Things to remember as a Photographer
Do not hesitate
One of the most common qualms new photographers have is being comfortable clicking pictures of people, or in public. If you keep worrying and fretting about what people might think, then you are never going to get a good shot. Many photographers are also shy to get close to their subject, especially when shooting people. If you approach them and interact with them, they will be more than happy to pose for you.
Plan out your images in advance. Always be on a lookout for a good shot, even if it is not the correct time of the day, or even the right time of the year. Make notes of the kind of images you want to capture and plan on being there on the right time. The best way to do that is making a checklist.
Making a checklist is one of the best things a photographer can do to make his/her job easier. The checklist can be for anything and everything. A simple example of a checklist could be a list of equipment to carry; another one can be a list of shots you would like to try out at a shoot, wedding photographers especially should make a list of essential shots to be taken at a wedding.
Don’t settle for simply pulling off the road and setting up your tripod. The best shots are rarely seen from the side of the road. Considerable hiking or climbing may be required to get into the best locations. Even if there a good vista point, you will be getting the same shots as everybody else. The more unique the location, the more interesting your picture might turn out. Even if the location is simple, try to get a unique perspective.
Weather is an important factor if you’re planning an outdoor shoot. Sudden weather changes can affect shoots considerably, and if you’re conducting a shoot in a foreign location, it’s best you check the weather forecast in advance. Ensure that you’re carrying weather-appropriate gear, like water-proof bags, to protect your equipment.
While a photographer is not defined by the gear he owns, it is always good to have equipment best-suited for your shoot. Each type of photography, from sports to wedding, requires a particular set of gears in order to get the right shots. Carry lenses that will produce the best output. If you’re shooting sports, ensure you are carrying a tele-photo lens, if you’re conducting a studio shoot, arrange the lights required in advance.
Batteries and memory
These are the two most important things, which if you run out of, you’re done for the day, and might as well go home. It’s highly necessary that you carry extra battery packs at all times, and the same applies to memory cards. Always remember to carry more than one memory card in your bag.
Light is one of the most important factors in determining how the image will look. The best times for an outdoor shoot are the start or the end of the day which would make even a common scene look appealing. However, under harsh lighting even a spectacular landscape may not gain much attention under a camera. The hour before the sunrise and the hours of sunset are usually the best times to do some outdoor photography. The light feels warm and is more even, with less contrast.
Composition is the way you arrange the different elements on the scene in front of the camera. Once you have a focal point in mind, it is important to arrange it in such a way that it fits well into the frame. The more interesting portions of the frame should be given more area. You can apply the ‘Rule of Thirds’ when composing. It’s basically dividing a picture in nine equal parts, and placing the important elements in the picture at the intersection of the lines or along the lines. It’s the easiest way to enhance your composition, and makes it more interesting, than if it was simply placed in the centre.
Remove any unwanted elements from the frame before you take the shot. If you’re doing a table-top shoot, make sure that there is no-other clutter in the frame besides the subject. The clutter will not only make the picture look busy, but also take away from the importance of the subject. Remember that it’s always easier to do it during the shoot than figuring out a way to edit it during post-processing.
If you’re involved in a commercial or a fashion shoot, it’s best to prioritize and make sure you first get the shots you have planned and not fool around experimenting. It’s not going to be easy arranging the shoot again, as it will only be a waste of everyone’s time and money. If you’re done with the essential shots, and have time on your hands, then you may feel free to experiment.
A photographer should be in full control of the images he produces. Experiment with your camera and lens ahead of time. Note what aperture settings and focal points yield sharpness over the range of distances you need. Know your limits ahead of time so that when you go out, you are ready to take yours shots quickly and accurately.
Shooting in manual mode should be of optimum priority if you’re a beginner, because it will help you understand your camera better. You have more control over your images, the exposure, and basically the way you want an image to look. Each scene can be treated in a ton of different ways. You might envision the image as underexposed in your head, but that can only be achieved if you are in control of the aperture and shutter speed. Once you get the hang of manual mode, you can play with aperture priority and shutter priority modes too.
