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Updated: October 14, 2020

The Monticello Camera Club

Monticello, MN


Photo Tips

This page is devoted to listing photography tips discussed at our meetings and others asked of us. If you remember more of them that you want added here, let me know by emailing me at the email address below (webmaster).

Q: Where are some good locations for taking photos of the Minneapolis Skyline?

A: Got these courtesy of the Northern Exposure Photography Club (NEPC) in Mora via their newsletter. Greg Lundgren compiled this list. You can view his website at Here's the list: (Note: 3*s indicates excellent location.

Views of Minneapolis from Places in Minneapolis

  • Penn Avenue Pedestrian Bridge over I-394.
  • On the riverbank in Mississippi River Park downstream from the railroad bridge at St. Anthony Parkway just south of 37th Avenue NE.
  • The patio near the visitor center at Fort Snelling Historic Site.
  • On the riverbank below the steam plant located just downstream from the Stone Arch Bridge. 3*s
  • Cedar Lake Regional Trail east of Cedar Lake Parkway Bridge.
  • 15th Street Bridge by the convention center. 3*s
  • On the Stone Arch Bridge.
  • On the Plymouth Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River. Shows Boom Island. 3*s
  • On Boom Island. 3*s
  • Edge of the reflecting pool next to the power plant on Main Street across from Aster Cafe on St. Anthony Main.
  • The Houseboat Dock on Nicollet Island. 3*s
  • South Shore of Lake of the Isles.
  • Thomas Beach at Lake Calhoun.
  • Fishing dock on SW side of Lake Harriet. 3*s
  • Lowry Avenue Bridge.
  • Franklin Avenue Bridge.
  • 24th Street Bridge and 26th Street Bridge over I-35W.
  • Under the 10th Avenue Bridge on the University of Minnesota campus.
  • Broadway Street Bridge.

Views of Minneapolis from Places in St. Paul.

  • Raspberry Island.
  • Witches Hat Park and Prospect Park.
  • Indian Mounds Parkway just off Mounds Park Blvd.
  • Bottom of the steps on Harriet Island.
  • Smith High Bridge.
  • Viewing platform on Cherokee Avenue at Smith.
  • Under the High Bridge at the entrance to Lilydale Park.
  • Directly under the Wabasha Bridge on Raspberry Island.
  • Along the walking trail in Lilydale Park downstream from the old railroad bridge near where Water Street splits into Joy Street.
  • Mounds Boulevard next to light tower near tennis courts near intersection with Earl Street. View includes both St. Paul and Minneapolis skyline.

Q: Is there a good overall explanation of things that photographers need to learn?

A: Digital Photography School has a page I found recently that has an article called "21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know". This includes links to all 21 different topics and is a great place to learn the basics.

A: Digital Photography School has a new page talking about "44 essential digital camera tips and tricks". It is well worth the read.

Q: How do I use picture controls on a Nikon camera?

A: Here's a quick tutorial by Nikon on just that. It addresses it from a video standpoint but it also can be used for still images. Most of these can be found on the newest of the Nikon cameras.

Q: Where can I find a good lens buying guide?

A: Best Buy has a lens buying guide on their website that looks pretty good. Check it out.

Q: Where can I find some good tutorials on Photography in general? *** New

A: 21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know - This provides 21 different links to a variety of great topics.

A: The Power of Perspective in Photography - Taken from Digital Photography School's website.

A: 150 Photography tips for planning, composing, focusing and exposing images - These are from Digital Camera World's website.

A: has some access to training on Photography Tips & Tricks.

A: KelbyOne has a blog with some excellent information. Here is a blog post on "A Few Things You Can do to Make Sharper Photographs".

A: MCPactions has a post regarding "Depth of Field: A Visual Lesson" that teaches this topic very well.

A: On Youtube, John Gregor has a good tutorial on "Filters Tutorial 2014". It explains a variety of filters that can be used and why.

A: Tamron's website has a lot of good advice on a variety of photography topics. Here's one on "How to Take Expressive Bird and Wildlife Photos".

A: Youtube has rich resources you can find on a variety of topics. All you have to do is search. Here is one on "The 15 Features of Your DSLR That Every Photographer Should Know".

A: has all sorts of topics to check out in general. They have information on Photography, Post Production (including Lightroom and Photoshop) and Cameras & Equipment.

A: B&H Photo is another website with all sorts of information available. Here is one they have on "The B&H Guide to Exposure: Understanding Aperture". Check out this webpage for a list of tips and solutions on photography topics in general.

Q: Got any advice on how to take photos of the Moon?

A: Here's a link from Digital Photography School's website that explains how to do it.

Q: Are there some good tips for understanding Shutter Speed?

A: B&H Photo has some good information on the photography tips pages. Here's the link.

Q: Are there some good reviews for various camera gear out there?

A: B&H Photo has a good review page. Here's the link.

Q: Is there a good tutorial related to Exposure and to ISO settings?

A: B&H Photo has a good tutorial on this. Here's the link.

Q: Are there some good references for information regarding Depth of Field?

A: Two good references can both be found on the Digital Photography School website which is an excellent resource for photography information. There may be more on there if you want to search for them. These are: and

Q: Any good websites for wildlife photography tips?

A: As always, the Digital Photography School website has valuable tips on how to take good wildlife photos. Check it out.

Q: Any good websites for good overall photography tips?

A: I found a good one called It has excellent advice on a number of topics. One was about shooting waterfall photos. Click on the links provided here for some great advice.

Q: Any good advice on composition?

A: Scott Kelby provides an excellent 1 hour class that is available via youtube. Here's the link to his "Crushing the Composition" class.

Q: Can you provide an explanation of sensor size?

A: Here's a website that gives a pretty good explanation of it. Crop Sensor vs. Full-Frame: Which one do I need and why?

