out or moved. However, burst mode is excellent for capturing ephemeral facial expressions and dynamic groups or events. The rapid succession of photographs, captured at speeds ranging between 3 and 60 per second.

Burst photographs can also be taken with smartphones. Pressing and holding the camera button can give you anywhere between 3 and 30 photographs per second, depending on the smartphone of your choice and various installed applications.

Night Shots are Best Taken With a Combination of Artificial and Natural Light

Night shots can be a nightmare for beginner photographers. The majority of beginner photographers end up with dark photos that don’t really convey the beauty of the subject being photographed. It is essential to note that the best night shots are achieved when the light levels from both natural and artificial sources are as close as possible.

This is where spot metering comes into play. Modern digital cameras have spot meters that can easily assess the situation and provide the correct exposure. For the best shots, take spot meter readings of both the sky and the areas which are artificially lighted.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE)

Natural light will always play an important role in the quality of your photos. TPE is a multi-platform application that offers information about the current position of the sun and the moon, regardless of your location. It’s an excellent tool that can help you plan your early-morning photographs, especially when you don’t exactly know the location of the rising sun. You can use the app on your laptop, iOS or Android device from anywhere in the world.