With a generation so devoted to social media and recording all the best memories in life through images, I get the question all the time: “how do I take better photos.” It’s a common misconception that all you need to do to get stunning images is buy a 3 thousand dollar DSLR, put a VSCO filter on it and you can be the next big Instagram photographer. The reality of the matter is that, taking stunning images is so much more than the actual equipment. But if you do have a decent camera, an artistic eye and some patience while editing, you will be so surprised by the results!
First off, the camera. As I mentioned, a stunning image is so much more than the camera used. But when it comes to the technical side of things, knowing your camera is so very important. Make sure that when you are learning to use your camera, to use Manual or Aperture Priority. This will be difficult at first. You WILL miss shots; you will spend most of your time fiddling with the dials, taking a shot looking at it and making adjustments to the settings. But like anything in life, the more you practice you have, the more familiar you will become with it. You will quickly see how much better your photos will turn out and taking properly exposed photos will eventually become a second nature. Lastly, make sure you always shoot in RAW File format instead of JPEG.
Another thing that is greatly overlooked is lighting. I don’t know many occasions where a photo that uses flash is better than a photo with natural light. Make sure that when you take a photo you look for somewhere with even, soft lighting. When you’re outside in the sun and you want to take a photo, try and look for shade or try shooting with the sun behind your subject. That way, there won’t be any distracting harsh shadows covering the face. For shooting inside, the best way to get nice, bright, and even light would to have your subject stand close to a window. The light will flood in evenly, lighting up your subject perfectly.
Something to keep in mind is your background. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken some really awesome images and then when I bring them into editing there is something in the background that makes me lose focus of my subject. And all though sometimes it can be an easy fix to someone that is a pro photoshopper, but for a beginner it can be very frustrating! When you’re composing your image it can be hard to notice those little things, but if you can keep it in the back of your mind, your images will truly shine.
The last important thing I can think of while shooting is to make sure the image is in “Tack Sharp” focus. For portraits, you always want to focus in on the eyes. This might seem like a small detail that’s not that important but I promise you, it will make or break a photo. Although, there are some exceptions to this rule of thumb, for example: Say you’re taking photos with your friends at prom, and you want some artistic shots of the dress, or of your date’s boutonniere, and let the rest of the photo fall deep out of focus. I personally love little creative focus points, it makes people stop and observe the little details that most people miss out on.
I hope you take these tips into consideration next time you are shooting! Trust me, these little things make a huge difference. Keep an eye out for my next article on “how to edit your pictures like a pro!”