Taking a good photograph isn’t as hard as you may think. You don’t need the most expensive camera or years of experience. Though, the most important advice that years of experience will tell you is that you need to take an exaggerated amount of photographs in one shoot at multiple angles, and an expensive camera enables you to take higher resolution photographs that can be blown up to about five feet and still retain crisp lines.
Cameras are all about point of view, that’s it. Everybody has a standard way to look at things, the photographers ambition is to always look at things from a different point of view, and then capture that image. One way to get successful images is to keep looking from a different point of view. Traditional is boring, but it is relevant, if your aim is wedding photography, you don’t really want to push or break the lines of tradition, here it is a different point of view, a traditional point of view will produce things like the idea of the sacred.
A more expensive camera will also produce richer gradients, blacks are blacker color is brighter and angles are more extreme with interchangeable lenses but all this can wait. I’m not trying to get you to go out and buy a fifteen hundred dollar camera, quite the opposite actually, it’s better to start off with whatever camera you have laying around, because it will limit your vision, constraining it into an appropriate box from which you can break out of over time. We’ve all heard it… and here it is again, just go out there and have fun, take pictures of what you like and feel passionate about.
For me personally, within my own little box of limited means my favorite subject matter is travel photography, unfortunately I don’t really get to go to the tropics one week and Alaska the next, so I wait for summer, then I wait for winter, and I take my dog out to the places that nobody really goes, into the woods, I’ll get lost on a back road and just see what I can find. So choose a focus for content and then branch out from there. That being said, there are ten technical aspects of photography to take into consideration when trying to structure the visual impressions left by your photographs.
Tip 1 – Use All Your Available Space
Don’t be afraid to use all the space in your photograph. If you want to take a picture of something, it’s okay for it to take up the whole shot with no or very little background showing. Keep distractions out of your shot. Close ups are eye stoppers, head turners, they engage the audience, even if it’s for a second more. Close ups demand attention on a subconscious level in the human mind. When you want someones undivided attention, you get really close to them.
Tip 2 – Study Forms
This is a vital aspect to photography. Understanding forms in your photographs. Don’t see an object, she its shape and its form and find the best angle to photograph it from. Form is all around us and I highly suggest you read as many books on it as possible.
Tip 3 – Motion In Your Photos
Never have motion in your photos if you are photographing a still object. If there is something moving while you are trying to photograph a stationery object, your photo won’t turn out anywhere near as well. Also never put a horizon line in the center of your frame. As with all rules though, these rules can be broken. Say for instance you want to capture something that is still but moving through time. I can see a good photograph in taking a picture of a car barreling down the highway at seventy miles an hour, where the car is crisp but everything else has motion blur. Or lets say a person is still and calm as the world hurries and runs to and from. Break rules.
Tip 4 – Learn To Use Contrasts Between Colors
Some of the best photos have shades of white, gray and black. You can take great shots with just one color on your subject, but the contrasts between colors in a shot is what makes you a great photographer. Contrast creates interest, it is another eye stopper.
Tip 5 – Get Closer To Your Subject
This is one of the biggest mistakes most photographers make, not getting close enough to their subject. Get up and personal and close the distance gap. You can always reshape and resize a good shot but you can’t continue to blowup a distant object, it breaks down into pixels.
Tip 6 – Shutter Lag
Shooting action shots with digital camera’s can be tricky due to shutter lags. What this means is, when you press the button to take the photo, it can take up to a second for the shutter to take a photo, by that time what you were photographing would have moved or changed somehow. This means you have to compensate for shutter lag by predicting what your subject is going to do and taking the photograph just before it takes the action you want. More expensive digital cameras don’t have this problem.
Tip 7 – Pan
If you are taking an action shot and your shutter speed is slow, pan with the object. Follow through with the subject, from start to finish and one of those shots will be a winner. You have more chance of getting a good shot if you take more then one shot.
Tip 8 – Continuous Shots
To pan like I suggested above you will need a camera that does continuous shots and doesn’t need to stop and process after every shot.
Tip 9 – How To Take Fantastic Night Time Shots
Night time shots can be spectacular, almost magical…. if done right! If not they can look horrible. Really horrible. Without adequate lighting, even good camera’s can turn out crappy photos if the photographer doesn’t know what he or she is doing.
Tip 10 – Study Your Manual
If your digital camera has a special night time mode, read the manual and follow their instructions on how to use it properly. Even less expensive cameras come with an array of settings, not just the presets either, usually you can change exposure, f-stop, and other standard controls. Your manual will go into these details, and knowledge about these things will immediately make you a more knowledgeable photographer.
All that being said, I started photography when people still used film, and a development lab to produce photographs. The art form is all but extinct due to digital cameras, though still it is a form that is separate and distinct from digital media, perhaps one day it will come back, like oil painting.
While digital photography floods the world, the old art form descends into archaic nonsense. Though if you’ve ever had the chance to learn to develop and shoot photography this way, it would only strengthen your talent of eye, because the process is more drawn out, value is added to each and every photograph, a developed photograph has qualities that no digital camera will ever be able to reproduce, looking to be a deeper artist? then learn to develop photography the old fashion way, just as the graphic designer will have a stronger back bone for design if he knows fine art. Even though we can all survive and thrive without these things, a broader sense of the fine arts is essential, sense fine art is strongly rooted in history, it will give you a more refined sense of what you are actually doing.