How to Be a Good Photographer It has been said in the past that a picture speaks a thousand words. But to me, a good picture speaks more than just words, but conveys emotions and feelings. And it has also been said that anyone can take a good photograph. I set out on a journey to try and verify these words. I found out that the words can actually be true if the following measures are taken when taking photographs, to give you the coveted tittle of a good photographer.
Sometimes photographs look good because the photographer was up close to what was actually happening. The viewer of the photo gets absorbed into the atmosphere of the photograph and can actually visualize what was happening. If the photo is taken from far, there might be too much activity around the picture that it distorts the intended message of the picture. For example if you're taking a picture of a tree in the forest, you must make that particular tree your focal point. If you take the photo wide, there might be other trees which might steal the spotlight of the intended tree.
It is often said 'practice, practice makes 2 practices. And 2 practices are better than one. The more you take pictures, the more you learn the best angles to shoot from, the optimum distance and even how light affects the quality of the picture. Even the most recognized photographers did not take high quality photos on their first encounter with a camera. It takes a great deal of passion as u take photos of everything that crosses your path just for the hang of it.
You may have a very expensive high resolution camera and still take a vague photograph if you can't adjust it properly. Experiment with all the adjustments in your camera. Don't set it to auto, explore. More importantly, read the manual. Get familiar with every button, icon and action. Even if you are using your phone to take the pictures, learn all the controls and where they're best applicable. I was recently handed a digital camera by my friend to take pictures of her during her graduation. It was just a simple 20 megapixel camera but I couldn't get it to shoot. I laughed at myself knowing my friend gave me the camera because she thought I was the best photographer in the group. Some simple looking controls really affect the outcome of the picture, so every time you come across a camera, learn all the controls.
The most beautiful pictures are taken at some time of the day. Well, at least most of them, are taken at sunrise or sunset. Why do these pictures look so glorious? It is because the light at this time is not too strong but is just the right amount to form beautiful silhouettes with a warm colour in the background. The first step in becoming a good photographer is not even learning how to use a camera. You may know how to use a camera and still produce poor pictures. Always look at the light. How bright is it? Where is it coming from? (Direction) Is the source natural or artificial? What colour is the light producing as an effect?
With these things in mind, now figure out what you need to do about it. Which direction to shoot from to give the image the desired results, whether you need to use a flash and so on. Photograph is formed from two words and the first (which is obviously photo) means light. So you can tell how important light is to photography.
You just saw a beautiful scene. First thought as a photographer, go for your camera! Right? Wrong! The first thing you should do is to assess the scene. What is the best way to capture the scene? Which is the best angle from which you should shoot? Should you include the foreground middle ground and background? Does the picture even require these?
Instead of criticism of other people's photos, it would be very constructive to just sit down and look at pictures from your favorite photographers. Not only does this motivate you, but you can see from their works how to best take a picture. It's true that most photographers have their signature styles. But it all boils down to the basics. Anyone with all the basics of photography just needs a little passion to make magic with a camera. Hence when you look at famous pictures, you can see the best angles to shoot from in different situations. You can see what the photographer has done with the available light and if they have used additional light. With motivation from such pictures, you will strive to be better with each strike of the shutter
It is true that some of the world's best photographers never took their photos to exhibitions. That doesn't make it right! The best way to grow as a photographer is to always showcase your work. Take your pictures, however amateur they might be, to an exhibition. If you have a personal blog, that is the first place to post them. If you have social media accounts in say, Instagram or Snapchat, you should do the same. The essence of this is to create a buzz around your photographs. Especially in blogs and social media, you are sure to get constructive criticism. If you take this criticism positively, you will no doubt find ways to improve your art. I know of someone who started as an amateur photographer on Instagram about two years ago, his photos were not far from pathetic and people were not shy of telling it to him. He has however grown to a world class photographer in that period before my very eyes. Therefore don't be shy, show us what you have.
Photographers are often loners due to the nature of their work. But it's very constructive to meet with other photographers to exchange ideas and simply interact. In such instances, you will be able to learn new tactics and also receive criticism on your work.
The art of specialization will guide you in this industry. I recommend you specialize in one area right from the onset of your career so as to get all the basics in that particular field. It would be futile to be taking pictures in weddings if in the end you plan to be a humanitarian photographer. You will never be able to merge the two and in the end you will have wasted valuable time and gained no experience in your desired field. Try to gain experience in whatever field be it be nature, fashion, or whatever else you fancy. Get other photographers in that field to guide you through the basics, the dos and don'ts and so forth. In that way, you will gain experience in your desired field and find it easier.
Look around, get absorbed into the picture's environment. Make eye contact with your subjects if you're taking pictures of people. Always be aware of what is happening around. In that way, you can determine the focal point of the scene, which will more often than not attract the attention of the photo's audience. Since photography (as explained previously) is a form of storytelling, make sure you understand the story before you tell it.
Being aware of your shutter speed will be the difference between taking blurry images and getting a perfect shot. If you're taking a picture of kids running in the backyard, it will not be the same as taking pictures of athletes in the Olympics. Learn your camera's capabilities to avoid missing future opportunities.
Charge Up to How to Be a Good Photographer
Whenever you get home in the evening, the first thing is to plug in your batteries. You may miss golden opportunities knowing that you have your camera, but it cannot help at that time. During a family occasion, my uncle gave me his camera to make sure that the following day I was all set from morning. It was at full battery so I took a few (or a bit more) pictures of my long lost cousins, uncles and the like. In the evening, I realized that the battery was almost empty and it required a unique type of charger which I couldn't access at that time of night. Were it not for smartphones, there would be no pictorial documentation of the event to date.
Don't overdo your pictures. It's okay to edit them a little bit. But they may lose their detail if you overdo it. In fact, my advice to you is never to use Photoshop at all. If you take a good picture, you will have no need to alter it, just keep it simple.
How to Be a Good Photographer At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many cameras you have, if you don't take a good picture, it will not go down in history books that you had the best gear. We've all seen the type of photographers who walk around with mountains of bags carrying all sorts of equipment, supposedly not to miss out on any action due to failure of equipment. Sadly, as fun as it might be to carry a few cameras and several hundred lenses on your back in the scorching sun, all it does is slow you down. Therefore stick to the basic equipment, to ensure that you're ready to pounce on any impromptu chance to take a picture.
Just as a doctor always have a stethoscope on his/her neck, a good photographer should always have a camera with them. Make sure that at any unforeseen chance, you can take a picture. As stated earlier, you need to specialize in one field. That does not however mean you should not take pictures from 'other fields'. Take pictures of cars, people, nature, cameras, basically anything you can see.