I’ve spent a long time taking photographs and learning photography. But in a time where everything is a snap or a filter away on your phone, it makes it easy to take more and more photos until you have the right one. By no means am I telling you to hipster out and go buy a camera and film. Just a few simple techniques to implement and consider the next time you take out you phone for a snap, that can improve your photography.
The first thing you learn when you’re learning photography is exposure, the most fundamental technical aspect of photography. Its called the exposure triangle and it includes Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. With the adjustment of these setting on your camera you adjust how sharp to blurry your photo is and how bright and dark it is.
Inside each lens you use whether its a lens on a Digital SLR or a tiny little lens attached to a phone there is an aperture ring. With a DSLR you can adjust it to open up or close it to allow less light. They are numbered stops and the smaller the number the opening is larger to let in more light. Although if you let in more light with a larger aperture, the focus distance becomes smaller.
Shutter speed adjusts how long the shutter will open up to allow light to be exposed by the film or sensor In the camera. The numbering system for shutter speed is in fractions. The basic explanation is the shutter can be opened for one second. The “speed” of the shutter speed is relative to one second. 1/60 shutter speed is one 60th of one second. So you take one second and cut it up in to sixty parts and the duration of one of those parts is the length of time the sensor is exposed to light. The shutter speed on your camera can range from 1/5000 of a second to 10 seconds. The larger the fraction the less light gets exposed thus the image will be sharper and darker, the longer the exposure you increase motion blur of movement and more light gets exposed on to the sensor.
The sensitivity of the light to your sensor is adjusted by the ISO rating. It usually ranges from 100 to 3200. The higher the number, means the sensor will be more sensitive to light. So naturally you would keep the shutter speed higher so you can get shaper images in low light. I would use the highest ISO sparingly because the higher the sensitivity, you then introduce grain an pixel noise. So even though you can shoot in lower light, you will get a grainier image. I would personally use it between 100-800. Use the higher ranges at your own discretion.
Composition sounds like what it is, just like musicians compose music, you pay attention and what to include in the photo and what not. And it is the absolute most important thing you need to consider when you take photos. Think about what is in the photo before you press the shutter. Ask yourself is that sign distracting in the background? can I move to the left? How will including this make the photo better?
3. Rule of thirds
What this means is, when you compose your image imagine your image is split up in nine different partitions on top of the image horizontally and vertically. Think a big hashtag over the image “#” which helps with composition. What this technique is used for is to seperate the background middle ground and foreground, where your subject can be in any of those. Usually almost everyone places the focal point of an image in the middle square. To make your compositions interesting try placing your focal point on either of the other boxes, for a more interesting photo.
A way to take a mediocre photo is to shoot from eye level, the usual same boring perspective everyone looks through everyday. One sure way to stand out and get people looking at your photos with revere is to change the way they look at things. What I mean is change your perspective, thus changing theirs. Shoot low, mid, from the hip or get up from above.
This something I see people do and personally I wish they didn’t. When they take a photo they will stand really far away and use their camera that has a ridiculous 40x zoom. They zoom in to their subject which leaves no room for any movement around to experiment with your rule of thirds or perspective. Physically zoom in, get up close and move around to get your composition and perspective perfect.
Experiment and try something you never have before, or try something you have before with a twist. No one gets good overnight, so what I say is practice, practice, practice. Go out have your camera with you and take photos.