5 Ways To Produce Interesting Photos
For the first time in my blogging career I am planning to use my degree to help you become a better photographer. Although I don’t actually use these skills in my day to day job, there are some things that four years of college embeds in your brain. As a TV Production major I had the opportunity to learn a lot of camera techniques that you don’t usually learn on the street. Photography might not be an activity where you are filming moving video, but a lot of the same principles apply. One of the reasons I’ve gotten into Instagram so much over the past few years is because I’ve come to realize that I remembered a lot more than I forgot. The compliments and other positive reinforcements have only made my passion for photography even stronger. So much so that my wife not only bought me a camera this past Christmas, but I am now looking for pretty much any excuse to get out there and go on a photoshoot. Whether it’s driving around the country roads of MD/VA/WV or it’s me taking an interesting photo of my cats, you can pretty much bank on the fact that I am always thinking about taking another awesome photo.
Much like many of my other pieces, this one is being written for the Instagram and blogging crowd. This is for those of you who want to take their photography to another level. I don’t know if I can promise you’ll get more views or likes on your projects, but I can say that I know how to take a good photo. Although shooting with a television camera is a different art than shooting photography, I do believe that a lot of the same principles apply to it. Just having that background alone has made me a better photographer. I could probably get way more technical here than I am, but that’s not my goal. More than anything I’m hoping to teach some basic skills that will atleast get bloggers and aspiring Instagram Influencers to think about how they are shooting their photos. Hopefully some of these basic tips will help with that!
1. Experiment With Angles
One of my favorite things to do when I’m on a photoshoot is experiment with the angles I’m shooting at. While simply angling the camera while standing up can produce some pretty cool shots, get into the habit of trying out different perspectives. Take a picture kneeling down. Place the camera itself on or close to the ground. Go to the top of a building, hill, or other elevation and take a shot looks down or over an object or scene. There are a number of other scenarios I could give examples of, but the main idea to take away from this point is to think about the perspective you’re shooting from. Some of my favorite photos have been done from the strangest angles. I will warn you and point out that just because you choose a unique angle and you like the shot when you take it doesn’t necessarily mean you will like it later. This has happened to me more times than I can count. It will probably keep happening for as long as I do photography. While you experiment be sure to take as many photos as possible. The more footage you have to look back on the better the odds are that you’ll find something you’ll want to publish on your blog or Instagram account.
2. Shoot The Photos Manually
I know some people like to use auto features such as burst, but i’m not a huge fan of them. They can be helpful if you’re driving in a car and you want to play “photography lottery” and hope that you get a great shot out of the bunch that you burst. However, I’ve found that most shots I take this way don’t come out very good. It accomplishes the goal, but the “art” of taking the photo gets taken out of it. Whether I’m on the go with the camera or I’m shooting something that is moving I will always try to shoot the photo manually. Using this technique could take a little practice, but I think it almost always produces a better photo in the long run.
3. Strive To Make The Shot More Interesting
I run the risk of sounding too ambiguous with this headline, but hopefully I can make up for it with my explanation. When I say “strive to make the shot more interesting” I am talking about the “other” elements that make up the shot. Rather than focusing on the subject itself, think about other elements that could also make the shot more interesting for the viewer. There might be some cases where this isn’t possible, but I feel like there are more circumstances where you can make it possible. This is another point where experimentation can lead you to some great looking photos. Regardless of whether you use an iPhone camera or a professional camera with different lenses you can put this into practice. Mess around with the focus. Place your subject in an interesting location. Make the photo itself more interesting by zooming out and including extra scenery. Without getting too technical, the key to this point is to not simply take a photo and call it a day. Think about what else you can do to make the photo more interesting for the people who will view it.
4. Think About How You Frame The Shot
I will pretty much pick up where I left off with the last point and say that you need to think about who is going to be viewing this photo. If you’re shooting just for the sake of capturing a moment or being able to say you were there, then framing may not be that important. However, if you’re looking to up your game a little bit, then think about how you’re framing the shot before you take it. Sometimes we tend to capture a lot of extraneous details that don’t really matter or make the photo look sloppy. Ifs you’re striving to be more creative, then think about those details before you click the button. Leave all of the extra/unnecessary details out, make sure your angles aren’t crooked, and don’t rush it.
5. Keep It Simple, But Keep It Smart
After reading all of this you might feel like these tips could be making your photography more complicated, but hopefully it doesn’t. Taking good photos takes practice, but it’s not as complicated as it may look. More than anything, becoming a good photographer requires practice and thought. We live in an age where taking a photo is something anybody can do at any given moment. A camera is basically at our disposal anytime we want to use it. This might have given us more opportunities to capture what is going on in our world, but it hasn’t necessarily taught us to take better photos. What you need to realize is that you have more power to become an artist with your camera than you might think. Just taking an extra minute to frame and angle your shot in an interesting way could take you from being an average photographer to a skilled one pretty quickly. Don’t overthink it, but don’t under think it either!
As a lot of people know by now it doesn’t necessarily take a special degree to become a good photographer, writer, graphic artist, or any other “hat” a blogger might wear. What it does take is practice. Although I’ve been shooting photography for years I have to admit that my best work has been over the past year or so. Much like anything else you have to want to get better. Keep striving to work on your technique and don’t give up if you’re work isn’t up to your standards right away. Photography is a lot of fun and it’s not as complicated as it looks, but it does take some work and practice in order to “master the art”. You don’t even need an expensive camera in order to be good or to validate yourself as a photographer. You just need to have a passion for the art and a passion to learn and improve your craft.