It seems like everyone and their mothers want to claim the title of photographer these days. No matter the quality, I have quickly seen many individuals sprout up photography businesses to feed their inner passion. Although not everyone may be great at photography, have no fear. Here are the five quick tips I give anyone who asks me to the “how to instantly become a better photographer” question.
Mind you, if you have a fair amount of experience with a camera, this may not be the article for you.
1. Take your camera off of the automatic setting
Want to begin to take full control of how great your photos could turn out?
Bite the bullet and begin learning the manual controls. Yes, I know it is sometimes way easy to throw your camera on the automatic setting and get a decent photo, but if you are interested in going from mediocre to good, this is the first critical step. Turn your camera switch from the green square of automatic land and go to the big fat “M” symbol.
Here’s a quick and dirty tutorial as to how you can set it up:
2. Switch your lens from automatic to manual
Woah, is this a recurring theme? Why yes it is.
Just like you did with the manual camera settings, I challenge you to use your lens for what it’s made to do, focus.
By setting your camera to manual focus you have full control to move the focus in and out to get creative focal lengths for certain subjects you are shooting. Why is this important? I will save all that mumbo jumbo for a more advanced photography article but in simple terms it gives you full creative control. Like this…
So this photo is a little too yellow but it will serve as a good example for focus. You can see the blur in the background that we call “Bokeh” achieved through full manual control of the camera and lens. With quality (yet cheap) lens like a Canon 50mm 1.8, it will allow you to really capture this focal effect.
3. Learn the Rule of Thirds
While many camera tips help you shoot better looking photos, learning the rule of thirds will help you compose better shots. Sure, a photo can be composed really well and captured with even poor lighting. However, a key component to any great photo starts at the core, which is the rule of thirds.
If you have never heard of this rule, let me break it down for you in easy terms.
Imagine your image as a rectangle. Now, cut it into thirds horizontally and diagonally with lines. The rule of thirds says that when you are positioning your subject in a shot, you should have them centered on one of the four crossing points.
Think it’s a weird concept? Just try it, and see the response you will get from your fans!
4. Over filtering killed the photography star
We all are extremely tempted to use overwhelming vignettes, extreme Photoshop filters, and the high contrasty slide bars of death. To be completely honest, unless you are a well oiled machine on your camera (which you aren’t if you are reading this) don’t waste your time in Photoshop just yet.
I use Photoshop daily, but it wasn’t until after learning to create awesome shots using only what the camera could give me that I began to lean on Photoshop more. I find too often that people will ask me: “How do you make this photo I took look great in Photoshop?”
This is confusing because if you are a rockstar during the photoshoot with your camera settings, then the editing portion of your workflow will be much quicker in photoshop.
It’s understandable, all beginning photographers love to play in Photoshop. Just be careful, a great photo can turn extremely ugly in a snap when you start playing around with it in post production.
5. Don’t call yourself a professional photographer
We all love to take photos. But just like anything in life, it takes time to master. Be patient, and don’t crave the title of “photographer” more than you crave perfecting your craft. There are plenty of professional photographers out there that have spent ten or more years in the industry only to be extremely humble and still consider themselves as a learner of the trade.
Be humble, and wait for others to title you as an awesome photographer. Not the other way around. It will make you work harder at producing something that leaves people speechless.
This guide should leave you with a strong starting point towards learning the art of capturing moments. These tips I have written under the assumption that you currently own a DSLR Camera. If you are unsure of what a DSLR camera is, I recommend you look at investing in a great starter DSLR camera for beginner photographers like the Canon T5i.
If you have any questions about the Canon line of camera’s, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.