Do you compare photos with others and wonder how come they are better than yours? You should learn from your mistakes and use them to improve your photography. Peter McKinnon points out to the most common mistakes, and gives you fives you five short, but important tips for making a progress. And each of them takes only a few seconds of extra thinking or preparation.
Think about the angles
When you take a camera or a mobile phone to take a photo, don’t just snap without thinking. It literally takes extra five seconds to think of the best angle for the shot. Move around a bit, look through the viewfinder or LCD screen and shoot what seems the most interesting. And since we’re in digital era, I’d add also this: feel free to shoot several photos from different angles and see which one looks best.
Shoot through something
Shooting your subject through something can add extra layers to your photos. It creates a sense of depth, adds dynamic and creates more interest in viewers. You can use what you have, be it a crowd of people, a tree or even a piece of cellophane.
When you take landscape photos, you use landscape orientation. I mean, the name says it all. However, in many situations it can result with a photo that looks exactly like thousands of others. Peter gives an example of photographing Lake Louise in Canada. There are hundreds of people, all taking photos from the same spot. Search Google Images and you’ll see, there really are plenty of similar photos of this place.
Changing you approach gives you a chance to make something different. Think of a typical angle people would choose for a photo – and do the opposite. Use portrait orientation for landscapes, take photos from the side, above, below. You can apply this to all photos, no matter if it’s a landscape or anything else.
Lighting is essential in photography. If the light is poor, taking a good photo may cost you a lot of nerves. And you may still fail. Professionals use studio lighting, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t own it.
A window can sometimes be a solution to all your problems. If you are photographing objects, go near a window. When shooting outdoors, cloudy days are the best, because it’s like having a giant softbox. You can also wait for a golden hour and shoot at that time. If it’s dark outside – wait for daylight (unless you want to give night photography a shot).
Naturally, if it’s your job to take good photos even in poor lighting conditions, you need to work it out. But as an amateur, learn to search for light and use the best from what you’ve got.
Framing means placing objects into the frame. Before you do it, give it an extra thought and spare a few seconds more to create something attention-grabbing. Peter’s example is a deck of cards on a desk. It’s a photo that looks quite dull if the deck is there on its own. However, if you spare some extra time to add other elements, you will create something way more interesting. Place the objects in a frame (but don’t distract the attention from the main subject). This way you’ll create more context and give your photos atmosphere, mood, a certain story and feeling.
Although these tips are mainly for the beginners, I believe all of us should keep them in mind. We are sometimes in a rush we and later regret not taking a better photo. So, let’s all stop for a bit and give yourselves a few additional seconds to think. There’s nothing to lose, and so much to gain.