11 Simple techniques that a Professional Photographer use and you don’t!

In a survey conducted recently, it was estimated that at least 10000 photographs are snapped every second in US alone. There is no way to find out the authenticity of this claim, however, I will not be surprised if it is true. In this digital age, you will see every tenth person carrying a nifty digital camera in his pocket. Most of the times, he also has a mobile that has a mega pixel camera built in.The real question is how many of those photographs snapped by individuals are really up to their satisfaction?
When I started off with my foray into digicams, I literally snapped hundreds of pictures, but when I downloaded them onto my PC, I got fewer than 10 pictures that I liked. I am sure a lot of people have gone through this cycle, and it is utterly frustrating, especially when the photographs are of some important occasion.

First few months I was really discouraged with the way my photographs were coming out, but with some study and practice, things really started getting better. My percentage of better photographs improved.

I will share some of the tips and techniques here that I frequently use to ensure that I get a high percentage of “WOW” photographs.

    1) Pros look at the background first: Try to have the background with less clutter. A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.

    2) Pros look the subject in the eye:

    Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person’s eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture

    3) Pros know their camera very well:

    Pros spend a lot of time understanding their camera well. They know what their camera can do and what it cannot. So spend some time going through your camera. Read the manual well. Most of the times person does not know half of the camera features.

    4) Pros always give importance to lighting conditions

    One of the important part of every picture is the light. It affects the appearance of everything you photograph. On a great-grandmother, bright sunlight from the side can enhance wrinkles. But the soft light of a cloudy day can subdue those same wrinkles. Don’t like the light on your subject? Then move yourself or your subject. For landscapes, try to take pictures early or late in the day when the light is orangish and rakes across the land.

    5) Pros never centralize their subject

    Center-stage is a great place for a performer to be. However, the middle of your picture is not the best place for your subject. Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture. Start by playing tick-tack-toe with subject position. Imagine a tick-tack-toe grid in your viewfinder. Now place your important subject at one of the intersections of lines. You’ll need to lock the focus if you have an auto-focus camera because most of them focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder.

    6) Pros use Flash even outdoors

    Bright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on. You may have a choice of fill-flash mode or full-flash mode. If the person is within five feet, use the fill-flash mode; beyond five feet, the full-power mode may be required. With a digital camera, use the picture display panel to review the results. On cloudy days, use the camera’s fill-flash mode if it has one. The flash will brighten up people’s faces and make them stand out. Also take a picture without the flash, because the soft light of overcast days sometimes gives quite pleasing results by itself.

    7) Pros try to shoot from closest distance possible

    If your subject is smaller than a car, take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing. Up close you can reveal telling details, like a sprinkle of freckles or an arched eyebrow. But don’t get too close or your pictures will be blurry. The closest focusing distance for most cameras is about three feet, or about one step away from your camera. If you get closer than the closest focusing distance of your camera (see your manual to be sure), your pictures will be blurry.

    8) Pros never forget to lock the focus

    If your subject is not in the center of the picture, you need to lock the focus to create a sharp picture. Most auto-focus cameras focus on whatever is in the center of the picture. But to improve pictures, you will often want to move the subject away from the center of the picture. If you don’t want a blurred picture, you’ll need to first lock the focus with the subject in the middle and then recompose the picture so the subject is away from the middle. Usually you can lock the focus in three steps. First, center the subject and press and hold the shutter button halfway down. Second, reposition your camera (while still holding the shutter button) so the subject is away from the center. And third, finish by pressing the shutter button all the way down to take the picture.

    9) Pros take control of their pictures-taking

    Take control of your picture-taking and watch your pictures dramatically improve. Become a picture director, not just a passive picture-taker. A picture director takes charge. A picture director picks the location: “Everybody go outside to the backyard.” A picture director adds props: “Girls, put on your pink sunglasses.” A picture director arranges people: “Now move in close, and lean toward the camera.” Most pictures won’t be that involved, but you get the idea: Take charge of your pictures and win your own best picture awards

    10) Pros know the limitation of their flash

    The number one flash mistake is taking pictures beyond the flash’s range. Why is this a mistake? Because pictures taken beyond the maximum flash range will be too dark. For many cameras, the maximum flash range is less than fifteen feet-about five steps away. What is your camera’s flash range? Look it up in your camera manual. Can’t find it? Then don’t take a chance. Position yourself so subjects are no farther than ten feet away.

    11) Pros know that importance of taking in landscape or portrait mode.

    Is your camera vertically challenged? It is if you never turn it sideways to take a vertical picture. All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture. From a lighthouse near a cliff to the Eiffel Tower to your four-year-old niece jumping in a puddle. So next time out, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures

    Miscellaneous Tips

    Look through the eye piece more frequently

    Try various angles

    Be creative

    Be bold

    Steady your camera – Always or buy a tripod !



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