The second leg of Manchester City vs. Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is finally here after a delay of almost six months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But in the United States, the match will be shown with different TV channel and live stream viewing options than those that existed when the two sides played the first leg back in February
When Manchester City beat Real Madrid 2-1 at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu so many months ago, Turner Sports was the exclusive English language provider of Champions League action in the U.S. Now CBS has the rights, and the network is making Friday’s match at the City of Manchester Stadium available on both CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access.0:117:08
As for the game itself, don’t be surprised if City play conservative given both their one-goal cushion and their vulnerability to counter attacks. Real Madrid are on a hot streak after winning La Liga, and even without the suspended Sergio Ramos, they will be tough to contain.
Below is all you need to know to watch Friday’s second leg of Manchester City vs. Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16, plus a complete TV schedule for the rest of the tournament.
What channel is Manchester City vs. Real Madrid on?
Match: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, Champions League Round of 16 second leg
TV channel: CBS Sports Network | DAZN (Canada)
Start time: 3 p.m. ET
First leg: Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City
CBS was supposed to take over the exclusive English language rights for Champions League matches in 2021, but it did so ahead of schedule after Turner Sports prematurely ended its deal in June. So CBS is now the home for Champions League action in the United States, but it will not show any of the 11 remaining matches on its over-air cable network.
All Champions League matches are available live on CBS All Access, which is the network’s online streaming service. A select few, including Friday’s Manchester City vs. Real Madrid Round of 16 second leg, will be shown on TV via CBS Sports Network. For those games games, CBS Sports Network has a channel finder feature for users across the country.
CBS is trying to push CBS All Access, it’s live streaming service, so the network is making all 11 of its 2019-20 Champions League tournament matches available on that platform.
CBS All Access starts at $5.99 a month, but it is offering a one-month free trial promotion for new subscribers through mid-August. Users can cancel subscriptions at any time.
Below are the devices on which CBS All Access can be streamed:
Because Friday’s Manchester City vs. Real Madrid match is being played at the same time as Juventus vs. Lyon, another Round of 16 second leg, CBS is also showing the City-Madrid game on TV channel CBS Sports Network. Which leads to more live stream viewing options.
As for live TV streaming services, CBS Sports Network is available on fuboTV, YouTube TV and Hulu, and all three come with free trials for new subscribers. Below are links to each.
The coronavirus shut down live sports on the same day (March 11) that Paris Saint-Germain beat Dortmund and Atlético Madrid topped Liverpool to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals. That left four Round of 16 games left on the schedule.
UEFA recently determined all four remaining Champions League Round of 16 matches could play out at their originally scheduled locations before the tournament heads to Lisbon, Portugal, where all single-leg quarterfinal and semifinal matches will take place. The Champions League Final will be played in Lisbon, as well.
All Champions League matches are scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET. Below is the complete Champions League schedule from what’s left of the Round of 16 through the Final at the end of the month.
Tropical Storm Isaias plowed through the region bringing high winds that knocked down limbs and uprooted trees onto power lines, leaving hundreds and thousands of people without electricity Tuesday night.
“It will be a multi-day response to get the power on, to replace all the equipment that has been broken and damaged by trees,” said Priscilla Ress, spokeswoman for Eversource.
Nearly 250,000 residents and businesses across the state reportedly lost electricity in a matter of a few hours due to sustained winds of as much as 40 mph and wind gusts that reached 65 mph in some areas.
Some of the hardest hit areas are in the areas are in the Hilltowns and the Berkshires. In small towns such as Becket and Chester, more than 90 percent of customers have no power. Greenfield, Cummington, Pittsfield, Hinsdale and Otis also have a large number of outages, Ress said.
Springfield has scattered outages throughout the city with more than 10,000 homes and businesses, or about 17 percent of the customers, left in the dark. In Longmeadow 3,340 customers are without power and Agawam and Amherst each have about 1,200 customers without electricity.
National Grid is reporting nearly 175,000 of customers have no electricity across the state. In Wilbraham and Monson 95 percent of the residents and businesses are without power. There are 4,672 customers in Belchertown and 5,027 residents in East Longmeadow with no electricity.
Municipal electric companies are also reporting multiple outages. In Holyoke the largest problems are along Route 5, in the Highlands and in the neighborhoods around Whiting Farms Road. Chicopee Electric Light is also reporting large outages spread throughout the city.
