Are you a beginner photographer or have you just picked up your first camera but you're not happy with the results? I have created a most comprehensive guide that's going to help you go above and beyond Auto. After reading this article you would be able to learn some basics of photography and get the confidence to unlock the real power of your device.
Moreover, I'm going to demonstrate how you could take amazing photos with any camera whether it's a DSLR, Mirrorless or a Smartphone all by understanding simple principles of photography. I will give you an insight on things which separates amateurs from professionals and provide tips that you can follow in order to instantly up your photography game. So without further ado let's get started in.
Tips for becoming a better photographer
Taking professional pictures is actually really simple you just have to know the key elements that really going to help you create stunning images. Photography is always a learning process you always have to educate yourself and improve your technique in order to become a professional whether it's a learning more about your camera or learning how to use Photoshop and Lightroom.
Tip: After following this guide it would be a great idea to compare your end results and to see the improvement, which will help you to become a better photographer in the future.
The first photograph was taken by inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826?
Infographic: How To Take Good Pictures
In order to make everything super easy, I decided to create an eye-catching Infographic as well.
practice every single day
practice makes perfect!
New and young photographers today have incredible resources at their disposal yet there is one thing that I find people consistently don't do, Practice. Lots of new photographers who are struggling with camera techniques are spending lots of money on workshops, website memberships and new gear that they think will help them to take better pictures and yet they're still at the same level because they don't practice enough to improve their skills. The best athletes are the best not because of genetics but because of a dedication to practice, same for photographers, they are professional not because they were born with an extra creative gene in their DNA but because of practice.
Nail Your Focus
Focus and composition are the two primary ways to communicate with your photos, so consider what you're trying to say when you focus on the subject. It can be hard at first to nail your focus but take your time to ensure everything is super sharp and the that images are not blurry. This simple technique can easily separate your photos from basic to a boss.
Tip: While using an autofocus on your camera, lock the focus on your subject and then reframe the shot to get you subject always in the sharp detail.
Use Intelligent Camera Assistant
Camera Apps & The Arsenal
With help of new technologies now it's possible to improve your photography skills in a matter of seconds. There are different apps available on the market which will guide you through the process of taking perfect images by suggesting different camera settings depending on the environment you are shooting in. Plus there is a new device called the Arsenal, which is the world's first Intelligent Camera Assistant that you can attach to your DSLR or Mirrorless camera and take professional looking images every time you press a shutter button.
Master the Art of Post-Production
Photoshop, Lightroom and etc.
Digital cameras take a really beautiful sharp picture, but sometimes they come up a little bit flat so they need some editing. In the good old days of film, we would give our film to different laboratories and they would process the pictures in slightly different ways, however, the post-production in 21 century has changed completely. Today many people seem to think that using various editing software is a cheating, but I found that just about every picture we have taken correctly still can be improved maybe 10 to 20 percent on our computers.
There are some simple changes that you can make to really improve quality of your pictures. For example, you can modify the crop on your computer very easily, just by changing the position of the key elements within the frame. You can also check the exposure to make some fine adjustments and also give the colors a little boost by a slight changing a saturation slider. Finally, you can even increase the contrast slightly and give your images a 3-dimensional element.
shoot in RAW
The biggest advantage of a modern camera is the possibility to soot images in RAW format. If you're shooting in JPEG you probably have to try a new format and to see the endless possibilities in post-production. When you shoot RAW you are able to actually record all the data from the sensor, which gives you highest quality files which you can later process in your favorite photo editing software. I can honestly tell you that this little advice can dramatically improve the quality of your photos and help you as a photographer to produce way better results.
Experiment with Camera angles
Changing up your camera angles can dramatically improve your photography skills. Try to experiment with various angles and utilize the equipment you have in the best possible way in order to add impact to your image with unusual perspectives. Camera angles can also tell the story of your image, so It's always a good idea to use a tripod in order to mount your camera in different places and get unique shots.
