The most frequent questions I get asked relate to taking better photos on a DSLR. What is the trick to getting good photos? How do I get my camera to do what I want it to do? How do I get off auto mode and shoot in manual?
Here are a few tips that worked for me:
- Get your camera out. Seriously. If you want to start taking better pictures you have to take a lot of pictures. And I mean a lot. This does not mean you have to keep every picture you take (hello delete button on your camera!). But you will never learn to take better pictures if you don’t shoot. Practice. Which reminds me of this video regarding creative work.
- Buy a good lens. Ditch the kit lens that came with your camera. In fact if you are in the market to buy a camera, get the body without the lens. I think the best lens to learn on hands down is the 50 mm (I shoot Canon – so recommendations are Canon). Go get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 and if you have a little more money that you can spend, go right for the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
- ISO, F-stop, Shutter speed. If you want to shoot better pictures you should know about these three things. You should understand how they work individually and together. You should devour websites and books and learn these three things inside and out. (bonus points – study white balance and lighting too)
- Learn about composition and the rule of thirds. Behind every good photo is a photographer that knows the technical aspects of their camera. They know ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed. But these is also the composition. To me this is where creativity comes out of photography. The trick is to not only know how to work your camera, but to also know composition – like the rule of thirds.
- Tell a story. Good photos tell a story. They show emotion. They make people feel something when they look at the photo. In my experience when taking photos of people, either one of two things needs to happen… 1) the person has no idea you are taking their photo and you capture their true emotion or 2) the person you are photographing trusts you and knows you and lets down their guard. Either way – you have to connect with the person, you have to see emotion, you have to gain trust. When those things happen, along with the technical aspects of your camera, suddenly you have magic.
Settings: 1/2500 ƒ/2.5 ISO 500 (photo above)
Settings: 1/320 ƒ/2.8 ISO 100 (photo above)
Settings: 1/320ƒ/4.5 ISO 800 (photo above)
For more photo tips, visit my Photography page!