How Hard Could It Be?
In a world filled with smartphones, and other electronic gizmos with digital cameras attached it’s easy to think that photography is just a matter of point, click, and then filtering it to death before posting your picture on Instagram. Like any hobby, serious photographers understand that there is a huge difference between snapping a selfies and composing a professional grade photo. In fact, the best photographs are the products of much practice, time, and thought before the shutter clicks.
The good news is that our digital world has made it easy for amateur photographers to begin to learn and practice the basics. So if you’re looking for some pointers to instantly improve your pictures, you’ve come to the right place!
Beyond Just Point and Click
1.) Keep Your Camera With You– This may seem a little obvious, but photo opportunities can come at any time and if you don’t have your camera on you then you won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity to take an amazing shot should it arrive. If you’re caught without your camera anyway (tsk tsk) do take notes on the scene what struck you about it and what you would like to capture in it. This will help train your creative eye so you can be more aware of similar shots in the future.
2.) Embrace the Use of Your Grid-lines– Most digital cameras (including many smartphone cameras), come with a grid-line setting that creates nine squares in a grid on your screen. This will instantaneously help you compose your pictures better. When using grid-lines make sure you also consider the Rule of Thirds which basically states that your photos will look better if your subject is not directly in the centre. So when taking a picture place your subject in the left third or right third lines instead of in the centre of the grid.
3.) Play around with Your Camera Settings– Once you decide on your first camera sit down with it and just fiddle around with the settings. Learn what it does, how it works, what you like about it, how to adjust it fast. Painters learn how to hold their brushes, athletes learn how to handle their sports equipment; basically, anyone who engages in a skill takes the time to learn how their instruments work. Photography is no different. The more you know about how your camera works and what it does, the better your photos will be.
4.) Experiment with New Viewpoints – Most amateur photographers automatically assume that the best viewpoint to take a picture from is eye level. Unfortunately, eye level is something that everyone sees everyday which means it’s just plain old boring to look at. As a photographer your goal is to show your viewer something in a way that they wouldn’t normally see it, so be sure to experiment by taking photos from higher up or lower down from your subject to create interest and personality in your shots.
5.) Zoom with your Legs– The temptation to just stand where you are and use the zoom button can be an overpowering one for a shy new photographer, but fight it! Zoom, especially with beginner’s grade equipment, tends to lessen the quality of your photos a bit. Don’t be afraid, if you feel like need to get closer to a shot just take a few more steps forward, you’ll be more satisfied with your shot.
Photography is an art form and like any art form it takes practice to perfect. Go boldly into the world, armed with your camera, your imagination and an open mind. You’re guaranteed to take a lot of not-so-great photos, but the more photos you take the better and better they’ll get.