I am by no means an expert photographer, but I have picked up a few habits and tricks over the years. I thought I’d share them with you today as food for thought, or a prompt for play.
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General Photography Tip #1 – Play around with angles.
Squat, kneel, stoop, lay!
If you’ve ever seen a group of tourists (typical tourists!) taking pictures you may have noticed they tend to stand and shoot their pictures at their natural height…sometimes they lean back a little bit.
For most good pictures that isn’t going to cut it.
Play around with angles! When you do, you get a different perspective. These are some of my favorite low angle pictures I’ve taken.
These two photos of the golf balls and marble are of the same thing – on the same day – the only difference is the perspective from which they were shot, but it completely changes the photo.
Same with the moss on the clothesline…
*NOTE: Be careful when you try a low angle when taking a portrait picture…you don’t want to shoot a picture up someone’s nose!
I have some miniature people that I think make a fun exercise to play around with angles. They are faceless little train model figurines but finding places to set them and photograph them is fun.
General Photography Tip #2 – Play around with random objects.
Got a burned-out lightbulb? What about a magnifying glass? A slinky, a water bottle, some rocks, a fork? Photography should be fun. Play around with shooting your pictures through things. You can get really creative and have some stunning results. You can even cut shapes (such as hearts, lightning bolts, etc.) out of paper and shoot photos through that.
General Photography Tip #3 – Play around with light.
Light is fascinating. You can photograph highlights and lowlights, shadows and things washed out by the light depending on your angle. Like playing around with/shooting through random objects, you and also play with their effects on light, and the shadows they create. Backlighting, light from the left, light from the right, lit from above, below…
General Photography Tip #4 – Remember the Rule of Thirds.
Generally, photos are more interesting if the focus of your picture is not in the center of the shot. This was a lesson I learned back in middle school art, but it applies to photography just the same. Try to photograph your subject to the side, top or bottom of center. The negative space helps draw the eye to the subject and makes it stand out even more.
See how in this photo my focal point is how the barbed wire is attached to the post? It is on the right-hand side, not the center.
General Photography Tip #5 – Don’t be afraid to edit your pictures.
Sometimes you can get the perfect shot, sometimes a great picture just needs a little “oomf” to take it from great to amazing. Editing your picture doesn’t make you a failure or a cheater. Most photos benefit from a little adjustment. Look at these two different photos. The ones on the left are the original untouched photos. The ones on the right have had some minor adjustments made. Which ones do you like better?
Looking for a new camera?
If you are looking for a new camera, I have (and love) my Nikon D3500. A feature I was excited to learn it has is the ability to connect with my phone and/or my computer with Wi-Fi to download my photos directly. It also has a long lasting rechargeable battery.
I used to have a Nikon Cool Pix before I upgraded in 2019. It was my first digital camera, and it was great for a beginner – very compact.
If you are looking for a cheaper option to get started this compact Lecran looks like a good option – it is advertised as good for students.
I also think the iPhone can take some pretty amazing pictures too.
If you are in the market for a new camera it is always good to pick up an extra memory card and battery while you are at it. *Be sure to make double sure that the battery you are looking at buying is compatible with your camera.*
Want your own miniature people to practice photographing from creative angles? These are the ones I have.