Your shots not only capture the attention of the viewer, but also make you constantly remember yourself, arouse interest and desire to see more of your works — and now you open your own exhibitions one by one … Sounds exciting and tempting? If yes, then rather grab the camera and try out the techniques that we will talk about in a moment.
First, let’s talk about the technical knowledge and tricks that many professional and amateur photographers use. If you’re just getting started shooting, they’ll definitely come in handy. And if it’s not the first time you look into the lens, then it’s still a good idea to refresh your knowledge.
The first and foremost thing every photographer needs to know is the exposure triangle. Any professional or semi-professional camera has three main indicators that determine the frame settings. These are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Aperture decides how much light you let through to the matrix. Excerpt shows how long it will take to take a picture. ISO reflects the overall illumination of the image. All three characteristics interact with each other. Learn how they affect each other and make it a habit to pay attention to them.
If you are just starting out and are into portraits and studio photography (not necessarily in the studio), then you should immediately get two items: a diffuser and a reflector.
The first is to reduce the harsh light from the flash, since it usually gives a flat picture. The diffuser makes the shadows softer, and the photo acquires a realistic volume.
The reflector is often used for subject portraits. Light is directed at it and reflected back onto the object. There are several types of coverage, and each gives its own result. A set of reflectors, small in size, is quite inexpensive, but you will immediately notice how effective the shots will look. Do not ignore photography accessories, they can be very useful.
If you have not yet learned how to catch the moment, but you want to get dynamic shots, then try burst shooting. Of course, this mode is not a “masterpiece” button, but you can get very interesting results with it. This is great, for example, when you shoot fast-moving subjects: cars, sports participants, animals, even water splashes. Usually the dynamics are not easy to catch, especially on a SLR camera, but in burst mode, half of the tasks will be done by the camera for you. It remains only to crop the picture, and you’re done: you have an unexpected and unique photo in your hands, the chance to take it is one in a million.
Let’s move on to an equally important element of shooting — framing. How to make it visually pleasing? Now we will tell everything.
It takes practice to look at the stage and see the frame. But how to get it? Everything is very simple: masters of painting and photography have already done this work for us. Therefore, carefully study their results: see what works and how. Attend exhibitions, even virtual ones online, if you can’t go to the real ones. Buy art books and photo books, you will find inspiration and ideas for future pictures in them.
Never try to frame everything at once. If you have a lot of elements in front of you, a lot of colors, try focusing on one. For example, an exotic spice rack can look interesting both shot in its entirety and reflected through one element. In general, sometimes a single detail can say more than the full scene. This technique is often used by wedding photographers when shooting pillows with rings, dress patterns, elements of the groom’s suit. This is a very convenient and effective way to convey the mood, especially if you are shooting a series. Think of it as a story, because all the great authors sometimes digress from the main plot for the sake of a seemingly insignificant clarification.
Do it your way
In photography courses or professional advice, you can often find very strict recommendations about composition. Of course, they will be useful and it is always worth trying to apply them. But you can convey your own vision of the frame only if you sometimes break these rules. Portraits don’t always need to be shot vertically and landscapes horizontally. Rotate the camera the way you see fit, and sometimes make slight mistakes in composition, because they are sometimes the very thing that gives the photo personality. Try and experiment, because the rules often drive creativity into the framework.
And of course, let’s move on to practical techniques that will turn an ordinary subject into an artistic photograph, and maybe even into a real piece of art.
Experimenting with bokeh
Surely you have come across frames with unusual bokeh: not just iridescent circles or strong background blur, but stars, snowflakes, hearts. All this can be done with lens settings or special accessories. By the way, you can actually make them yourself. In fact, for unusual bokeh, a lens attachment with a cutout in the center is used. It is from this hole that the outlines of the bokeh elements will depend. Some photographers buy ready-made nozzles, while others simply cut them out of black cardboard.
Try this technique to create an abstract photo or a festive mood in the frame.
The water surface, mirrors and glass create incredible effects in the photo. With the help of reflections, you can break the space or change the picture in such a way as to create interesting compositions.
Any experiments with reflective surfaces can give you unpredictable results. For example, a simple puddle might look like a lake, a window to another world, or an abstract mirror. Glass gives glare that enriches the picture. And how stylish look shooting through raindrops! Our advice is to try and invent different techniques, see what happens.
Screens and projectors
If you are tired of the usual photo background in the background, come up with your own. In product photography, a simple technique is often used: the monitor screen as a background. If its surface is matte, then glare will not interfere with you. The basis for the background will be any image that you can find, such as your pictures. This technique helps to empower the photographer even with limited resources.
Another favorite technique is shooting with a projector. It is commonly used by beauty photographers and portrait painters. Take any picture and project it onto a white wall, against which the model is standing. Depending on which image you choose, you can get a romantic, brooding or socially significant frame. After all, this is how bright photos and magazine covers are often made. Try it too.
Shoot more often
The most important thing that every photographer should do to make his shots better and more original is to constantly shoot. It is experience that gives you a clear understanding of what works best, what and how you like to photograph, how to solve problems that arise. And most importantly, by constantly realizing your photo fantasies, you learn to listen to your intuition and eventually become a real professional.