How to shoot better is a question that every photographer has asked at least once. Everyone has their own decision — someone turns to specialized literature, someone hurries to schools and seminars, and someone tries to figure it out on their own. But we’ve put together 30 tips to help every photographer shoot a little better and maybe inspire them to come up with new ideas.
“If your photos are not good enough, then you are not close enough,” said Robert Capa, a famous photojournalist. What did he mean? It’s very simple, the photographer must infiltrate the environment, get into the center of events. Sometimes it’s enough to get a little closer to the subject to catch the character, mood or emotion. Sometimes it is enough to fill the frame, reduce the amount of air in the picture.
Practice leads to perfection. And it is very important for a photographer to shoot as often as possible. Always and everywhere take a camera with you, try to catch every precious moment. Experiment, find your voice. At first, this is very important, and skills and accuracy will appear over time.
Before pointing your camera, always watch the light: where does it come from? Try to use natural light to your advantage. The sun, if you’re outside, can cast interesting shadows, an artificial light indoors or in the dark can set the mood for the shot. Light can interact with the characters, it is also a participant, the subject of the picture. Thanks to the light, an ordinary frame can be distinguished and made unique.
Traveling, walking, shooting reports or stories, you can always encounter different cultures and experience the difficulties of communication for yourself. In some countries, for example, you can run into big trouble trying to take a photo. Therefore, both out of respect for other cultures and for security reasons, it is always worth asking permission. This rule is especially true for shooting children and representatives of unfamiliar cultures.
For a beginner in photography, it seems that the flash is only good for night or indoor photography. However, this is not entirely true. Sometimes the sun casts too hard shadows on the subject during the day, using a flash can correct this by creating an even exposure and filling the shadows with color.
With the use of ISO, a number of questions always arise. The first thing to consider is the shooting time. For example, in the middle of the day, on the street, you should use ISO around 100–200; If you shoot at night without a tripod, you need to increase the ISO so that the matrix recognizes the light. The second question concerns the illumination of the subject; if the space is too dark, ISO 800 or 1600 is fine. Of course, it’s important to consider the static of the photo. A high ISO is suitable for shooting a fast moving subject. At a lower value, blur will appear. However, you should always remember that ISO is directly related to the grain in the photo. So avoid ISO 3200 or 6400 unless you want a grainy photo.
f/4 is the most basic aperture that each of us often refers to. A wide aperture with a long focus (200–400mm) allows you to highlight the subject against the background. And it works without exception. So take this advice as a rule.
Every photographer works differently with their subject. Photographers have to be a bit of a psychologist, because it is always important to let the model open up and relieve tension. Sometimes in these cases a joke will work better than a command to smile or the old “Cheese” trick.
No, of course, a high-quality camera and an expensive lens are important, but knowledge and skill are even more important. The quality of the photo depends much less on the high cost of the camera than on the skill. Now a fantastic shot can be taken on a smartphone. So it’s best to stock up on photography books and tutorials. They provide both insight into the process and inspiration.
The first lesson in any photography school is the instructions for the camera. Each camera has its own characteristics, so in order to work with it, you need to know it: features, advantages and disadvantages.
Before you press the button, think for a few seconds about what is happening in the viewfinder’s capture area. Composition, light, subject, background.
Another mistake that photographers make in the digital age is the desire to immediately view the captured frame. In reportage or event photography, this takes valuable time, during which something special can happen. As a result, you run the risk of missing a good shot by looking at the ones already taken. Therefore, it is worth stocking up on memory cards.
This is not about a photo frame at all, but about a technique that draws attention to a character or object in the frame. The visual presence of some kind of frame — an arch or a window, for example, focuses attention on the subject.
Never take a photo when the sun is directly behind. Direct light in the frame is uninteresting. It’s best to shoot with light coming from the side, or even from behind — backlighting has its advantages.
Here the rule is simple and short: the less, the better.
You should not hide behind the camera and perceive the character of the shooting as a scientific experiment. Look up from the camera, communicate, talk and be present in the moment, not just behind the lens.
It all depends on what you are shooting. If it’s a sporting event or live, moving objects, getting into focus is important. To do this, use a speed of 1/500 or higher (up to 1/2000). And, accordingly, a long exposure will give the effect of a trace from an object, for example, from a moving car.
The rule seems simple, but often we simply forget about it. It’s very simple: put the battery on charge as soon as you return from filming. The main thing is not to forget to insert it back.
This is where having a spare lens can be of great help. For example, 28mm and 35mm. This is enough for almost any type of shooting: you will have enough work, but at the same time, all basic functions will be available to you.
No need to exclude yourself from the community of photographers — meet, network, learn from others and share experiences. This always helps in promotion and can even lead to the fact that photography turns from a hobby into a profession.
How? Very simple: train yourself to look for a picture in everything, memorize, recreate and practice.
For those who shoot characters, travel, etc. character is very important. And he, posing for you, is doing a service. Try to repay him — bring a photo if you return, or send it by mail.
So you don’t have to take mental photos.
The timing is perfect for nature and outdoor portraits. The light is softer, the colors are brighter.
Do not try to compose everything at once in one frame. Extra elements — like parasitic words, litter the space.
Do not slow yourself down with a huge photo bag with all available lenses, filters and cameras. Take only what you need for a particular shoot.
The photographer cannot always stand at the height of his height — the interestingness of the frame depends on your dynamics. Sometimes perspective changes how you look at a character or object.
What is in the frame? Won’t a huge, ugly dumpster end up in a wonderful wedding photo? Would you put a pole on the character’s head? There is always a lot of non in the viewfinder, and you need to keep track of each.
The shadow is the photographer’s friend. If the light is too bright or harsh, shoot in the shade.
Always, always refer to this rule, which is simply called the rule of thirds. After all, it is not without reason that many viewfinders contain a grid.