Being a photographer, I often get asked for tips on how to take great photographs. In particular, how to ‘frame the perfect photo’. So I thought I’d throw in ten of my basic top tips which may help you out!
1. Use a high resolution setting. When you use a high resolution setting, you can take better quality pictures. This will actually help you later on when you are framing your photograph. You will be able to crop a photo to make the subject stand out and still end up with a picture worth printing.
2. Use the Rule of Thirds. One of the most basic rules of photography you will hear people use is the rule of thirds. Break the picture into 9 equal parts. Three times three spaces, creating thirds both horizontally and vertically. The theory is that if you place your point of interest (or what I call subjects) on the intersecting lines, people will naturally look at the intersection points rather than in the middle of the shot and like what they see. If you find it difficult to achieve in the beginning, try achieving it through cropping and editing later on.
3. Use a slower shutter speed. With a slower shutter speed (1/15th or slower) and combined with a pop of flash, the frame of the picture can show movement and energy. It’s very effective when you have people dancing during a wedding reception or you want to focus on the batter during an exciting cricket game.
4. Consider your subject in a portrait shot. In a fashion shoot, you may be asked to focus on a particular piece of jewellery despite it being a whole shot of a stunning model. The focus of your subject, whether it be a hairstyle, wedding ring or an exquisite model, needs to evoke emotion and capture the attention of the viewer.
5. Change perspective. Some of the most effective photos I’ve taken are ones from an unusual angle. Three or four subjects lying on the grass, laughing and looking up at the camera never ceases to create that WOW factor to create the perfect photo.
6. Create a second point of interest. Having an interesting relationship between your first subject and the second helps frame the picture and create a story in the mind of the viewer. For instance, a child looking down at a cute puppy or a first time father looking at his sleeping new born make the photograph more intense and captivating.
7. Move your subject to one side. If you are shooting a portrait and your subject is looking into the distance, move them to the opposite side of where they are looking. This creates balance and the illusion of the photograph being bigger than it really is.
8. Take sharp pictures with your subject the main focus. One of the main causes of blurry pictures is the shaking hand. Consider investing in a good tripod. These days you can buy all sorts of different tripods. One that is my favourite is a bendable one that I use for my macro shots. But a simple straight legged tripod for taking shots over a long period of time (at school or sporting events) will suffice.
9. Learn from the experts. If you can’t afford to take a photography class, find a local photographer in your area and ask them if you can assist them for the day at a photo shoot. Many photographers love having an assistant to carry the bags or help with the lighting and in return will be more than happy to part with their knowledge and expertise on photography.
10. Always have a spare battery. If you are doing an all day shoot, like I do with my weddings then make sure you have plenty of spare batteries. A good rule of thumb is to change your battery at each main break. This way you won’t run out half way through an important event.
Have fun with photography and practice, practice and practice! Shoot anything and everything. Look for photo opportunities and take your camera with you everywhere you go. Remember, you can never take enough photographs!