5 Tips, and then some, on being a better photographer
There are many pointers, tricks, methods, rules, guidelines…etc that many photographers use in order to get that shot they want. Everyone has their own way of going about setting up a shot or trying to make their shot that much different from everyone elses. Now seeing how I mostly shoot scenery and automotive, most of the time objects that I am shooting are stationary. Therefore I am able to access the scene and set-up accordingly. I will tell you right now…I am not the best photographer out there, and I don’t think I have even begun to scratch the surface, but I do try my best to produce that “WOW!” effect in a picture. That being said, the MAIN tip for every photographer out there is have CONFIDENCE in yourself! If you don’t have confidence or a strong head on your shoulders you will get stomped on and walked all over, and believe me, no one wants to hire a limp photographer! On to the tips before I go on a confidence rant!
MOVE YOUR FEET
What makes an amazing capture always starts with a base, I’ll give you a hint, it’s the first step every photographer should take before that shutter clicks. That is framing the picture and composing the shot to give the consumer that “WOW!” effect I had mentioned earlier. You want to create an angle between you and that object that will grab your customer/consumers eye and draw them in. A few things should be going through your mind as you prepare your shot. Look around and check your background, make sure nothing will be or is over powering your subject. For example: I’m shooting a sport bike at a loading dock, right next to this sport bike is a GINORMOUS 18-wheeler. Ummm that in my opinion takes away from noticing the beauty that bike may have. Yes it can be framed to look differently if you MOVE YOUR FEET but certain things in background will take away from you subject. Next! Check your reflections, and your horizon lines. Things like these can be changed or processed in Photoshop, but your goal as a photographer is to create as little work for yourself in processing as possible. If adjusting something at the time of the shoot takes you 30 seconds, you will have saved about 3 minutes in Photoshop. So if you’ve got a reflection move a couple of feet over and see if it washes out (this is if you don’t have a circular polarizer, definitely a must have). Finally, there is nothing worse than taking a picture, visualizing what you want that final product to look like then going to process and you find a foreign object behind your subject that totally distorts the picture. in some cases such as candid shots this may not be able to be prevented. I had taken a picture of my fiance. I absolutely loved this shot. I took it a couple of years back when we took our first vacation and I got my first camera. I still love it, but someone pointed out to me that it looks like a tree is growing out of the model’s head. Here is the picture to get a better understanding of foreign objects in backgrounds. In this case it couldn’t have been prevented due to the fact it wasnt a posed shot.
TAKE CRITICISM AND LEARN FROM IT
Unlike the first tip this one is pretty self-explanatory. Take your pictures, post them up, let the public see them on flickr, photobucket, webshots, or even facebook. Let them judge your work and your style (which yes, you will develop your OWN style). Then have them tell you why they don’t like it and knock you off of your pedestal. Then LEARN FROM IT. After this, read from the second sentence of this tip to the part where it says LEARN FROM IT, and uhhhh, do that for a couple of years, maybe the rest of your career. You don’t always have to take everyone’s advice, but you sure can take it and make your own judgement from it. Art is different in everybody’s eyes, and its on you to make the decision if what you ment to do is how you visualized that picture to look. People will go their own ways in this industry and that’s how you create your own look, your own style.
SHOOT MORE…PROCESS LESS
Well those of you that only own 1 2 gig card may hate this tip, but ya know what, if you only have 1 2 gig card then you need to purchase another, or better yet get a 4,8,16,32 gig card. Well a lot of people say setup your shot and shot it once. Take the time and double-check all your adjustments and shoot. I do agree with taking your time and fine tuning everything, it’s a must. I disagree, strongly about taking 1-2 shots. Those little LCD screens on the back of our cameras may look nice and pretty, but sometimes you just wont be able to totally tell if lets say your subject is in complete focus, or even if the white balance is correct for the lighting. I’ve found in some cases that I have only taken that 1 shot and it turned out to be great…but the front door was the focus point, and the front bumper was not. Or even the leaf directly behind the flower was in focus and the flower was slightly out. I can only imagine this would’ve been a different story if I had set up again to maybe take 2-3 pics instead of just that 1.
NEVER MAKE EXCUSES IN FRONT OF A CLIENT!
Doing this will and can hurt your business very quickly! When you make excuses in front of clients it kills your professional image that you are trying to set. That very image that you and your work use to sell YOUR BRAND. You want to show your customers that you have the confidence and the “know how” to give them what they are paying for. A customer doesn’t want to hear “only if I had…” out of your mouth, or “my camera doesn’t have that many megapixels”. This all hurts you. You are a professional and you are getting paid to be creative. SO GET CREATIVE! Think of a work around, that’s what you’re getting paid to do. Make that model feel good about themself, or present that communion or wedding and tell a story and make people get to know the people in the pictures. Think of ways to work around maybe flaws in lighting, or equipment, or even lack of help. Don’t make excuses!
BE BOLD AND THINK OUT OF THE BOX
Every photographer has their own style. You ask what makes one stand out from another. Well that’s simple, there’s a lot of things but 1 main point that I always look for,who has seen this picture from that perspective? Show people a picture from an incredible place they may never get to see in their lifetime. Catch that angle that no one else can, or be at that spot and frame it in a way that people will ask, “how did they take that picture?”. Make the consumer curious, it gives them the drive to want more.
This concludes my 5 Tip’s…and then some on being a better photographer. I hope you learned something new, after-all that’s what this games all about right? If you want a better understanding of what I mean when I say be bold and different a great place to see examples of this would be Flickr‘s very own Explore page.
Make a comment, tell me what you think!
- 10 Quick and Easy Tips to improve your Photography (digital-photography-school.com)
- Camera Club: How to shoot angles (theglobeandmail.com)
- 6 Tips for Budding Live Concert Photographers (digital-photography-school.com)
- 10 Tips for Mouth Watering Food Photography (digital-photography-school.com)
- 10 Tips for the Aspiring Street Photographer (digital-photography-school.com)