- Arts and Design
Beginning Photography Tips
Want Great Photos? Maybe You Need Some Good Basic Photography Tips
This page is dedicated to anyone who has experienced envy upon viewing someone else's photos; photos which recieve acclaim from all who see them. The first question is always "what camera did you use?" but in reality the quality of the picture often has more to do with the skill of the person capturing the photo.
Most of us don't care to study photography for months but do hope to learn some basic photogrphy tips that will result in images we're proud to share. Below you will find many useful tidbits that can be taken in digestible bits and yet could yield much better results. If you have the time, please be sure to share your own words of wisdom and beginning photography tips. Come back often to check on our regular updates!
Beginning Photography Tips: A Steady Shot
Probably the most frequent problem for a true novice is blurry shots. The good news is it is easy to correct this problem and the first of our beginning photography tips addresses this issue.
The easiest solution is to use a tripod. Many are adjustable and can accomodate any type of surface. They are an absolute necessity when shooting up close or taking night time images due to the slower shutter speed.
But face it, you don't always have a tripod with you. A fall back option is to use another solid/level surface if it is available. I've been known to use the roof of my car.
The more readily available method is to learn to hold the camera properly. Although generally inadequate for up close photography and low light situations, it suffices in many other instances. Grasping the camera with two hands is generally best, holding your elbows in close to your body. Your stance can assure stability overall, kneeling with one knee up, legs apart for a wide base of support, or perhaps bracing against a tree or other structure are all options.
Beginning Photography Tips: Reducing Distractions
Now that you have a clear shot, the next point in our list of beginning photography tips addresses what you want in the picture. Generally, you want to be sure the subject of your photograph is indeed the subject. Reducing distractions in the background is important.
Look through the viewfinder before taking the shot and assure that there are not other objects, people, or activity that will draw attention away from your subject. The background should be uncluttered in most instances. If the subject of your shot can't be moved to a better location perhaps you, the photographer, can change your position. For instance, consider stepping in closer or zooming in to reduce distractions in the surrounding area.
Take multiple shots to assure you get a good one. With digital photography you just delete what you don't want.
Beginning Photography Tips: Getting the Right Perspective
Another common mistake beginners make is to stand too far away when the subject is a person, animal or object. If you want to see the kind of detail that really impresses, step closer, or use zoom if necessary. Check your camera though as it can probably only focus within a certain range; closer than 3 feet requires macro mode and/or special lenses and certainly shots taken too close can be unflattering.
You also need to be at eye level in most instances. Don't be afraid to get down on your knees or on the ground when your subject requires it.
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Use the correction lines you see through the viewfinder (or use the electronic viewfinder if your camera has one) to be sure you have framed the shot correctly; otherwise what you see may not be what you get!
Beginning Photography Tips: Put the Sun In It's Place
No list of beginning photography tips would be complete without discussing lighting.
When taking pictures outdoors, home photographers have to be careful about direct sunlight.If the sun is at the photographers back, the subject may be forced to face the sun, resulting in squinting. In addition, the photographers shadow may become a distraction in the resulting image.Bright sunlight, present at mid-day, may create harsh shadows on the subjects face.If the photographer faces the sun there may well be a great deal of glare created, obscuring the subject. In addition, with the sun facing the photographer lighting is behind the subject; this results in backlighting which may darken the face of the subject.
There are three basic things a home photographer can do to help remedy these problems:Take pictures early or late in the day versus at mid-day.Use fill flash or forced flash mode in an outdoor shot to lighten shadows created by bright sunlight (this works only if the photographer is within flash range) or use a reflector to bounce light on the subject.Position themselves so that the sun is at the photographers right or left shoulder to avoid backlighting or forcing subjects to squint.
Beginning Photography Tips: Using the Flash Indoors
Because lighting is so important, using a flash can be vital indoors but you must remember that it is useless beyond a certain distance from the subject. The range varies by camera but is typically around 13 to 15 feet.
To avoid photos in which your subject has "red eyes" when using flash photography, be sure to have them avoid looking directly into the camera when shooting. Many cameras also have a "red eye reduction" feature which is pretty effective.
Drawing attention to a subject can be the extra touch you need. Framing them in a doorway, on a swing, surrounded by blooms, and so forth can focus attention on them.
