Top 5 photography tips to improve your photos
Want to learn how to take better photos? This article covers the top five photography tips, including advice on composition, light quality, and exposure.
1.TOP 5 PHOTOGRAPHYTIPS TO IMPROVEYOUR PHOTOS2. 1. Choose an interesting subject to photographOne of the easiest ways toimprove your photographyis by taking photos ofinteresting subjects. Of course, you can take great creative photos of uninterestingsubjects, but if you choose an interesting subject to photograph in the first place, itmakes taking a great photo much easier.So where do you find theseinteresting subjects? They canbe found everywhere, from astormy landscape:The Worn Picket Fence byStuck in Customs on flickr 3. to a simple street scene:Streets of Manilabywili_hybrid on flickr 4. to a flower in yourgarden or local park:Just take a walk aroundyour localneighbourhood with yourcamera, and youre sureto find somethinginteresting tophotograph.~ The Sunny Side ~ byViaMoion flickr 5. 2. Compose your photograph carefullyWhen taking a photograph, its all too easy to just point and shoot. However, try andtake a bit more time to think about the photo and the composition.Rule of thirdsComposition is how the elements in the photograph are arranged, and a goodguideline for composition is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds works by splittingan image into thirds, so you end up with 9 sections.You can see in the photo tothe right how thephotographer has placed thehorizon in the top third ofthe photo, while thelandscape takes up thebottom two thirds of thephoto.Patterns in Nature byGarry - www.visionandimagination.com on flickr 6. As well as placing elements along the thirds lines, you can also try and put your main point of focus so that it falls on the intersection of two of the thirds lines. If you look at the photo to the left, you can see the photographer has placed the cats eye on the intersection of the right and top thirds lines.Allie Grunge byPicture Zealoton flickr 7. The Fibonacci spiral or Golden spiralThe Fibonacci spiral is a spiral based ontheFibonacci sequence, while theGolden spiral is based on theGolden ratio. Both are very similar, andcan be used as a compositional tool. The curve of the spiral helps lead the viewers eye through the photograph. You can see the grass in the photo to the left roughly follows the Fibonacci spiral.drops of springbySteve took iton flickr 8. The Golden triangleThe golden triangle is a good compositional guideline to use when your photographcontains strong diagonal elements. It involves splitting the photo into three trianglesthat contain the same angles (are the same shape). You can see the below photo hasbeen composed roughly around the golden triangle: Vang Viengbyabmiller99on flickr 9. Leading lines and converging linesUse leading lines orconverging lines todraw the viewers eyeinto the image. Goodexamples of this youcan use in landscapephotography areroads, paths, fences,hedges etc, reallyanything that createsa line that leads intothe image will work. On the road again ... / De nuevo en el camino ...byClaudio.Ar on flickr 10. In the photo to the left you can see the edges of the flowerbed and lake create converging lines that leads the eye towards the building.Schweriner Schloss - BUGA 2009 Previewbysaturn on flickr 11. In this photo the photographer has used the shoreline and waves as lines that leadyour eye towards the funfair:Pacific Park in Santa Monicabyszekeon flickr 12. 3. Pay attention to the light qualitySomething that has a big effect on how your photograph looks is the quality of lightthat is hitting your subject. There are two aspects of lighting that you need to payattention to - the colour of the light and how harsh / diffused the light is.Colour temperatureAs a general rule, we tend to preferphotos with a warm (golden) tone. Thewarmest light naturally occurs aroundsunrise and sunset, and this is whymany landscape photographers preferthis time of day.The colour temperature of a photo canalso be modified by adjusting the whitebalance setting on your camera. And ifyou are taking photos using flash, youcan use a warming gel on the flash towarm up the light. Some Kid and Mr. Bokehbyanton khoffon flickr 13. Of course, in some instances you may want to go the opposite way, and use light with a cold (blue) colour temperature.Lamento.bySimon Paison flickr 14. Diffuse vs. harsh lightDiffuse light is where the light creates soft shadows, which is preferred for mosttypes of photography, particularly portraits.Diffused light can be created byreflecting light from a largesurface (like a wall), or by usinga large piece of semi-transparent material betweenthe light and your subject. Thisworks the same way as whenthere is a thin layer of cloud,which diffuses the sunlight andcreates a nice soft light. Regal Elegancebydragon762won flickr 15. Harsh light creates strongshadows. Natural light is atits harshest aroundmidday, while anundiffused flash will alsocreate a harsh light. Whenshooting with harsh light,try and use the strongshadows it creates to youradvantage, incorporatingthem as an element ofyour photograph. RepetitionbyGeorgios Karamanison flickr 16. 