5 Ways to Improve Your Photography
Hobbyist or professional photographers alike are always looking for ways to improve their skills behind the camera. I am Ashlee Bergeron, published photographer and small business owner. I have shot film, and digital photography and have a love for post production. I would like to share with you 5 ways to improve your photography skills. It does not matter if you shoot with the latest iPhone, canon rebel or professional gear. Whether you shoot people or places, I am here to help you improve YOUR creative eye!
- Blinded by the light
- Lighting can come from many sources, but what is the greatest source out there? The SUN, of course. That big ball of fire can be your greatest friend or biggest foe. Many photographers choose to shoot when the sun is rising or setting. An hour before sunrise or sunset can result in a truly beautiful glow, this time of day is called golden hour. This is what some consider the “sweet” spot of natural lighting. Golden hour, no doubt provides beautiful light but most hobbyist or photographers love to shoot at all times of the day. Being mindful of your lighting is great. Ask yourself, where is the sun? Behind your subject? In front of the subject? The answers to these questions will help you determine the look you want. It is fun to experiment with light and you don’t have to be a pro to play with lighting. There are many inexpensive ways to bend light. Check out reflectors on amazon.com you can find them for about $20. Also for a very inexpensive reflector you can use a white poster board to add light on your subject. You can also use a white wall or sheet as well. Lighting is fun. Bending light is fun. But there is only one way to learn and that is to go out there and practice.
- Slice and dice
- There is a right way and wrong way to crop your subject. You do not want to cut off body parts, such as fingers, toes, knees, elbows.OUCH! A great rule of thumb(no pun intended) is do not crop anywhere there is a joint attaching limbs. Such as the elbow, wrist or ankle. Instead crop mid limb, for example: the shin or forearm. There are always exceptions to the rules but this is a great rule that will improve your photographer’s eye.
- Freeze Frame but first, FOCUS
- Focus is one of the hardest skills to accomplish as a photographer. Where your focus lands in your image helps tell your story. What do you want your viewers to feel or see? Where do you want the viewers eyes to go first? The focus of your image should be sharp and should stands out from the rest of the image. For example: the eyes in a portrait or the ring on a newly engaged finger. You should not be shooting aimlessly and hoping to find focus. As you shoot you should set up your settings to tell the story using focus points on the viewing screen. Some cameras have several points, some cameras have just 6-9. Each are there for you to adjust according to the vision you want to portray.
- Composition is 2/3rds of the Law
- Think of your image with a grid laid across the top, splitting it up into nine squares. 3 vertical and 3 horizontal. The key to a great composition is leading the eye to one or more of the three quadrants but also not directly in the center. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but we must master “the rule of 3rds” first. Key elements or the subject of the image can be placed in the upper left or right quadrants or lower right or left quadrants. The idea of rule of thirds is to have a composition that is pleasing to the eye of the viewer. Composition takes practice much like other skills but can be done with out thinking once practiced enough.
- ATTENTION to detail
- What angle are you shooting from? Birdseye? Worms view? Eye level? Angles matter. Angles can help add emphasis to your story. For example: higher angles make objects look smaller, lower angles can do the opposite and make your subject look larger. Another detail to pay attention to is your background. Backgrounds should add to the story, not take away from the story. If your background consist of trash cans, toilettes, or vehicles changing your angle can help. Get lower, get higher move to the left or to the right. This skill takes practice but being aware of your background can completely transform your photography.
These 5 tips may be just the beginning of your photography journey or you might be a seasoned hobbyist. Just know experience and practice are key so keep on shooting, getting better and working hard. Your vision is important and you deserve to share it with the world.
Senior Client: Kennedy Sittig Class of 2021 Opelousas Catholic