While the exposure triangle is usually simplified into a combination of three elements i.e. ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, it isn’t as easy as that. In order to be a good photographer, you will need to do some reading on exposure. Moreover, how your camera looks at light is also important. There are also various metering modes on your camera that tell it how to look at a scene and you will have to decide which mode suits best. A picture that has been taken using the evaluative mode will drastically differ from one that was captured in the spot metering. If you do not get the exposure right, then your pictures might come out under- or overexposed!
So many different types of modes exist that it can be difficult to know them all. However, in order to get better at taking pictures, you will need to read up on them. There is the auto mode, and then there is also the pre-programmed option. Cameras will also have an Aperture or Shutter Speed Priority and you can choose between them, depending on your needs. There are many misconceptions floating out there about which modes are best under which conditions. Moreover, many people will also swear by auto mode since manual mode seems like too much work to them. However, there are conditions when only the manual mode will work. Thus, you need to do some reading and practicing with each mode to find out which mode will serve you better in a particular shoot.
One of the most powerful and yet underutilized tool, the histogram can be quite useful of you know how to use it. Its purpose is to show you an exposure in a mathematical light after you have taken the photo. Simply put, histograms will tell you the degree of evenness of the exposure of a photo. Do not depend on an LCD screen to perform this function for you. This is because the ambient lighting conditions can influence not only the photograph but also the LCD screen itself. That is why you cannot depend on LCDs and should know how to make the best use of histograms.
That is easy for us to say, you think, but how am I supposed to become a good photographer when there are so many misconceptions to clear and things to learn. Don’t worry, here are some ways you can do just that:
One way to get better at this craft is to look for photography clubs that meet in your area. It is highly likely that you will come across more than one of them. If you are on a tight budget, then look for clubs that are free and enroll in one. Not only will you be learning from your fellow photographers when you join one of those clubs, there will be other advantages. Once you become a part of that community, it is likely you will also be given information about events that you can attend and photograph.
Another way to learn is to look up advanced photographers. If you find one who is locally situated, then you can always request them to let you assist them. As you work a job with them, you will learn more about expert tips and techniques that only a pro like them can offer!
If you are interested in landscape photography, then learning how to use a circular polarizer might be a good idea. While you should always try shooting with what you own, instead of spending a lot of money on gadgets. However, in this case, you should make an exception. A polarizer is a very useful gadget for a photographer.
You should get a tripod if you don’t already own one. A tripod could create new opportunities for you and help you experiment more. With it, you can try new things with low light photography, such as shooting at night. It can make for some beautiful images. With a tripod, you can also capture interesting pictures of both moving and non-moving subjects. Use it to take sharp pictures of non-moving subjects while blurring out moving ones.
If you are going to shoot during different times of the day, then it is best to pick the right hour to do it. If you are shooting in bright sunlight, then it is likely that you will end up with bad photographs. This is because it can produce ugly shadows on and around the subjects. Therefore, if you must shoot in the morning, then try to do so early in the morning. Similarly, late in the afternoon, the light will be softer and make for good pictures. In order to catch a sunrise and sunset at the right time, you can always Google the time and be there on time.
The next thing you need to take into consideration are the weather conditions. Since clouds can make the light diffused, a cloudy day is perfect for shooting portraits. However, if the cloud cover is too thick and dense, it will be too dark for photography. It will be especially difficult to shoot fast-moving objects in such an environment. You will have to try and see what works for you and use that in your pictures.
This is a topic that will be covered in detail in one of our later books but the time for storing your pictures manually on your hard drive is long past. You need to start using the amazingly easy to use tool or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Without it, you might be using Adobe Photoshop + Camera Raw to process your images. The problem with doing that is that the whole process painstakingly long and difficult. There is also the added complication of files scattered among the various folders when you use the conventional method. Once you switch to Lightroom, you will be able to store, process and organize your pictures in a much more efficient way. Moreover, Camera Raw – Lightroom has all the features that are found in Camera Raw.
If you want to take great pictures, then you can’t just sit at home and wait for the opportunities to come walking. Instead, you are the one who will have to do some walking! Some good places that will make for excellent pictures include local, state, and national parks. Try to pick ones that are within driving distance because nobody expects you to travel overseas just for a picture. Visit such a place and spend some time looking around for a place that would potentially make a good subject.
If you are interested in landscape photography, then you will need some practice to figure out what works and what doesn’t. For example, if you come across a still lake, you can use it to photograph an image where its surface mirrors the trees in the background etc. In order for a spectacular image though, you might have to go to the lake at sunrise and sunset. It is highly possible that you will only be able to get the image that you are satisfied with after more than one visit.
If on the other hand, you are into portrait photography, then what you will need is a good background. The good news is that it is often easy to find a good background. It only needs to be something interesting and you will need to use your imagination for that. It could be a painted fence, an old tree, or a building.