The only difference between an amateur photographer and a professional one is consistency. An inexperienced photographer can have great photos but they are few and far in between. They can have photos that are on par with photos of professional photographer but they fail to produce amazing photo quality consistently. Every photographer has been in this predicament. As with all hobbies, you’ll get better with experience. With enough experience, you will be more consistent with your shot and be masterful with your technique. The key is to never stop studying and learning.
In this article, we will explore the things that make professional photographers great at what they do. Sure, you can have the same camera but how come they can take professional looking photos and you don’t? I am going to write 8 essential things you need to learn to become better at photography. Using these tips, you can produce a great shot with consistency. Of course, you will need to practice a lot. Let’s get started.
- Know your camera
There are many photographers out there that don’t know all the functions of their camera. I used to be one of them until one day I checked some forum for my camera model and found these amazing pictures. I saw great pictures, professional looking even. Now, that got me wondering how they are able to produce that kind of quality using the same camera as me while I struggle to even get a decent shot? What I am doing wrong?
I opened my manual and started reading on the function of my camera. I was basically using auto all the time. I never even bothered to turn the knob to other functions. When I read the manuals, I actually learned a lot. I read some tips on photography forums as well. You don’t actually get better instantly. Of course, you need actual practice. But once you’ve mastered all the features of your camera, you will be able to get stunning pictures.
- Understand Exposure by learning ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture relationship
To create a great looking picture, you need to balance aperture, ISO and shutter speed. If you’ve played around with the manual settings of your camera, you will see that adjusting one of these three elements will have significant effect on your photo. If you are interested in learning a more in-depth tutorial for using these 3 elements correctly, you can visit here http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2015/04/15/the-exposure-triangle-aperture-shutter-speed-and-iso-explained/.
Once you’ve mastered the art of balancing the picture, you will get amazing picture every single time. Additionally, you can create special effects like blur, motion pictures, long exposure, quick shot, and many more once you’ve learned to adjust the 3 elements correctly.
- Work with light
We photographers are very much dependent to light. Without understanding light, we can’t create a shot that we desire. If you are going for a certain feel or atmosphere in your photos, you need to understand how light interacts with things. Its subtleties and its many great effects will have tremendous impact on the way you take your photos. Experiment with light when you can. Fully understanding the light in your photos is done through constant experience.
- That Bokeh
Depth of field is a huge part of photography that you should not underestimate. To be honest, even a mediocre photograph can transform into a great photo if you add depth of field to it. In case you don’t know, depth of field is the blurring of the background of your subject. The way it works is the camera only focuses a tiny bit of space and the rest will be out of focus, giving you that blurring effect at the background.
Understanding depth of field is synonymous with understanding aperture. Aperture directly correlates to the amount of depth of field a photo has. The shallower the aperture, the more depth of field the photo will have. There is more to it than that actually. You can manipulate the camera into certain things and it can affect the amount of bokeh your photo has. To learn more about how depth of field works, you can visit here.
- Compose your pictures
Composition is the placement of different elements in your picture. It is basically the way you frame an image – where you put the subject of your image. You may have heard the “Rule of Thirds” wherein you need to place the subject at any intersecting points of 9 equal parts within the frame. It creates a balance in space for your photo and makes for an aesthetically pleasing placement of subject.
Although many photographers consider “Rule of Thirds” as the rule of thumb, it should not be the case with you. Understand that you don’t need to follow certain rules to create pleasing photos. Though these rules can make your photos great, they are mere suggestions as to what technique is optimal for photos. Make no mistake though, I am not saying that you should not follow some rules. All I am saying is be willing to experiment. If the photo looks right to you, you are doing something right.
- Focal length and its weirdness
Focal length has a great effect on the perspective of your photo. Focal length tells the users how zoomed in they are when taking a picture. Basically, the higher the number, the more zoomed they are into their subject. Experienced photographers have several lenses at their disposal. Rarely would you see a professional photographer use single lens for all their photos. Sure, these photographers exist but they are few and far in between.
Understanding focal length and its effects on your photo can be hard. I am actually having a hard time describing its effects in 2 paragraphs or less. To put it in the simplest form I can think of, the lower the number of focal length, the wider the angle of view – this means that more things can be seen inside the lens. The inverse is true for focal length of higher number – the higher it is, the narrower the angle of view. To learn more about focal length and its effects, visit http://improvephotography.com/34730/focal-length/.
- Perfect your perspective
Perfecting your perspective is learning to combine several elements of photography into one single trait. Creating a shot with great perspective will highlight the relationships between objects in your frame, how they interact and how they are placed together. A good photo will make its observers understand the depth and distance between objects.
This part of photography is quite neglected as many photographers learn shoot from their eye level. To create a great perspective, you should be willing to crouch, lie down or even use a ladder when taking a photo. It can add another level to your photos if you are able to do this correctly.
- Learn to post process
A lot of amateur photographers don’t even post process their photos. In digital photography, post-processing is a requirement, period. Today, with our enhanced ability to bring out the best in our pictures should be able to post process successfully. It’s a fact that what picture we have taken won’t look the same in our camera. In fact, they would look flat, boring and lifeless. Post-processing helps you to bring back the real beauty of your pictures by allowing you to adjust things like contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise level, hue and many more.
In post-processing, you can recreate the pictures as you see in your mind. Just make sure to be easy with saturation though. Many people make this mistake of oversaturating their photos thinking that it will look great. The fact is, oversaturated photos looks fake and almost cartoonish. Again, be easy with your post-processing and make it look natural and clean. Recreate the picture as you saw it in your eyes when you took it and you’ll never be wrong.