Photography is an incredibly exciting hobby. It feels so all the more when you check out the work of the greatest photographers. When you are starting out, it looks so intimidating. There’s so much technicality involved that one must learn. Simultaneously, it is also important to develop an ‘eye’ for photography.
One can get discouraged easily. However, everyone started out not knowing photography, and slowly honing their skill over years. Photography, just like any other field, requires developing skills and confidence in the basics. If great photography were as simple as clicking a button, everyone would be a great photographer.
Here are some simple tips to learn the essentials and quickly improve your skill in photography, irrespective of the type of camera you use:
Understand the usage of exposure
There is a wide range of light that a camera can capture. Understanding the exposure enables you to control this and it is an important skill for a photographer. For beginners, this is as simple as playing with the camera’s “exposure compensation” button (often depicted with a +/- symbol). It can be an actual dial, a button, or a menu option.
While automatic mode tries to figure out the brightness of a scene, you can control it as well. For example, if a shot has an incredibly bright background, you can move the exposure towards negative. On the other hand, a dark area can be brightened by toggling exposure to positive.
The concept of the ‘golden hour’
If you have been shooting for a few weeks, you’ll have realized that not all times of day are conducive to good photography. The best time is when the sun is low. This time is best suited for getting great atmospheric effects in your photographs and is called the ‘golden hour’ in photography. The golden hour happens twice in a day – once, around dawn, and once immediately before sunset.
The golden hour is great for photography as it lends to dramatic shadows. Noontime shadows are pointless as the sun is overhead. Shadows are great for generating contrast. And, as you can see in your favorite works of photography, contrast is incredibly powerful.
For beginners, perspective is as simple as changing the camera location with regard to the subject. This means you should experiment with getting higher than, lower than, directly above or below the subject. This also includes variations in zoom.
Digital photography frees us from worrying about the analogue camera’s waste of roll film. You can take thousands of shots, and then delete many of them, to discover interesting perspectives in photography.
Most digital cameras will let you focus on the subject by just selecting it. For beginners, ‘focus’ is just about understanding the concept of selective focus, that is what the camera can pay less attention to in the background. The trick lies in understanding the usage of focus. For example, a landscape may require most, if not all of the scene to be in focus. But a portrait may choose to highlight just the eyes.
Lauren Jones is a blogger and photography enthusiast and writes for Camera Store. Visit http://www.camerastore.com.au/digital-cameras for more information on digital cameras n Australia.