Basics Tips for Amazing Photographs

Could be that you are an aspiring photographer, or simply interested in it as a hobby. Could also be that all you want to know is what it takes to shoot amazing photographs. Whichever one of these people you are, this article will guide you by giving you the basic tips that you ought to know. One article cannot encompass the entirety of photography. Photography itself is a journey and a discipline. The tips given in this article are drawn from experience and as such, they will prevent you from making some of the common mistakes that many beginners make when starting out. Keep reading to find out more!

You Don’t Necessarily Need Expensive Equipment

You see, photography is an art. As such it really depends on creativity more heavily than it does equipment. Photography can be very expensive. In fact, cameras and lenses can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Antique cameras can go for millions of dollars. Ironically though, some of the most breathtaking photos were captured with most humble of cameras. That being said, as you start your photography journey a basic DSLR will do. We recommend starting out with a DSLR because this type of camera will really help you understand the mechanics of photography i.e exposure. However, some phone cameras do allow complete manual control of the camera settings, so if you have such a phone, it will suffice for now. As you progress in your photography journey, you may find that you will specialize in a particular niche. Your niche will decide what camera is best for you, and what lenses to equip it with. For now, though, work with what you have!

Take Many, Many Shots- to Get the Perfect One

Photography captures a single moment in time. A great photograph captures a single moment in time perfectly! Perfection requires the patience and thoroughness to take as many shots as possible of the subject matter, in order to pick the best. One of the most perfectly timed photographs on the internet today belongs to a photographer known as Alan Mcfadyen. He is famous for his photo depicting the perfect moment when the beak of a diving kingfisher bird touches the water. Amazingly, it took him six years and around 720,000 photos to get the perfect one. This example is extreme but it highlights a great point. There’s no such thing as too many photographs, and for you to take perfect photographs you have to be patient.

Always be Ready

As a burgeoning photographer I cannot keep count of the number of times a perfect moment to capture arose and I, unfortunately, didn’t have my photograph with me. You see, in photography, barring studio photography, there’s very little you can control. You cannot force the perfect moment to present itself. That means that you always have to be ready. Always! If you ever find yourself in a circumstance where you cannot access your camera, let your phone come to the rescue. Take a photo with your phone to remind you of the location where the amazing opportunity presented itself. More chances than not, the perfect moment may present itself again.

Scout the Area for the Best Spots

This is an overlooked tip. Not doing proper reconnaissance can cost you golden opportunities to take amazing photos. On this note, I once had an embarrassing personal experience where I saw amazing photos of a beach, only to find out that I’d actually frequently taken photos on the same beach, but on the opposite side. Don’t let that be you. Before even setting up to start shooting. You must dedicate a considerable amount of time to study your location. Moreover, if you’re looking to focus on one particular area, it helps to study the weather pattern. Having it rain right when you’re about to take an amazing landscape photograph is one of the most frustrating experience!

Practice Makes Perfect

This one goes without saying. Like any skill or art out there photography requires dedication. Commit yourself to learn. Begin with basics like exposure and move on to more complex aspects. As a beginning photographer, I was lucky enough to have an amazing instructional video guide sent with my first DSLR. It made me realize that sometimes visual learning coupled with imitation can be a better way to learn than reading. Whichever one works for you, stick to it. Some lessons that you’ll learn on your photography journey won’t be found in any book. And that’s part of the beauty of photography. You get to tell your own story!

Why You Should Never Delete Images

Photography requires patience and repetition to get the perfect shot. This often means that as a photographer you will take hundreds sometimes thousands of photographs. For instance, photographer Alan McFadyen, famous for his photograph of a diving kingfisher, took 7200 photos before getting the perfect shot. There’s a never ending debate on what should be done with photographs you deem subpar or that you don’t intend to use. Should you delete to free your disc space or should you store them? This article joins in the debate in favor of the idea that you should never delete your images. Keep reading to find out more!

Storage Is Inexpensive

When IBM unveiled the first hard disk drive in 1956, it was in the form a monstrosity that weight a ton, cost a small fortune and was only capable of storing 5mb worth of information. Today you can purchase a terabyte worth of storage for less than fifty dollars! Storage is the most rapidly growing form of semiconductor technology. More so, advancements in technology mean that today, you spend less to get more storage than you would years back. For photographers, storage space is no longer an issue warranting one to delete their footage. If you have a small SD card for your camera, you may choose to buy one with a higher capacity at very little cost. If you want to free up your SD card's space for fresh photos, deleting is not the best solution. Simply purchasing a backup drive will do. Photos are memories. Don’t delete them!

Images that Appear Bad at First Glance Could be Gems

This has happened to me on numerous occasions. As a photographer, you’re your own worst critic. In fact, most times you are too hard on yourself. After taking so many good shots, you may tend to dismiss many of them for even the most minor of defects. Do not fall for that temptation. Like editing, sometimes, fresh eyes will change your perspective on a photo's quality. For me, when I go to bed and wake up the next morning, my perspective on many of the photos I take completely changes. I become less harsh and more objective. For this reason, it is never a good idea to delete your footage, for, within the perceived pile of trash, there may be a gem or two.