Electric companies have been planning for the storm for days as soon as it became apparent it would bring high winds and rain to the region, officials said.
National Grid has 1,987 crew members and contractors working on the outages after bringing in a number of people from other states, said Erin Del Llano, spokeswoman for the company.
Eversource brought in crews and private contractors from New England states which are exempt from the 14-day quarantine required for anyone coming from a different state to Massachusetts due to the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple crews were also brought in from Canada, Ress said.
That means that crews are traveling alone in trucks, wearing protective equipment and maintaining 6 feet distance from co-workers when possible. Because of that, restoration work may take longer, she said.
“One of the additional challenges is we are working in a pandemic. We are adhering to safety precautions,” Ress said.
She and Del Llano said no one is sure how the safety precautions workers must take to prevent spreading COVID-19 will impact the time it takes to restore power because it has never been done.
National Grid workers are also following the state and federal Centers for Disease Control guidelines for working safely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are doing health screenings and ensuring crews have protective equipment and the training they need, Del Llano said.
At National Grid most workers are doing assessments of damage Tuesday night to develop a plan to restore outages. While there are a few places were repairs can be made overnight, most work is expected to begin early Wednesday, she said.
One of the problems is wind gusts are making it difficult for crews to be working on high utility poles usually while they are in the bucket of a truck, Del Llano said.
Winds are expected to decrease overnight according to the National Weather Service.
“There have really high winds. The crews will assess if it is safe to go up in a bucket,” Ress said. “Sometimes they have to wait until gusts stop.”
Making it additionally difficult, many roads where outages occurred are blocked with trees and limbs. Crews are working with Department of Public Works in different communities to chainsaw through the debris so they can get close to the downed wires and damaged equipment, Ress said.
At the same time high winds are continuing through Tuesday night and damaging more of the electrical infrastructure even while crews are working to make repairs, Ress said.
Both Del Llano and Ress said the priority is safety and warn residents to never go near a downed wire because they may be electrified. Residents are asked to call their electric companies at 800-465-1212 for National Grid and 800-286-2000 for Eversource to report downed wires. If they feel if there is an immediate danger, residents should call 911.
A live wire can electrify puddles, fences and anything else nearby so people should stay far away from any downed wires and also make sure their children and pets keep away from them, Ress said.
People can find estimates of restoration for their own communities on the websites of most power companies.
Technical problems caused the Eversource outage map to be out for some time during the storm and people still cannot self-report outages on the company’s website or through the app. Residents are asked instead to email email@example.com and hundreds of extra customer care representatives are available to assist people, Ress said.
Facebook recently started pushing the use of hashtags in posts, literally in a notification stating that by adding hashtags, you can improve your reach.
The Facebook Hashtag 2020 Definitive Guide: What Mar
Hashtags on Facebook first launched clear back in 2013 with an update in 2016. And, frankly, hashtags never really seemed to take off, and never made much difference on Facebook. In fact, I recall seeing some reports over the years showing that using hashtags on Facebook might lower organic reach. And, for many users that auto-publish Instagram posts to Facebook, complete with a ton of hashtags, it never looked right.
That is, until now!
Heck, if we can get even a teeny increase in organic reach, I say use hashtags liberally on Facebook!!
You may have seen a notification on Facebook like this prompting you to add hashtags to your posts to improve your reach? LOVE that! Thank you, Facebook. Many members of my Social Scoop Facebook group are starting to report seeing a slight increase in reach with the use of hashtags now.
keters Need To Know
Post privacy: who can see your posts with hashtags?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about the all-important topic of privacy!
As with all content on Facebook, the author/owner controls the privacy settings. So, if you publish content on your personal profile to friends only, then only friends can see that content. Makes sense, right? If you include hashtags in a personal profile post, with privacy set to friends only, then that post *can* be surfaced in the hashtag post feed page … but, will still only be visible to your friends.
Same thing with private groups. Including hashtags in your Facebook group posts is a good practice now, given Facebook is stating you’ll get better reach. This likely goes for all types of posts. However, with group posts, yes they can also be surfaced in the hashtag post feed page, but ONLY for members of that group.
So, don’t be alarmed if you go to check the feed of a hashtag you’ve used in a private group, and you see your own post at the top. You’re seeing it there because you’re in the group!
