10 Tips for More Effective Photographs

A picture speaks 1000 words. When you capture the right moment, it can speak volumes more than that. Photographs are a means of communicating, of remembering, of seeing ourselves or others through new eyes. Skilled photographers have the power to move us, shock us, thrill us, anger us simply by holding a mirror on the world. With practice, experimentation, and dedication, they have learned how to speak through their photos.

These are skills that can be learned and should certainly be practiced. Here are some tips to help novice and aspiring photographers hone their craft and take better photos:

Don’t be afraid to approach your subject. Robert Capa, famed Hungarian photojournalist, said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Capa photographed war from the front lines; approaching a model, a natural feature, or other subject more closely is certainly possible. Especially when it comes to people, proximity often allows you to capture expression more accurately. Use the light. Before you shoot, consider your lighting. Is it natural or artificial? Is it creating shadows or glare? How will the light affect the photo? You can treat light as a subject of the photograph; it greatly impacts the final result. If it is not optimal, can you move either the light source, the subject, or yourself to a more advantageous position? Slow Down Yes, when you are in the moment, you need to act quickly to capture a fleeting image. When possible, though, take the time to consider your shot before you take it. Take a breath and think about your composition, lighting, and other factors that will impact the photo.

Speed Up. Shutter speed is critical, especially if you are photographer fast-moving subjects. Think of athletes on a basketball court; they’re in constant motion. To capture this, you need a speed of 1/500 to 1/2000. Now think of a highway at night. Say you want to capture the red streak of the tail lights. A slower shutter speed will help do the trick.

Don’t Depend On Your Gear. Many people think that if one has a great camera, one is a great photographer. Not so! There is great artistry involved, and lack of skill cannot be overcome simply by purchasing a top of the line camera. Obviously a camera is essential, but start with what you have. Learn more about wall art on http://www.bumblejax.com/. Experiment with it. You will see that you can capture stunning images – many people do so even with a smartphone. Quality equipment is important; but your comfort with and skill behind the lens is paramount.

Understand Your ISO. This is the indication of how sensitive your camera is to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive. This enables you to use faster shutter speeds or a smaller aperture (more on that in a moment). But there is a price to pay: the image gets grainier as the ISO increases.

Appreciate the Aperture. The aperture of the lens can be opened to allow a small amount of light or a large amount of light. Wide apertures create a shallow field of focus, while smaller apertures offer a deeper field of focus. The temperature works closely with the ISO and shutter: for example, if you open it to allow in a lot of light, you also need to use a lower ISO or increase your shutter speed. It seems complicated, but when you get to know these features, you can take more effective photos that capture your intent more accurately.
Try the Rule of Thirds. In your mind or with help from your screen, divide the image into thirds. You can create greater interest by positioning your subject at any of the points where the lines cross. Centering a subject is boring, and the rule of thirds will help you compose your photos more naturally.

9. Commit to Continual Learning. Even the masters take time to research their craft and learn new      techniques. You have a wide variety of resources at your disposal: local college or trade school classes, private lessons, online videos and tutorials, books, magazines, forums, and best of all, other photographers who are willing to help you grow. Consider joining a photography community that enables you to share your work and receive invaluable feedback. You, too, have the opportunity to view other artists’ work and give them feedback. It’s a reciprocal process in which everyone benefits.

10. Practice Makes Progress. Shoot every day. Even if the subjects are simple or mundane a coffee cup on the kitchen table, a dripping faucet, your bedroom window. Use what you have to work on techniques, figure our your equipment, play with aperture and speeds, and more. The best way to improve is to work on your photography diligently. Carry a camera everywhere so you can take advantage of beautiful moments as they come and so you grow more comfortable with your equipment. You never know if one of these shots turns out to be your photographic masterpiece.