Make All of Your Photos Look Professional with Tips from Canon Support Rep April Copeland

From novices to experts, Canon believes expert guidance is the hallmark of great photographers.


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November 13, 2013 10:01AM (UTC)
This is the final installment in the new "The Experts" series, featuring expert guidance from leading food, fashion, travel, art and photography experts. The series is brought to you by Canon. Click here for more expert tips.

As a Canon Camera Tech Support Rep, April Copeland has acquired some practical tips for avoiding “the overlooked details,” like drained batteries and insufficient memory cards,” which could result in missing “the shot.” These days, Canon has developed technology which takes the guesswork out of shooting great pictures and puts the power of photography in everyone’s hands. Capturing pictures like an expert can be as easy as knowing which mode or setting to use—and keeping the flash on.

Expert Tip #1: Commit It to Memory Cards
Whether your camera is a point-and-shoot or an SLR, most cameras record images and video files on memory cards. When shopping for a good quality memory card, without breaking your budget, there are a few things to consider. Think about what type of shooting you’re doing. If it’s continuous shots at a sports event, for example, or video, then you’re most likely going to need a memory card with fast read and write functionality. For most point-and-shoot and SLR cameras, your best bet is a class 6 or higher memory card. But always check the specifications and compatibility with your model before you purchase it.

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Expert Tip #2: Master Using the Flash—Indoors and Out
The flash can be a very useful tool in many situations—even a camera’s built-in flash can add enough fill light to help get a shot. With the holidays coming up, there are going to be a lot of special moments with friends and family you want to capture. Many cameras are designed to turn the flash on and off, when they’re in full automatic mode if they detect a dark setting. The flash is great indoors, but it can also be useful outdoors, especially when you’re in shaded areas. When in doubt, always take one photo with the flash, and one photo without the flash. The more photos you take, the more chances you have of getting the right one, especially when people blink, pets move, and kids look away.

Expert Tip #3: Think Before You Say, “Smile!”
Picture-taking can be so spur of the moment, that sometimes people just grab the camera without thinking about putting it to its full potential. Depending on what you’re shooting, there might be a better mode or “scene” setting. These days, cameras are designed with setting options to give you better results and help you take the best photos you can. Some cameras, for example, even have a “party” scene mode, or “portrait” scene mode, both of which can come in handy at family gatherings and holiday time. These optimize lower light conditions and photographing people. Likewise, if you’re taking pictures of a moving subject, like your pet running around or kids playing at the beach, most cameras have a “sports” mode—and these scenarios are exactly what they’re designed for. The sports mode lets the cameras track the subject and if needed, it takes multiple shots in a shorter period of time, or burst mode.

Expert Tip #4: Keep Your Batteries Charged
Whether your camera takes regular AA or AAA batteries, or the rechargeable batteries that come with the camera, there are a few things to keep in mind for optimal camera performance. If you won’t be using the camera again for longer than a day, it’s a good habit to remove the batteries from the camera. With your camera batteries, even when the camera is turned off, the batteries are still slowly continuing to discharge—and ultimately drain. If you leave them in long enough, the next time you go to use the camera, they might even be dead. Instead of storing your batteries in the camera, take them out and keep them in a cool place with low humidity. This will elongate battery life. Also if possible always try to have extra batteries available just in case you need them.

Expert Tip #5: Keep the Subject Matter Candid
Posed family photos and portraits are classic, but today’s camera technology and ease of use give everyone the expert tools to try new trends. Instead of gathering everyone around, think about different perspectives and camera angles. During Thanksgiving dinner, for example, you might try and snap a picture of the dog begging for food from under the table, from his perspective. Likewise, if you’ve got that one family football fanatic, try and catch them in a moment when they are most comfortable and focused on the game. This will really get at the emotion and personality of the subject.

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