You can always check the little privacy icon next to the time stamp on any post. The globe is always public. The group of three people is groups. Two people is friends. The gear icon is custom settings which you may see on personal profile posts and/or business page posts, meaning visible to only specific audiences.
Tips for using hashtags on Facebook in 2020
Here’s what to know, so far, about using hashtags on Facebook:You can easily discover what hashtags are in use on Facebook by typing in the search bar on either the desktop or mobile apps, just like on Instagram.
Plus, on the main Facebook mobile app, just start typing your desired hashtags and Facebook will make additional suggestions:
Definitely start including hashtags in your Facebook posts now!
Build your own groups of hashtags to paste into various posts for specific purposes, just like on Instagram.
Try using Instagram’s search to discover the right hashtags for you, including related hashtags. Meaning, do your Facebook hashtag research on Instagram because, so far, Facebook does not show total post counts whereas Instagram does. This gives you a great sense of how popular a hashtag is, or not!
If you weren’t already, you can certainly link your Instagram account to crosspost to Facebook, and your Instagram hashtags now (finally!) actually have more impact on Facebook.
When you use Creator Studio to schedule posts on Instagram, typing the # sign and the start of a hashtag automatically populates with suggested tags. This feature isn’t on Facebook … yet.
UPDATE 7.15.20 — aha, today I got forced over to the new Facebook desktop design (again!) with no way to switch back to Classic. On the new design, whenever you begin to type a hashtag, Facebook will automatically suggest hashtags for you. Just like on Instagram.
How many hashtags should you include in your Facebook posts?
As many as you want! (The character limit for Facebook posts is a whopping 63,206!) But, generally I would suggest adding 3-5 key hashtags. And then maybe expanding to 10-15 if you wish. More if you really want. Test to see what works.
I would also place hashtags mostly at the bottom, similar to Instagram. Also, if you just place a bunch of clear lines before your hashtags, Facebook removes the clear lines. So, again, just like on Instagram, you might place several “.” periods to create hard line breaks.
HOT TIP: Consider going back through some of your best performing Facebook posts and ADD hashtags! PLUS, be sure to add a comment and see if some of your friends/fans can add a comment, too. This activates Facebook’s “Story Bump” algorithm introduced on August 6th, 2013 and could help more people discover your content easier, especially video posts.
I tested this tip myself recently by sending an email to my subscribers drawing attention to a popular post about helping small businesses network in my Social Scoop Facebook group. When I went back to check the #supportsmallbusiness hashtag page again after a week, my Social Scoop post was back up at the top!
In other words, the post was at the top whilst it was fresh and getting good engagement then it got pushed lower down as the days went by. However, by giving the post a ‘bump’ with more comments, the post gets more visibility. You should totally test this on your own profile, group and business page posts. Let me know what you find!
Use #SupportSmallBusiness on Facebook
We’re releasing a “Support Small Business” sticker on Instagram and a #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag on the Facebook app to let people show their love for small businesses. Creators on Facebook can also use a new “in support of” tag to promote small businesses to their fans. —Facebook for Business
The use of #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag seems to be doing well so far. As you can see from the screenshot below, Facebook users have published a total of 3.2M posts that include this hashtag. I monitored this tally over the past few days and it’s grown by 400K in the past four days or so.
This is the only hashtag that shows the aggregate number of posts on Facebook. All others, so far, are blank. This is a major difference between hashtags on Facebook and Instagram.
On Instagram, the same #supportsmallbusiness hashtag has over 16M posts. Of course, historically, hashtags have simply been much more widely utilized on Instagram vs. Facebook.
Another major difference, for now, between hashtags feed pages on both platforms is that Instagram allows users to follow a hashtags, whereas Facebook does not have this feature. I’ll be curious to see if and when they add it!
Create Post CTA button
Facebook encourages visitors to this #supportsmallbusiness page to add their own post with a big blue call-to-action button on desktop. This is also the only hashtag page on Facebook that has this option, as far as I can tell.
The same invitation appears on mobile underneath posts that include the hashtag, as you can see from this screenshot shared with me by my friend Michael Stelzner
Hashtag browse topic button
Some users are reporting seeing a ‘Browse’ button on the foot of some posts to discover more about an included hashtag.
This isn’t the first time the feature was spotted, though. According to this tweet with screenshot, Facebook was testing it back in April.
