For most photographers, full time jobs limit the availability of our being outdoors at the right time.

I have a few tricks, that have enabled me to produce better quality images under less than optimal lighting and weather conditions.


Firstly, shoot in your own territory to get comfortable with your cameras operation.

Don’t go on an expensive trip prior to reading your cameras manual or learning its basic operation.

I recently met an individual in Monument Valley struggling to get his new, expensive digital camera to work properly.

He missed a very beautiful sunset opportunity while struggling with his settings.


Ok, if you find yourself in that position, most modern cameras have a mode position itemized with an “A” for Auto

or “p” for program. Auto mode is exactly as described. It removes guesswork by automatically choosing the exposure settings

It limits creative capability but will get you most of the way when you are new to photography.

The “P” mode gives you some additional options and will get you 80% of the way to your goal.

I tell my wife that “P” stands for “perfect” and she keeps it there. This will give you a pretty “purfect” picture in most conditions.

Our goal is to improve upon our final image and bring into play our creative skills.


Researching locations with books or photo guides helps make great photos.

Most newspapers, including our local paper here in Tucson, have a featured “hike of the week” which I file and use for planning local shoots.


Keep a packing list inside your bag and check it prior to departure so you don’t forget key items.

I.e. film, digital cards or batteries. (Trust me, it will happen.)

Email me if you would like a copy of my short or in depth list.


Don’t be discouraged if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Cloudy days are my best days for shooting drama, floral and close ups.

Don’t be discouraged if you miss the early morning or late afternoon “golden” light.

You can use this time for scouting or use a polarizing and warming filter.

This may help but will not correct an overly contrasting or bright scene.

Nothing can replace the beautiful soft light of early morning and late afternoon "Golden Light".


In this digital age some people may tell you that you don’t need any filters.

Not true.... a few are still invaluable.

I have a combination warming and polarizing filters, which I used to obtain the first photo in my "Arizona" gallery.

The polarizer helps to bring out contrast in our beautiful Arizona landscapes under magnificent clouded skies and acts as a “haze filter”.

The warming filter brings back some of the color lost in the mid-day harsh light, especially during the dry seasons.

Graduated, neutral density filters are needed to balance contrasty scenes. That is a more advanced subject.

Again, I am always open to your questions regarding these or any other subjects.


Remember, the best photos can be taken with the least expensive camera.

Be safe and good light.


Victor Beer


Lastly, be patient, focus on the composition of your image and remember; a successful photo day is when you come back with one good photo that you can have printed for proud display.

Victor Beer is a professional photographer

He can be reached at:  

He provides instruction in photography, printing and Photoshop.