Ticking off activities from your bucket list is an incredible feeling, whether it's trekking through the amazon or rock climbing in Dorset. Nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment, but have you ever returned from a trip, looked at your photos and thought they don't quite reflect your experience?
With the tips below, you can improve your photography skills with very little effort, have fun in the process and take some truly beautiful photos to remember that once in a life time experience.
Lets get stuck in to our 5 top tips for capturing better photos!
1. Learn the basics of framing
Learning the basics of how to frame a shot can easily transform your photos from dull to dazzling. There are many different ways to frame a photo, but the most effective method is the rule of thirds.
Have you ever used your camera and seen this grid appear and wondered why? They're there to help you take a more engaging photo that help to add more balance to your shot.
The horizontal and vertical sections of the photo are split into 3 equal sections, forming 9 rectangles. By placing your subject on one of the intersection points of these lines you can create a sense of separation in the photo, between your subject and the back ground.
If you have any straight lines in your photos, like a horizon line or the vertical edge of a wall, try placing them on one of the third lines to create negative space for your shot.
Leading line are another great way to draw you into a photo. Our eyes naturally photo diagonal lines of a photo and lead us to the subject. In the photo above, shot at Villa Honneg, in Switzerland, you can see the edge of the pool draws your eye into the subject, Marta, standing at the edge. The leading lines don't always have to be straight though. A winding river whose course starts in the bottom corner of your photos and works its way up and be a great way to draw attention to a photo.
These are a few rules you can use to improve your photos, but don't feel like you have to stick to them all the time. Rules are made to be broken after all.
2. Get creative with your bucket list shots
The best way to learn is by trial and error. We learn so much from our mistakes and photography is no different. There is no wrong way to take a photo, but by trying different things we can take a photos that's more pleasing on the eye.
By trying different things, like using props, shooting at different times of day, shooting through transparent objects or trying different angles ,we can often surprise ourselves.
If you're taking a shot of a child or animal, try getting down to their eye level, or even lower and shoot up to give them a sense or importance in your shot.
Don't be afraid of looking silly and experimenting. It's all part of the process of improving your skills.
3. Take your time
How many times have you arrived at a view point and seen someone rock up, lift there camera, fire off a quick snap and leave? How do you think that kind of shot will look? By taking your time and thinking about what it is you are trying to photograph you can really improve your photo. Using the rule of thirds we talked about before, is your subject positioned in the right place? Look at the background and foreground. Is there a tree sticking out of your subjects head? Is there a person walking behind you or a bus about to come into your shot.
Take your time and think about what you are shooting and more importantly, what you don't want to be shooting.
4. Don't forget to move
This is one of the most important things to remember when you get to a location and want to take a memorable shot. Keep moving. Frame your shot and see how it looks if you move a little to the side. Does this crop out a "please don't litter" sign from your shot. Try moving closer to your subject to give it more focus. Try taking a step back to get more into the frame. Does this give it more context? Think of a child at a festival. If you're too close you might get a lovely portrait, but by stepping back you might see a part of the stage or a lead guitarist shredding a solo.
By moving and constantly questioning is this the best position to be in you can quickly learn to take a better photo.
5. Get to know your camera
This may sound obvious, but get to know your camera. Your camera could be a high end DSLR, a point and click camera or even your smart phone. What ever you're shooting with, you need to practise. If manual settings seem to complicated to start with check to see if your camera has different profiles. Is there a night mode for capturing low light images? Is there a sport mode that would capture a crystal clear shot of a jumping dolphin?
Explore how your camera works so when you want to capture that once in a life time shot you don't spend your time fumbling with controls and miss that shot.
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