4. Check the exposureOne of the main advantages ofdigital photographyis the ability to check the photoon the cameras rear LCD. When taking photos, you should check that the photo hasbeen exposed properly,i.e.is not too dark or too bright. Although modern camerashave sophisticated auto exposure systems, they dont always get it right.As well as inspecting the image, most digital cameras also have a couple of tools thatcan help you judge the exposure of an image. The first one is Highlight Warning,colloquially known as blinkies. What this does is that any areas blown out white willflash when reviewing the photo on the cameras LCD.The second tool is the histogram.This is a graph that shows the rangeof tones in your photo. If there is apeak at the very left edge of thehistogram, this means that some ofyour photo is solid black. And if thereis a peak at the very right edge of thehistogram, this means that some ofyour photo is solid white.HistoramabyPictr 30Don flickr 17. Areas of the photo that are solid white or black contain no detail. Maybe this is whatyou want, but generally it is better to have detail available even if you dont need it.You can modify the exposure of the photo by adjusting the exposure compensation.Use negative exposure compensation to darken the photo, or positive exposurecompensation to brighten. Take the photo again, check the exposure again, and repeatif any more exposure adjustment is necessary.Determining Proper Exposure For Specular Reflectionsbykevincoleon flickrGenerally the ideally exposed photo is one that is as bright as possible without anydetail being blown out white. You can then adjust the photo on the computer todarken it if necessary. It is an extra step, but maximises the image quality. 18. 5. Reduce camera shakeBlurry photos can be a problem, especially if shooting handheld when it is relatively dark.The key to reducing blur caused by camera shake is either to make sure you are using afast shutter speed or to make sure the camera has a solid support like a tripod.To ensure a fast shutter speed, put your camera in the shutter priority shooting mode.As a general rule, the shutter speed should be 1 over the 35mm equivalent focal length,e.g. A full frame camera with a 50mm lens would need 1/50s shutter speed for a sharp handheld photo A 50mm lens on a camera with an APS-C sized sensor has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 75mm, and so would need 1/75s shutter speed for a sharp handheld photo A four thirds camera has a 2x crop factor, meaning a 50mm lens has the equivalent 35mm focal length of 100mm. So it would need at least 1/100s for a sharp handheld photoThe actual shutter speed you need will depend on your handholding ability. To try andgive the camera more support when shooting handheld, hold the camera up against youreye, use both hands to grip the camera, and push your elbows in against your stomach /chest. 19. If using a fast shutter speed makes your photos too dark, try increasing yourcameras ISO setting, and / or using a wider aperture. This will allow more light toreach the cameras sensor without having to reduce the shutter speed. If you arephotographing a person or nearby object you can also use flash to provide enoughlight for a fast shutter speed.If your camera or lens has a Vibration Reduction or Image Stabilization function, turnthis on as it will help steady your shots when shooting handheld.The other alternative to increasing the shutter speed is to use a tripod or some otherform of support (e.g. placing the camera on a wall or table). Make sure the camera issecured tightly on the tripod and either use a cable release or self timer to triggerthe cameras shutter. This way the camera doesnt receive any shake from theprocess of pressing and releasing the shutter button. For more photography advice and tips,updated with new tips on a regular basis, make sure you check outwww.discoverdigitalphotography.comText and layout www.discoverdigitalphotography.com All flickr photos are cc licensed and copyright their respective owners