Although photography can seem simple at first glance, the more shots you take, the more you’ll realize that getting great photos is harder than it looks. However, there’s a wide variety of simple tricks you can learn to bring your work to the next level. By combining the basic photography tips in this article with your own unique perspective, you can start taking photographs that showcase your ability like never before.
1. Use Different Angles Without Being Afraid
A basic tendency of photography is to point the camera at the subject and shoot. After all, what’s most important is getting your subject in frame and in focus, right? But although this approach can be a safe and effective method, it can also hamper you from getting truly innovative or exciting shots. One of the most essential beginner photography tips is to experiment with angles, even if you’re not sure about it. You can often transform a mundane photograph into a unique one by looking for a different angle than the most obvious, straightforward one. Go low, or high, or run off to the side. Sometimes you won’t know what you’re looking for until you see it, but don’t let the fear of taking an imperfect photo hold you back from taking an innovative approach.
2. Use Lines to Guide the Attention
Among the critical beginner photography tips for composition is the idea of leading lines. If you can identify lines, paths, and perspectives in your environment, you can use them to direct the eye of the viewer to whatever the subject or most critical point of the shot is. Sometimes, these can be obvious, like railroad tracks or alleyways, but other times you may need to dissect your environment a little bit further to figure out what’s naturally guiding your attention. However, don’t get too caught up the idea of leading lines without understanding or utilizing where they’re pointing. If you frame your shot in such a way that the lines guide the viewer to no particular point of information, then it will do more harm than good.
3. Play with Foreground
Many beginning photographers think principally in terms of the subject and background of an image who or what are you photographing, and what is in the image behind them? Equally important, however, is the foreground. The aforementioned approach of leading lines is one principal way to properly utilize foreground, but it’s not the only applicable technique. As the background, the foreground can be used to provide context to the subject of your image and the environment. If you’re photographing a person, placing them directly in front of a location is often stereotypical or overly posed. Inserting them fully into an environment, however, can let you tell as much of a story with the foreground as with the background. Just be careful not to allow it to distract from the subject; the subject needs to remain obvious, and any leading lines in the foreground that don’t point to the focus of the image can confuse the viewer.
4. Finding New Details
If you’re shooting a familiar environment, it can be easy to focus on what’s always grabbed your attention. After all, that seems like it would be the most exciting and interesting for a photograph. However, innovative shots can often come from searching for what you don’t usually notice. Photography is about transforming the world and image, not just recording it. Basic photography tips suggest that focusing in on something unique or utilizing something often ignored in your composition is one of the most basic photography tips that can help you present an image in a whole new way.
5. Think, then Shoot
It’s often tempting to jump into shooting a subject without any thought or planning, it’s fast, direct, and you can figure things out as you go. Yet this approach can often end up less effective and even slower than the other way around. If you always make sure to think before you shoot, you can greatly minimize the number of photographs you need to take to hit on a winning composition. Give yourself a specific purpose whenever you’re shooting, and you’ll find that your results can be better than ever before.
6. Research, Observe and Study Your Location
Although not all photography is planned in advance, the principal of thinking before shooting can offer even more benefit the more you’re able to do with it. If you’re able to visit a shooting location beforehand, you can start to search for the interesting things you might overlook or find the most exciting compositions in the environment. If you can’t go in person, the Internet provides a wide array of tools to learn about many locations digitally, from basic written information to options as sophisticated as 360-degree environments. Don’t discount anything that could give you a better understanding and a leg up when it comes to shooting. Nowadays there is plenty of great apps that help you explore locations at your fingertips. Google Maps is a great tool to explore without leaving your home or office.
7. Utilize the Seasons
It’s easy to underestimate how much locations change throughout every year thanks to the effect of seasonal weather. You should always consider the season when thinking about your location and what you can do with it, and you should explore locations near you throughout the year to understand how they change and what they can offer at any time of the year. A field with beautiful flowers in the spring could be desolate in the winter, but it offers unique opportunities in both circumstances. Although outdoor locations are obviously the most transformed, even indoor environments can be affected in smaller ways, whether with seasonal decorations, open windows for a spring breeze, or the warmth of a winter fireplace.
8. Experiment and get Crazy!
Although this article lays out a number of concrete photography tips that can help bring your work to another level, you should never feel as though you need to follow a rulebook over embracing opportunities. Your photography is unique to you, and following your wildest ideas for shots is what can make you really stand out among the crowd. Even if you’re not sure if a shot will work out, there’s never any harm in going for it and seeing how the results turn out. Particularly in the age of digital photography, where thousands of photos can be stored on a single cheap SD card, there’s nothing holding you back from pursuing the shots that might not work out. Even if they don’t turn out quite how you want, you’ll learn something from every ambitious shot you take.