This time last year I posted a blog called Photography 101, so I thought it was time for your next class – Photography 201! Last time we covered the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed and ISO), so today we’ll go a little deeper and discuss composing your images, when to use your flash and tips on how to avoid camera shake.
Have you heard of the rule of thirds? I don’t think it should be a ‘rule’, but more of a guide. It involves composing your photo so that your subject takes up two thirds of the 9-box grid. Take photos however you want to take them! But I do think it’s worthwhile taking some time to mention the grid lines in your camera and using these as a guide when composing your photos.
Take an extra breath before pressing the button. Don’t rush your shots – take a look through the view finder for a few more seconds than you normally would and decide if your subject is straight. Have a think about what’s behind or next your subject – taking a step forward/ back/ up / down can make a huge difference in creating space around your subjects. Use the grid lines inside your viewfinder to align both vertically and horizontally. Do you need to tilt your lens a little to straighten up your image? It’s much quicker and easier than doing it in Photoshop later!
No-one likes the ‘ghost’ look in their portraits so use your flash sparingly! If you’re outside during the day, then you probably don’t need your flash. Some cameras have them setup so they take automatically. I suggest turning this off, as it’s often unflattering for portraits. If you think it’s a bit dark, then up your ISO (to 1600) to bring in more light, and adjust your shutter speed.
There’s nothing worse than going through your photos and noting that they are slightly blurry from camera shake. This can occur due to low light, shaky hands, fast moving subjects, low shutter speeds or just plain bad luck! Some ways I recommend you reduce this include:
Using a tripod – especially for low light situations.
Increasing your ISO (say up to 1600) to bring more light into your camera.
Use your body – is there a wall or bench you can lean on? Anything you can do to support your hands and arms will help.
Did that make sense? I hope so! Are you even more confused than before?! I hope not! If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask – I’d love to help! take a look at my last post here for a refresh and practice, practice, practice! Good luck with your photography journey and don’t be afraid to share your images with the world.
Let me know if you have any requests for class 301 :)