Monday, October 20, 2014

9 tips for taking better photos

We'll take a little break today from wholefood and turn our attention to another great love of mine, photography. Now, I'm no expert when it comes to taking photos but I do enjoy it. Having a passion for something always helps with the end result. So today I share my simple photography tips in the hope it might help you get better results too.

9 tips for taking better photos

1. Light, Lens, Love: This tip comes from a very talented Australian photographer Jacqui Mitelman. I had the pleasure of doing a portraiture workshop with Jacqui about 12 years ago and her words have stayed with me.

I always choose natural light over using a flash ( on most cameras and phones you can turn the flash off). If you look at the photos of the fruit above you can see the difference in the photos based on where the light source (daylight through the kitchen window) is hitting the fruit.

The first and last light of the day is a beautiful time to take portraits of your children or anyone for that matter, or to capture the layers of colours for landscape photography. I learnt this tip about natural light from my husband Peter McConchie who is a real life professional photographer :)

If you have a fixed lens camera like I do then you are stuck with it (sorry!), but if you can change your lens perhaps consider doing some research, see which lenses other photographers are using and try out a different one to what you have now.

And of course everything done with Love produces a more beautiful result.

2. Look to the edges of the frame: this is a tip I read in a book years ago and it made a big difference to my photos. Often we are so focused on our subject in the centre that we forget to pay attention to what is around it, by looking to the edges you will notice if you need to move your subject to a better position. Beware of poles or trees sticking out the top of people's heads, or clutter on your benchtop if you are photographing food.

3. Pay attention to the background: this is similar but slightly different to the previous tip. Many years ago I happened to go on a shoot with Sydney photographer Ingvaar Kenne, he was photographing a Christian rockband! It was on this shoot I picked up the tip about the importance of background, especially for portraits. The streets of Melbourne were the backdrop for the shoot, Ingvaar showed me how to use everything from a staircase to a roller door as a background and the difference it made to the feeling of the photo. Try it out, different colours, different textures all create a different effect. Sounds obvious and simple but paying close attention to the details is what makes the difference between a great shot and a mediocre one.

4. Know your camera: I have to admit I am still working on this myself. I bought a new camera about six months ago because my other camera ended up with sand in it and that was the end of that. (mini tip - protect your camera from sand!) My current camera is a Fujifinepix S with a 30x superwide fixed lens. Next camera, I will definitely get one with a changeable lens. Photographers such as Jodi would also tell you to switch your camera off auto and on to manual, I too am yet to do this! I have started playing around with doing this but am not that confident about it yet. Watch this space...

5. Study photography you love: and see if you can work out exactly what it is that you love about it, what sets it apart from other photography? is it the light? the composition? movement in the shot?
the angles? Visit Jay, Jodi, Kellie, Erin, my husband Pete for some inspiration.

6. Challenge yourself: set yourself a task such as joining in with Jodi's 52 project, this will hone your skill if you have a topic to focus on.

7. School up: either borrow books from the library, do an online course, or find one at your local community centre or tafe. The main thing though is to remain passionate about what you are doing. The most technically correct photographers do not always have the most feeling in their work, but by doing some study you will gain confidence in what you are doing and the effects you want to achieve.

8. Edit edit edit: Until I met Pete I kept every photo I took! Pete has taught me the art of editing and that it requires you to be ruthless.

9. Practice, practice, practice

Now it's over to you, what are your favorite photography tips? or favorite photography sites or bloggers?

1 comment:

  1. Great tips. I'm slowly learning how to take better photos on my SLR camera and phone. On a side note...I have just realised how easy and instant taking photos is these days with my third babe as opposed to 11 years ago with my first, when we still dropped off rolls of film to be developed. How amazing is technology? And I wonder where it will go in the next 11 years.


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