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Dubai-based Top Photographer Jef Anog Reveal The Ten Best-Kept Secrets for Capturing A Picture-Perfect Summer Vacation

July 9, 2016 Destination Middle East / Dubai No Comments Email Email

The Eid Al Fitr has finally been announced and many people will have long breaks that could be perfect for an exciting summer vacation.


Whether you choose to fly outside the country or opt to do a road trip within UAE, everyone will be aiming to captivate these beautiful moments with our loved ones, families and friends.

“A picture paints a thousand words and most of the time, even more than that. Images are very important to our lives as sometimes it is the only thing that never changes, photography freezes time and even after many years, we get to treasure these special moments captured by one single click,” says Jef Anog, a Dubai-based fashion photographer who is known for working with famous celebrities such as Haleema Boland and Alina Blinova and fashion designers in the land such as Michael Cinco and Ezra Santos and whose images has become the covers of numerous magazines and publications. “This is the reason why we need to learn the basic tips and secrets of photography aside from the fact that everyone is now in love with taking photos and selfies of their vacations, food, friends, families and ourselves” Jef added.

Below are the top 10 best-kept secrets of a professional photography that neophytes and everyone who loves taking pictures can learn from.

1. See the Light

Photography is all about lighting. Pay attention to how much light you have and the sources of it. Learning how to see the light is essential to develop your skills in photography. Being able to determine the direction, temperature, and intensity of the available light will help you know how to position your subject and which camera settings to use. If you are going to shoot outdoor using the sun as your main light source, be cautious not to take photos of a person when the sun is at their back. However, if you’re taking a photo in front of a stunning tower and you’re unlucky to move in another position you can use the camera’s flash or a reflector to fill in shadows.

2. Right Camera Mode

Your camera has different shooting modes, ranging from manual operation to very specific scene modes. If you’re into sport or any activity with fast movements you can use Shutter Priority (“S”) mode and put at least 1/125 second to freeze the action. If you are in low light situations, you can use Aperture Priority (“A”) and put the widest aperture (smallest F number) to make sure more light is entering the lens as possible. Try to avoid using Automatic or P mode, since it does not give you much control over the exposure.

3. Compose Your Images

I think the heart of a photograph is its composition—how you compose or place different elements in the single frame. The easiest way is to follow the Rule of Thirds, imagine four lines, two lying horizontally across the image and two vertical creating nine even squares. Try and align the subject along these lines and intersections and it will give you a more dramatic interesting shot than the boring centered subject. Most of the cameras have a rule of thirds grid overlay that you can activate when shooting.

4. Use Simple Backgrounds

It is a very simple approach that works perfectly in digital photography. You just need to decide what needs to be in the frame and avoid anything that is a distraction. Choose background with neutral colors and simple patterns as much as possible. This is very important especially when you place the model off center.

5. Sense of Depth

If you are into beautiful sceneries or landscape photographs, you definitely want your viewer to feel like they are also present in that place. Create a sense of depth by using a small aperture of f/16 or smaller so that everything in the image is sharp. Placing an object or person in the foreground gives a sense of scale and emphasizes how far away the distance is. Use a tripod if possible because small aperture usually requires a slower shutter speed.

6. The White Balance

Paying attention to the white balance settings will give you a more stunning image with accurate colors. If the white balance is even slightly off, it can produce a highly noticeable bluish or reddish shade appear in an overall picture.  In order to set the correct white balance, first is to take a picture of a white piece of paper or a gray card. Second, tell your camera which neutral image corresponds to the correct white balance. It all depends on the camera make and model you’re using, but the basic process is pretty much the same. Go the main menu, pick white balance, and then pick manual. Under manual white balance, there’s an option to use a reference shot from your camera’s memory. Pick that one, and then find the image you just took. Your white balance is now calibrated for the situation right in front of you!

7. Use Flash Wisely

Sometimes using flash in an indoor shoot results harsh and unnatural portraits. Therefore, there are various ways you can take an image indoors without too much harsh lighting. First, use the widest aperture as possible – this way more ‘light’ will reach the sensor and you will have a nice blurred background. Also, you need to set the ISO range from ISO 800 to 1600.  Using a tripod or an I.S. (Image Stabilization) lens is also a great way to avoid blur. And finally, adding just a little bit of flash, ‘light’ makes it possible to fill in shadows and will give you a more natural-looking photo. You can also point the flash at the ceiling or a side wall and bounce the flash onto the model to get significantly softer and more flattering light.

8. Use A Tripod

A tripod only takes seconds to erect and adjust, yet it can support your camera in the perfect position for however long you wish, helping you to take great images. Using a tripod will allow you to set up framing, and can come in handy—along with your camera’s self-timer—for getting that shot of you in front of an iconic tower.

9. Consider A Retouch

It is not “cheating” if you retouch your images.  Getting your photos right in-camera is the main goal, but it is not a crime if you do a bit of retouching. Performing some very basic editing on a photo can help improve its quality drastically. Cropping a bit can help with composition, and you can also rotate a photo so that horizon lines are straight. Consider using a free photo editing program like Pixlr, GIMP  or Picasa for your photos.

10. Quality Over Quantity

It is very important to choose the best from the best in your set of images. You can take hundreds of photos of one perfect subject but don’t flood your social media accounts by uploading all of those images. You should spend some time going through your shots to select the best and eliminate photos that may be out of focus or poorly composed. It’s always good to show just one image or  two for your viewers not become bored seeing multiple images with almost the same composition.

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