Facebook auto-inserts links to Instagram hashtags
Check this new discovery out, too! For some popular hashtags, Facebook automatically inserts the full URL in parentheses encouraging users to check out the same hashtag on Instagram
Newly designed hashtag post feed pages
The hashtag post feed pages have a ‘fresh coat of paint’ and are nice and clean, with Facebook’s newer shade of blue branding color.
Selfie Poses: Use A Professional Photographer Approach
Do not take selfies just like everyone else. Use professional photography principles to make better selfies and stand out from the crowd. I will explain you how in this article.The perfect selfie – it could be so simple! But 30 minutes and 10 exhausting poses later, you are still not satisfied with the result, because somehow your self-portraits do not want to look as relaxed and cool as those of the delightful bloggers?
That is over now, because today I want to help you to become a real Selfie-Professional and inspire the community! Get on the phone, it’s selfie-time!
How To Take A Good Selfie If I Am Not Photogenic, What Can I Do?
Success through the perfect Selfie
A good selfie can not only be uploaded to social networks, it can also be used as a source of income. The perfect Selfie can even help you to a successful career start. Selfie queen Kim Kardashian has published an entire book with her self-portraits and Justin Bieber helped two girls, whose perfect Selfies he discovered and then shared on his Instagram account, to a modeling career. Numerous fashion bloggers also rely on daily selfies to present their “Outfit of the Day”. With a perfect selfie you can be sure of success and a good career boost.
Step 1: General location tips
In a selfie, the location and the background, are also protagonists of the self portrait. I will show you now how to integrate them inside the selfie.
Whether you want to make the perfect selfie on holiday, in the gym or at home is up to you. However, there are some things you should consider. Keep the background as steady as possible so that you are the center of attention. You photograph in public places? Then no strangers should be seen, so that they do not get into the social media without being asked.
Perhaps you would like to be inspired by current trends: the most popular locations are fitness studios, Selfies in elevators or the photo in the car. The mobile phone, however, prefers to remain in the pocket at no go locations, such as memorials.
Even small aids are allowed: the Selfiestick has always split the community – for some a smiled at gadget, for others a must-have. Group photos are definitely best displayed with this tool (if you like taking group photos, whether for a birthday or a wedding, for example, then read my article with great tips and tricks on “the perfect group photo”. Because hand on heart: group photos don’t have to be stiff and uncreative. I’ll show you how to do it).
Step 2 for the perfect selfie: The light
Selfies succeed best with natural daylight. A light source from the front prevents unattractive shadows and additionally conjures up great reflections in the eyes. Particularly atmospheric: photography against the light.
The latest gadget in Selfies are Selfie Cases, mobile phone cases with integrated light – perfect for the delicately illuminated self-portrait! However, the flash function should remain switched off in any case (see my guide on how to take really good photos with your smartphone to find out why you should avoid the flash).
Small DIY tip for home: as the face is often too dark, you can brighten it up for the photo by placing a white sheet of paper or a mirror next to the camera, as the light is reflected and falls on your face.
Step 3 for the perfect selfieThe pose
Now for perfect positioning! Of course you can bring the Duckface, but you will catch only a few Like. The magic word is: naturalness! Be authentic and smile into the camera. Selfies for Snapchat are allowed to be funny, Instagramfotos are more stylish and staged – so pay attention to the message your picture should convey.
In general, you should hold your smartphone at a 45° angle above your head, because from there your eyes look bigger. To avoid distortion, keep the phone as far away from your face as possible (how about the Selfiestick?). Of course the full frontale works, but you can also take a picture of your chocolate side. Just try various head postures.
What do you especially like about yourself? Is it your eyes? Or the lips? Emphasize only one feature, in addition you can take an aesthetic hand pose as an aid. But also other tricks are allowed to give your Selfie additional dynamics: photograph yourself with other people (the so-called #ussie) or, especially heartwarming, with an animal.
Discover more: Strike a pose! You can find even more examples of posing for natural shots in the guide “Posing for a photo – 4 tips for a beautiful portrait”
Step 4 for the perfect SelfieNew trends to pick up
A normal Selfie is too boring for you? Then try out detail shots. Whether the feet in the white beach sand or the follow me to pose – such recordings spice up your instagra profile and are real like guarantors!
You are now ready for the perfect selfie – another tip for triggering the front camera: you can trigger the camera more easily using the volume button on your mobile phone or the voice control and save yourself wild contortions with your free hand.
