The act of taking a photograph is something that oftentimes, we do not put much thought into. Quite literally, we’ll take out our smartphones or cameras, aim and shoot without considering how the quality of the image will come out. And that’s a shame.
Photography is one of the best ways for humans to capture precious memories, tell stories, and share one’s life with others. Whether you intend to take the most picture-perfect portrait of your partner or if you love taking your camera into nature, there are plenty of reasons to pick up photography.
But if you are a newbie to the delicate world of photography, picking up a DSLR or even your smartphone may be an intimidating affair. That’s where we come in. Here are some basic photography skills, hacks, and tips you should know when it comes to the art of taking photos.
The Basics of Cameras
Before you even think about taking your camera out for a photography jaunt, you’ll first need to understand how your tools and equipment work. Much like the equipment in a role-playing game, learning all about the ins and outs of your cameras including the mechanics and features is vital in order for you to get started correctly.
For instance, knowing when to use the flash or changing the shutter speed and aperture is paramount to producing the perfect picture. A good place to start is your camera’s manual but you may also refer to the many, many resources available online if reading is not your cup of tea. And remember, this will apply to both traditional cameras and your smartphone cameras.
These are some camera-based jargons beginners should learn beforehand:
Used to help align the composition of your photo. Grid mode gives you a helpful planning grid within the screen to align your model.
It is generally recommended to reduce zooming usage as it can make your photos blurry but you’ll still need to understand the limitations and capabilities of your camera’s zoom function.
Most modern cameras come with an autofocus feature but you should still figure out how to manually focus as it can help you take more visually aesthetic photos.
The camera’s colour balance settings determine how well your photos will come out based on the lighting in the area.
To that end, aperture settings allow you to better control the light in the images.
Finding a balance in shutter speed is important so that your images do not come out too dark or blurry.
Most professional photographers tend to depend on external light sources, but for others, you will need to understand the basics behind the camera’s flash.
Modern cameras come with various modes like sport, portrait, landscape and more to help you automatically adjust the settings for the subject of your photo. Taking the settings off automatic will put your camera into manual mode which gives you more control in your photography.
This setting allows you to control the amount of light in your images before you take them.
Corresponds to the sensitivity of the camera to light and will affect how much photo grain appears in the resulting images.
The Basics of Photography
Now that we’ve gotten the camera jargon and terminology out of the way, it’s time to start practising!
One of the best ways to start is to follow an example. Seek out some photographers that you like and you can try to imitate their style as a reference, then work on finding your own style from there.
Here are additional photography tips to get you started:
- Research and find photo inspiration, locations, and interesting subjects to take photos of.
- Frame the photos through the lens and the viewfinder, and always make sure that the lighting and colour are balanced.
- Hold your camera carefully and be patient. A good photo will sometimes need the perfect timing to capture.
- Always take note of the composition and arrangement of your photograph.
- Take as many photos as you can and pick out the best.
- Plan ahead and make sure to bring enough batteries and memory cards to last if you’re planning on going out for a photo shoot.
- Look into other photography techniques like macro and micro photography, perspective photography, etc.
- Edit the photos post photoshoot.
- Get close to your photo object and avoid zooming wherever possible.
- Practice, practice, practice!