Digital Photography is easier to get started than ever. With the explosion of digital technology, taking photos has become relatively easy and inexpensive. The availability of new and larger memory cards lets you take hundreds of photos, gives you instant access and has allowed the average person to view, share or print their shots easily.
If you would like to take your photos from a simple snap-shot to a more professional looking image, here are a few tips to steer you in the right direction.
Tip #1 – Shadows
Shadows can work for you or against you. If you are trying to take a shot outside on a bright sunny day, then the glaring sun can produce a very harsh and contrasty photo.
Having your subjects facing the sun will get rid of shadows but produce the ‘squints’ which make the eyes disappear. Photograph your subjects with their backs to the sun and use either a reflector or your camera’s flash to provide fill light. Avoid angles in direct sun. If you can find shade somewhere, use it but remember you need to adjust your white balance.
On point and shoot cameras there is most likely a setting for ‘Shade.’ Better yet, wait for the golden hours to shoot outside. These are the first and last hour of the day; they are called the Magic Hour for very good reason. Try the early morning sun or early evening when the sun is going down.
Tip # 2 – Backgrounds
Watch what is in the background behind your subject. Having trees and poles coming out of people at various angles can be most distracting. Also having other people walking in or out of the photo or showing objects, such as signs or cars, can detract from an otherwise great shot.
Keep it simple; busy backgrounds will take the viewers eyes from the main subject. If possible, scout out your locations before the shoot.
Tip #3 – Subjects
Make sure you give your subject clear and explicit directions. Showing them where to stand, how to pose and where to look can help you compose the shot you are looking for. Take your time, but within reason.
People have a tendency to lose interest and have trouble maintaining their smiles and poses for extended periods of time. It is good to have some idea before hand of what kind of shots you want and where you want to take them.
If there is more than two people, grouping them to form triangles is a great way to make your photos look more interesting. Remember not to amputate hands, legs or arms at the joints or at awkward angles.
Tip #4 – Candid Shots
When taking candid shots, it is sometimes difficult to make sure you have the shadows right and the backgrounds clear. The subjects will not be posed but instead will be caught in real-life moments. Sometimes these turn out to be the most emotional and exciting photos.
A little blur can give movement, out of focus can add softness to a photo.
Use different angles and lighting. Most of all, take a ton of shots. Use your creativity, you may be surprised at what you captured!
Use every opportunity you get to practice these key elements. Use these tips all the time, engrain them in your memory so you do them instinctively and they come naturally to you; they will take your photos from snap-shots to works of art!
If you would like to share a Digital Photography Tip that you’ve learned, post a comment below.