Photography is a talent that can be beneficial to anyone from any walk of life. If you’re photographing a moment with your family or a product for a company you work for, knowing how to use a camera and take good photos is a crucial skill. Here’s a few tips to start improving your photography right away.
Think About Composure
Don’t just pop right up and start snapping photos haphazardly. It’s smart to be more thoughtful where subjects are placed in your photos. This is called composure and is central to creating a good photo. A photo with the subject in the center is technically “well composed” but often boring… that’s where the rule of thirds can come into play. With the rule of thirds, imagine splitting your image into three columns and three rows. Then place your subject where one of these lines intersects. It makes the photo feel balanced, yet thoughtful.
Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
The word photograph quite literally means to draw with light. That should clue you in that lighting is one of the most important and fundamental aspects of photography. With that said, it’s also what a lot of people get wrong. Here’s a few tips for different kinds of lighting…
If the lighting is cloudy, I find this idea for taking photos as the light is soft and there are no harsh shadows that could throw off your image. In my opinion, it’s pretty hard to get lighting wrong when it’s cloudy. Just be sure to expose your image properly!
If it’s bright out and there are harsh shadows, you have to be a bit more thoughtful about your subject placement. I like to place my subject in the direct light and then expose for the highlights. If you’re photographing a person, I have them close their eyes and then I count: 3… 2… 1… and have them open their eyes just for a second so I can catch them without squinting.
Sometimes you don’t have the option of shooting outdoors and you have to make do inside. I personally don’t love the look of the pop-up flash built into some cameras, but if you have $30, it doesn’t hurt to go out and buy a speedlite that you can put in your camera’s hot-shoe. This instantly makes your life easier and you can simply point the flash towards the ceiling (that’s ideally white) to bounce the light off, giving you a softer look for your subject.
Think About Colors
The color palette of your photography is just as important as any painting’s color palette. You should be thoughtful about what colors are being captured. Two looks I really like are monochrome: where there is only one color present in and image, and contrasting colors: where some colors in the image clash with each other, giving the image more of an eye-catching appeal.
Usually the colors are determined by one of two things: the environment or the model’s clothing (as I usually shoot portraits). After determine what color has to be in the image, I work backwards to decide what colors I should add or remove from the scene.