Also, try to shoot level with your subject, sometimes even being above or below can make your shot more interesting. Change your focal length or your perspective and you will definitely create photos with focus and punch.
Find the right composition
As a photographer, I'm always looking for a great photograph that has the fewest distractions possible in the background, in order to create the perfect composition for the image. So before taking your picture first take your time and work out what would be the very best angle to take your picture from. In addition, try to fill the frame with the subjects that are not distractive, so that you can really add some impact to the overall collection of photos that you take.
Move in close
Don't be afraid to Get Dirty!
Now be prepared to do physically whatever it takes to get the shot you want, it might mean crawling around on the floor or climbing a tree. Your decision on what focal length to use should depend on what's best for the shot, so don't zoom in when you can get a better shot by just moving closer. Zooming is okay but it's always better to get closer and to get the most interesting angle.
Remember don't let your zoom replace your legs. Get Dirty every time it's needed.
Capturing unique moments
Work on your shot
Back in the day, it was really difficult and at the same time expensive to afford the camera film, but today digital memory cards can be deleted and reused over and over again. Which gives us the possibility to experiment with different frames, exposures or camera angles, without looking at the number of films that are left on our camera. However, as a photographer, you have to remember that every shot must have a purpose. Even in the digital age, there's no reason to fill up your memory card, just try to capture the most unique and interesting moment around you. Always think that it's your last shot and don't waste your time on something which has no value.
Frame Your Subject
Fill The Frame with What you like
Placing objects into the frame helps you as a photographer to tell the story and make your photo more interesting. Sometimes it's also better to complement the atmosphere by adding different things around, but you always have to keep the balance and emphasize on something which is the primary object. Moreover, try to fill the frame with what you like and get rid of everything else that has no connection with the idea or the story you want to tell.
Lighting is everything
Photography is really all about light and it's worth taking time to understand how light really works. Actually, it's not as complicated and you should definitely develop some skills working with natural and studio light. In photography all too often if you go out on a very bright sunny day, you'll get some really bright aspects in the image and some low contrasty shadows. Digital cameras, unfortunately, can't actually deal with really high levels of contrast and often it's better to find an area of even shade where the lighting is much more neutral and then to take a picture.
Plus you have to keep in mind that digital cameras have almost no capability to retain detail in the highlights, but they have an insane capability to retain detail in the shadows, so if you expose for the brightest part of the scene you'd be amazed what you can recover in post-processing whether you're shooting with a DSLR or phone. Moreover, you can take advantage of directional lighting instead of shooting toward the sun.
Tip: The Window light is naturally diffused especially if you're taking pictures on a cloudy day and acts more like a giant softbox, so consider taking photos next to the window. Trust me your photo will end up looking a hundred times better and sharp.
Don't overedit your photos
Use batch editing software
This is just my personal preference. In my opinion, photos lacking post-processing or on the contrary have too high contrast or insanely split tones don't feel like the work of a professional. So consider using batch editing software when editing your photos such as Lightroom or aperture. Now It's really worth taking a few hours to properly learn the software before you leap in and I guarantee you'll save you days or weeks of time in the future. When it comes to Photoshop use it for that really really a special image, but don't use it for a whole bunch of images.
Shooting Through Objects
Try to shoot through something instead of just taking a picture. It gives you bokeh as well as nice out-of-focus elements and it adds that extra level of depth to the photo that is otherwise missing. This very simple technique adds a huge dynamic to your photos in a really creative and interesting way. Plus don't forget to experiment with camera angles and keep your subject natural.
Break all the rules
If there are a hundred people taking pictures from the same place try to shoot from a different angle to make it unique and a little bit better then the others. Try to think about what's the most common place the photo will be taken from and then find a new location to stand out from everyone else. Think opposite and trust me this little thing will help you get better results.
Finally, break all the rules except number one: Photography isn't about following rules, it's about having fun and showing people the way you see the world. So don't be afraid to experiment, you are just creating the art.
