Do you go wow when you see a nice photograph online that your friend or colleague shot during their vacation? Sure, this could be achieved with a host of filters and digital treatments out there that could be used to for photos after they’re shot. But the true art of photography lies in the technique, and mastering the simple art of photography starts with the camera. So wow your friends this time around with some clean and easy to follow tips we have for you here.
1. The Golden Hour
Also known as the magic hour, it is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than the rest of the day. This makes for an ideal setting for photography due to the reduced contrast where the shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed. So don’t forget to set your alarm and bring back amazing memories of your vacation next time around.
The golden hour is also a great time to capture a beautiful silhouette with your camera. The object could be any simple, easily identifiable shape such as a person, tree, bird or building and the background could be anything from a fiery sunrise or sunset, the summer sun sitting low in the sky, or shimmering highlights on water. Mix and match as you like, but the result is always an eye-catching picture.
This filter helps reduce reflections from water as well as metal and glass; it improves the colours of the sky and foliage, and it will protect your lens too. There’s no reason why you can’t leave it on for all of your photography. The recommended kind of polarizer is circular because these allow your camera to use TTL (through the lens) metering (i.e. Auto exposure).
A tripod is an essential tool for all photographers. It is especially useful for people with shaky hands as it helps boost their confidence. It helps to keep the camera stable when its timer function is in use and comes in handy during long exposure shots involving landscapes as well as star lit skies.
5. Keep your camera with you all the time.
Photo ops often come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple – just a small camera bag and a tripod – you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take “notes” on scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.
6. Don’t overlook mundane subjects for photography.
You might not see anything interesting to photograph in your living room or your backyard, but try looking at familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. You might catch an interesting trick of the light or find some unexpected wildflowers in your yard. Often a simple subject makes the best shot. Inspiration is all around you. Look at everything with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.
7. Experiment with your camera’s settings.
If you’re using a digital camera, the cost of errors is free. Go crazy – you might end up with something you like. You’ll certainly learn a lot in the process. Your point and shoot may be more flexible and powerful than you know. Read the manual for help deciphering all those little symbols. As you explore, try shooting your subjects with multiple settings to learn what effects you like. When you’re looking at your photos on a computer, you can check the EXIF data (usually in the file’s properties) to recall the settings you used.
8. Experiment with infrared
Summers and monsoons are the best seasons for infrared photography. There’s lots of lush green foliage and plant life everywhere, which reflects infrared, and you also get blue sky and fluffy white clouds, plus the harsh summer light creates high contrast and that suits infrared really well. Parks and gardens, woodland and riverside walks are ideal infrared hunting grounds. Also check out old buildings such as churches, castles, manor houses, ruins and abandoned cottages. If you don’t have an infrared-modified digital camera, use an infrared transmitting filter on your lens.
9. Flower Power
Gardens tend to be at their most photogenic during spring and monsoons, with plants and shrubs creating a riot of colour in even the modest suburban plot. Hedgerows and roadside verges also come alive with poppies, ox-eye daisies, buttercups and other vibrant blooms. For simple close-ups, use a close-focusing zoom or, even better, a macro lens. Your telezoom will also be ideal for shooting large drifts of flowers – the compressed perspective will make the flowers appear crowded together, while shooting at a wide aperture will allow you to isolate one single bloom from its surroundings.
10. Night patrol
The best time to take ‘night’ shots is during the ‘crossover’ period between sunset and darkness when there’s still colour in the sky, and daylight and manmade illumination is in balance to make a beautiful time slice. During summer this period lasts upwards of an hour so you can cover a lot more ground than at any other time of year. The only downside is that you need to stay out later – sunset may not occur until after 10pm – but its well worth the effort and you can always have a lie-in the next day.
11. Storm warning
Although we expect blue skies and cotton wool clouds during summer, it can also be a season of storms due to the humidity and high temperatures and this can create amazing landscape opportunities – dark skies, colourful rainbows, shafts of sunlight illuminating the landscape, bolts of lightning flashing across the sky. So keep an eye on the weather forecast and if it looks like something interesting is likely to happen, grab your camera and head out.
12. Try something different
If all else fails, why not try a wacky technique that helps to overcome the fact that the light’s not great? Have a go at panning the camera horizontally or vertically to produce a streaky image; create a zoom burst by zooming your lens while exposing a shot, or use an attachment like a Lens baby to produce soft, dreamy effects.
13. Shoot shadows
Strong sunlight means strong shadows. When the sun’s high they’re short and dense or cast vertically down walls and doors. When the sun’s low they rake across thelandscape. Use a tele zoom lens to fill the frame with shadow patterns and make them your primary subject, or use shadows as lead-in lines in wide angle shots.
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