Photography is equal parts science and art, with skills and vision playing crucial roles in the final results. Whether you are content with an amateur’s level of photographic skills or you aspire to be the next Ansel Adams, these tips will take you one step further in understanding the process.
Try to enhance the sense of depth in your landscape photos. Put a person in the foreground to get the sense of scale of the surroundings. You can sharply define the photo’s foreground and background by using a small aperture. The aperture should be set at no more than f/8 or f/16, respectively, for a basic digital camera or a full-frame SLR.
Be creative when composing your shots. Photography is all about the visual effect of your shots. If it’s a mundane item in a cluttered background, chances are good that no one will care to look at your photo. Learn how to create a good photo, and then take those skills and apply them to your own creative ideas.
You should think about getting a tripod. A good tripod offers you more stability and allows you to take your time composing your picture. Get a tripod that give you flexibility in height and positioning. Tripods are a useful tool for certain kinds of pictures only. Do not use a tripod if you are looking for a unusual angle.
Once you have spotted the subject of your picture, make sure to take your shot right away. This is especially true if your subject is a living being, such as a child or animal. Since staying in one position for a long time is hard for animals and children, you want to make sure you get the pose you want.
Here is a little did-you-know photo hint! Educate yourself about shutter speeds. These are labeled S, A, M an P on your camera. The “P” setting represents the program mode. When you apply this setting it means you camera is fully automatic, so it sets things like shutter speed and aperture for you. If you are not sure what you will shoot, use the “P” setting.
When you are on a trip, snap photos of insignificant things. If you don’t photograph the fine details, you may not remember them later. You could take photographs of street and road signs, foreign grocery products, coins and travel tickets.
Try to plan out all of your shots. You should plan out everything from the subject, to the angle, to the lighting in the area where you will be shooting. Taking a bit of time to plan all of this out, can lead to much better and more interesting photographs.
Make sure to set up your compositions so that vertical lines are truly vertical. Tilting the camera backwards to capture a tall building, for example, can cause the building to appear as if it is falling backwards out of the frame. Photographs in which buildings are not vertical often appear unnatural.
Play with lens distortion. Most photographs use portrait lenses or zoom lenses to focus on an object, and use a wide-angle lens for landscapes and such. By using a lens for a different use than its intended one, you will get a very original photograph. Do not let this become your style: learn when you can use an original lens.
Create narrative with your photographs. They need to be able to express and tell a story to the viewer. This can be entirely dependent on what you decide to shoot, but do your best to express a story behind whatever it is. You need to especially make sure that this happens when you have people as subjects.
Never stand below your subjects when photographing people or animals. There is nothing more unflattering than looking up a person’s nose in a photograph, while the upward angle also distorts other facial features. In the very least, stand parallel to your subjects. If at all possible, position yourself at a slightly raised elevation to achieve the best results.
Most pictures are taken with the camera at or near the subject’s eye level. Common sense says this is good, but get the “WOW” factor by changing the angle from which you shoot. Try shooting down at the subject from higher up or get close to the ground and shoot up.
Before making travel plans, have a list handy of places you’d like to see and ideas you’d like to photograph. If you do not know where to start, take a look at some postcards. Study the postcards, taking note of the subject matter and the way the photographer shot the pictures to take advantage of some specific qualities of the subject, then use these techniques when taking your own photos.
By learning more about photographic technique through these tips, you are on track to a better artistic understanding of photography. Practice often to cement what you’ve learned into your memory, and use what you know to create photographs which represent who you are.