tips for photographers

BEGINNERS: Improving your photos

I feel stuck. How do I improve my photography?

Some people will just tell you to "go out and shoot as many people/events/(whatever) as you can". But this could be interpreted in different ways.

The answer is pretty simple, and can be applied to everything in life. Practice. Now wait. It sounds very cliché, but let me explain.

You may be feeling like you can take photos that are just okay, and you don't know how to make them better and start looking like the pros. But all the pros were once like you. With practice, your photos will go from "okay", to "better", to "good", to "great" and so on.

What do I mean by practice? How do I "practice"?

I take my camera outside (I love shooting in natural light) and start snapping photos, adjusting my settings every few shots to get the right exposure(I shoot in Manual). I always try to leave my ISO between 100 and 200 if the sun is on my side, but I feel guilty if I go beyond 400. I mainly adjust my aperture and shutter speed, depending on the type of shot I'm looking for. I go further by choosing an appropriate white balance and picture style. All of this will vary due to personal preference/taste.

After toggling with the settings, I find a subject (person, animal, object, scene etc) and I take several shots with different compositions each time. I review them in camera (and later on in post production) to see what I like, what I don't, what works and what doesn't.. AND WHY!!! It's important for you to do this with your own images because this is how you will get better! It's not much different from someone else giving you advice or vice versa, because you may ask or say WHY (very important) and that will lead to seeing things differently. Composition is probably one of my favorite aspects in photography.

And for heavier stuff, I pull out my flash and other bits and pieces, if needed. It's really important that you know your gear. Another thing that I do is look for various tutorials or tips on Youtube and use the same techniques in my work. Learning never stops.

Even in other professions, like music, you have to practice. Imagine a band comes to play and they didn't rehearse.. That's a recipe for complete discord!

You need to practice to be great at what you do. There's no getting around it.

Photographed by : Merth Weekes

Photographed by : Merth Weekes

What do I do after practicing?

To be honest with you, practicing never stops either. After you practice every day or once a week (or whatever works for you), THEN you can "go out and shoot as many people/events/(whatever)" you like! Because hopefully, after learning and taking note from what works and what doesn't and why, this will help you on your next shoot!


Extra: Learn how to read your histograms, because many people overlook it. You'll have an edge. ;)

Don't forget to follow my photography account on Instagram : @marysesmariusphotos


Thanks for reading, guys!



Hey there !

I have been away from blogging for about 2 months. Reasons being :

  1. I had a photography special going on for a little over one month.
  2. I just entered a new school, so preparing and settling took a bit of my time, as well.

But like the title of this says, I'm back in the groove and I apologize to those who have been awaiting my next blog because it took so long.

But let's get into things !


What's New ?

  1. I have updated this site : added new photos and updated the blog.
  2. I have a separate Instagram page running for my photography. @marysesmariusphotos
  3. I have been working on improving my portraits.


What's Next ?

  1. More portraiture.
  2. More blogging.


Quick Tip For The Weekend

For Photographers :

Share your work with your friends and get some honest critique.

For Non-Photographers :

Enjoy your weekend and photograph the experiences because Monday will be here soon.


If you read till the end, comment #BackInTheGroove

Till next time and thanks for reading,


Photographing Your Pets (WITH A BONUS BLOG!!)

How To Snap Shots of Animals

Hello ! Bonjour ! Hola !

Today, we will discuss taking photos of animals. I love photographing animals, especially my dogs. I find myself using my phone more often to take the photos, than my camera. That's for several reasons : It is smaller and more discreet, and in most cases, it is more readily available.

Meet Bolt, my dog.

Meet Bolt, my dog.

For my DSLR users : I took this shot with a Canon 60D and EF 100mm f/2 USM (not the macro version) lens. My aperture was f/2.8, my shutter speed was 1/400 sec and the ISO was set at 200 (I always try to keep my ISO at 200).


Quick Learning


Aperture is the setting which controls the size of the opening of the aperture blades through which light passes through the lens.

The smaller the opening, less light is let through, and therefore, the larger the opening, more light can pass through.

Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed, simply put, is the amount of time that the camera lets the light coming in, stay exposed and become recorded.

This is measured in fractions.

For example : 1/60, 1/125. This number relates to the timing that the shutter is left open, for example 1/60 shutter speed will mean the shutter stays open for 1 sixtieth of a second, then closes.


In Digital Photography ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor.

The same principles apply as in film photography – the lower the number the less sensitive your camera(the image sensor) is to light and the finer the grain. The higher the number, the higher the sensitivity of the image sensor and the grain is therefore more visible.


My best tips for taking photos of pets are:

  1. Use natural light and try to avoid using flash. The flash may frighten them, which in turn, could ruin your photo, or the whole photo shoot.
  2. Be patient and also be prepared to follow them. Pets do listen to their owner, but sometimes, it's best to let them be and snap away. In order to do so, you must have a lot of patience and energy to follow them and be flexible, literally.
  3. Switch off the shutter noise. This could distract them and like the flash, may frighten them.

On my phone (Samsung Galaxy S5), my settings are as follows:

  • Photo size : 16M
  • Auto Night Detection : Off
  • Face Detection : On
  • ISO : Auto
  • Metering Modes : Center-weighted
  • White Balance : Auto
  • Grid Lines : On (if this is off, do yourself a favor and switch it on RIGHT NOW)


Find my bonus blog on performing at Jambe De Bois here !

Have a great week !



The Secret Ingredients To Taking Your Best Photos

How I Take My Best Photos

Greetings to all !

Every photographer's formula will be different for taking pictures. These are some of the steps that have TREMENDOUSLY improved my photography and could help with yours too!

My best photos required me to get out of my comfort zone. A friend once shared a quote with me: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Getting out of my comfort zone is a crucial part to taking great photographs.


Pigeon Island National Landmark, St Lucia.

Pigeon Island National Landmark, St Lucia.

For example : This photo was snapped while I was standing on the edge of the door frame of a car.

Getting out of my comfort zone may mean that I have to kneel down, stretch over something or someone or even lie down on the ground to take a picture. I do recommend having a camera with a swivel screen. It makes the job much easier!

Getting out of my comfort zone may also mean that I have to speak with strangers, or ask for their permission to take photos of them etc.

My best photos were often selected from a batch of very similar photos. In other words, take many versions of the photo you wish to capture. People say less is more, but in this case, more is more.

All of my photos are shot in Manual Mode and in RAW on my DSLR. This allows for 'complete' control of the elements in my photo: in camera and in post-production. (SECRET : I have never used Auto on my camera!)

In addition to these few tips, my first blog post also shares some great tips that could apply to taking great photos with a DSLR as well !

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have a great day !