Photography Techniques: Tips for Taking Better Pictures
No matter how experienced you are as a photographer, learning new photography techniques can only improve your pictures. Taking a new approach to standard concepts such as lighting and exposure, or experimenting with an entirely new concept will add flavor and dynamism to what would ordinarily be a “common” shot.
Techniques for Lighting and Exposure
When setting up a shot, note the amount and type of light that embraces the scene. If your subject is fully illuminated with direct light (from either the sun or a bulb), you should limit the amount of light that enters the camera’s lens to prevent the film from becoming overexposed, or turning out too bright. With a faster film speed, the film requires less time to capture the image with the given amount of light. (Experts recommend using faster film speed for brightly lit subjects).
Similarly, a photographer may use filters or a shading device to reduce the amount of light in the scene.
Poorly lit conditions require either additional lighting or a slower film speed. Such conditions include scenes lit with ambient lighting, such as the moon, or backlighting. In these scenes, the photographer has to decide whether he wishes the low light to be a part of the resulting picture’s mood or whether he wants to capture the subject as is.
If lighting is important to the shot, then the photographer should use a slower film speed. Slower film allows more light to enter the camera lens, preventing the picture from being underexposed and turning out too dark. Alternatively, the photographer may use lamps to more fully illuminate the subject.
Techniques for Composition
When composing a shot, professional photographers have some rules that aid them in properly framing their subject. The most common compositional technique is the rule of thirds, also known as the “the rule of three.”
According to this rule, a camera’s frame can be divided into three equal horizontal spaces (with two horizontal lines) and three vertical spaces (with two vertical lines). These four imaginary lines intersect, forming a box in the center of the frame.
The photographer can center his subject within this central box or locate the subject at any one of the four theoretical corners.
Using this technique for composition, the photographer can add dimension to his shot. While more dynamic shots put the image at one of the corners (known as “power points”), the blunt, hard-hitting shots frame the subject in the center.
Other Tips: Take Advantage of Camera Accessories!
Depending on your subject, a number of different camera accessories can enhance your photographs. If you’re taking nature or glamour shots, try using a tripod to make your shots steadier.
No matter what style of photography you’re practicing, you might experiment with a variety of camera lenses. Play around with a telephoto, wide angle, macro or fisheye lens.
The possibilities for photography experimentation are endless. The only way for you to truly improve your skill as a photographer is to seek out and experiment with new techniques.