Saturday, February 14, 2015

Top Photography Tips

   It occurred to me that it might be interesting to do a few posts on photography. I have so many photos that I've taken, and although I've only had about two or three years of practice I still think I have a few useful tips to share. I didn't want to overwhelm anyone, which is why I'm sticking to five with extra long paragraphs. So grab a cup of tea, coffee, or whatever you find yourself drinking or munching and enjoy!

The Camera Doesn't Matter, Your Skills Do
   It doesn't matter if you're using your iPhone or a $1,000 canon. The first camera I used wasn't even an actual "photo" camera. It was a small, pocket sized video camera, with no effects - just a tiny silver button that took the photos, taking at least 3+ seconds to focus and five seconds to show me the photo afterwards. It wasn't until very recently that I finally got my camera, which happened to be a pricey Christmas gift from my parents. Still, even when I had that old camera, people could almost never tell that I was using pretty much a third world camera. I'm kidding, of course, but you know what I mean. I probably could have gone on using that camera for a while more, but then I started taking pictures for a Dance School and I needed a camera that could capture motion instantly. So when you are looking for a camera, do not think bigger is better, rather, you skills matter. Not as catchy, but more true.

Listen to Music While You Take (and Edit) Your Photos
   I know this may sound cheesy, but music makes for better photos. There's something about jamming that really gets me clicking, you know? Music is inspiring, and frankly, I get better photos when I'm inspired. I can't say I always listen to music when I work, but whenever I do, I get good results. Editing and listening to photos as well is helpful, since even though editing photos is lots of fun, they're some days when I just don't want to do it, so enter music!

Beware of Overediting
   One Mistake I have to admit I've been guilty of making countless times is overediting. When I was starting out, especially with pictures of myself, I was extremely into editing. Airbrushing gave me perfect skin, vibrancy settings gave my picture a brighter and more "professional" look, and blemishes and flyaways were magically removed. It was addicting, and combined with typical early-teenage insecurities (some of which I still have) editing turned into a full blown reproduction. The photos turned out to be extremely artificial looking. My face looked like a plastic cover, my eyes looked dead and glassy, and any other background looked like an oversaturated version of the original. Now I've learned my lesson, and instead of doing the full shebang, I tend to only brighten and contrast slightly, and I use airbrushing lightly. I'm not saying that I now never make overediting mistakes - I still sometimes have to hold back, but the older, more honest part of myself knows better.

Snap Happy
   How ever will you learn if you don't practice? Take you're camera wherever you can and take pictures of whatever you feel is inspiring or beautiful. Keep your eyes open - sometimes the most beautiful things are the most inconspicuous. However, even though taking as many photos as possible is key, be sure to go through your files later and delete any blurry, unflattering, bad-quality photos so that you won't get overwhelmed when you try and look at your photos later.

Avoid Blurry Photos
   Blurriness is something I feel is very thin ice when you're taking a photo. Some photos I've seen look amazing and they're blurry, and I've even taken some of my own, but it can be very hard to take a good photo when it's blurry - especially when you're starting out. I'd say that 9/10 blurry photos are unappealing, which is why I'd like to share some ways to produce a sharper image. My first tip is simply to take the time and make sure you're camera is focused. Anyone can snap without checking to see if the subject is in focus first, myself included, but it is always worth it to take a few seconds to focus on your subject before taking any photos. Another way to avoid blurriness is to increase your shutter speed. (The speed at which a camera takes a photo.) A lot of blurriness is caused by holding the camera for too long while it takes a picture. Naturally, your hands will start shaking (sometimes so slightly you don't notice it yourself, and as a result - blurriness galore.

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