Q: What are some simple tips for photographers?

A: Here are 7 simple photography hacks that could be useful. Like cool effects but don't want to spend the money on special equipment? Try this link to read more. More advice from a pro photographer can be found on this site regarding his advice to becoming a better photographer.

Q: Do you have any tips for camera phone photography?

A: I got this information from the February 2014 NEPC newsletter (Northern Exposures club).


Stephanie Gagnon wrote an article entitled "7 Tips for Better iPhone Photography" in an online photography site--Picturecorrect Photography Tips and Techniques. This is a brief synopsis of the 7 tips.

  1. Understand the limits. Photos taken with any smartphone will be smaller and thus can't be printed as large. Generally they are not of the same quality as those taken with a DSLR. Generally camera phones don't do as well in low light situations. (Diana Rankin has had great luck in low light situations. Dee's experiences have been mixed.)
  2. Keep the camera steady. Fight the tendency to hold it with one hand. Use both hands. As with a hand held DSLR or point-and-shoot camera, hold the camera close to your body, legs spread and bent to form a tripod.
  3. Don't use the camera's zoom. The minute you use the zoom, you get pixelation. Move yourself and the camera closer to the subject.
  4. Take a couple shots. Take shots from different angles and perspectives.
  5. Understand the light. Just as with traditional cameras, light is crucial. Understand how it impacts your photos.
  6. Clean the lens. A phone camera is in all kinds of places and handled by sticky fingers, etc.
  7. Play with apps. Have fun. That's what iphoneography is all about

Q: Can you recommend some businesses that do camera repair?

A: Our members have mentioned the following: West photo, National Camera Exchange, Northwest Camera and Video Repair and National Camera Exchange. Check the links for each for additional information and locations.

Q: What are some helpful tips on doing Architectural Details style photography?

A: Refer to the following links for some helpful guidelines (2/20/13):

Q: There are a number of questions/problems that need to be answered. Here's an article that can answer 99 of them.

A: 99 Common Photography Problems (and how to solve them) - located on

Q: How do I take photos of snow?

A: Nikon offers some good advice on taking photos of winter scenes. Check out their link.

Q: Where can I get inexpensive wireless flash units?

A: John Richardson demonstrated this equipment at our April 2011 meeting. It's CowboyStudio NPT-04 4 channel wireless hot shoe flash trigger receiver and works with Canon EOS, Nikon, Olympus & Pentax Flashes. It sells on Amazon for around $27. Here's the link to learn more about it.

Q: Where can I find a good wide angle lens that doesn't cost a fortune?

A: Bob S brought in his new Tamron 10-24mm lens to show us at our December 2010 meeting. Here's the wide angle photo that he took of us during that meeting. This was just a quick shot with an F3.5 aperture so that is one reason why the edges are more blurred. Bob was only standing about 10 or 15 feet in front of us to take the group photo. Pretty impressive. It shoots in a square format as opposed to the more round fisheye look.

Camera Club - December 2010

Q: Where can I learn more about lighting?

A: One of our members recommended a site called Strobist. It is on a blogspot site but looks pretty good if you check out their Lighting 101, On Assignment and Index pages. Check it out.

Q: How can I easily carry my cameras when out hiking and still have them handy?

A: Bob Somerville showed us this item in our October 2010 Meeting - Cotton Carrier. This is a vest that has an attachment that hooks to the tripod mount that slides in and out of the vest you wear. Has optional holster setup to carry a second camera on the waist belt of the vest setup. Go to the website for Cotton Carrier Camera Systems to see if it would work for you.

Q: Got any advice on taking photos in the Fall?

A: Got a mailing recently from Tamron (of lens fame). They have an article on their website called "Steady Shots: Capturing the Hues of Fall" with some advice on how to take fall photos. Some of this includes "scouting for wildlife", "photographing the foliage", and "look where you live". Tamron actually has many other tips and advice on their YouTube site so check out this link to see more helpful hints.

Q: How do you perform Custom White Balance? - May 2010 meeting

A: Here is a website that has a tutorial on white balance that looked good. It also includes good information as to how to set your white balance for any photography session you plan to do. It also includes information related to Raw capture and fixing white balance there. Another website I found also includes good information on setting manual white balance. It is on Another website offers advice on white balance but also a number of other tutorials that you might want to check out. This website is You would be amazed at how many websites there are with good advice on how to handle the white balance question. Just do a google search on the topic and find additional information if you want.

Q: How do you capture red flowers properly? - August 2009 meeting

A: Add side lighting to keep it from looking muddy. Adds the depth missing when shooting straight on.

Q: What software works good for doing photo slide shows to DVD on a Windows machine?

A: At the October meeting, we discussed options including Photodex ProShow Gold, Adobe Premiere Elements and Pinnacle (now owned by Avid - prices range from $50 - $130). I have included links here to these products so you can obtain more information on each product. Various club members have used each product and like them for ease of use and/or capabilities. If you have Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0, here are instructions from Adobe's website on how to Publish a Slide Show onto DVD, Burn an Existing Slide Show onto DVD, or Add Photoshop Elements Slide Shows to Video Projects. You can search their site for more updated instructions.
Q: Where can I find some good tutorials on Digital Photography?
A: I found some good tips on a website called Photoxels: It discusses What is Aperture, What is Exposure Bracketing, What is Correct Exposure, What is Noise, Fireworks, Fill-in Flash, Frame Your Picture, Sharpens Your Photos for Display, Using Area Focus, Using Center AF, Adjusting Levels, Using the Histogram, Understanding Focal Length, Taking TV Pictures, What is ISO, Understanding White Balance, Understanding RAW File Format, Depth of Field, Night Photography, and Understanding Exposure Compensation.




Matthew Breiter

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Breiter Photography

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