Guest Post: 5 ways that don’t cost anything to improve a person’s photography skills

Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of ph...

Category:Wikipedia requested photographs of photography (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhancing your photography skills does not always naturally require learning directly from a college course or an evening class. There is a world full of photography enthusiasts, whose sole reliance on learning about camera stills, techniques and camera precision, all come from individual knowledge and hands on experience.

I am hoping you own a decent digital, SLR or digi/SLR camera. In order to get the best possible shots you must have a state of the art camera and know how to use it!

At The Genuine Gemstone Company, we are constantly working with cameras, even our CEO; Steve Bennett is out in the field taking shots of gemstone mines, on site in Kenya where we extract precious gemstones like sapphire to turn into beautiful sapphire rings and jewellery. Steve insists he always packs in his rucksack for the journey with a digital SLR, which he borrows from the creative team we have at our studios.

Giving you an open range of expert advice from our CEO, puts you into the field with more capability of what to expect, dealing with variables in landscape and light that affect your preparations when shooting.

1. Think ahead

Developing your digital photography skill from the outset requires a quick and easy check-list. Anticipate the finished image and prepare for it. Think about your shot in terms of exposure, colour, noise and focus.

Producing a shot with a long exposure time can produce interesting effects, such as blurs if there is movement, like wind or traffic and highly detailed outcomes shooting an item of jewellery on a long exposure. Colour can be dealt with through light sensors, filters as well as daylight, so time your photo shoot accordingly, whether it’s in the morning or afternoon.

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2. Composition of the shot

Visualise the positioning of items within your viewfinder. Use of apertures can harness a wonderful perception of depth and specialises a key focal area. By using aperture, you’re de-cluttering the surrounds of the focus point, blurring the unwanted details. Use a sturdy tripod to keep the camera level and prevent losses in clarity of the final image.

A casually shot scene can be mistakenly cropped in the darkroom or on Photoshop; however this implies the shot has not fully been visualized. To make better preparations, it is required to ask yourself what you wanted to have in, and what you intended to leave out. Do you need more or less sky? Make sure your horizon is above or below the centre to your photo, this will give a stronger balance of depth and dramatics.

3. Shooting architecture

Depending on your photo, you will want to try to compose the key elements, to try and get the sharpest image, whilst creating a sense of viewer being there. Photography often seen in architecture, and used for restaurants, hotels, grand designs of all kinds, requires an immersive experience. With an interior photo, the camera being immersed into the room, makes you feel like you were standing in that space.

Using a geometric approach further enriches the style of the photos, and makes the geometric spaces for line, proportion, shape, space and colour the emphasis. Geometric lines bring an abstract sense to the shot, which underlines the creative and almost parallel universe at the same time.

4. Shooting outdoors and motion

Light settings, shutter speed and colour filters are all imperatives to be aware of while shooting with your camera outside. If you are shooting movements, such as cyclists, then you may look to choose a sport mode, allowing the camera to track the motion. In an area dark enough for a slow shutter speed, pan the camera as the rider comes past. This kind of shot blurs the background, but captures the movements of the cyclist.

5. Shooting light properly

When shooting faces outdoors, blocking the sun and over-head light with either a piece of white foam or using a light reflector can block out unnecessary light, this ensures light is frontal and even. In low level light you can achieve remarkable results with a tripod, high ISO (1000 or higher) and a fast lens. For a low light shot, choose early morning or dusk, if you are shooting at night you will have to find a way of providing your own lighting. Night photography is great for sporting events, evening birthday parties, or viewing neon street lights. Each differing level of light brings with it its own dramatics, giving the landscape new dimensions and characteristics.

These tips are so easy and straight forward that you will be planning your next photo excursion with more ideas and style from the next time you go out. Hopefully the advice I have given you will assist your own photography and improve your capability without costing you more money.

Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America.  His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City.  Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Follow this link to read more of his work on Huffington Post and Examiner.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today.

One thought on “Guest Post: 5 ways that don’t cost anything to improve a person’s photography skills

  1. Whether you’re rushing to get a shot in a rapidly changing situation or concentrating hard on composition and light, you don’t want to be struggling with unfamiliar camera controls. Spending some time at home learning exactly what each button and dial does and where to access specific controls will help you shoot quickly and efficiently in the field.

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