03 Oct How to Take a Great Photo
Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash
1. Ready, Steady, Shoot
Blurry photos are every budding photographer’s nightmare and, when there’s not much available light, blurriness can be difficult to avoid. The good news is: if you time your capture with your breath, you can give the shutter a bit of extra time and avoid that blur. So, take a deep breath, hold it in and then hit the shoot button.
Did you know? When you take photos with an iPhone you can capture a shot with your volume buttons. It is often easier than tapping the screen which can cause the camera to move and photo to be blurry.
2. Cosy up
Instead of using your zoom function, get closer to your subject. That’s right: if you feel as though your photos are missing that ‘wow’ factor, take a few steps closer and get in on the action. Why is this? Well, your image will be much clearer if you move closer to the action instead of zooming in – this is especially true when taking an image with your phone.
3. Lights, Camera, Action!
Lighting is one of the most critical skills to master for fabulous photography. It’s a fine balance, what are the do’s and don’ts?
Don’t… (unless you know what you are doing)
- Shoot your subjects with bright light behind them
- Shoot into the light
- Especially when the sun is out at full strength, it will work best for you if it is behind you
- Choose a shoot time when the sun is not high in the sky which can cause large shadows
- Get excited when it is cloudy as this is when you get a nice soft light
The optimal natural light shooting times are earlier in the morning and later on in the day. By avoiding the hottest and brightest part of the day, you will get a more subtle contrast and softer shadowing.
4. Take The Director’s Chair
Take control of your photos by controlling the subject. Remember when it comes to portraits, a lot of people can feel shy or awkward. Be direct and take control of what you want them to do. Give people guidance on how to stand, where they should direct their gaze to, and how their bodies should be positioned.
Make your subjects feel at ease by chatting to them and giving feedback on the shots as you take them. The best shots are taken when the subject is comfortable behind the camera. Why is this? Well they’re less likely to look posed and you will be able to capture the person, and the emotions they are experiencing a lot more lucidly.
5. Put Your Subject Against A Plain Background
When you use a busy background as a canvas, you create a visual distraction away from your subject. Everything looks better on a plain background: people, animals and products. So shoot your subject against a hedge, a wall or use your aperture so the background is blurred out and the viewer can focus on the subject of the photograph.
6. Try A Different Perspective
How do you take the perfect selfie? You probably already ready know that the best way to take a selfie is to capture the shot from above. This perspective removes the embarrassing double chin and adds dimension and an interest factor to your selfie. Use this rule for photographing subjects other than yourself. Look for interesting and unusual vantage points, like crouching down on the ground or shooting from an elevated point above your subject.
7. Master The Rule Of Thirds
If you shoot your subject in the centre of your shot, your image is likely to look boring (unless, of course, you can weave in some super-symmetrical magic, which not everyone can do).
If you are not shooting a square format, get into the habit of cropping your shot into thirds – both vertically and horizontally. Don’t be afraid to move your subject out of the centre of the shot and into one of the thirds.
Why is this visually successful? Well when you move your subject to the intersections of the thirds you will create a more balanced and visually interesting photograph.
Did you know? If you’re shooting on an iPhone, you can activate a grid, which will divide your screen into thirds and make it easier for you to position your subject to the left or right of the frame.
8. Keep It Simple Sweetheart
As with all forms of visual design, simplicity is key to success. Don’t try to do too much artistically and don’t try to cram too much into just one shot. Limit yourself to one interesting subject per image. When you keep it simple and master your lighting, the magic happens all by itself.
9. Don’t Be Afraid Of Empty Space
For some reason people tend to be afraid of open spaces and are inclined to want to fill it with something – anything! But this often results in unnecessary clutter. As with all forms of visual design, having some white or empty space is an effective tactic because it draws the attention to the subject of the photograph, and also introduces some calm and stillness.
10. Mirror Symmetry In Your Images
Symmetry is when you can split your image up into two mirror versions. It is pleasing to the eye and introducing it is an effective way to give your shots mood.
11. Practice, Practice, Practice
Whoops, there are actually 11 steps to that perfect shot.
Lastly, but most importantly: the more you practice the better your shots will be. Don’t be put off if your pictures don’t come out perfectly with the first attempt. Tech makes it easy for you to delete the shots that don’t work out. So shoot away; when you’re done you can always go and clear out the less successful attempts. As with anything: the more you do it, the better you will become.
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