Being a good photographer implies two things, willingness to learn and willingness to invest in the equipment. If you are a beginner, the learning part of the equation is even more important. This article will provide you with several tips on how to maximise the power your camera contains.
Focus on the eyes
Eye contact is very important when communicating face to face, especially because we are biologically programmed to focus our gaze on them. Having this in mind, you should place camera at the eye level of a person of whom you’re taking a picture. This will put focus on the person’s gaze and face features, and create an engaging feeling in those who observe the photo.
Rule of thirds
This is one of the fundamental rules in the photography. In order to apply the rule of thirds, you should imagine four lines across the picture. Two of them are horizontal, and two of them are vertical, making the grid of nine squares. Although sometimes it is best to put subject in the centre square, most of the time you should move it away from the centre in order to create more pleasing composition.
Keep that hand steady
Every photographer hates blurry photographs, and they may happen even to the best of them. In order to avoid this, you must firstly learn how to hold you camera the right way, and the right way is with both of your hands. One hand should hold the body of the camera, while the other should be places around the lens. You should also keep the camera close to you, since it is easier to provide support that way.
In terms of technical preparation – you should have a tripod at your disposal whenever you can. Furthermore, be sure to adjust the shutter speed to the focal length of your lens.
Choose less conspicuous background
This especially applies if you are taking portraits. You want your subject to be the centre of attention of the photo, not the background. The best way to do this is to choose simple, plain background. You should always pay close attention to the area immediately around your subject. Make sure there are no tree branches that grow out of the ears of your subject. Furthermore, bear in mind that this is also the case where you would position your model in the centre.
Invest in filters
Filters can be a great investment for two reasons. Firstly, they will make you photographs even better. Polarising filter, for example, reduces reflections from shine surfaces, and improves the colours. It can also be used for any type of photography so you don’t need to remove it. Secondly, filters are a great way to protect your sigma lenses. It is much cheaper to buy a new filter, than a new lens.
Know when to use flash
Firstly, know your flash range. This is important because sometimes you can get dark pictures even though you used flash. Make sure your subject is within the range of the flash. For most of the cameras, this range is between 4 and 5 metres. Be sure to check this in your camera’s manual.
Secondly, avoid using flash indoors, especially with portraits. It can overexpose the subject giving it harsh look. If you’re struggling with lack of light indoors, it is better to increase ISO. This will provide enough light for the sensor and give an artistic-looking blurry background.
Thirdly, use flash outdoors, especially if it’s really sunny. Although this may seem unnecessary, if you take photos without flash on sunny days, you can create shadows on your subject’s face. The flash will brighten the face and solve this problem. Also, if you have a choice between fill-flash and full-flash modes, use the former if your model is 1-2 metres away from you, and the latter if the model is further than that.
Pay attention to sources of light
The position of the light is very important, because it greatly affect the way your subject appears. Different kinds of light create different shades, and change the look of you model. If you don’t like the lighting, try different angles. Try to provide soft light when photographing portraits, because it doesn’t create stark contrasts. In case of landscapes and nature, most photographers agree it is best to take photos early in the morning or late in the evening.
Create sense of motion and depth
If you want to create a sense of motion and make your subject more dynamic, you can use a technique called the panning. In order to this, you should firstly lower your shutter speed. Lock focus on your subject by pressing the shutter half way down and follow it as it moves. When you are ready, take the photo. In order to avoid blurred picture, you should consider using tripod.
For depth effect, use wide angles and small aperture in order to make both the subject and the background sharp. By placing the subject in the foreground, before a landscape, you create a sense of how big or small, near or far things are. Again, don’t forget the tripod because small aperture in most cases also means slower shutter speed.