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Photography tips: How to capture beautiful images using the right camera settings, light, and speed

Linda Lu, founder and primary photographer of Cheeky Monkey Photography, is a specialist in natural light photography for newborns and children. We asked her about the process involved in capturing a couple of her favourite images.


On Safari, photography tips, how to capture beautiful images
On Safari

On Safari

This picture was shot in Masai Mara in Kenya during a safari trip. Travel photography is my other passion. This shot was taken right after three cheetah brothers worked together to catch a baby warthog. Our car was able to park just close enough and in a right angle for the shot.

I rented a long lens for the trip, so this was taken with my 5D Mark II and a 300mm lens with 1.4x extender, resulting in an actual 420mm shot (f/5.7, ISO 800, shutter speed 1/500). It came out quite perfectly, straight out of the camera; I just added a bit more contrast for the cheetah to stand out.

It was such a rare opportunity because we saw the hunt from the beginning to the end. We saw the brothers stalking the prey, and watched as they worked together with precision to finally ambush the warthog. This cheetah seem to be the leader of the pack as he let the other two dig into the prey first while he stood on a mount to watch for other predators. To me, this picture showed his pride at leading a successful hunt and protecting his brothers – nature at its best.


Sisterly love, photography tips, capture beautiful images 

Sisterly Love

This image was taken at the Victoria Peak Garden. These are my two nieces who I photographed for my portfolio when I first started my business five years ago. I brought them to the only nice green grass area I knew in Hong Kong at that time. It’s a great park to go to with a family, and it’s dog friendly.

The photo was taken with my Canon 5D Mark II, using a 28-70mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 400. It was taken on an overcast day, so there wasn’t any harsh direct sunlight. I don’t like to overly edit my photos, so with this shot, I just adjusted the colour temperature and exposure. I also added a bit of contrast and a slight vignette to make the girls pop out even more.

It’s one of my favourite photos because I hadn’t asked the sisters to post this way. They just decided to give each other a hug and a kiss. It was a short, sweet moment and I’m glad I captured it.

This is typical of my photographic work. I take very natural portraits of babies and families being themselves. I aim to let the clients shine through the lens and tell their own stories, instead of adding too much post-processing work and making up a story to try and fit them.

When I’m travelling, sometimes I’ll get myself into weird places just to get a good angle on a shot. To me, capturing the moment is key, whether it’s travel or portraiture work. That’s what I do: I capture moments.