Most of us are used to taking photographs on a regular basis using a smartphone but if you want to achieve more with your efforts and produce professional-looking results you need to learn how to take pictures like a pro.
Here are some useful tips for beginners which should help you become more proficient with your photographic projects and give you the confidence to become more ambitious and adept with a camera in your hand.
Learn one of the most effective rules of composition
Great photos don’t just happen by chance most of the time, and there is a skill that you can learn in order to produce eye-catching pictures more consistently.
The fundamental rule of composition that most professional photographers use to achieve stunning results is what’s referred to as the rule of thirds.
The rule of thirds is a set of composition rules and a discipline that will let you line up a great shot that looks aesthetically pleasing. When framing a picture, visualize your image as four lines in total, two across the image vertically and the other two lying horizontally.
Dividing your picture composition in this way allows you to ensure that your focal point is in the center square, or you could decide to place the subject slightly off-center at one of the intersecting line points that you have created.
Practice using the rule of thirds and you should start to notice how composing your perfect photograph becomes a lot easier.
Auto Mode or not?
Most decent digital cameras offer you the option of using an auto mode that takes the decision for you on things like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.
Although auto mode offers a number of distinct advantages to photography newbies it is a good idea to learn how to make the most of the controls on your camera by experimenting with them and turning auto mode off.
The best way to understand what auto mode is doing is to try out all the features and master the basics of good photography so that you can shoot in manual mode and get the results you want.
Keep it simple with your background
Portrait photography is always fun to do and you should be able to take some stunning pictures if you take a simple approach to the task, including choosing the right background.
What you don’t want to do is create a distraction that draws the eye away from the subject matter. This is why a plain background is so often the default option in professional photographic studios.
It also helps to consider what the person being photographed is wearing and which colors and clothes work best. You can view here for more on that subject, but whatever they are wearing, a plain background and the use of neutral colors will ensure that what’s behind them isn’t a distraction.
Learn how to add a sense of depth
Framing is a skill that can help you to add context to your photos.
The trick to adding a sense of depth is to work out how to create a frame within a frame. What this means is to take a picture that focuses on two key elements in the picture rather than one.
For example, if you take a picture of someone who is standing outside next to some flowers, drawing attention to the flowers as well as the person with framing will create an element of interest and a sense of depth.
White balance really matters
Getting your white balance is a major influence on how good your photos are.
Practice using a flash indoors and take the time to work on this skill as practice makes perfect and good white balance really will allow you to witness some great improvements in your overall photographic skills.
You will find that using a flash indoors can make pictures look too harsh so also experiment with raising the ISO so that the shutter speed compensates and allows you to get the white balance correct even without a flash.
Find out how to create a sense of depth with your landscape shots
When you take a picture of a stunning landscape you want to be able to capture the feeling that you are experiencing when witnessing the view firsthand.
Creating a sense of depth with your pictures works in a way that allows someone else to feel like they are almost there too when they view the image.
A good way of doing this is to use a wide-angle lens for a panoramic view and a small aperture to allow the background and foreground to stay as sharp as possible.
If a person is going to be in the shot, make sure they are in the foreground, as this gives a better sense of scale.
Buying a filter
Many amateur photographers like to experiment with different filters for their lens and if you want to do this a good suggestion would be to choose a polarizer.
A polarizing filter will help reduce reflections and also provide some protection for your lens at the same time.
Try to avoid the shakes
Nothing spoils a photograph quicker than camera shake or blur.
You can avoid this scenario more easily if you learn how to hold your camera correctly. This often involves using one hand around the lens and holding the camera as close to your body as possible for added support.
Also, make sure your shutter speed isn’t too slow, as this can create blurry images if you move your camera while taking the shot.
Take lots of pictures
It might seem an obvious suggestion but practice really does make perfect.
Always try to have your camera with you at the ready and shoot away at every opportunity, as the more pictures you take the more you will learn new skills and gain in confidence.
Network with others
It often helps to network with other keen photographers and professionals who will normally be happy to offer some free tips and share their experiences.
Consider joining a local camera club or signing up for a workshop and you will probably be pleasantly surprised at how helpful and approachable even accomplished professional photographers can be.
Learning how to take great photographs can be a lot of fun and very rewarding when it all comes together, which is why so many of us are hooked on this hobby once we get started.