Step 5 for the perfect Selfie machining and filter
Hardly any photo nowadays gets into the social media without a filter. In the post-processing you can still get some out of your picture.
Instagram offers numerous filters that give your shot the typical Selfie look. Make sure your photos always have similar colors and brightness so your profile looks structured. Cooler tones and low-contrast, brightly lit photos work particularly well.
Snapchat has a variety of changing masks that you can use perfectly for your production. Your humor is in demand here. Attraction guaranteed!
But there are also various selfie apps, all of which promise the perfect portrait! In the self-test, however, I had to learn that these are not very convincing… a pity! Instead, I can recommend the VSCO filters.
Which photo tools I can recommend to you, so that you can prepare your perfect Selfie a little bit, you can find in my TOP list about the “5 best photo apps”
Step 6 for the perfect selfie Share correctly – the best Selfie hashtags
Et voila! You got your perfect selfie on the smartphone, and now? The community needs to see your photo! Share your Selfie on all social networks, for example Instagram and Snapchat. Known hashtags help you to be found as often as possible. I’ve listed the most common hashtags for you once:
Do you want to learn how to take professional photos? Here are some professional photography tips that will show you how to make your pictures look more polished
To inexperienced photographers, taking a great photo can seem simple: just point and shoot. But anyone who’s tried to learn how to take professional photos knows that there’s a lot more to it than that.
From choosing the right subject and setting up a cool composition to finding the best light, it takes a lot of consideration to capture a great photo.
If you want to take your photography to the next level, here are some tips to help you learn how to take good pictures. Once you get a hang of these basic pro techniques, it should vastly improve your results.
The best part about knowing how to take professional photos? It leads to new opportunities. The more professional-looking photos you’ll be able to produce, the better your online photography portfolio will look. And the better your online photography portfolio looks, the more photography jobs you will land.
So, let’s dig in!
1. Master the Fundamentals of Composition
Choose a Strong Focal Point
The focal point of a photo is the main point of interest. It could be anything from a tree, to a building, to a person (or their eyes). Finding a strong focal point is one of the fundamental steps of how to take professional photos. So when you’re planning out or setting up a shot, you should stop and ask yourself, “What do I want viewers to focus on?”
Once you know what your focal point is, you can work towards making it as strong as it can be. Many of the composition rules below will help you create an interesting focal point that draws in and holds the viewer’s attention.
Follow The Rule of Thirds
Instead of positioning the focal point in the center of your shot, it can make for a more interesting composition if you follow the rule of thirds. This rule states that you should place the most important elements in your photos off center.
Imagine there’s a tic-tac-toe grid in front of your shot. That means two lines divide your frame into thirds vertically, and two lines divide it into thirds horizontally. You should place the subject and other important elements in your shot along these lines or at one of the four points where they intersect.
It’s one of the easiest ways to learn how to take professional photos. Instead of having all your portraits look like mugshots, this guideline can help you find a better balance between the main subject and background.
Use Leading Lines
Leading lines are line shapes in your shot that can help guide a viewer’s eyes to the focal point. They can be anything that creates a line in your photo, like roads, fences, buildings, long hallways, trees, or shadows.
The trick is using them take a viewer’s attention where you want it to go. That can include drawing their eyes straight to your subject, or leading them on a kind of visual journey through your composition.
The direction of your leading lines can also change the mood of your compositions. For example, vertical leading lines can convey a powerful, imposing mood, while horizontal leading lines tend to be associated with calm and tranquility. For more information on why this technique can help with taking professional photos, check out this guide on how to use leading lines in your photography.
Put Some Thought Into Perspective
Perspective has a massive impact on the composition of any photo. By simply changing the angle or distance you shoot from, you can totally change the mood and meaning of your images.
One simple way to see that is by shooting the same subject from above and below. A bird’s-eye view can make a person in your shot seem small, while shooting from below can make it look like the same person is now towering over you. Shooting from far away can make a person look insignificant, while getting up close and having them fill the frame can convey a sense of power.
So when setting up any shot, spend some time thinking about perspective. Don’t be afraid to walk around your subject to search for interesting angles, and see how drastically it can change the composition’s mood. It will bring you one step closer to perfecting how to take professional pictures.
