Whilst having expensive photography kit can help you take good photos, there are many more important factors to achieving interesting and impressive photos. Whether you have a pocket digital camera or an SLR, start by using what you’ve got and experimenting with the suggested tips below and see the how your photos change.
1) The rule of thirds
Also known as the golden mean, the rule of thirds is one of the most fundamental techniques to master. This involves mentally drawing 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines to form 9 squares on the frame. Where the lines intersect are where the points of interests should be. You should be aiming for your most important elements of the photo to fall in one of these intersection points.
Instead of just snapping away at eye level, experiment with other viewpoints such us getting on your knees to get a worm’s eye view of the subject or standing much higher than the subject to get a bird’s eye view. Doing this can surprise you with more interesting shots – merely pointing and shooting often results in boring photos.
3) Light source
Be aware of the light source and consequently the shadows cast. Try to avoid taking photos where the camera is directly facing the sun, unless you’re trying to capture sunsets. Likewise avoid shots where the subject is directly looking into a bright sun. You don’t want your subjects squinting in the photo.
4) Don’t always take the obvious shots
Look around you and see if there are more interesting shots that will convey your subject in a surprisingly new way than taking a photo of the subject itself. For example, if you are photographing a roaring fire, perhaps taking photos of the expressions of the people around would provide a more effective shot than an expected photo of the flames.
5) Experiment with angles and patterns
There may be a part of the photo that you want viewers to particularly focus on, or you may want your them to notice various parts of the photo. Think of using directional lines that will lead the viewer’s eye to the areas of the photo you want them to be looking. Dynamic arrangements, opposing patterns, contrasting tones can make otherwise boring photos interesting.
Finally, if you have a digital camera, don’t be afraid to take lots of photos as you practise and experiment with the tips above. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to take one or a hundred photos. Nowadays you can easily edit out the unsuccessful ones in just a click of a button!