Do you see other people’s photographs and wish you could snap pictures like that? Well you can, and you don’t need a new camera or a fancy lens and you don’t need to attend a workshop or a tutorial. You just need to follow a few basic steps that I promise will vastly improve your “amateur” photography.
1) Find Natural Light
There is a reason it’s the number one tip here: Natural light will transform anything you photograph. If you’re photographing a person, nothing says I’m taking your photo more blatantly than a flash going off in their face, so if you are indoors, take them near to a window and see how drastically different the picture is when you use natural light. If you’re photographing an object, the flash will distort the colors and make your object look flat. Again, take it near to a window and switch off the flash.
2) Compose Your Shot
When you’re photographing something, do you stand above it and snap away? Next time get right down to the level of your subject matter and the finished photo will draw the viewer down to that level too and give a much more intimate, interesting picture. Think about capturing your shot in an engaging way – think about what will be your focal point.
3) Think about the Background
If you take a cracking photo but there is a mass of stuff going on in the background, you’re going to distract from the subject matter and your eye will be drawn to the bin/window/door frame behind them. Just be aware when framing your shot’s background, and if it looks unsightly, change your angle to compensate. If you can’t get away from the background, try zooming in on one area to make your photo slightly quirky instead.
4) Act Natural
Don’t spend forever setting up a shot. You will totally lose the moment and whatever you’re photographing will probably get bored and wander off. Decide what shot you want beforehand; quickly move everything into place and SNAP.
5) Think outside the Box
Don’t just photograph “moments” or the beautiful things. Think about the details that make the subject you’re photographing what it is. So if you’re snapping your new bike, take a picture of your favorite bit – the saddle, the spokes of the wheel, the saddlebag.
6) Never Say “Smile”
You know those photographs you see where the person in it has a kind of fake smile and it looks nothing like them? Especially if you’re taking photos of children, saying the word “smile” is a sure fire way to get them gurning. So I have a trick I use with my own kids to beat the forced smile. I yell in mock anger, “Stop smiling. No I mean it, STOP smiling. You look too cute. STOP IT NOW!” Works every time. Works on my best friend and my mum too.
Try new things, quirky angles, strange lighting. If you see a photo you love, ask yourself why you love it and then try to mimic it.
In this digital world you can take a hundred photos and then delete at your leisure! So get creative, take lots and lots and lots of photographs.