I’ve been a point and shoot camera girl all my life and have never really understood all those dials on my camera. And I have to say I still don’t.
I have so often been disappointed when the photo doesn’t turn out like my memory – the colours are not as rich or I haven’t captured the magnificence of what I’m looking at.
Conversely I have also been really surprised when my photo has turned out better (Thanks artistic lens that I knocked on accidently).
Now that I’m getting serious about photography I’ve started lessons and plan to master SLR manual shooting but that’s a story for another time.
Some easy tips to consider.
1. Light source
Where is your light coming from? Are you outside, is it cloudy, take the time to find where the light is coming from. The broader the light source the softer the light.
Clouds, overcast skies, and fog act as a diffuser that scatters the light in many directions. On overcast or foggy days, the entire sky, in effect, becomes a single very broad light source - nature’s soft box.
Another tip is when you are photographing people indoors with the available light, move lamps closer to them to give a more diffuse and flattering light effect.
Remember that the source of light (sunlight, light from a window, mixed lighting, artificial lighting) will affect your colour saturation in your photo.
The trick is to always find the best available (and broadest) light.
For me the golden hours for shooting outside are in the morning (the first two hours after dawn) and late afternoons (an hour before sunset to about an hour afterwards) will produce the best images.
Rule of thirds is a great way to help you think about where to place your subject. Photos usually look better if your subject isn’t centered.
All digital cameras including smart phones comes with a grid option, which overlays two vertical and two horizontal lines on the picture, splitting the image into 9 sections. Enable it now, and take a look around. Place items of visual interest on these lines or at the intersections for a better composition.
For example – if there’s a horizon in your shot, don’t place it centrally. Align it along either the top third or bottom third line, depending on whether you want to place focus onto the sky or the ground/sea. If there’s a foreground subject such as a person, or a tree – place them against either the left or right third lines.
Now as you composing your photo take a moment to see if there is any interference with the composition of your photo. Do you have light pole that’s interfering with the composition of your photo? Is there a light source coming from behind that when you taken the photo looks like its coming from your subjects head?
Don’t be afraid to ask your subject to move to a better place.
Think about how you want to compose your image. We often just take a photo at eye level- think about alternatives. Try looking through the lens from on the ground, or from above etc. to see which one gives you the better perspective.
All parts of the photo play a part in creating a great photo. Look for something unusual, quirky to add interest to your photo and make it uniquely yours.
Leading lines can be very powerful in encouraging the eye to naturally move through your photograph. Including them can stimulate interest, this might include a road, a river, or perhaps a short pathway leading out to your subject, or beyond.
My final thoughts
Don't force a photograph. If the photo you are trying to get is not working out, let it go and come back to it later or move to something else.
Have your camera on you at all time because you never know what unique moment might present.
Take lots of photos – it will improve your chances of a great shot. One of the beauties of digital camerasis if the photos are not right you can just delete em.
Next tips post will be some simple editing tools.