Nowadays just about everyone owns and uses a digital camera. So in essence (almost) everybody is a photographer. However, some of us consistently take better pictures than others. This is not necessarily because some are more talented than others, but simply because some folks have acquired more knowledge and better skills. For those who want to improve their photography, I have put together a list of 12 tips that have made a positive impact on my development as a photographer.
I previously posted part 1 of my DIY guide to improving your photography. This is part 2 of that guide. It contains tips #5 to #8.
I’ll post part 3 of this guide soon.
5. Study the type of photography you are interested in. Tip #3 (see part 1) was about learning the basics. This tip is about learning techniques specific to your area of interest. If you’re interested in learning landscape photography, I highly recommend that you read a recently published instructional landscape photography book. If you’re into macro photography, read a recently published instructional macro photography book. I could go on, but I am sure you already get it. These books will –building on the knowledge you already have- teach you the necessary techniques specific to the type of photography you’re interested in. Like I said in tip #3, there is lots of information freely available online. However, you’ll find that there is less specialized information available online, compared to basic information about photography.
6. Study image composition. Some say that composition can’t be taught. Don’t believe that rubbish. Anything can be taught; composition is no exception. There are well known reasons why some images are so fascinating to look at, while others, often depicting the same subject, are a total bore. “The Photographer’s Eye” by Michael Freeman, published by Focal Press, is by far the best work on this subject that I have read to date. I highly recommend it.
7. Always shoot in RAW format. A jpeg image looks much better than a RAW image, coming straight out of the camera. This is because jpeg images are fully processed by the camera, based on the camera’s built in presets. RAW images on the other hand, are uncompressed, unsharpened and contain more information than jpeg images. As a result, a RAW image is much more flexible and forgiving, when it comes to processing it. The downside of shooting in RAW is that RAW files are larger than jpeg files. You also have to use a RAW converter to convert RAW files to a usable file format (tif, jpeg or psd). Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), which is built into Photoshop (Photoshop CS5 is currently the industry standard), is a pleasure to use and is currently my RAW converter of choice.
8. Learn how to use Photoshop to process your images. An important concept to understand is that there is no such thing as an unprocessed digital photo. Your camera will always, even if you shoot RAW, to a certain extent process the images with its “one size fits all” presets. These presets will not –and cannot- take the specific characteristics of any given image into account. As a result these built in presets rarely –if ever- get the most out of an image. More importantly, these presets will never fulfill your artistic vision. Because of this, I cannot stress how important it is to learn how to use Photoshop. Take creative control of your photography: learn how to process your images properly.
DIY guide to improving your photography, part 1.
DIY guide to improving your photography, part 3.
© 2009-2011Elgin Zeppenfeldt. All rights reserved.