It doesn’t matter which make or model your camera is, just that you know how to use it properly and achieve the best photographs possible. You can take exceptional pictures with any camera, whether it is a state of the art, top of the range DSLR or the latest iPhone – the key is that you know how to use it correctly in order to maximize the clarity and quality of your pictures. Follow these basic photographer tips and you will capture sharp, interesting photographs in no time at all.
Fill the Frame
The first rule of photography is to fill the frame with the scenes and subjects which you like the best. Try taking your photos from alternative angles, for example, if you have a field full of pretty flowers don’t take your picture from standing height only, try to experiment. Take close ups from different angles, even get down on the ground and right up close to your subject and see how the photo looks. Lots of empty, devoid space can ruin the perfect picture, fill the frame with the elements and subjects you like the most and you won’t go far wrong. With some compact digital cameras and mobile camera phones you may not have a zoom lens to work with, but don’t despair if you don’t have a zoom lens or it doesn’t reach as far as you would like, just use your legs and move closer to the object or scene you wish to photograph! Whether you wish to fill the frame with wildlife, flowers or landscapes just get rid of everything you don’t want in the shot and keep the interesting subjects and keep asking yourself the question, “what is your photograph really about”? The basic photographer tips are simple – fill the frame with the elements you like best and ditch everything else.
Simplify and Exaggerate Your Photographs
Once you have decided what to photograph, now it’s time to simplify and exaggerate it. Contrasting colors are a great place to start, this helps your subject stand out. You can also use more than one object to create a sense of scale from large to small. If you are looking to emphasize movement in your photographs, then try using a long shutter speed to capture the flow of a river or waves in the sea. Try to zoom in on one particular feature, or try changing your focal length, your perspective or white balance, this will help to exaggerate the characteristics in your photos. These basic photographer tips will help you gain the best from your pictures every time and ensure you create incredible photographs which bring you focus and punch.
Don’t Center Your Subject
Divide your screen into an imaginary grid and use it to create a visual gateway into the photo. When looking through the lens try to understand which elements you are trying to capture, what your focal point of interest is and how to shoot it. Most amateur photographers tend to shoot their subjects in the center of the frame, however this isn’t always necessary. Experiment by capturing the object from a different angle, and enhance all of the background features to tell your story.
The only major exception to the rule of thirds is if you want two objects in your photo to occupy the same visual weight. For example, if you are shooting a mountain range which reflects into a lake below you would need to centre the object to gain a full perspective in the photograph. Use the centre as the focal point if you wish to gain a juxtaposition or abstract point, alternatively simply experiment and just do what feels right. The basic photographer tips is to take the photo from your own perspective and show people how you see the world through your lens.
Create Depth of Field
To create depth and pull the viewer right into your image, use a near/far composition. By having an object in the foreground of your picture, for example a flower – then another object, say a mountain, in the background, it opens up a story and context for your image. This technique also helps you to create a three-dimensional depth and perspective, allowing the viewer to feel that they are actually standing inside your photograph. A great way to put this into practice is with a wide angle lens. By getting super close to your subject you can go wide with the lens and create an image which draws viewers in with the near/far technique.
Connect the Dots
An important element of storytelling through a photograph is conveyed by connecting different subjects in your photo. The viewer can understand your photographic storyboard much better if you use a leading line to connect the elements together. A good basic photographer tip is to pick out the leading line in your picture, whether it be a river bank, a crack in the ice on a lake or a ridge on a sand dune, the leading line technique can draw the viewers eye through the frame and connect the different subjects together. It’s a fantastic way to connect the elements of your photos and create a visual journey for anyone viewing them.
Perspective is Everything
Every photographer wants their viewer to say “Wow what an interesting photo”! But how do you get that wow factor? Easy, show them something they haven’t seen before! We see everything on a daily basis from eye level, and although taking a photo of a field of flowers from eye level looks vibrant and pretty, why not try it from a different perspective? Get up high or down on the ground and snap those pictures from an alternative perspective, it will open up your world and your photographic portfolio in ways you would never imagine!
Lighting is Everything
Many of us head out during the middle of the day to take the perfect shots. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best time to shoot the best photos. Believe it or not, lighting is everything – these basic photographer tips will help you snap ultimate pictures at any time of day or night. The harsh quality of light can interfere with your photograph, taking photos towards the bright sunlight can create dark shadows on your subjects. What’s the solution? Well the obvious one is to come back at another time, however this isn’t always possible. Sunrise and sunset offer the most interesting skies and most pleasing light on your photographs, alternatively if the sun is still shining you can move into the shade, this creates a delicate, soft even light which is very flattering especially for portrait photography. Alternatively, use directional lighting to your advantage – try shooting away from the sun, this will create a more even exposure across the scene, or try taking the picture with the sun at an angle. If you find the ultimate shot is pointed right at the sun, don’t despair, you can expose for the bright highlights and let everything else fall into shadow. You can recover everything else in post processing regardless of whether you use a DSLR or an iPhone camera.
Remember to Break the Rules
The ultimate basic photographer tips are these:
Break all the rules! Photography is about seeing the world through your eyes, your perspective, not following rules. Feel it, see it and shoot the picture, above all just experiment and have fun creating your own form of artwork. Master all these basic photographer tips and feel free to break the rules once you have done so.
Antonio Cuellar is a luxury resort and hotel photographer and a avid travel blogger.