Taking pictures is like painting with light. The manipulation of the objects and lighting is similar to painting in so many ways yet differentiated by the technique and the materials used. If you enjoy photography then knowing some tips that can improve you overall work is a must. Be it hobby or career, photography has proven on many occasion to be more of an art than an occupation.
1. Just take pictures
A simple ,yet effective tip. Try an always be ready to take a picture when you have your camera with you. Even if it is picture with your friends, it’s worth nothing if you had the wrong setting on your camera. You could be on the lookout and spot a great photo opportunity, but by the time you adjust all the settings, you have lost the shot. So have your camera set on auto if you are on the street, or in an environment with changing lighting conditions, or you can take RAW pictures and edit them at home.
2. Photograph for the future
Think twice before deleting a photo because of technical reasons. Use the RAW format feature as much as possible. Most photos can be edited using available soft wares so think ahead and don’t trash photos because of poor lighting conditions or bad choice of shutter speed. Wait till you get to your computer and then you can see the ones that really have potential and exploit it.
3. Take “blind” photos
If you want to catch some fascinating shots when you’re in a crowded place, like the airport or the train station, try taking photos while placing your camera on your bag while sitting down, or while it is hanging around your neck. Just point it and take a picture without looking through the lens. You will be surprised with the results. Not all will be good, but a couple will be excellent. A lot of SLR’s nowadays have the “live view” option. You can use this to get a better idea of the scene that you are framing.
4. Don’t lose your chance
Photography happens in a fraction of a second thus unwanted elements can cause surprising results. While most thing happening around you on the street seem not interesting, it is that moment when more uninteresting elements overlap, that creates surprising photos. Digital photography eliminates the worry of running out of film, so don’t hesitate to take pictures when you see something that is happening or might happen.
5. Use minimum settings
All digital cameras offer settings that allow the processor to adjust the clarity, white balance, contrast and saturation. Optimizing your image as soon as possible is the goal. High contrast and clarity values destroy intermediate pixel values that can never be recovered. If you are interested in the fine lines that your image is made of, keep your contrast, clarity and saturation levels low. It is better to edit a picture on a computer to add a little light, than to try and dim everything down due to overexposure.
6. A touch of flash
The flash isn’t used only at night, use it throughout the day to lighten up your portraits or close up shots in natural light. Use an external flash preferably wireless, keep it in your hand and lighten up areas that you would like to clear of shadows. You can play with the light by placing the flash in front of the subject while using the countre jour positioning, meaning that the sun is behind the subject. If you don’t have an external flash you can use the one incorporated and use a piece of paper in front of it so it doesn’t leave shadows on your subject.
7. Keep your eyes on the corners
After you’ve mentally framed your future image through the lens, before taking the shot, take a look at the corners of the image. Make sure you don’t have something in the way, like the rear of a car, someone’s foot or a road sign. Tilt your camera or zoom in to quickly correct the framing. It’s better to catch less elements in the picture than to crowd it with all sorts of things.
8. Improve your stability
The reason for a lot of failed photos is poor stability, and since you can’t carry your tripod everywhere with you so you have to improvise on the spot. Try resting the hand holding the camera against a pole or any stable surface. Also you can place your bag on a rock or fence and put the camera on it to improve your stability when it comes to taking photos. Use your body to create overall stability and make sure you sit in a stable yet confortable position. It’s a good idea to stay in shape.
9. Watch out for details
When taking a picture, try to see how many details and points of interest you can fit into one decent frame. Look at the photo you just took and try to see if there are other points of interest, and if you a detail from the original photo can be a subject on it’s own. Often, if you are taking pictures on the street, see if there are any smaller stories within the big picture and make them your point of interest. Create a story within a story, catching the viewers eye by surprise.
10. Organize the shapes
Photos are like paintings, you need to create the environment because they have a central point of interest. Try to watch the lines and circles in your images and organize them to crate other shapes or figures. Try to move the point of interest to the sides, when taking a picture of a character in a landscape and you will be surprised by the results. Catch the entire view.