Foto Tips 1: 10 Tips To Go From Good To Great
Professional photographers have a whole repertoire of simple tricks any photographer can use to create pictures that go from just good to absolutely great.
1. Warm Up A Cool Scene
To warm up a daylight scene that lacks character because its colour is too cool set your white balance to cloudy or shade to add warmth to the photograph. This works with flash as well. You can also use a warm toned reflector to bounce sunshine onto a subject. Just remember to keep the reflector from appearing in the frame.
2. Choose the time of day that provides the best light
Photographers call the time shortly after sunrise and before sunset the ’golden hour’ for good reason. The light at this time of day is warm and pleasing with either a touch of caramel or pastels in it. Portraits and landscapes benefit from the ’golden hour’ and will take a photo from ho-hum to spectacular.
3. Shoot when the lighting is dramatic
Clouds can either ruin or make a picture. By watching stormy weather develop, you can often achieve dramatic photos by capturing those angry skies that occur immediately before or after a storm. Shots taken in the late afternoon benefit from this in particular because of the angle of the sun.
4. Fill the frame
Use the entire rectangle of the frame in the viewfinder or the LCD monitor for your photos. Filling it gives your pictures more detail, which in turn creates impact and intimacy for the viewer. Move nearer to the subject if possible (don’t try this with sharks or grizzly bears). Or, use your zoom to bring the subject closer and to eliminate unwanted objects in the background.
5. Use the rule of thirds
Photographers spend a lot of time looking for pleasing compositions. But their success is not all blind luck. When I find a good picture, it’s because I was taught ways to look at things to improve my photos. Among these is the use of the Rule of Thirds. The rule suggests you divide the viewing screen into three segments from top to bottom and three from side-to-side. Many cameras offer a grid in their view screens to aid this. By placing the subject in the thirds on the left or right, or at the intersections of the vertical and horizontal lines, the composition becomes more interesting and less static than if the subject is placed in the middle of the frame.
6. Choose the background to enhance your picture
When I set out to take pictures I spend as much time considering backgrounds and how they affect the subject as I do the subjects. Backgrounds should be uncluttered and simple (unless you’re using the background to make a statement). If your subject is light and delicately detailed, use a dark or black background to make it stand out. Also look for colours that will create contrast, like a red flower with a Renaissance yellow, to bring life to the picture.
7. Change your point of view
Even a worm has a point of view and sometimes it can be more interesting than a human’s eye-level view of the world. To take your photos to the next level try changing your point of view. Emphasize height, get down low–try a worm’s perspective–shooting from centimetres above the ground. To capture an overall view go for a bird’s-eye POV. One trick you can try if there is nowhere to gain the height you want is to put your camera on a monopod or tripod, set the self-timer and hold the camera support up above your head.
8. Choose a depth-of-field to match the subject
Use the depth-of-field (DoF) created by your camera’s f-Stop to enhance your subject. Depth-of-field is the distance in front of, and behind the subject, that is in focus. By using a shallow DoF, you can blur the background enough to make it look like a softly coloured backdrop. Use an F-Stop of F4 or larger (remember the smaller the F number the smaller the dept-of-field and the larger the number the larger the D-o-F.)
9. Add implied action by panning with the subject
To give your subject the feeling of motion, try panning with it and using a slow shutter speed. Focus on the subject and follow it from left to right or right to left (doesn’t work coming toward or going away from you). With a slow enough shutter speed (1/15 second) the background will blur while the subject remains sharp creating the impression of motion and speed in the picture.
10. Cheese is pretty cheesy–look for personality
Nothing is more boring than somebody standing in front of the camera a cheesy artificial smile pasted on their face. True human expression is a lot more interesting and fun. Try telling a joke, surprising the subject or simply waiting for an expression that you know is about to happen. Photographers call this the Moment of Decision, when action and emotion come together.