Finding ways to convey depth is another important step in learning how to take professional photos. If you ignore this rule, your photos can end up feeling very flat and boring. The best way to convey depth is to include some elements in the foreground, middle ground, and background. So for example, instead of shooting your portraits with the person standing up against a wall, bring them closer to the camera, or find a better background with some depth.
Make Your Subject Pop by Using Bokeh
Adding a bokeh effect can help when you are trying to add depth to your photos. Bokeh is the term for that intentional out-of-focus blur effect you can see in a lot of professional photos. Often, photographers use this effect to keep the subject to be crisp and clear while the background is soft and blurry. The result is your subject will seem to really pop out of the background.
One of the simplest ways to do it is to bring your subject right up close to the camera and shoot them in front of a distant background. If you have a zoom lens, even better! Use it at the maximum focal length to decrease the depth of field and create an even stronger bokeh effect. When knowing how and when to use bokeh becomes like second nature, you’re on your way to understanding how to take professional photos.
Frame Your Shot
Framing is another technique that can help you take professional photos. It involves finding something that can act as a natural frame for your composition, and then shooting so your subject is inside it. Some examples include a doorway, an archway, some foliage, or a hole in a wall. This type of framing can help direct the viewer’s attention to your focal point.
Also, if the frame is relatively close to the camera, it can act as a foreground layer that adds depth to your image. Similar to creating a bokeh effect in the background, if you manually focus and zoom in on a subject the middle ground, you can keep the frame out of focus, which makes sure it doesn’t draw attention away from your focal point.
Fill The Frame
When photography students are being taught how to take professional photos, they are often told to “fill the frame.” It’s great advice because if you leave too much space around your main subject, distracting elements in the background can take away from your composition.
So, for example, when shooting a portrait, you might decide to just include the person from the waist up, or, even better, to fill the frame with their face. It makes for a much more captivating and professional-looking photo when all the unneeded extra space is cropped out.
Look for Patterns and Symmetry—Then Disrupt Them
Including patterns or symmetrical elements in your photos can make them more eye-catching. Humans have a tendency to spot patterns, and it’s one reason that including them in your shots can help you learn how to take professional photos.
So keep an eye out for ways to include patterns, symmetry, and repetition of shapes or colors in your photography. Also, including an element that disrupts the pattern makes for an interesting focal point. A simple example would be a picket fence with one broken or missing picket.
2. Make Sure You Have Good Lighting
Making sure your shots are properly lit is an essential part of how to make your pictures look professional, and it’s something that inexperienced photographers often overlook. The first step is making sure you have enough light that your subject is visible. If there’s not enough light, your camera may struggle to capture the details in the scene.
If you happen to be shooting with your camera on automatic settings (which is not how to take professional photos, but more on that later!), it will use a high ISO setting or extra-long exposure, and you’ll probably end up with grainy or blurry results. And, if you try to brighten things up in Photoshop, you may find you have to make massive adjustments, which also results in a low-quality image.
On the other hand, if there’s too much hard light in your shots, it can ruin your photo with unwanted shadows. So spend some time carefully picking your location and the angle you shoot from to ensure there’s enough light in the scene. Another way to deal with this problem is by using lighting equipment.
3. Get Some Lighting Equipment
Relying solely on available light is not always the right way to take professional pictures. If you do, then you are severely limiting yourself. Professional photographers spend a lot of time planning out lighting and they use a range of lighting equipment. But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to take the lighting in your photography to the next level.
Try Out a Light Reflector
One affordable piece of equipment that will help you manage your lighting is a light reflector. You could pick up a 5-in-1 light reflector for around $20, and it will give you a lot of options for manipulating light in your shots. These versatile light reflectors come with reversible covers made from different types of reflective materials. For instance, they have silver covers that reflect lots of bright light, white covers that reflect softer light, and black covers for helping you remove light from a scene.
By providing a simple way to start manipulating light in your shots, light reflectors are a big help when it comes to wrapping your head around how to take professional photos.
Take Advantage of Camera Flashes and Diffusers
If you understand that lighting is an important part of how to make photographs look professional, you may be thinking about investing in lighting equipment such as a studio strobe. But don’t overlook your camera flash!
If you shy away from using it because you find the light is too harsh, there are a number of solutions. One of the best options would be to invest in an external flash. External camera flashes, whether used attached to your camera’s hot-shoe or used off-camera, can give you much more flexibility. For one, they enable you to aim the light rather than have it blasting directly on your subject.
