A Basic Start to Taking Better Pictures
by Austin Mauser (7/13/2019)
With digital cameras & accessories cheaper than ever and cell phones with powerful photo taking abilities in everyone's pockets it's easy for anybody to call themselves a photographer. With the addition of some cheap editing software you're on your way to reaching the "professional photographer" status.
- I personally like to use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos, but I will get more into that another time.
Taking more than just a photo involves more than just firing away with your shutter and choosing which image you think best captures your subject. Don't get me wrong... I am the master of the "spray and pray" method and winging it, but I always take a few things into consideration before hand.
Location, weather conditions, time of day, the model and their desires, and many other things are being taken into account. From there you at least have a base of what equipment to bring and which camera settings you might use because we don't shoot in automatic.
When you arrive (early) to the location be sure to scout out any side areas or backgrounds for obvious gems or for those sometimes a little less obvious. You will also want to check for anything displeasing or that might be distracting from your subject. Make sure to be aware of the sun and any shadows that are present. As the sun moves throughout the day you will want to keep an eye on it so you can keep the light at your back or behind you. This prevents flaring, rays, and an oddly exposed image.
- The two best times to take advantage of are referred to as the "Golden Hours" which usually happens the first hour after sunrise ad the last hour before sunset.
- Overcast/dreary days make for great even-lit opportunities
-Use the golden hours to your advantage to get the most out of your photos because this is when colors & lighting are going to be more dramatic and the world seems to be a different pace.
Now that you have your vision and your scene figured out it's time to execute! If you are working with a model keep the poses, expressions, and outfits fresh. Nothing is more boring than seeing the same expression, pose, and location over and over. Make the most out of the location and your subject if you have one by treating each scene as a completely new opportunity to create a more unique set of images.
-Capture who your subject is not just what it is.
-What is it about your subject that catches your attention the most? Emphasize this!
-Don’t be afraid to capture multiple angles and distances!
-Use an occasional prop.
I always like to make it a point after shooting a couple of shots to review what I captured and to show the model as well. Your model will notice things about themselves that you might not and this will end up helping you determine how you shoot the next shots and narrows down your large pool of possible photos to edit. Even if you aren’t photographing a model it is always a great habit to examine images closely to make sure you are getting exactly what you are after… or you’ll notice you left the lens cap on the whole time...OOPS!