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How to be a Photographer

Updated on April 5, 2017

Have Camera Will Travel

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'Get up Early,' says Joel Coleman

'The best light for photographing the ocean is around sunrise and sunset. If you don't get out of bed well before sunrise you are limiting your available time by 50%. Be patient - it can take years of visiting the same stretch of beach or coast to get the image your after.'

Camera – Artists Palette

Every worker learns to use his tools, the camera in the hand of the photographer is a tool rather, an artist’s palette to challenge charm and calm the eye and the emotions. Understanding our camera whether it is a point and shoot or a Compact System Camera or DSLR, the need is to understand its capacity to be intuitive. The more we learn about our camera, the more we can take control and shoot great images. The secret is to practice and experiment with the camera.

  • The first Step is to understand the camera. For the beginner, using a camera is a simple process at first. Turn a knob to select a suitable mode, make sure the focus on the subject matter is sharp, and press the shutter, the camera will produce a great image.
  • The second step is when the menus are used to compensate bright lights, cloudy days, inside or outside in the shade or bright sun.
  • The third step is when the photographer takes control of the camera and tells the camera what to do by turning off auto focus and using manual focus. An entirely new world opens up with more options depending on the type of camera in use.

Within the Boundaries

There are many commandments for the photographer that lead to a great shot. The professional photographer however, is a rule breaker, and often in breaking the rules, a beautiful image is captured.

Concentrating on focusing the camera does not leave time to remember the commandments of photography. The advice then is to follow your instinct. Rule One: the rule of thirds. Similar to the naughts and crosses game a grid can be brought up on the LCD of the camera. The intersections of the grid divide the screen into thirds. At the intersections of the grid center the subject, and capture the scene or subject.

  • Rule One: the rule of thirds. Similar to the naughts and crosses game a grid can be brought up on the LCD of the camera. The intersections of the grid divide the screen into thirds. At the intersections of the grid center the subject, and capture the scene or subject.
  • Rule Two: use layers when capturing landscape pictures. The secret ingredient to the use of layers in capturing a great scene is perspective. Imagine three or four horizontal lines running across the camera screen, the foreground, mountains, or ocean and the sky featuring clouds. Layering the scene is rule three. A valley layered with fog emphasizes a mountainous landscape with a lake in the foreground or rocks creates the feeling of drama, or action, or peace.
  • Rule Three: the horizon can be placed above the middle of the scene or below the center of the landscape to add interest to the image or highlight the subject matter. The professional advice is to be bold and break the rule because placing the horizon across the center of the image can produce great scenes.
  • Rule Four: lead-in lines generate symmetry and perspective using trees, shadows, rock formations and structures that direct the eye into the heart of the image, creating a depth to the subject.

For the beginner, these rules are essential, but there is more to learn, much more, for the moment though, these rules will open doors to catch those magical images.

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Rule One: Rule of Thirds

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Rule One: The Rule of Thirds

  • Rule One: the rule of thirds. Similar to the naughts and crosses game a grid can be brought up on the LCD of the camera. The intersections of the grid divide the screen into thirds. At the intersections of the grid the subject or object is aligned causing the image to appear off center

    'The Rule of Thirds’ was first coined in 1797 by John Thomas Smith as a useful guideline or rule of thumb indicating that the rule was not a hard and fast commandment but to be used only as a guide. The rule of thirds is used in composing images, films, and paintings. It is thought that by aligning a subject along the lines and intersection of the grid, the rule of thirds gives energy and interest in the composition rather than if the subject was centered.

    The main reason for using the rule of thirds as a guideline is to discourage the placement of the person or object at the center or prevent the horizon from appearing to divide the picture into halves.

    According to Wikipedia, cinematographers favor the rule of thirds as a means to balance and unify their images.

Don't Stop

It is easy to say, 'Don't stop your photography.' If your health holds, photography is one creative activity that you can enjoy throughout your life, and particularly in the latter years. Graham Burstow, Australian Photographic Society member.

Rule Two: Layers of different colour, foreground and background

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Rule Two: Use of Layers when capturing landscape pictures

  • Rule Two: use layers when capturing landscape pictures. The secret ingredient to the use of layers in capturing a great scene is perspective. Imagine three or four horizontal lines running across the camera screen, the foreground, mountains, or ocean and the sky featuring clouds. Layering the scene is rule three. A valley layered with fog emphasizes a mountainous landscape with a lake in the foreground or rocks creates the feeling of drama, or action, or peace. Misty and foggy days are ideal to create layer images from high points, aerial views are ideal.

The Use of Layers to create effect

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Rule Three: The Horizon is in the Foreground

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Rule Three: The Horizon cuts the image in two

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Rule Three: Where is the Horizon?

  • Rule Three places the horizon either above the center of the scene or below the center of the landscape to add interest to the image or highlight the subject matter. Where the horizon is placed in the image has a powerful effect on the composition and how it is interpreted. Tilting the camera up or down can alter the the balance of the composition. Dividing a composition in half by centering the horizon is often considered breaking an important design rule, but like all rules it can be broken to catch reflections in a pool, a stream, or a lake. No matter what, the horizon must be level or the image will not be what the photographer wanted.

