Tuesday, 25 November 2014

How to: Take Good Pictures



Since starting this blog I have noticed that I've been carrying my camera around pretty much everywhere. Therefore, I have gotten a lot more practice than usual recently at taking photos. I went on a photography course once and I remember hearing very little besides the words "aperture" and "shutter speed" which the one day course did not allow enough time to cover entirely and anyway, I do not believe you have to have in depth knowledge on these terms in order be a good photographer. I definitely am not a fantastic one myself ('photographer' and 'Keating' have probably never even been said in the same sentence before) but I have managed use my photos in order to run a blog and I feel like I could offer tips I have learnt so far, despite lacking some more technical knowledge and especially if you are just beginning or wanting to write a blog yourself. I know there are people out there on the internet that can say all these things and more in a lot more detail but this may hopefully be able to fill in a few gaps for you.

The first thing I would recommend would be that you got to know your camera. This just means practice more frequently and experiment with the different settings. Try to take the same photo in different modes to see which one works best for which job. Soon after doing this you will be able to asses a situation and know almost instantly which is best for the shot you want. Take pictures both indoors and outside and look at the difference in lighting. Lighting is also a very significant factor which has potential to determine whether the photo you take will be what you want it to be. You need to experiment also with that, where lighting can't be changed your angle could be.

There are lots of different cameras so you just have to test out your own and make the best with what you've got. Sometimes however, you are only as good as your camera and there can be limitations but that is no reason to give up just yet. You can see in the pictures below how your settings and angles can have an effect. The photos on the left are me just picking up my camera and taking a photo of what I saw, the photos on the right are taken after reconsidering my settings or my angle.



For example through experimenting, I know that with my camera to get a blurry background and an object of focus, you have to stand further back and zoom in. Don't be ashamed to use auto-mode either. Admittedly, a lot of the time it knows what it is doing better than I do. When capturing fast moving things you are only going to get that shot once so don't waste it trying to get the right setting, just go for it!

This next bit is a really important trick that, shockingly, not many people point out to you when you are first starting. Your brain likes to see things in thirds. This means that when looking through the screen of your camera, in your mind you need to divide the image you see both vertically and horizontally. Many people do this naturally but it helps if you recognise what you are doing.

You use two imaginary lines to split up the image horizontally into three different sections like the example below. You can see here that each section looks different. It has a different shape, colour, distance and focus. You don't need to consider all these factors when taking pictures, just a few or even one at a time will do.


Still considering the horizontal lines, you need to introduce your imaginary vertical lines. It follows the same rules. This is a good example because it demonstrates how it is not necessary to have a very obvious or noticeable difference between the thirds. I have kept it very simple here so only the shape of the wave divides the image.


Some cameras do have grids to help you do this. It can be overwhelming to try and figure out how to ensure each box has different content. You don't need to do that at all in order to achieve your perfect photo. The differences can be very subtle. Just think about the lines as being horizontal or vertical to keep it simple and organised in your mind.


Don't worry if you don't get the photo you want on your first take, I normally take a few and decide which I like best. It can take a while for you to adjust to seeing pictures this way but practice is all that is needed in that situation.

My Final piece of advice is to try and take pictures people are interested in, things that you don't usually see in real life. For example the picture above shows an angle you would not usually view the sea from and with lots of extra detail that you are never able to see in real life. People also like to see photos of you and what you are getting up to, or sometimes photos that would inspire them and give them ideas. If you think about it those are probably the main reasons that Instagram and Pinterest are so successful. You just have to keep people interested. Good luck!

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