When it comes to photography, there are a lot of words used to tell you how to take a picture. Maybe this is behind the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words? "
My question is: do you need to know all the lingo, technical how-to, and what it all means in order to take a beautiful photo?
I could go into all the stuff that’s behind the auto button on your camera. But, really? Do you want to know all the stuff that will make your brain hurt or do you just want to take a better photograph, so you can say, "Wow I took that!"
In the time I have spent studying photography, I have discovered there is a lot of information out there with too much detail. Instead of a lot of instruction, I want to give you a few simple things to think about to help you take a better photo.
1. Composition – or what I like to call "what are you taking a picture of?" Is it interesting? Does it stand out? Will others know what it is? We have all seen those pictures where you have no idea what you're looking at or why that particular photo was taken. This seems to happen a lot on vacation, especially when you're just clicking away and then get home and wonder why you took that picture in the first place.
The fix. Something I struggle with is slowing down. I've decided it’s better to come home with a few meaningful pictures than ending up with tons of random pictures. Your trip will be much more memorable, enjoyable, and your spouse won't be ready to kill you because you're stopping every three seconds to "record the action." By slowing down and taking more meaningful photographs, you may end up with a photograph or two worth spending the money to get printed to hang up on the wall.
2. Background. The background is almost more important than the subject. How many times have you seen photos with random objects sticking out of people's heads? And what about the thousands of "photo bomb" compilations you can look through on social media? It’s funny to look at those, but not when you get home and discover your shot is ruined.
The fix. After picking your subject, slow down and study the background. Move around and look for the best angle to take the photograph. If you are taking a picture of a person, you might find a better shot by moving around. Look for things coming out of people's heads, wait for other people to move out of the way, look around the edges for objects coming into the photo and don’t place the main subject in the centre of the photo background. You know back to the fix for number one: slow down.
3. Fun. A lot of people have overlooked this setting on their cameras. And I know you just asked yourself, "Where is that setting found?" Here's a hint: it goes "click" when you push it. That’s right, when you push the shutter button, make sure you are having fun! I have gone out to take photos and found myself having so much fun I just lived in the moment and ended up not taking any pictures at all.
The fix: When I find myself not having fun I refer back to steps one and two. Just take a deep breath and slow down. Once you do that, you will see things differently and discover something you overlooked. Then you can get down to business pressing the "fun" button!
This is my simple process for taking beautiful landscape photography. This is what my adventure photography trips encourage. I hope these simple photography tips have given you something to think about the next time you pick up your camera.
Oh, and congratulations! For what? For the photograph you took that is print worthy and will end up hanging on your wall as a permanent reminder of the fun you had going out with your camera.
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