Photography has come a looooong way since its toddler years in the late 1800s. From glass plated mechanics to instant developing film to digital cameras, photography has grown exponentially. The biggest change though: nearly everyone has a decent camera, and it lives right in our pockets, 24/7/365. Our smartphones can not only tell you step-by-step directions to the nearest pizza places or alert you that it’s your Facebook friend’s birthday today, but they can let you snap pictures just like the most self-proclaimed shutter enthusiasts … and post it for everyone to like and share. Because if you didn’t take a picture of it, did it even really happen?
But is it true what they say about photography: that to take better photos, you need better gear?
At one time, that was probably true, but technology has adapted so much, so fast over the years that even the biggest photo noob can pick up a camera and shoot quality pics – whether they’re from your phone or a beginner setup. Sure megapixel count helps, but if you’re looking to shoot like a pro, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank on gear. Just follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be on your way to snapping like the best of ‘em.
All about the lighting
The camera may take the picture but your lighting makes the picture. Simply shooting during the day’s golden hours – just after sunrise and just before sunset – can do wonders for your pictures. The right light will go a long way to giving your photos depth, contrast and tone. And the best part, you don’t have to buy any expensive halogen or LED lights to achieve it.
Vary up your angles
Why do you think you always see professional photographers crawling around on their knees during photo shoots? It’s not because they’re doing their best monkey impersonation. It’s because simply changing the angle you shoot at can add a dramatic touch and artistic perspective to your photos. Varying up your angles can also give you different levels of depth that simply standing and shooting can’t deliver. So shoot up, shoot down – play with shooting from any and every angle to capture what you may not normally see.
We’ve all taken that picture just a moment too soon or a second too late. Timing is everything, not just in life but especially in photography. So learning how to anticipate a scene can play a big role in upping the quality of your photos. You can also set your camera to burst mode to help take multiple, rapid pictures to help you better achieve that perfect timing.
Become friends with aperture and exposure
Shooting on auto is a good step at learning focus and exposure when you’re just starting off, but once you’ve mastered that, it’s time to venture into playing with manual settings. Getting familiar with how the aperture and shutter speed influence your pictures will help you get the most of your photos in any light and environment. And remember what we said about light – it makes the picture.
Composition & framing
A lot of new photographers run into the problem of their photos looking flat. No depth. No composition. That’s where framing up your shot and stacking composition can go a long way. Adding soft elements into the foreground can give your middle-ground and background images more pop. The same thing works in reverse. There’s a reason Apple created portrait mode on the new iPhones, because it eliminates background noise while sharpening and narrowing attention to the person or object in the foreground. So before you get too shutter happy, take a minute to set up your scene and compose your photo.
With these simple tips and tricks, you can hopefully start feeling more confident about your photography setup, knowing that you don’t need to go all-in on your gear for quality pictures. And if you’ve got some old polaroids, negatives or film reels that you want to breathe new life into, then get them digitized. We can help!