June 2013
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5 tips to improve your photography skills and your photos

For some time, I have been providing tips on specialized subjects. The previous one (Taking photos of children) was a series of tips on how to take photos of children. If you had read those, I hope they were useful to you. Starting now, the next set of tips will be general guidelines on how to improve your photos. Taking better photos does not only deal with knowing your equipment and its settings better, in fact, the best of photographers always claim better technique and temperament as one of the prime techniques of taking better photos. I welcome comments on whether you agree or disagree with such tips, and if you feel that you have tips you want to share, please do let me know via the comments. Here goes:

Tip 1141 (Use reflections to get some good photos): In so many cases, you will find that there are some excellent photos that can be taken via reflections. Just open your creativity. The surface of water, whether calm or with ripples, all of these provide some excellent views that can be captured via your camera. In addition, even the shiny surface of a vehicle can provide some great perspectives to get the background behind them (there have been some excellent photos that show the perspective of a skyscraper in the shiny curved bonnet of a classic vehicle). With the digital age, even if a photo is not good, you would have other photos that show something great.

Tip 1142 (Using dramatic skies in your photos): When the sky is dramatic, you have a great background for your shots. When I say background, I don’t mean the traditional sunset or landscape kind of photo, instead have something in the foreground. This could be the branches of a tree, it could be a line of people or animals walking or even standing, or could even be something like a small shed; when you couple this with the colors of sunset, or when you have some dark and threatening clouds, you get some very interesting silhouette like photos.

Tip 1143 (Shooting silhouettes from a low position): You would have already seen silhouettes and would have shot a few. I wrote some articles on shooting silhouettes (How to shoot great silhouettes). Silhouettes come out great if shot well, but consider a small tweak to the silhouette. When you are shooting interesting stuff such as people doing something in the foreground (such as jumping, or other such stuff), consider shooting from a low level. It gives the foreground activity a much more powerful feeling, with the person occupying a much greater part of the frame.

Tip 1144 (Looks for vantage points): You would have heard this quite a few times, but looking for some great vantage points in a photo can really make the photo very dramatic. You would have seen photos such as the photo where a person stood under a number of trees and shot straight upwards, such that the tree branches seemed to meet high in the air. Other cases would be of people gathering in festivals and the photograph was taken from an aerial position (maybe perched high on a building). Look for vantage points which show views that are not so common, and yet look interesting. This ain’t easy, and yet you can get some great photos if are able to find a good to great vantage point.

Tip 1145 (Look to see how light can help you): Light is one of the most powerful controllers of a photo; always try to spend time envisioning how light will impact your photo (and this is true for people who are just learning how to take a photo, as well as people who are expert at taking photos and controlling their environment). Actually, a lot of people who are learning to take photos tend to not care too much about light, and this can cause huge problems in their photos (imagine trying to take a photo of a group with the sun behind them – faces will be dark and there will be a lot of silhouette effect).

Some books to improve your photography:

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro

Some videos about photography from Youtube:

How to Take Great Photographs

Natural Light Portraiture – Get A Little Known Secret

Photography Tips, Essential Skills, Quickly Transform Your Photos

Improve your photos with two simple rules

Read more tips on how to improve your photography (5 tips to improve your photography)

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