So I decided that I'm too much of a nerd to not write some kind of instructional photography article.
I've fought the urge for a long time, because I have such an incredibly large amount to learn that I feel wrong telling other people what's up. But hey, I got off work early today and ate half of a pizza and didn't feel like getting off the couch so I did it anyway. So there.
If you disagree with any of this, feel free to rant at me angrily over the internet.
Also, I'm sleepy and I didn't proofread this much and there's a chance that none of it makes any sense at all.
Anywho, here are things that I have learned the hard way. There are a good deal more, but I decided to start with just five, that are very general and apply to all areas of photography. Carly's Photography Tips-
small things that make big differences.1. Focus
This seems like it should be self explanatory, but sometimes on your tiny little camera screen it can be very hard to tell if you've gotten a precise focus. I have had many shoots where it looks fine, but when I upload it and see it on my big computer screen, I realize that it's just a liiittle bit blurry; not enough to be obvious, but enough to be distracting. I'd then narrowly refrain from throwing my laptop out the window, and eat an entire quart of ben and jerry's ice cream, because this can be incredibly frustrating when you've put so much time and work into getting a great photo. That small amount of blur can mean the difference between professionalism and an amateur photograph.
This blurriness for me has been caused by a number of things; shaky hands, an extremely narrow aperture, or a slow shutter speed.
There are a few ways to combat this. Obviously, a tripod is a good choice if you have a stable subject. However, this isn't always possible. Sometimes your subject is moving, even if it's just blowing in the wind, and sometimes you need to get right down on your belly, and many tripods don't go down that low.
Again obviously, the next best choice is a faster shutter speed. However, sometimes you have to work in a low light situation where this is also not an option.
I've found the best way to get a crisp focus if you can't use a tripod or set a fast shutter speed is this: set your shutter to continuous release and click away. Of course this will only work to a certain extent, but after practice I can get a good focus shooting freehand with a shutter speed as low as 1/10. In my experience, after a few frames my hands tend to steady, and with persistence I am almost guarunteed a sharp focus.2. Dead Space
So you've steadied yourself and gotten a nice clean focus on your subject - great! But now you pull up your photo and something's still not quite right... damn it, what is it now?!
Which brings me to numero dos, dead space. Filling your frame is one of the fundamental rules of photography, and moving forward a few inches can really make a huge difference.
Of course, how much you fill your frame is entirely dependent on your subject, your background, the effect you're going for, etc. If I am doing a macro shoot of a water droplet on a feather, most of the time it's not the best choice to include the entire feather in the frame. This takes lots of emphasis off of the droplet and sacrifices detail. In this case, I'll completely fill my frame with my subject. However, if I'm shooting a feather that I found lying on the sidewalk, then it will be beneficial to back up a bit, as I want to show more of my background and give my photograph context. It comes down to achieving the right amount of detail on your subject to make your photograph stand out, but not getting so close that you sacrifice your atmosphere or your concept.3. Distractions
You are composing your photograph, you get the focus right, you fill your frame, this must be it! You've gotten an amazing shot! And then, upon uploading and taking a look at it, you realize there was a stick in the corner of the screen, or a large overexposed patch, or some nitpicky little thing that just keeps yelling "hey! I'm here! Don't look over there, look at meee!"
One tiny little distraction can really break an otherwise brilliant photograph, and they can be very hard to notice at the time you take the photo. I've found for me, this is mainly because I focus very prominently on my focal point, and while I pay some attention to the background, it doesn't get as much attention and some things get overlooked. It really comes down to paying very precise attention to the entire
image. Remember, your background is just as important as your foreground; all the little pieces have to come together perfectly to make the big picture truly breathtaking.4. Angle
If you are a normal person who has never done photography before and someone hands you a camera and says "Take a picture of that tree!"
, Chances are you're going to walk up to it, stand in front of it, point the camera dead on, click once and be done. If you're a weirdo like me, you'll be laying on your back and getting right up against the bark or possibly climbing into the branches.
BUT if you're not a natural weirdo, this is something that you'll have to train yourself to do. Take the first expected angle that you see that subject from, and get as far away from it as you possibly can. Angle and perspective are a huge factor in what truly makes an image unique. They allow you to take something ordinary that you may encounter every day, and turn it into something totally different, something that no one has ever seen before. Don't just take one shot and be done with it, experiment from as many angles as your heart desires, and learn how to not be bothered by people giving you weird looks as you lay flat on your stomach in public to get that unique angle you're looking for. 5. Experimenting and Persistance
Don't be afraid to take a million shots of one subject! Okay, maybe you should be afraid of a million, because that might destroy your camera, but don't be afraid to take a few hundred. Now this doesn't mean that you should just sit there and click randomly from different angles and hope that one turns out good; examine each result that you get, and ask yourself how you can improve it. Should you move closer, or further away? Should you shoot it from underneath, or a bird's eye view? Should you try it with a very narrow or very wide aperture? Should you angle it so that something else is in the background? Be persistant, keep shooting and shooting until you've gotten what you perceive to be an incredible picture, and then shoot some more. Sometimes it takes hours, but the end result is absolutely worth it. Experiment like crazy, try things that probably aren't going to work, and always be persistant!
If you'd like to learn more, I highly recomment This Website
. I learned a very good chunk of what I know from there.
If you actually read this, thanks for reading!