September 27, 2010 /

How Can I Take Better Photos? - Wedding Photographer in Atlanta

How Can I Take Better Photos? Any time someone sees me carrying a camera, or if they know that I am passionate about photography, inevitably this question comes up. How can I make my pictures bette...
Tampa HDR Workshop - Sunset Over Tampa Bay
Sunset Over Tampa Bay

How Can I Take Better Photos?

Dragon*Con Parade 2010 - Alice Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter

Any time someone sees me carrying a camera, or if they know that I am passionate about photography, inevitably this question comes up. How can I make my pictures better? How can I take better photos? I usually try to answer this question with some general tips about photography while asking the person what they enjoy photographing and why they take those photographs. When a guest at the hotel recently asked me this while we were casually chatting and the subject of photography came up (as well as looking at my portfolio which is on my iPhone in addition to the iPad so I ALWAYS have it with me – another great tip!!). While we were discussing some general tips I thought this would make an excellent blog post or even a series of blog posts to help in my own teaching and to our readers like you.

What’s the Subject?

Before we even get into things like exposure, aperture, histograms, etc. we should start with the fundamentals of photography and that starts with composition. Composition itself is probably worthy of at least one more blog post talking about things like the Rule of Thirds or the Golden Ratio, which is why I tell people who look to me for advice to ask themselves “what is the subject of your photograph?” Before you even press your finger on the shutter button, ask yourself what the subject of the photo is and this will help you to start thinking about the photograph just a little bit more and turn it from a snapshot to a photograph.

Why is this Photo Interesting?

The second question you should ask yourself after you’ve answered the question of “What is the Subject?” is “Now, why is it interesting?” If we are going to take ourselves from taking snapshots to making photographs, then why would someone else want to view this? Now, don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting that you spend 10 minutes on a subject thinking before ever taking the shot, these should be just brief pauses that go through your head before you commit to the photograph.

Real World Photography

Orlando Henge
Orlando Henge

Imagine with me if you will: You are on a family trip to the park with your kids and they are running like crazy in the field. You grab your camera and are standing at the ready to snap away. What’s the subject? As you survey the field you see your son/daughter off in the distance, they are definitely the subject so I either need to a) zoom in with my camera, or b) get closer to my subject – the kids. Why is it interesting? Now I am standing close with camera at the ready, I’m 6 feet tall and they are 2 feet tall, is that interesting? What if I crouched down and go on their level, would that make a more interesting photo? (This speaks to possible later topics of seeking creative angles but no time to learn like the present!)

Make Every Shot Count

Now get out there and really start thinking about your photographs BEFORE you make them. I guarantee that spending just 5 seconds thinking about what is going to be the results of the photograph will get you well on your way to making better pictures. With digital cameras these days we don’t have to worry about the expense of film and of mistakes, digital makes everything basically free. Pretend that you have a film camera and really take some time to make every shot count.

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