Are you a newbie to photography? Whether you just got a new camera, or you’re only just learning how powerful and image can be, these tips will get you taking perfect photos in no time.
Rule of thirds
This is one of the basic foundations of taking a photo. The idea is that you should imagine your image divided into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. It will help you avoid “centring” your shot – for example, putting a person right in the middle, or aligning the horizon exactly halfway down the photo.
A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera will help you do this by letting you put a 3x3 grid (nine squares) on your display. Most smartphones allow you to do this, too.
After you get the hang of it, you won’t need the lines showing on your display anymore; you’ll naturally have an idea of how to balance the scene.
Know your angles
Perhaps an even more important concept is to be aware of your angles. This is a major factor in determining if a photo is good or not. Some basic angles include:
High angle or Low angle: this is pretty self- explanatory; it’s when you take the picture from above or below.
Slanted angle: this gives an unnatural perspective to the image, so it makes things look a little more mysterious.
Point-of-view (POV) angle: this is where you take a photo as if you’re seeing what the subject is seeing. Many POV angle pictures show the photographer’s feet or arms, presenting the scene from their perspective.
Adjust for bad lighting
Whether you are using a phone or a DSLR, you can adjust your camera’s exposure and lighting settings to compensate if it is too bright or too dark.
ISO is your camera’s level of sensitivity to light. Increase it to take a clear picture in a darker room – but not too much, or the picture will be grainy.
Alternatively, you can set a longer shutter speed, which allows more light in so your picture will have more colour. However, if you keep it open too long, any moving object will be blurry. It’s best to only use a long shutter speed when taking pictures of things that aren’t moving, and to use a tripod or rest your camera or phone on a sturdy object.
Get to know your subject
If you want to go beyond Instagram and into the world of journalism, SCMP photo editor Anthony Dickson, offered some valuable tips.
“Communicate and spend time with your subject, and always show your respect,” says Dickson. “Produce your own image and don’t try to copy because then you won’t stand out. Be different – [in fact] anyone can take a good picture on their phone.”
Dickson believes that simple is better, and advises young photographers not to get too distracted by all the settings and accessories on offer. “The basic photo is the best,” he says. “Try not to focus on the gear, but instead try to understand what makes a nice photo and have a concept in mind of what you want to show your audience.”
Remember the basics
Kieran Ryan, the head of media for King George V school, agrees that understanding what makes a good photo is more important than worrying about the gear. “Learn about composition, colour, and light,” says Ryan. “It’s the photographer that makes the image, not the camera.”
So forget about all the extra attachments, extensions, and filters you can buy. Just get out there and focus on the image and start snapping some original photographs