Rule Three : The Horizon is at the top of the image

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Rule Four: Lead in Lines. Objects the lead the eye into the heart of the image

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Dylan Fox says,'While acknowledging that he is very much in the early stages of his career, Dylan Fox says your first and highest priority should be about havin


'Study what other Photographers have to say and heed their advice'

Rule Four: Lead-in Lines

  • Rule Four: lead in lines generates symmetry and perspective and using trees, shadows, rock formations and structures that direct the eye into the heart of the image creating a depth to the subject.

When we look at a photo our eye is naturally drawn along lines. By thinking about how you place lines in your composition, you can affect the way we view the image, pulling us into the picture, towards the subject, or on a journey "through" the scene. There are many different types of line - straight, diagonal, curvy, zigzag, radial etc - and each can be used to enhance our photo's composition.


In Memory of Hancock an early explorer. The Lookout is named in his honor. The photographer includes storytelling as part of his/her portfolio

A Magical World of Creativity, Story Telling, Capturing for Posterity

A Magical World

Photography is a magical world of beauty, color, and action. Whatever takes your imagination the camera will open a door. Today’s cameras are intuitive and can almost read one’s thoughts.

Photography can be a family affair when each member equipped with a camera does their thing; rivalry develops over comparing images at the end of the day because no two people looking at the same scene will see it in the same perspective. Photography challenges us to get out there, rough it or pamper ourselves, to seek the perfect exposure, the perfect angle.

Photography opens the door to self-expression. We can express ourselves best when behind a camera and our eye is composing a scene, capturing a bird in flight, making memories with family portraits, Telling a story. So let us get out the camera and shoot everything in sight for posterity, for fun, for fame, and fortune.

Understanding the camera and its capabilities can be a steep learning curve, and many aspects seem a mystery. It is beneficial to join a photography group, sharing with like-minded people encourages and teaches how to use the camera. Download apps, read dozens of magazines to keep the dream of being a photographer alive. Two assistants in Photoshop and Picasa are aides to enhancing images. A certain amount of cropping or manipulation of a scene is acceptable these days. The purist photographer will prefer to take a picture perfectly first time. Using a photo editor is for the lowly beginners. If the dream is to be a photographer of some merit, then there will be a challenge to master the camera and the art and not give up.



The crested pigeon is a native to Australia. They have adapated well to civilisation. The first settlers ate them when times were hard.

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Stalking Without Being Goaled

Stalking one's subject is essential when intent on catching an interesting image. Sometimes it weeks, hours, days before the subject is in the right place, doing the right things, as the picture shows of the two pigeons in the above photo.

Crested pigeons are very photogenic, and it is easy to collect a large portfolio of these birds, never-the-less, to get that rare picture, stalking them is needed. Photography is one way to create beautiful scenes if one is not an artist. Photography in itself is an art and today with Photoshop and Lightroom and the many other Photo editors available the photographer can let the creative juices loose to do their own thing.

Photography has undergone a revolution over the past years since digital cameras came on the market. Photography is now an exciting adventure. Every day, if an image fix is needed, a walk to the nearest park, or meandering along the street, if living in the city will satisfy that urge to snap whatever takes the eye

It is amazing how many people started their photography career using a Box Brownie. The Box Brownie is now a collector's item often gathering dust in the back of someone’s wardrobe.

There are many cameras on the market today; one almost needs to be a technician when choosing what to buy. What is top of the range camera today will be at the bottom of the list in one years time? The Photographer needs to comparing the price, the number of pixels versus zoom according to their needs. The quest to keep up every time a new camera with more and more innovations doesn’t always meet the needs of the photographer at the time.

It often comes down to needs versus ability versus price when choosing a camera.


Pause a Minute to Reflect

Which of the Arts do you prefer

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A Fun Effect

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'No matter how sophisticated the camera the Photographer is still the one that makes the picture.'

By Doug Bartlow

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    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 4 months ago from Minnesota

      I have to agree with Honey Halley's point of view. I was modules down on your page, before I reached the step one, step two modules and, by that time, I was getting tired, and left the page. Beautiful pictures. I love taking pictures. I also had a Brownie camera when I was a kid, black and white pictures.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 4 months ago from Illinois

      Very well written and interesting; however, I would organize it differently to start with more of what the title offers such as putting everything from Camera - Artists Palette down at the beginning, then I would put everything from Staying focused down to Camera - Artists Palette; however I would take out all the camera specifics and maybe choose four or five of your favorites and write about how they function and the effect it gives that you love, then I would put your first section about you and what photography means to you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have a camera which is much better than its photographer/owner. :) Every tip helps me, so thank you!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Enjoyable and food for thought. Thanks.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very interesting and useful advice Gwenneth. Great photos too. I am no expert photographer but do enjoy taking photos, especially of nature. Voted up.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image
      Author

      Gwenneth Leane 2 years ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      Thank you for your soooo encouraging comment. I invite you to be my follower and I would like to follow you

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Get up early is the easiest advice for me to understand but this hub gave interesting insight into the rules of visual art.