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5 Steps To Keep Photography Fun

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5 Steps To Keep Photography Fun

 

For most of us photography is an enjoyable pastime. We shoot photos of family and friends, the odd selfie, landscapes and even that beautiful sunset overlooking the neighbours tiled rooftop with TV antenna included!

Yes it’s lots of fun taking happy snaps, but it’s not until later when we look at them on the computer that we realise that the photos we took don’t really look much like what we hoped they would. We start feeling discouraged and begin to doubt that photography is fun after all.

 

What steps can we take to keep photography fun and turn our happy snaps into photos to be happy with?

1. Take Your Time

Nine times out of ten when photos don’t turn out the way we thought they would it’s because we rushed taking the shot. When this happens the chances are the shots are blurry, out of focus, or worse, someone’s head has been cut off. Ouch! Don’t worry; we have all been guilty of these hiccups.

The best thing to do is slow down and think about the shot you are about to take. Or better still; think about how you want to take the shot before raising the camera to your eye. Don’t rush the shot. Sure, some things happen in an instant and you want to catch them, but the more patience and practice you have behind the camera, the quicker you will be at catching that fleeting moment and the better your images will look in the long run.

2. Composition

Composition is one of the most important things to consider when taking a photo. A well composed shot conveys strength, balance and is overall visually pleasing. However whether it is a portrait, a landscape, or for that matter anything, most photographers when they are starting out tend to put the subject in the middle of the frame. I guess it seems logical, but it doesn’t usually make the strongest image.

Try to compose the shot with the main subject slightly to one side and avoid placing it in the middle. If shooting a landscape, try placing the horizon in either the top 1/3 or bottom 1/3 of the frame and not right in the middle. I know it might sound strange and you may think the photo will be unbalanced, but you’ll be surprised at the improvement of your photos. They will convey a lot more balance and strength.

3. Be Aware Of The Background

Not only is the main subject of your photo important, so is the background. This is one element of photography that is often overlooked when starting out with the camera. Consider what is in the background when shooting, as the less distraction there is behind your subject, the more your subject stands out, giving you a stronger image.

Regardless of what camera you are using, the more distance you are able to place between your subject and the background, the less distracting the background becomes. There are times though when we can’t do much about moving a subject further from its background. In these cases if possible change your shooting position to avoid any distractions appearing where you don’t want them. Move around your subject and try to take your shot in a way that the background is less busy.

If you are using a digital SLR camera, you can often use a wide aperture (small f/ number) to throw the background out of focus. This doesn’t always work, so keep in mind the background distance.

Try to keep your eye out for street signs, garbage bins, TV antennas or other distracting things that will draw attention away from the main subject of your photo. Sometimes by simply moving one step to the side you can easily avoid including these in your photo, then re-compose and take that stunning photo the way it should be taken.

4. Focus

When shooting a portrait the most important thing to remember is to focus on the subject’s eyes. If they are not facing the camera face on, focus on the eye closest to the camera. Even if the rest of the face is not in focus, when the eyes are sharp you will have a great portrait. Usually the focusing point with most cameras is in the middle, however we don’t want to place the subject’s eyes in the middle of the shot. The trick is to aim your camera’s central focus point at the subject’s eyes, half press the shutter and then recompose the shot while your shutter is still half pressed. Once you are happy with the composition, fully press the shutter to take the shot.

One technique when you are starting out shooting landscapes is to focus 1/3 of the way into the vista. This maximises the amount of the scene in focus. Use the same technique as with portraits by half pressing the shutter and then recompose the shot while your shutter is still half pressed. Once you are happy with the composition, fully press the shutter and you have the shot. (I will talk more on landscapes and focus techniques in a future blog post).

5. Stabilise Your Camera

Blurry photos are often the result of rushing a shot. But sometimes even when we slow down and take our time with the photo, the result is still blurry. This is most common in low light situations. The reason is because the camera’s shutter stays open for longer to allow more light in. The slower the shutter speed the more chance there is of camera shake and blurry images as a result.

The answer is to stabilise the camera. There are many ways to do this. One obvious solution is to use a tripod, but it is not always convenient, nor does everyone always have a tripod handy. Another solution is to hold the camera with two hands and stabilise your elbows on a table, a wall, a bench, the ground or anything that is steady and unwavering. Even leaning your shoulder against a wall will also give more stabilisation.

When pressing the shutter keep your finger on the shutter button until after the exposure has finished. This also helps to minimise camera shake. Lastly, most people find they shake less when they breathe out and then take the shot. Combining all these elements will give you more ability of having a clear photo.

No matter what camera you are using, give these ideas a try. Even if you apply only one or two of the techniques above I am sure you will quickly see the difference in your photos and be back to thinking that photography really is fun after all!

 

 

 

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