Remembering Important Photography Essentials

You may think of yourself as a professional photographer, which is all good and well. But even professionals tend to overlook the essential basics, which can quickly spell disaster for even a basic shoot. It helps, therefore, to go back and remember the cores rules of taking good photos.

Here is a quick reminder on what the difference is between an average photo, and one that really stands apart.

Get Up Close To The Subject

There is an instinct that tells you to keep your distance from models, and try to capture as much of the scene as possible. This is fine, but at least some of your images should be up close, amongst the action. Getting in close is the key to capturing images that feel like the viewer is there, with the subjects, and part of the action. After all, photojournalist Robert Capa once said that if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re probably not close enough. Take that little lesson to heart.

Light Is Key

Before even reaching for your camera, consider what sort of light you have, and the angle that it is coming from. Soft natural light, or harsh artificial light; it all has an impact on the composition, and casts its own set of unique shadows. Consider how best to use those shadows, and what the best angle is to make the most of it. You probably don’t need reminding that shadowed faces have a very different impact to well it faces.

Permission First

Guerrilla photography is all good and well in getting a unique image, but annoying subjects is never something you want to do. If someone is minding their own business, playing Australian pokies online on their phone, they probably don’t want you shoving a camera in their face unexpectedly. It isn’t polite, and can quickly get tempers boiling. Ask permission first, always.

A Flash Is Universal

Natural light is excellent for creating striking, outdoor images. But never forget that natural light is very uncooperative when it comes to lighting faces. There is no rule that says you can’t still add a dash of artificial light, even when in a well-lit outdoor area. But, of course, doing so subtly is key to creating a balanced image that doesn’t appear peculiar.

Save On Gear, Buy Books

There is a sentiment that good photographer must have the very best, expensive equipment at hand. This isn’t true at all. A good photographer is one that understands correctly using gear is far more important that having piles of expensive gadgets. All the impressive gear in the world won’t make for better photographs, if you don’t have a clue how to use the gear you already have.

Rather than spending money on more gear, consider building up a library of excellent photography books. They will go a lot further than dropping a few hundred on yet another lens you’re never going to use, other than out of novelty.

In other words; books, not gear, make a professional.

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