How To Be A Better Photographer – Reflection

I am as far away as you can get from being a professional Photographer. I would consider myself as someone who takes pictures rather than a photographer. After reading the post “Telling Stories in Photos” from the DG106 handbook, and different articles giving tips on how to be a better photographer I realized I was wrong, and that I am indeed a photographer (most definitely not professional… just the regular kind) and that everyone who has ever picked up a camera or taken a picture on their phone is a photographer as well. From the readings I realized that every single picture (even the stupid or most simple) tells a story. Now I for sure have heard this before but never listened to it or even believed that it was true. But these readings and this assignment made me sit for a second and look through my camera roll on my phone. Not a single picture was the same, even if there was multiple pictures taken at the same angle just seconds after the last. Each and every picture in my camera roll told a story. Some captured precious memories of me and my friends and some were just reminders of what I needed to buy at the grocery story, but they all shared one thing in common: they told a story.

Now to the actual logistical part of taking pictures…. (some tips and my thoughts about them)

Tip #1 – Stop using your camera like a rapid fire machine

  • When you stop and think about almost nothing is done better the faster you do it. The faster you do something the more mistakes you make, the less accurate something is, and the less you enjoy it. Not only will you enjoy the moment more if you take the time to think about the picture you’re taking but also you will achieve overall better quality pictures.

Tip #2 – Lighting is your bestie

  • Use the light you have or create the light you need for a proper picture. Whether its natural lighting or artificial light factoring into your photo USE THEM. Take note of where the light is coming from, is the picture going to be backlit? overexposed? too dark? too bright? or just perfect. Use the light to your advantage and learn what it can do for your picture to avoid the light ruining your perfect shot.

Tip #3 – What is in front of the picture is just as important as what is behind the picture.

  • A background can make or break a picture. For example if you are taking a picture at the beach with your friend there are so many things that can go wrong in the background, a piece of trash, a group of people, a cluttered mess, or a distracting element taking away from the “main character” of the photo. When taking a picture be mindful and careful of what will be in the background and try different areas where a better background will work for your picture.

Tip #4 – Pay attention to what is happening in front of you, not what is happening through the lens

  • Unfortunately, when wanting to capture our perfect moment we become so tied up behind the lens versus taking in the whole picture. Slow down. Pay attention to what is happening in the FULL context. Not only will it let you enjoy what is happening in front of you but it enables you to capture the perfect moment. The splash as you dog jumps in the water, the waves perfectly crashing in unison, the child at the climax of the swing’s momentum, the dancer in the perfect splits, and so many more moments can be missed if we are focused just on what happens on the other side of the lens versus taking in the whole picture so we are then able to capture the perfect moment in our photographs.

Tip #5 – Angles, Angles, Angles

  • To put it nice and simple, USE YOUR ANGLES! Mess around with the depth within a picture, which lens you want to worth with, what elements you want to include, what colors you want to highlight, and overall the angle you take your picture from. The angle in which you take your picture from changes the way you capture a moment and a memory. Do you want to capture a picture with a landscape angle, a portrait angle, 0.5x lens, or a 2.0x lens? There is so much to factor in and no “one size fits all” answer so factor in all your different angles literally and figuratively to capture your best picture.

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