Beginning Photography Tips: Avoid Glare
Glare is a problem that beginners often encounter, especially when indoors and making use of the flash feature. Avoiding glare is simple in most instances and can be achieved by assuring that the camera is not pointed directly toward any reflective surface such as a television screen, mirror, or window.
The same issue can also occur outdoors when photographing near water, thus care must be taken even when the flash is not in use.
In many instances, the most visually interesting shot is one in which your subject is slightly left or right of center unless they fill the frame entirely.
Beginning Photography Tips: Getting in the Right Mode
If you're a novice you probably don't want to deal with manual controls. Luckily, there are digital camera scene modes which allow us to adjust things a little less precisely but with much improved results. One of the most basic photography tips I know is to learn about these commonly used settings so that you can take advantage of what they offer.
This mode allows more of a scene to be in focus; thus a scene of a rock strewn stream with a mountain in the background will allow both elements to be clear.
This mode makes use of all available light in a dark scene. Assuring a steady camera is critical in such shots.
To be used in photographing people or pets. It results in a sharp focus on the subject versus the background.
This mode will keep true colors despite extreme lighting conditions.
This mode helps the photographer capture rapid movement without blurring.
This mode is used to get good focus when shooting a subject/object within just a few feet of the camera.
Many digital cameras are slow. If you are waiting for a precise moment, such as a child blowing out candles, hold the button halfway down as you wait, then the camera will respond faster when you depress it completely.
Beginning Photography Tips: A Vertical or Horizontal Shot?
There are two things to consider when deciding whether to take a "portrait" (vertical) shot or a "landscape" (horizontal) shot.
How is the subject positioned?
A shot of a single tree is often best done as a "portrait" type shot so that it remains the focus of the shot without a lot of distracting area on either side of it. A row of ducklings following their mother however, might be shot in a "landscape" or a horizontal fashon to eliminate all of the wasted space above and below them.
The subject's direction of movement is also important.
Obviously, capturing a rocket blasting off into the sky would best be highlighted with a vertical orientation while a horse race would be better represented with a horizontal orientation.
When taking a picture of someone who doesn't really want to pose or dislikes the whole process, try taking the shot when their attention is focused on something else; a task, a hobby, playing with a pet, interacting with another person, or something similar.
Beginning Photography Tips: How to Get Up Close Photos
Here are a few beginning photography tips for getting those up close shots.Check the camera to determine it's focusing range.If the camera has a macro mode, or close up mode, switch it on.Turn off the flash. In most instances, up close images are overexposed when flash is used. If flash is necessary, diffuse the light by covering the flash with a tissue to reduce the intensity of the light.It is best to use a tripod to assure a steady, focused shot. At close range, slight movements are more apparent.
For the best night time shots be sure to use a tripod and switch your digital camera to the night mode for the best exposure. In most instances, don't use a flash, turn it off. The best time to catch a shot is just before sunset when there is more available light or just as the moon is rising.
Beginning Photography Tips: The Portrait
Taking pictures of friends and family is one of the most common uses of our cameras. Here are some beginning photography tips to make the most of those shots.
Most of us have taken photos of people only to find that their eyes were closed as the shot was being taken. This is particularly problematic when you're trying to capture multiple people in the same photo.
One of the techniques that works well, is to ask everyone to close their eyes. Then just as you're ready to press the button, ask them to open their eyes (and smile, if you wish). Blinking at the wrong moment is much less likely in this instance.
If your camera has a significant delay, you can focus on your subject(s), press the button down halfway, and then after signalling that it's photo time, press the button down completely to take the shot. This will significantly reduce the delay.
Tips about getting in close enough and at the same level of your subject which were mentioned above stand true as well.
Images look best when the horizon isn't centered perfectly, but instead is 2/3 from the top or bottom. Be sure to check carefully through the viewfinder to assure the horizon isn't tilted. Some people use a bubble level or tripod with bubble level. Photo editing can also eliminate tilted horizons.
Camera Bubble Level
Photo Credits- photos copyrighted as indicated below. No derivative work allowed.
A Steady Shot: Martin Kingsley.
Getting the Right Perspective: hthg1983.
Put the Sun In It's Place: lanuiop
Reducting Distractions Photo Credit: hefftech.
Avoid Glare: timsamoff.
Using the Flash Indoors: billaday.
Getting the Right Mode: ARTchemist (AWAY).
A Vertical or Horizontal Shot: jolien vallins.
How to Get Up Close Photos: jalalspages.
The Portrait: Kamil Porembinski.