Photography lessons from Tanya Puntti

Photography lessons from Tanya Puntti

I have a Canon EOS 1000D camera body which is now very old and has never been properly cleaned. You can keep an old camera body, because the lenses are more important. I would love to move up though. Tanya has professional camera bodies and lenses. But she has a business and those items become tax deductions. Not so for most of us amateurs. My kit lens is a Canon zoom lens EF-S 18-55mm ( a kind of all round lens which will zoom and take wide angle shots.) It has no red line around it and no L in the markings. This makes it a cheap lens.

I was moving into manual focus at all times, thinking this was the best way to go, but I found out it wasn’t because my focal points were too unreliable that way. I could see red lights in my viewfinder across the scene and I moved the camera to the space I wanted in focus, but that didn’t always do much for the composition.  Tanya had told me too that I should focus a third 0f the way in for a landscape. So what did I do? Focused my camera on something about a third of the way in and MOVE the camera for the shot.

1. Check your dioptric adjustment dial. I had done this before but had understood that I set it by focusing on a white board and turning it until it was a s white as possible,  but no. You set it so that all focal points are sharp or do it by eye. Get the best focus you can.

2. Turn camera on and look at the back screen of the camera. The exposure meter should be on 0

3. Press the button which looks like a +magnifying glass or looks like a 2 rectangled square. You will see your focal points.

Learn to alter these as you take pictures. For example, if you are taking a landscape move that focal point to (a third in) which means the bottom focal point or as others do, move to the top third and have the focal point at the top. Of course newer and more professional cameras have many many more focal points to choose from.

To move the focal points , press the +Magnifying glass looking button and then press down simultaneously, your buttons around the SET button. Set when you get it to the right position.

For macros, one would usually set the focal point in the middle.

Practise this by setting out 3 objects and then move your focal points to get each one making sure you get the 3 shots in focus on the different items

4. Bokeh. Basically the further away your background from the subject the better the bokeh (ie the very blurred background)









5. Macros. Use the centre focal point and while using the camera in Aperture mode, and setting it to f2.8 (say), move your body around so that the macro lens locks on to the focal point of what you are trying  to take.

Other tips. Don’t wait until it rains to get water drops. Spray the flower, for example, with  a clean sprayer plastic bottle.

And set up a macro place in your house or outside. Peg objects to something and for the refration effect shown next, have someone move the second flower around so you can see the colour in the drop.

water drop








6 Panoramas. Hold the camera as still as possible for each shot, Maybe you will take 3 or 4 or 5 shots. Hold up your thumb for when you are starting and turn it down for when you finish. While you are photographing though, hold down the   -Magnifying looking button , the same one which has a star above it. Why? This will keep your exposure the same right across the panorama. You can create panoramas in Photoshop.

7. The green rule. Expose on somehting green (maybe a card or tree) and then stop down 1-2 stops. I mean by this, make your aperture wider, the number being smaller.

Why? it gives your pictures much more colour.

I learned some Photoshop basics also, but as I’m no expert on that yet, I won’t be posting much. Just give your photo an Auto Tone, Contrast and Colour adjustment. Sometimes the colour is not what you want. So go to Edit and Undo. Go to Filter > Noise> reduce noise, but you will never get rid of all the noise. There is software for sale out there which does.

Don’t like something in the photo? A tram line or logo or something. Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool. making sure that Content aware is checked. Drag over the bits you don’t want. Magic. It’s gone.

So these lessons helped me enormously. I know it’s all in my handbook,  but at first you just want to get out there and take photos, don’t you. You might look up a few things, butyou don’t understand it at first. I’m  a visual learner which means I prefer a demonstration rather than print. Maybe you could also search Youtube for tutorials.

Good luck and happy shooting!


  1. […] worked hard on web design, apps, games but their major interest now is photography. Tanya taught me many valuable tips for photography but that deserves another […]

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