Take great pictures!
Whether you have a fancy camera or just a smartphone, there are simple things you can do to take great photos.
Get to know your camera.
A camera is like a muscle, it gets stronger by use, so do take some time to get to know it. You don’t need to buy a new one (unless you really want to). Instead, try taking pictures using different lenses, try different settings, try taking pictures in a variety of light and try experimenting with a new style of photography.
If you want to take great pictures, don’t just rely on your camera’s auto-settings. Adjust your camera’s settings. Try using different focal lengths, focus distances, shutter speeds and aperture (f-stop). It might be as simple as turning the dial on the lens so that the subject appears sharp and clear. You may even want to play around with the settings on your phone camera, or take a photo and then edit the image in an editing app.
Experiment and learn more.
The internet is a treasure trove of information on what you can do with your camera. Do a quick search for ‘best photography tips’ to find a number of articles and websites where you can learn more about photography. Also try reading photography magazines and books for further inspiration. If you have friends who are photographers you can ask them for advice.
Look after your equipment.
It is a bit of a cliche but a camera is only as good as the lens and lens cover that are protecting it. Make sure that you have a good-quality lens cover that keeps out dust and moisture. It doesn’t matter if your lens cover isn’t perfect, so long as it is better than the one that came with your camera. Don’t leave the cover off for long periods of time as dust and moisture can get in.
Keep your camera safe.
A camera should be kept somewhere dry and out of direct sunlight. Avoid leaving your camera in a bag in direct sunlight because it will quickly overheat and fail. You could also try keeping a camera in a plastic bag or zip lock bag to protect it from dirt and dust.
Keep things sharp.
Your camera needs to be sharp to take great pictures. Make sure your lens is clean and don’t use anything to soften the image like a cloth or tissue. The more often you use your camera, the sharper the images will become.
Use natural light when possible.
If you have access to a window, you have a natural light source and this will provide you with a softer, even light than if you were taking photos in a room with artificial lights. If you are taking pictures of food, then using a white plate is an easy way to keep the food looking fresh and appetizing.
Try not to let your camera become a chore. Be excited about taking pictures, it makes them better. Do what you enjoy, not what you think you have to do. Take your camera along to family gatherings or on walks.
The best photographs show an object as it is rather than how we think it should be. So the trick is to avoid thinking too much about what we are photographing and instead, simply concentrate on seeing it clearly. This is the first lesson to learn.
When you are looking at a beautiful landscape, try not to think too much about its beauty. Instead, think of what you can see, for example, the way the light plays on the trees, or the way the grass is cut. Your photographs can still look good if you don’t get bogged down by your ideas.
You don’t always need to spend a lot of time setting up your shot before you start taking photographs. Often, you can just be there and shoot without spending hours arranging your subject. And if you find that you aren’t getting the best results, you can then return to your subject and make changes. However, if you do want to spend more time setting up your shot, don’t focus on perfect composition, lighting or anything else. Just concentrate on seeing as clearly as possible, and that will make your photos look natural and spontaneous.
Have a plan.
Think of what you would like your picture to look like. Are you looking for something that is a bit more artistic? Or do you want a photograph that is very plain and simple? Then, before you start, decide what kind of photograph you want and what you want your subject to look like.
This may sound obvious, but don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you start taking photographs and find that they aren’t working out, stop immediately. You don’t have to continue if your subject doesn’t interest you or you just don’t feel inspired. You can always return to the subject at a later date if you want to, and even if the photograph isn’t perfect. You can also edit your photo afterwards, or print out a few copies if you want to show them to someone else.
Often, our first idea of how we want a photograph to look is not what will end up working best. It’s important not to rush into a shot and take a lot of photographs of the same scene. Think about what you are seeing, then wait for the right moment to take your next picture. Try not to make snap decisions, but take some time and do lots of practice. And remember that there is no right or wrong way to take photographs.
Think about the environment you are photographing.
There is no need to spend all your time indoors taking photographs. If you live in a city, take photographs of nature, and even go walking or camping in the countryside. The more variety you have in your surroundings, the more interesting your photographs will be.
Remember that a good photographer is always learning.
Look at your camera with fresh eyes. Try out different settings on your camera and look at what they do to your photograph. You will get better results if you are constantly experimenting and looking for new ways to improve your photos. And don’t feel embarrassed if your first attempts at photography are less than perfect. If you aren’t sure how to do something, just keep trying and you will soon find the answer.
The best way to take pictures indoors is to use natural light. If you don’t have access to natural light, there are lots of cheap ways to do it. Here are a few ideas:
Use a flash – although you might get some shadows and glare, it will help you capture some great images.
Use an LED light – LED lights will usually cost less than $20 and can be attached to your phone and used like a regular flashlight.
Use a light box – If you have the right equipment, this is the best option. You can either use a light box or set up a studio lighting setup. A light box is basically a box with lights on each side that helps to bounce the light into the walls and ceiling, so you can get perfect lighting.
In conclusion, the best advice I can give you is to practice. Practice, practice, and practice some more.