You love photography, have a good camera and want to improve your skills but you don’t know where to start? Read these 9 tips and get motivated!
1. THE A OF APERTURE
When shooting portraits, it’s best to set a wide aperture (around f/2.8 or less) to capture a shallow depth of field. Make sure to put the point of focus on your model’s eyes and hello blurry background! Good to know: small aperture = less in focus, and a large aperture = more in focus. A blurred background will make the model stand out better and improve your picture. For shooting landscapes or cityscapes, a large aperture like f/16 or f/22 would be better. Then focus one third into the scene to ensure your photos are acceptably sharp from the foreground to the horizon. With tightly composed portraits, focus on the eyes; with wider compositions, focus on the head.
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SHUTTER SPEED
To avoid motion blur in your pictures, use a shutter speed of 1/125 sec or more. You can use a lower shutter speed when working with a tripod or if you have very stable hands :) If you would like to capture a high speed movement (a jumping model or driving cars for example) a fast shutter speed (around 1/800 or more ) will freeze the action completely. But remember, when using a high shutter speed you will need a lot of light or a flash light. An other option is to increase the ISO.
3. ISO FOR LOW LIGHT SITUATIONS OR MOVING PEOPLE
During a fashion shoot the models are moving a lot in front of my lens, they change their facial expressions and move their body to let me capture their best pose. Besides the moving model, I also move around to find the best composition. This means I always shoot with my camera handheld. To avoid motion blur as I told you above, you’ll need a high shutter speed. But to work with a high shutter speed you’ll also need more light. No problem, just increase your ISO, go from ISO 100 to ISO 800 or more and see what happens! Be aware for the noise when using a high ISO rate. But I’m sure the noise is better than a blurry, useless picture!
4. BE CREATIVE
Be creative with your compositions, shoot from a lower angle or take a chair and go up. Don’t forget to keep moving, maybe you’ll see a better angle if you go a bit more to the left. Zoom in and fill the frame completely for a new composition. Open your eyes and experiment! But also be creative with your ideas and concepts. Photography will get more interesting when you are able to create your own vision or even create your own world. The thing I like about photography is that it makes me able to tell my own stories and create something new (instead of just capture reality). Get inspired by travels, art, books, magazines or music and dare to express your vision!
5. BE A DIRECTOR
As a fashion photographer, I direct a lot. There are some models that don’t need a lot of direction, and I love to be inspired by their expressions and movements but I won’t lose sight of my direction. You can’t wait for the right shot appearing at the LCD screen of your camera, you have to create it! I also wrote a post about the importance of model casting, you can read it here. Beside the model, it’s also important to communicate with the other team members and give them directions as well. Also for shooting family portraits or other types of photography, people expect the photographer to take controle about the situation or to give the right directions.
6. CONNECT WITH YOUR SUBJECT
I noticed that my photos are better when I had a good connection with the model. We talked and had a good laugh before the moment when we stepped in our roles of model and photographer, we created a positive vibe for ourselves. Besides this, it is also interesting to hear peoples stories and learn from each other.
7. COLLABORATE WITH OTHER CREATIVES
Get out or search the internet to find other creative people from your industry. When I just started (at the age of 16) I loved working with fashion design students so I was able to learn to collaborate with other people. Moreover, my pictures turned from basic portraits to real fashion. Because I captured beautiful and special clothes instead of a model in jeans and a white t-shirt ;) The designer also tells about her concept and you probably will inspire each other for the best results. But also connecting with set designers, make-up artists, illustrators or painters can be very inspiring and help you to move forward!
8. DON’T COMPETE AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
I know, it’s hard to ignore all the good photographers out there, but don’t compete and believe in yourself! Why should others believe in you as a photographer if you don’t believe in yourself? I have always dreamed of working for high end fashion magazines, and when I just started and compared my pictures with the editorials in these magazines, I was prospectless and seemed impossible. But for some reason I knew that this was what I wanted, so I worked very hard for it. Some of them already came true, but everyday I still work my ass off :) to achieve my dreams! Dream big and work hard!
9. NEVER STOP SHOOTING
Shoot whenever and where ever. As I mentioned in my other posts about photography tips, the best way to learn photography is to shoot, shoot, shoot and experiment! Get to know your camera and the settings and don’t be afraid to ask other people to help you (to be your model or to join you on a photography trip for example.) Photography and exploring your camera is fun but it can take some time. Don’t be impatient and constantly challenge yourself!