Even with today's cameras being so very clever, taking a perfect outdoor photograph is still not as easy as it seems. There are just so many things to consider, from location, weather and would you believe it temperature. The biggest thing to consider for me though, is take the picture with a mind to what you like, and don't worry about what others might think, after all it is your photograph, and it will be in your album or on your wall, not anyone else's. But what steps can you take to ensure that you capture the "magic" that you've seen through the viewfinder of your camera? The list as it turns out is quite extensive, and you would be doing very well to remember of use them all, but including just a few, will over time improve your results, and that after all is the aim of the game.
The best tips you will ever get are (1) to be able to override the cameras automatic functions, and (2) to be comfortable when doing so, as it is vital to be able to set your own aperture and shutter speeds and to be able set the focus manually. If you can set the ISO (the higher the ISO the less light the camera needs) to higher values then this too can be very handy. If you can override the flash to be able to use in daylight that too can be very useful, "fill in flash" making all the difference in filling in the shadows on a bright day, this being especially useful when taking portraits. So far you need to have a camera that allows you to override it, but you also have to be sure you can do so easily, having to fiddle about through a multitude of menus might be OK in the shop, but is no good in the field, after all you only have so much time and one pair of hands. So with the function and usability angles of the camera sorted out, what other equipment do you need. The first thing to consider is the lens on the camera, if you have a camera with a fixed lens, then this must also be of the right type.
It must be said however, that serious photographers always use an SLR as these allow different lenses to be used. Whatever camera you have though, you really need a lens (or lenses) that will cover the range of 28mm to 300mm (although you can get away with 210mm if you are not into wildlife photos). You should also bear in mind the "F" number of the lenses, as the lower the number the more light they let in (and the more expensive they get). Most people will have to be content with around an F2.8 lens in the 28 - 50mm range and a F4 to 5.6 for the higher focal length lenses, purely because those with lower F numbers are just far too expensive.
You might think that is all you need, and to be sure for some that is enough, but for the truly serious photography will also want a tripod. As with the camera, there are many different choices, but the main consideration must however be usability. It is no good whatsoever having a tripod that is too heavy, as for most this will mean it just stays in the cupboard at home. No, the best choice must be the one that suits your needs, budget and perhaps more importantly, your level of desire to take the very best photos. I say this as if you really want to take really high quality shots then a tripod is a must, especially in nature photography, and if that is your desire you will lug that tripod along, no matter how heavy it is. The next step is to start to take the photographs, and here the tips commence with Composition, that being the subject of the next article in this series.
Taking the perfect photograph is not as easy at it seems, so in order to help, Graham Baylis, a serious amatuer photographer as well as an Internet Marketer is providing a series of tips. Once you have the perfect photograph however you might well want to enlarge it and that is just where Learntodream's photographic enlargment service comes in, check out their site at www.learntodream.co.uk