Ever looked at your photos and thought they looked dull, or given a 5hr photo slide from a holiday which bored everyone to death. Here’s some easy tips to try out to make interesting and quirky photos.
1. Tell a story
One of the easiest things to think about when taking a photo is ‘why are you taking the picture?’ Usually the reason is to show you were there or to show something out of the ordinary to someone else. Therefore when taking a photo it is important to think about what other people will get out of the photo, and thus try and explain as much as possible in the photo by the choice of subject, location, lighting etc. No one wants a slide show of the same building for example, they want the single image that sums it up completely.
2. Black and White
New is always better isn’t always the case, shooting in black and white has a certain charm that is hard to replicate and can add a sense of drama and grit to a photo that is hard to replicate in colour. Some types of photography lend themselves well to Black and White, but experiment to see what you can come up with. Usually you can shoot in colour and edit in post production, increasing highlights, contrast and exposure to really separate the lights and darks.
3. Bokeh, and how I learnt to love the foreground.
By blurring the background, it instantly draws attention to the foreground and gives a professional look. Blurring occurs due to the focal length being reduced and is associated with low aperture lenses.
The same effect can be produced even using kit lenses or high f/stop lenses but to a lesser degree, to increase the bokeh, push the lens to the maximum zoom and increase the distance between the foreground and background.
4. Rule of thirds
One of the simplist ways of making your pictures look better is to improve composition. To imagine the rule of thirds, split an image into a 3 by 3 grid, then try and line up the key elements of the frame onto the lines or where lines intercept. Quite a lot of modern cameras can have this feature enabled, and even quite a lot of mobile phone cameras as well.
5. HDR Bracketing
Popularised by Apple, HDR bracketting is the process of taking multiple shots of different exposures and then stitching them together to increase the overall dynamic range of an image; hence the term High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. The dynamic range is the ability to extract detail from shadows or high brightness areas before they are blown out and no further detail can be extracted.
Most new phones have a HDR function, even some cameras but the normal process involves setting up a tripod and taking 3 or more successive shots and using Photoshop (though there are lots of free apps).
HDR shots give the image an instant punchy feel, and fall into two camps; obvious post processing, or just using HDR to extract shadows.