In recent years the amount of cameras available to us has risen massively, there are cameras on your computer, your tablets and now up to two cameras on your phone aside from the growing range of dedicated cameras out there. With the rapidly increasing popularity of online photo sharing and networking it is now harder than ever to stand out amongst the massive glut of would be photographers out there.
This is why TechWench is endeavouring to teach you, the would-be photographer, some killer tips which can help you take some truly amazing photos which will become the envy of everyone else on your online network and beyond.
1. Which Camera?
Pending on why you want to improve your photos, this is beginning to matter less and less. If you want to improve to impress your friends then the quality and options of the camera on your smartphone may suffice. These really are beginning to match standalone digital cameras in their function and range with 13-megapixel cameras reaching the smartphone market annually and anything above 5-megapixels is enough for most social networking. As for the professional end of the camera market, DSLR’s are still the hot topic and will be for some time though the price of highly impressive cameras is coming down steadily. From this writer though the advice would be do not invest in a DSLR until you have a definitive purpose for it, until you are obsessed with photographic quality or unless you have the cash lying about as a fair portion of buyers do not use their cameras regularly after unboxing.
2. Rule of Thirds
Even a cursory search of this term will yield large amounts of results due to its importance in photography. It is key to composing a good photograph, remembering this key facet of photography will quickly turn your lacklustre pictures into images worth remembering. When you survey a scene and think “Wow, this sure is a nice place, I’ll grab a picture to remember it!” then reach for your camera, take the picture and on review you think “how come this doesn’t look like the reality?” it could be because you haven’t composed it correctly.
The Rule of Thirds places an imaginary grid over your viewfinder, breaking it up into 3 vertical proportions and 3 horizontal portions. Aligning the content of your image along these lines gives a natural feel to the image and really allows you to begin taking memorable photos. Once you have this grid imagined, decide what is going to be the focus of your image and place that along the relevant vertical or horizontal third. But the rule of thirds does not just apply to the focal point of the image, any background elements should also be aligned along these guidelines for best effect.
3. Get out of Head Height
For this writer this tip is just as important as the rule of thirds, just holding the camera up to your face and pushing the button is going to give you very pedestrian photographs as you’ve taken them at eye-level. But who says your photo must be taken at head height? How did you get stuck into taking photos this way? Your camera is small enough to be placed anywhere, why glue it to your face? If we were still operating on tripods with massive gunpowder-flash cameras it may make sense, its bulky equipment. But we don’t, our cameras fit in our hands and our environment for taking photos is as varied as the world itself. Drawing from our previous example for the rule of thirds, below we explore getting out of head height.
As can be seen it makes all the variation on the scene having it viewed from a different angle. The reasons for this are not industry secrets though are often disregarded. Everybody sees the world through their own eyes, all the time. Therefore it is not surprising that the most memorable photos are ones taken outside of head height as it allows the viewer to see a different view on the world that they may not otherwise receive.
4. Take Two
Long gone are the days of a limited number of shots per reel of film and then waiting to see which ones came out best. The digital revolution has brought us the ability to take a photo and review it on the spot and so take advantage of it! When taking a photo, take at least two shots, this will allow you to choose the best of the two and come away without wasting an opportunity because you nudged the camera or someone ruined your background.
From the above tips it can be seen that it takes very little to change your photos from drab representations of reality into exciting memories you will be proud to share!
Joe P. is a visual effects artist, videographer and photographer based in Wales, UK.