While taking the picture you always have to create a depth and to pull people into your image, by having a foreground subject close to your camera and a background subject far away you create a story and a context for your image. You can also create a 3-dimensional sense of depth If you have a wide-angle lens simply by going all the way wide and getting super close to your foreground subject. This effect is absolutely awesome for drawing viewers into your image and making people feel like they're standing in your photo.
One of the best ways to make somebody interested in your photo is to show them something they've never seen before. Use contrasting colors as well as big objects to create a sense of scale and a long shutter speed to emphasize movement or zoom in one particular feature.
Don't recreate someone else's work, Stay original!
It's always a good idea to see what others are doing and use it as an inspiration, but you also have to add your own twist to take the photo to next level. New photographers may be feeling insecure or curious and sometimes there is a tendency to just steal other photographers work. Personally, my suggestion would be to draw your own inspiration, communicate your own story and it will give you an edge. Also, don't forget to shoot with purpose. Before you take a photo first consider what you're trying to communicate in that frame and then press the shutter button.
Try to, use the rule of thirds and mentally divide the viewing area into three vertical sections and then keep your subjects to the left or right section of landscape. This technique lets us define a relationship between our subjects, emphasize on what we think is most important and creates a visual gateway through the photo. The rule of thirds is always a great place to start with because the final composition can be way more interesting and unique.
It's not about the gear
Equipment is important but doesn't get obsessed with it. Great photos have been achieved even with cheap cameras. Especially considering the fact that many photographers who are just starting out don't have much money to afford some expensive gear. So always keep in mind that big or expensive does not mean the best.
Be hard on yourself
Learn from your mistakes.
By all means, appreciate the great things about your shots, but it's more important to develop a critical eye and to work out what could have been done better and how you can improve next time. Try to learn from your mistakes and achieve better results each and every day.
Connect the dots
If you have multiple subjects in your photo then the story of your image is about the connection between those subjects. So it's always better to use some sort of virtual line to visually connect those elements, as well as leading lines because they show the direction from one subject to another. Leading lines are also a great way to give your viewer a visual journey through your photo.
Anything can be a good leading or connecting line if you use the right perspective, use a river to connect your foreground to your background, use the sand-dunes to draw the viewers eye through your frame, even a piece of sandstone or ice crack. No matter how you use them, leading lines are the best way to connect the elements of your photo and to create some exciting story for the audience.
Straighten Your Horizon
Always fix your horizon lines because when you take a picture of a landscape and your horizon line is not straight, unintentionally it can sometimes ruin the photo, but luckily for us, there are different software that can easily fix this problem, such as Adobe Lightroom. And most importantly it takes just 2 seconds in a post and it's pretty easy to learn.
learn The Exposure Triangle
Understanding How Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO Work Together.
F-stop, ISO and shutter speed are the Holy Trinity of photography, it's a bit like learning your time's table. Now, the basic knowledge of this three things will set you apart from the vast majority of other photographers, so believe me its worth time and effort to really understand what each of them really does. For example, you should always know the aperture sweet spot for your lens in order to get sharper images.
Get a prime lens
It's really worth getting at least one fixed or prime lens. So the main advantage of a prime lens tends to be a wide aperture which gives you that beautiful shallow depth of focus and lovely blurry background. You also get a sharpness and an image quality that is difficult to get with the zoom lens, plus as you develop your photography skills you will be able to take some really exciting photos.
Organize your archive
Now when I started out as a photographer I was very impatient, all I wanted to do was go out and shoot, so I come home and just dump the photos on my computer. Of course later when I came back and wanted to find a certain image it was a complete nightmare, my photos were a mess they were all over the place. So it's really important to have a safe place to put your photos to organize them properly and then to back them up.
You might already notice that a lot of these tips are very basic, but they will definitely improve your photography skills no matter if you are using a DSLR, Mirrorless, Instax or your phone camera. So those are my recommendations so If you have any suggestion feel free to leave your comment.