As you know, I love to take pictures.
I learned what I know about photography from friends (shout out to Ryan Patch and Amanda Sroka) and the internet.
After years of practice, my fingers adjust the settings for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed without a thought. In fact, I usually only shoot on manual with manual lenses (no autofocus). I learned through a lot of trial and error with old film cameras. I still prefer to use film, but it is too expensive to shoot regularly.
When friends ask me to teach them how to use their new cameras, I can’t transmit all of that hard-wired knowledge in an afternoon. You really need to practice if you want to become adept at ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
Here’s a great interactive website to help you understand.
I am not going to cover the basics because a quick google search will give you that, but I do want to share what I consider to be the most important things (and easiest!) to keep in mind to make your pictures better. These are the things my best friends (even those who don’t “do photography”) know to look out for just by being around me long enough.
The simplest thing you can do is to make sure you have enough (but not too much) light on your subject. Turn your body if you must to avoid shooting straight into the sun unless you are purposefully trying to blow out the background or create a silhouette effect. Move into the shade if the light is too harsh. You will know the light is too harsh if it creates dark shadows on a persons face or the person can’t keep their eyes open.
The easiest time to take photographs is the hour (give or take) before and after sunrise and sunset.
I can’t emphasize this enough: when composing a picture, try to position the subject or yourself so that:
- There are no trees or telephone poles coming out of your subject’s head
- The horizon is flat and not tilted (unless that is the look you are going for)
- Reposition subjects so large boring objects (like cars) are not in the background
Definitely strive to get the perfect image in your camera by paying attention to distractions, light, and your choice of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. But if you don’t get the perfect picture, don’t be afraid to edit! I edit almost all my photos before I share them. I use Lightroom, but you can use any program you want.
When editing, adjust the color balance, exposure and contrast to make your images look more like real life.
When editing, be consistent.
If you use filters (which are pre-saved adjustments), be consistent.
My brain breaks when I see images that are obviously taken together but do not match each other. For example, if an image is warm (with a golden hue) and then the next is cold (with a blueish hue) and then the next is … idk black and white or sepia, my brain just breaks!
Only Share Your Best
I admit I do this to a fault. Too often, I am so critical of my own images that I lose sight of the image’s purpose. Not every image has to be a work of art. But that said, if you have multiple photos of the same scene taken a few seconds apart, pick your favorite images with interesting, varied content.
Look for inspiration and create what you love
Find other photographers you admire and just get out there and start taking pictures.
My favorite photographers