Beauty is In the Eyes of the Beholder

This point ties in with the former. Because you are your own worst critic, you will always see something you could have done better in your photographs. However, always remember that this may not be the case for your consumers. Of course, you want to sell only the best, but also acknowledge that at the end of the day, as long as someone loves a particular photo of yours, whether good or bad, they will purchase it. To highlight this point, I once decided to absent mindedly edit one of my “bad” photos for the sake of it. In my mind that photo was so bad that it wasn’t even in the class of photos I considered worthy of keeping. You can imagine the shock when that horrible, error-ridden photo (in my eyes) became my highest grossing one that year. The reason is that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Future Technology May Fix Errors

Technology is fast evolving. Photo editing software is not what it used to be. Today it has so many capabilities. It is because technology is fast evolving that we suggest you do not delete your photos. Maybe, just maybe, the software may be created to correct the problem in the photo or photos you want to delete.

May Be Useful for Stacking

In particular photography disciplines such as macro photography and astrophotography, multiple exposures of the same subject matter are taken and then using stacking software, merged to portray more detail and sharpness. In such disciplines, deleting photographs because they are too many, would be the worst mistake. This is because when you want to restack them at a later date they will not be available! In these disciplines, those multiple photos of the same subject matter serve as exposure resources for one photograph. Don’t delete them!

Historical Value for Posterity

Photos have value beyond technical prowess. What seems like a trash may serve as a key insight into how things were during the taking of the photograph for future generations. Think of it as a social obligation that you have for posterity. Instead of deleting photos that you find worthless simply store them in a cheap storage solution. Posterity may thank you for your foresight years later!

Building and Testing DIY Grid Spot

If you’re doing portrait photography, grid spots are a must have. These amazing contraptions help you have more control over the intensity of your flashes light. Because they prevent light spillage, grid spots illuminate your subject perfectly, making he/she pop out from the background. Grid Spots are actually more preferable than other light modifiers because of their ease of use, their small dimensions and the fact that they don’t interfere with the mood of the background. When you think of what really goes into making a grid spot, you’ll realize that this cool product falls prey to the aggressive pricing that most photography products do. Instead of overpaying for a grid spot, it is easier to make one. For learner photographers, it is also an important lesson on lighting! Price is not the only reason you’d want to know how to make and test grid spots. On that fateful day when you’ve somehow forgotten your grid spot during a shoot, if you know how to make one, you won’t have to throw in the towel and call it a day. This article will show you how to make your own DIY grid spot, and show you how to test it to make sure it works fine. Keep reading to find out more.

DIY Grid Spot Build

This is probably one of the simplest builds I’ve seen. And it will cost you next to nothing, if not nothing. All you need to make this DIY grid spot is a tag board, some masking tape, some black straws, a ruler and a blade for cutting. You probably have all of those tools in your workshop. If not it is incredibly easy to access them! And best of all, with this build you don’t have to get your hands all messy with glue.

Begin the build by cutting the black straws into 11/2” sections. Be careful not to cut yourself. Blades are unforgiving. Once done move the straw pieces aside and grab your masking tape. Ideally, your tape should be 24”. Pull a strip of tape and place it sticky side up on your table. Following this, start placing your black straw pieces on the tape (belly side on the tape). For best results start from the center then fan out in each direction. Once done, fold over the last sticky sides on each end onto the black straws. After that process is done, you now need to measure your speed lights dimensions in order to modify the tagboard into a housing unit. Do so using a ruler or a tape measure. For best results measure directly on the tagboard, lightly marking each dimension on the board. To make folding creases on the tagboard, lightly scrape it with your blade. Be careful not to make full cuts. Fold the tagboard into a box then test it out on your speed light to confirm the fit. Once you’ve confirmed that it fits snugly, you may tape it, to give it its final form. After making the housing unit, all you need to do is to fold the black tape into a box shape. To do so, simply use the top part of your forefinger to measure out the length. Fold according to that length. Once done, ensure that the rolled up black straws fit snugly in the housing unit. If you don’t like the first folding method, there’s an alternative. Using the top part of your forefinger as a guide for folding length, fold the black straws in a zig-zag format (front then back). Each time you want to fold back, remove a single straw to make it easier. Once done secure the folded black straws with masking tape, and place them into the housing unit. You are now the proud owner of a self-made DIY Grid Spot!

Testing your DIY Grid Spot

As mentioned in the introduction, the purpose of a grid spot is to control light emission. The lighting in portraits done with a grid spot is very different from those shot without (and frankly more appealing). Grid spots make the subject stand out from the background. They do this by preventing light spillage.

Testing your DIY grid spot will, therefore, be quite easy, having the knowledge above. Simply take a portrait photograph of a subject without using your DIY grid spot. After, fit your contraption onto the speed-light and take another photo of the subject. Compare the two. The lighting subject should pop out from the background, in the photo shot using a DIY grid spot. More so, the lighting should be directed in the area around him as opposed to being diffused everywhere.