Shutterbugs, camerapersons, videographers or photographers — many people can identify with at least one of those labels. Nowadays, almost anyone can be a photographer thanks to the smartphone sitting in their pocket. Now more than ever, people can snap and record those everyday moments and hold on to them for as long as they desire.
After a year of being indoors, people are eager to get back outside this summer. Many will be seeking that reconnection to nature by exploring the vast and bustling city, strolling the sandy beach or taking a meditative hike — all of which can make for great photography opportunities. With more counties and cities safely reopening, this summer will be the perfect time to get the camera on your smartphone ready or dust off that point-and-shoot and get back to framing those little moments that we all took for granted.
Tip #1 – Get Inspired
Photography can be a very diverse subject, but overall, it’s what people make of it — it’s what they choose to capture with their lens. Photography can be anything from taking the simplest selfie for a social media profile to arranging an intricate composition. Being a photographer can also mean capturing candid moments of people, like in the genre of street photography.
Getting inspired with photography can be challenging at times. Instagram is a reliable resource for photo content. However, the app has changed drastically since its launch. While people can still find niches of photography on the app, it is now muddled with ads, TikTok videos, memes and shop retailers. The trick is to search the app for devoted photography accounts with quality content. Other sources for professional photo inspiration include websites like Unsplash, Flickr or Shutterstock.
Tip #2 – Learn How to Use Your Gear
Whether it’s a camera on a smartphone, a brand new digital camera with a professional heavy-duty lens or even an old point-and-shoot, an innovative photographer should know how to take the best photos with the gear they’ve got. Smartphone cameras are the easiest to use, often requiring the user to simply point and press a button. However, modern digital cameras can be a bit more complicated.
It will be helpful to know how the camera works and how to make changes to the settings. Take time to learn your camera’s features and play around with the buttons and different menu settings to learn how they affect the photo. Knowing the fundamentals of photography such as the exposure triangle, shutter speed and aperture will allow for more creative images and getting the best camera experience.
For people buying their first official camera, it’s important to keep in mind that the gear can be expensive. Try looking for camera kits at department stores or shop the used market, especially since photographers are always trading up. Most used camera gear is in good condition, with prices falling well below the price of a brand new item. Websites like Adorama, Keh or eBay are great places to look for used gear at a discounted price.
Tip #3 – Set Up a Composition
Getting creative with photography will often involve taking different kinds of pictures. Instead of being repetitive, going to different locations and shooting photos can help with inspiration. Getting subjects in photos will make them more appealing and interesting. Exploring different surroundings and thinking about framing will take a person’s photography to the next level.
Try getting closer or further away from a subject to get the most out of the shot. Experiment with different angles, including high angles, low angles and close-ups. The rule of thirds is one of the more important aspects to remember when setting up a shot. Imagine three vertical and three horizontal lines intersecting and frame the subject evenly in the center of it to get the most aesthetically pleasing picture.
Tip #4 – Lighting
Lighting is crucial to understand when wanting to take a good photo, especially for a decent portrait. Taking photos when it’s too bright can result in the picture being blown-out, meaning the picture is overexposed or too bright. On the other hand, taking photos when it’s too dark will result in under-exposed images. Understanding a camera’s settings will help to navigate these lighting conditions, but it also helps to know how to use light to get the best shot.
Placing a subject with light facing directly in front of them will bring out more detail and shadows will fall behind the subject, resulting in a more flattering look. Shooting a subject with light falling on the side will create more shadows and depth, which can make for a more interesting shot. The trickiest lighting situation is backlighting which happens when the source of light is behind the subject; this will often result in a silhouette, but it can also be a creative way to capture a unique photo.
Try shooting in even lighting conditions and “golden hour,” which is the first hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. During this time of day, natural light is softer and more diffused, allowing for less underexposed shadows and overexposed highlights in pictures.
Tip #5 – Share Your Work
Most photographers will want to find a place to show their work, and that’s a good thing. Social media has been a huge space for accumulating digital images as photographers want to share what they see through their lens. Apps like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are great places to share photos. It’s important to remember that photo work will likely be judged as social media users like and comment on your work. However, developing a thick skin and listening to constructive criticism often makes photographers eager to go out and make their next shot even better than the last.
Whether people choose to share their photos or keep them in their own personal collection, photography is an enjoyable hobby that one can learn many lessons from. The most important thing to remember is that photography is a journey. It’s about documenting those little moments in our lives and capturing a fragment of time that will become a long-lasting memory.