Shooting in Raw
Raw images contain much more information than JPEGs, and so it will simply give you the highest quality files and more detail. They are much more suitable for post-processing, and you can modify exposure and white balance. Most camera provide an option to shoot in Raw, both compressed and uncompressed. Raw images might take-up more memory, but it’s the pro-choice, if you want greater control over your images.
Whether you are a painter, a tattoo artist or a photographer, a steady hand is a must in any artist’s arsenal. Ideally, you must never head out for a shoot without a tripod. But if you have, then a steady hand is a must. Hold the camera with both hands, one hand around the grip and the other supporting the camera by the palm. Tuck your shoulders into your upper torso and keep the camera as close as possible to your body.
The technical definition of Perspective is the representation of a three-dimensional scene on a two-dimensional surface, dictated entirely by viewpoint. In photography, you can use perspective to your advantage to showcase a unique point of view. For example, if you’re shooting a building, the easiest way to show it as tall is shooting from a lower-angle. Similarly, you can use perspective to transform your subject and make it appear differently sized than it normally would. Perspective is also of great help in architectural photography to highlight dimension.
As your camera can only focus on one thing at a time, it is vital to choose the relationship between the foreground and the background. It is easy to observe something and click a shot of it. However, the photograph becomes more intriguing if you search for a foreground interest in order to place the focal points in perspective.
Photographs without a strong focal point are highly unlikely to be eye-catchy. An image depicts a path within a frame, and having a focal point in it is essential. If the image is too busy, the subject will not standout and the viewer will wonder what the image is trying to represent. However, a strong focal point grabs attention, and defines the image.
As a photographer, your patience will be tested time and again. You may have to wait for hours in order to get the right shot, and often you may get to your desired location and realize that the shooting conditions are not right. However, waiting will produce good results. If you intend to become a wildlife photographer, being patient is highly imperative.
Get more than one version
If you manage to be in the right place at the right time, make the most of it. Get a portrait version as well a landscape one. Many completely different images can be made from the same location, at the same time, with the same subject.
Post-processing is a debatable issue in the photography community, and many argue that it is not ‘ethical’. But one cannot undermine the importance of the same. You might not want to overly Photoshop your pictures, but you can definitely use the application to cover minor errors, adjust lighting, exposure or colours, and make your picture pleasing. However, if you’re a photojournalist, do keep in mind that image manipulation is against the code of ethics of photojournalism.
This cannot be enough stressed upon. Your camera, as well as your equipment, are investments, and need your attention at all times. Ensure that you keep the camera in safe and dry locations. Though there are ways to clean a camera sensor yourself, if you’re unsure it’s best to get it professionally cleaned. Similarly, lenses should be kept free of dust and moisture.
The general belief that you are only as good as your camera is a myth. A photographer with a vision can do wonders with any camera available. So don’t fret to pick up your phone and start clicking. Mobile photography is at its peak, and several professional photographers are going mobile too. As a photographer, having your own Instagram page is a good idea, but there are various other apps too which you can experiment with.
The importance of web presence
In this day and age, you possibly cannot rely simply on word of mouth. Web presence is an absolute must if you need your work to get noticed, and reach a wider audience. Besides a neat website, you should establish a good photo-blog or a social media page, as it’s one of the best and easiest ways to interact with your audience.
Don’t be bound by rules
Once you get into photography, you will constantly come across articles in magazines, on the web, and even people telling you what you should do and what you should not. Remember, that rules of photography are not set in stone. And while it is important for you to know them, it is also necessary for you to break them, and do something new. As they say, the genesis of progression is disobedience.
At the end of the day, this is all that matters. Photographers, who don’t shoot, are not photographers. Even if you are making bad pictures, keep making them. Be involved in photography, whether you’re clicking or editing, try to work on at least one image every day.