Photography How To
Photography how to … Being a professional photographer for over two decades, I’ve actually come to understand a few vital points that are easy to utilize, yet make a big difference as far as photography how to goes.
Photography How To – 5 Stpes To Great Photos Now
Now, I strongly believe in simplicity so I won’t dive into lots of technical mumbo jumbo. Instead, I’ll just give you a few tips you can start using right now, that will make a dramatic difference in your digital photos.
1. The Camera
We’re going to start this photography how to with the camera…
Make sure you get a digital camera that at least lets you play with all the settings manually. Basically, you need to be able to select the color temperature and also adjust the iris (apperture) and shutter speed (exposure time) manually. While auto is very useful when under time-pressure or simply because you want to capture a snap shot – manual control is the key to mastering photography.
You want to use long exposure times for night shots and for fluid liquid effects – such as a waterfall. You can also use that for lots of other cool effects, such as intentional motion blur.
A short exposure time is great for capturing high speed motions, such as sports or dogs at play. A short exposure time will make your background more blurry, an effect called Depth Of Field. You will also get more blurry background when using a larger iris opening, and let more light in.
Make sure it has a good menu system, so you can easily access all the functions on the go.
2. The Lens
When buying a camera, forget about getting a gazzilion mega pixels. Make sure it has at least 6 or 7, and get a better lens instead. The lens is responsible for delivering the data to the sensor, so a good sensor is useless if the lens is of low quality. Of course, you need a good sensor, but but in the end – a good lens will outbeat the camera any time. A good lens transports lots of light to the sensor and has minimum distortions. Some excellent, high price point lenses offer zoom without light loss. Also, if you already have a good digital system camera, try getting a new lens instead of getting a new camera. Photography how to is not just about the camera, since the lens will be your eyes.
3. The Flash
If you want great looking photos, NEVER ever use the built in flash. Period. Some system cameras offer flashes that you can mount on top of the camera and turn to bounce off the walls for a softer look. This is to be preferred, since direct lighting is extremely ugly and non flattering. When using bouncing light, try to get the light slightly from the side and above. This will give more definition and structure to your photo.
Can you use the built in flash? Yes, you can – but in my experience, it will almost never give good results. Sure, it’s good to ‘see’ something get caught, but it will not look good. If you can, try turning the flash off and run a longer exposure time with the iris fully open. This will give a more natural light.
Some advanced flashes allow you to mix this stragegy with a short flash burst that then blends with the natural light caught without the flash – all in the same photo. If you use this technique with a bounced off flash, you will get really good photos.
Photography how to and tripods?
Sorry to say it, but most low price cameras and lenses are not good enough to capture great photos in dim lighting conditions. Hence the need for a tripod. When using a tripod, use a remote control for your camera, since touching it during a longer exposure time will only make it blurry.
To some degree, you can increase the ISO value, to let the camera gain the lighting its receiving, but it will result in more grainy photos. Sure, you can use this as en effect and sometimes – you just have to do what you can.
4. The Composition
Photography how to when it comes to composition is one of those topics that simply means you’ll get some new knowledge and then off you go and practice that a few times until you ‘get it'”.
Landscape scenes and buildings often work best with a low focal length setting, also called wide angle. People look best with a standard 50 mm lens, while smaller objects often look best with a zoom lens. A wide angle lens will distrort things at close range, which can be useful for effects. A zoom lens will compress space, and therefore change the proportions of objects. For instance, people tend to look more blocky when zoomed in, so be careful – especially when photographing women…
Does the camera add a few pounds? Yes it does, since it compresses depth. It’s the same with video cameras. Good for guys – bad for women!
When composing landscape photos, try lining up two horizontal lines through out the photo, with even space around them. Place the horizon at the upper line and a road or lake edge at the lower. This gives a very nice balance to your photos. You can then add a tree on one side to frame it even more.
Photography how to would be boring without rules to break…
There is and old rule called the rule of thirds. I often say that rules in art are made to be broken, but this one is very good to learn and practice – until you become confident enough to break it. It’s an extension of the two horizontal lines I mentioned above, adding two vertical lines, with equal space all around.
With the rule of thirds, you get 4 hot spots, where the lines cross. If you place important segments of your photo in those hot spots, your image will tend to look more balanced. For instace, you can place someone eyes in one of the intersections, or you can place the head in the top left corner and have the feet touch the left lower corner. You can also try placing that tree I mentioned above, and stretch it between the upper right and lower right intersection.
Really, photography how to is all about balance – a delicate mix of light, shadows, color, structure, size and placement and one of the most important aspects of photographing people is where you crop them. A close up ranged from the mid forehead to mid neck. Half image ranges from above the head to mid belly or above the head to mid thigh. A full shot naturally shows the full figure.
5. The Lighting
Really, this part alone with either make or break your photos. I want to start with something that most new photographers mess up, me included right in the start. Don’t try to capture everything and make everything equal. Make SOMETHING stand out in your photo. Make that part more important by casting more light onto it, and let the rest be slightly darker. Play with contrats and differences.
The simple and most effective way of playing with light outdoors, is to use the sun to your advantage. When you want a more direct light, try placing your target so that you catch the sun from the side and above. Again, lighting straight on is not flattering. If someone is facing to the left, then let them catch the light from the left – and vice versa.
One one my coolest tricks for outdoors photography, is to actually use the sun from behind / side / above. This will create very cool backighting effects and you can then add additional bounce light from a a reflector or even just a white sheet of paper.
Indoor photography how to rule number one is to use 3 lights. Go for the 3-point-light set up. It’s not for every photo, but it’s a very good starting point if you’re new. The main light is the key light. Place it from one side, above and infront of your target. This position, often from a 45 degree angle gives a very natural and yet interesting light that adds depth and definition. Next, place a secondary light on the opposite side, still from the front and above. Make this light softer and approx 25-50% of the key lights intensity. This light will fill in the shadows from the key light, without overpowering it.
Last, place a strong and sharp light from behind, side and above – on the opposite side of the key light – since that’s where it’s shadows will be strongest.
Photography how to… Just give it a go. You can read a thousand books, but you’ll only get better when you apply what you know. So, get out there and have fun. Take some good and lousy shots, just like I’ve done and learn from them. The only way to become good at something is to practice. Don’t fear the shadows… Play with them, let them be part of your photos and try to use shadows to balance emptiness or give your image the right accent of bright and dark.
I hope you found these tricks and tips useful!
PS. If you’re looking for REALLY mastering cool shots and effects with your camera, then I highly recommend THIS.