Photography Skills and How To Improve Them

Six months ago I got my first Camera. It’s quite old and nothing special, it’s a Pentax digital camera, but it was an exciting moment that I’m sure I’ll remember for years to come.

My parents bought it for me as a gift. It was one of those amazing moments that eventually led me to starting this blog.

I’ve always had a thing for photography and cameras.

I’m a total nerd when it comes to technology. I studied film studies for A levels because I wanted to work with cameras. It’s taken me until thirty to finally get there but better late than never.

I’ve spent many years practicing on my I-phone. There are some amazing features on I-phone’s (I’ve had a few) and I still love to take photographs with mine.

I mean who can deny the practicality of apps.

Still, there is something so enjoyable about holding a real camera. It takes a lot more skill that’s for sure.

I thought I’d share some tips with you about things I’ve learnt along the way.

Tip One: Backgrounds Matter

When I’m looking to take a photograph the background Is the first thing I notice. I’m checking to see the hues in the background, the shape of the land, if there’s people approaching.

Sometimes I look for plain backgrounds because I know when I come to edit them later I can play with colours. This just works better when you haven’t got a busy background and a lot of colour to play with.

BEFORE

AFTER

(I saturated the colours)

Tip Two: Get In Close

If you don’t know your subjects, check their walking pace. Walk with them awhile and gauge how you will be taking their photographs. For example above I got my partner and my daughter to move together by separating their distance and placing my partner up hill.

When you zoom you decrease the quality so be prepared to move around yourself.

My partner for example is a fast walker so I know when I take photographs of him open backgrounds with plenty of space are better photography backgrounds for him.

If I try to get in front the photographs end up blurry. By allowing him space I can also position the land properly and take more time when taking a photograph.

Tip Three: Practice Everyday and Play With Light

Don’t have a subject? Use yourself as one. Self portraits are difficult, you have to work with what you’ve got. You have to play with backgrounds, lighting and self timers.

It’s like playing an instrument, if you practice everyday you’re going to get better. You might take a hundred terrible photographs and the one amazing one.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that’s what creativity is all about. You’re not just going to buy a camera and become a photographer it takes skill, determination and patience.

Grab any opportunity you have and take some photographs. They might just turn out to be the best ones you’ve taken.

Tip Four: Perfect Portraits

Portraits are better when the subject is unaware that you’re taking the photograph. I mean don’t just go up to someone and start photographing them. That’s a bit creepy.

I like to talk to my subjects and start to gaze or point at something in the distance, when they take their eyes off me and look at the point in the distance then I photograph them. I feel like this makes the subject look quite pensive or deep in thought.

I find this works really well with children. Sometimes I jump around and make them laugh. I guess it all depends on the type of portrait you want to take. I like to have a clear plan in my mind before hand on what i’m hoping to achieve.

I always stay flexible, especially when it comes to children but having a plan helps me to stay focused. If it means getting to a location and studying it for ten minutes first, I do.

Tip Five: Self Timer Shots Should Capture Something Magnificent

If you’re going to go to all that trouble of carrying a tripod, setting it up, putting the timer on, positioning and poses, make sure it’s something worth capturing. I like stunning backgrounds.

Tip Six: Get Digital and Edit

For years I was a bit of a purist. I mean I still love the thought of printing photographs in a dark room and hanging them up to dry but as I’m getting older the thought of me having a dark rooms seems less and less likely.

I’ve been really getting into digital editing recently. There’s even free programs you can use online to edit. I’m beginning to love digitally edited photography.

Maybe one day I’ll get a dark room, until then …

Tip Six: Wait for the Golden Hour

This is the optimum time to take photographs. The best lighting for photographs happens the hour before sunset and the hour after sunrise. Yep, a lot of good photography happens when you wait (and plan).

Tip Seven: Use Reflections

Water is great, obviously. Sunglasses are great reflectors too. You might end up carrying a bottle of water around with you but it’s worth it.

A great tip, if you don’t have any water you can use the black screen of a phone. Put the flash on and bounce the light of it.

These are some of my top tips.

Soph.

Published by Snophlion

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives them must lead.” Charles Bukowski

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