This allows you to bounce the light off a nearby surface like a ceiling or wall. The result is that the light is spread out much more evenly and looks less intense. There are also a variety of flash diffusers available for external flashes that will help you soften the light without having to bounce it off a surface.
But if you aren’t ready to invest in an external flash, there are less expensive options for diffusing the light from your camera’s built-in flash. One example is this diffuser for built-in camera flashes. It costs less than $20 and simply clips onto the top of your camera. It uses frosted plastic to soften the light.
Many photographers also create DIY solutions for diffusing the light from their flashes, such as using various translucent white plastic containers and cutting them so they fit over the flash.
Use Light to Create Interesting Effects
But there’s a lot more to lighting than just making sure you have enough of it. You can also use light in a variety of interesting ways that can totally change the mood of your photos. Once you get comfortable creating some of these effects, it will help you with figuring out how to make your photographs look professional.
For example, some techniques you could try out include:
Shooting during the golden hour. The golden hour is what photographers call the time just after sunrise and just before sunset. This is when you can capture scenes bathed in golden-hued light—which makes for a great photo. Also, since the sun is low in the sky, things cast very long shadows that can create a dramatic effect.
Create a silhouette. Try shooting a subject in front of a bright light like the setting sun, and manually adjust your camera settings so all you’re left with is a dark silhouette against a background of light. Check out this guide to learn all the ins and outs of silhouettes, Silhouette Photography 101: Master The Basics.
Shoot in hard light. Shooting in areas or times when there’s lots of bright light and shadows can make for an interesting photo with lots of contrast. For example, look for things that cast interesting shadows onto your scene such as window blinds or a fence. Then capture those shapes or patterns created by the shadows as they fall on your subject. For more info on this technique, take a look at hard light photography advice.
4. Learn How to Edit Photos Like a Professional
It’s not only about how to take professional photos. You should also learn how to edit photos like a professional.
Photoshop is the professional photographer’s best friend. Practically any image can benefit from some touch-ups, whether it’s cropping, brightness adjustments, color corrections, or other tweaks.
So it’s worth spending some time learning what the program is capable of. There are lots of helpful tutorials available online, including a bunch on the Adobe website.
If you don’t have access to Photoshop and aren’t looking to spend the money on it, there are many free Photoshop alternatives. One of the most popular is GIMP.
But no matter what photo editing software you use, there’s one rule that remains constant: you should use a light touch when making adjustments. Inexperienced photographers tend to go overboard during editing. If you make too many drastic adjustments, the final result won’t look realistic and your touch-ups will be obvious.
5. Learn Your Camera’s Settings
Relying on the camera’s automatic settings is another thing that will hold you back when it comes to understanding how to take good pictures. While it may work fine at times, you won’t have nearly as much flexibility to get creative with your photography or handle unique situations.
For instance, if you are trying to take a silhouette, your camera may try to capture the wrong details and you’ll end up dimly lit subject against a blown out background. If you’re trying to shoot at night, it may give you an extra-long exposure when you don’t want it, and you’ll end up with a blurry mess. So spend some time familiarizing yourself with your camera’s settings, because it’s a critical step in learning how to make pictures look professional.
For some help, here is our complete guide to manual settings on your DSLR camera.
6. Pick Up a Tripod
We’ve already covered some lighting equipment, but there’s one more piece of photography gear you should definitely consider adding to your arsenal if you want to know how to take professional photos.
You might think you don’t need a tripod if you have a steady hand and are comfortable with handheld shots. But a tripod allows you to try a variety of shooting techniques that you can’t do without one. Just a few examples include tethered photography, long exposures, or creating your own 3D images.
A tripod also lets you set up your shot and then take care of other aspects of the scene while keeping your camera ready to go. For example, you might want to line up a shot and then speak to a model, make lighting adjustments, or just wait for the perfect moment.
And you don’t have to spend much money to get a quality tripod. For some info on the variety that’s available, read up on these must-have portrait photography accessories.
7. Upgrade Your Gear
Using the professional photography tips above, you should be able to vastly improve your results without spending any money. However, if you’re working with sorely outdated equipment and have the budget for some new gear, it might be time to upgrade your camera, lenses, and accessories. For some help deciding between all the options out there, take a look at these guides:
8. Show Off Your Shots Like a Pro
Now that you know some of the secrets behind how to take professional photos, it’s time to share those beautiful shots.