A December to rememberRead More
Everyone's a photographer. I think my daughter has a bigger portfolio than mine. Of course hers is mostly filled with selfies of the outfit of the day, our three dogs and her Saturday night escapades, but it could still be considered "event" photography.
Regardless of what your camera of choice is or what kind of photographer you are, here are 7 tips on how to take better pictures.
1. Photograph what you love. Whether it's people, flowers or your dog, your more apt to devote more time to learning and practicing if you are passionate about your subject. Ok, you don't have to be passionate, but you should really, really like it.
2. Use the Rule of Thirds for a more balanced composition. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I've written about this before. Visually breakdown your shot into a grid of nine equal rectangles and place you main subject on at least one of the intersections. It will create a more natural composition.
3. Forget you have a built in flash. Don't use it. It creates harsh, unflattering shadows.
4. Fill the frame. In other words, close in on your subject. Don't leave a lot of empty space around it. This helps emphasize the subject.
5. Change your perspective. If you always shoot at eye level, it starts to get boring. Try crouching down and shoot from below or laying down and shooting straight up. Stand up on something and get higher than your subject and shoot on a downward angle or straight down. Experiment.
6. Match shutter speed to your lens focal length. This will help reduce the likelihood of blurry pictures. If you are using a 50 mm lens, then you should use a shutter speed of 1/50 sec or faster. Longer lenses use a faster shutter speed. This will help compensate for camera shake.
7. Use leading lines. You can save a weaker composition by using leading lines. Natural lines in scene help direct where the viewer's eyes move. Straight lines can create depth and curved lines will lead the viewer around the image.
Now, go out and start shooting and let me know how you did!
If you follow my blog posts (and don't worry if you haven't, because truth be told I've spent about the last year and half debating if I should be blogging in the first place), you would have read my post about that awkward moment when I tell people what I "do". Once that moment is over, the next question is usually, "when did you start doing that?"
Let me explain.
As with most college students, when I was getting ready to graduate, my plan was to take over the world...with my art of course. I set out to be a freelance illustrator. I made countless appointments and schlepped my portfolio to art directors upon art directors; anyone within a 50 mile radius of Philadelphia. Although I got a few jobs here and there, I found most art directors didn't really understand my work at the time. And, if steady work wasn't going to come in soon, I was going to have to go in to survival mode. So, I got a full-time job as a graphic designer. I worked an agency for a few years, and while there, I got married, moved to New jersey and my 90 minute commute turned in to a three hour commute.
That got old fast.
So I quit.
My husband and I started a family and I started doing odd jobs on a part-time basis to help ease finances, fitting things in around nap times and when I could conveniently get a sitter. As my kids got older and my time freer, there of getting back in to "my art" was whispering min my ear.
Since I had been out of the loop for a little while, I knew I had to spruce up my portfolio. I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of anything and everything I thought I could use for reference photos for future art projects. You know, what does a kid eating ice cream look like, or a chair with a pillow on it taken in every conceivable angle.
The things is, I realized I liked taking the pictures more than trying to reproduce them in another media. I found myself composing, cropping and enhancing, and a new art form was born.
Over the years, probably about 10 or so, I've experimented with different subjects and different techniques. I like where I am now, but I never stop learning. So stick around, because you never know when something new and unusual is going to pop up!
I try to take pictures or be creative in some way everyday. Thursday, however has become my "photo adventure" day. Thursday is a good day because my husband works away from the house and during most of the year my kids are in school. Even though it's summer, I can still take advantage of my typical free time on a Thursday. They are teenagers, so realistically they aren't getting up before the crack of noon.
I go someplace, weather permitting, walk around and hope to find something interesting.
So, yesterday, off I went.
I keep a running list of places to go. I'm lucky to live in an area where the city, the shore and some fabulous botanical gardens are all within an hours drive. I decided to hit up Princeton. About a year and a half ago, I attended a workshop with an amazing photographer, Rick Gerrity through the Digital Photo Academy. Rick led us on a walk around the Princeton University campus. It was great meeting him, and I got some very interesting shots, but it was mid-March and the snow hadn't quite melted enough.
I added it to my list for the future.
I thought since it was summer it might be relatively quiet on campus and all the flowers in the President's Garden would be in bloom to boot. I have this thing about shooting with large groups of people or any people around for that matter. I don't like it. I like to be alone, or rather by myself. When I am in a zone I need to get in to my own head. It helps with my creativity. I don't want people looking at me or talking to me. There must have been some sort of group tour going on in Princeton yesterday, because the population of a large Asian villages there, all poised with cameras and cell phones in hand.
Better luck next time.