Three Tips For Better Photos
This morning I was asked for three tips for better photos – these are the three tips that I gave:
1) Utilize great equipment. One piece of advice that I took from the experts when I started in photography was to put more money into purchase of lenses than the purchase of a camera. The first lens I purchased was a Canon L series lens, the “L” designation being used for their pro-level lenses. It was painful purchasing a $1700 lens as my first one, but it has paid dividends including the $200 cash prize I received for having a photo go Best of Show a couple of weeks ago that I shot with this lens. For those interested, the actual lens was the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L USM IS lens. The lens is tack sharp at 400mm and has excellent electronic image stabilization that allows me to wander about and take long, telephoto shots hand held rather than being burdened by a tripod. Here is an example of a telephoto shot made with this lens and cropped, but still retaining extraordinary detail not attainable with lenses of mediocre quality:
2) Shoot your images in RAW rather than JPEG format. All of the good cameras allow this and there is an evolution towards RAW mode availability with point-and-shoot cameras. When you shoot a photo in JPEG, the camera literally processes the final photo keeping the information that it thinks is important. Often times, it erases data that it thinks is unneeded in the final shot leaving little room for significant and often necessary post processing changes. When you shoot in RAW, all of the data is still retained enabling some shots to not only be saved by bringing out features of the pictures that would be lost in JPEG format, but also giving the photographer complete post processing control of the image. Understand that if you shoot in the highest resolution JPEG mode that your camera offers, a typical file might be a few megabytes in size. A RAW file size will be multiples of that, typically around 25 megabytes for one image. The bottom line is that simply by shooting in RAW will bring one’s photography up a level by simply utilizing that shooting mode.
3) Learn to see like an artist/photographer. I think one of the greatest components of being a great photographer is to develop a “photographer’s eye.” Look at everything as a potential subject, but look for things would that make that subject interesting to others and find different perspectives when composing a shot. Always be on the lookout for the next great shot and find the most interesting way to photograph it paying attention to composition, potential distractions in the background, lighting and angles. People make the mistake of often shooting from the same standing perspective. Get on an even level with a subject, or perhaps below it. Always search for a way that will make your photograph stand out and be of interest to others. I often look at other’s work, not to emulate it, but to find a way to be different!