1: Shoot in manual mode and with RAW files.
When I first started photography, I never shot in auto mode. I immediately started in aperture mode, and it was awesome to learn how the camera adjusts to the aperture I chose. After shooting in aperture for a few months, I switched to manual and my life was forever changed.
If you don’t know how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO interact with each other, that is definitely something you will need to know before graduating to manual mode. In manual, you set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed all by yourself. This is the best way to get the exact settings, and it is the only way I shoot now.
A RAW file is the image as seen by the camera’s sensor. It’s like unprocessed film. Instead of letting the camera process the image for you and turning it into a JPEG file, the RAW file allows you to have complete control over the editing of your image. RAW files are a definite must for me.
2: Sense of Depth
When I first started photography, this is one of the concepts I just couldn’t get down. You want to use sense of depth on your scenery photos. To create a sense of depth, you’re going to need a wide angle lens, and some scenery (obviously). Wide angle lenses emphasize linear perspective by allowing the distance between the foreground and the background of the scene to expand, thus emphasizing the appearance of converging lines.
Converging lines are a great way to show distance. Converging lines get smaller the farther away they get, eventually disappearing at the horizon. When shooting to create a sense of depth, position your scenery to create a depth of field and use a smaller aperture.
3: Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds says an image should be divided into nine equal squares by two evenly spaced vertical and two equally spaced horizontal lines. Important elements of the photo should be along these lines. This rule is said to make photos more appealing to the human eyes. It’s a great tip to help you position your subjects into the scene. Example:
4: Don’t take photos at eye level
This is a tip I learned from Jessica Whitaker. Photos straight on are almost always an unflattering angle. Jessica says that standing slightly on your tip toes and angling your camera downward slightly onto the subject is more flattering, and I totally agree with her! Jessica takes a lot of fashion photos and angling her camera like this allows for more of the model to be seen as well.
It’s hard to find places to shoot sometimes, but be open minded. Old buildings, college campuses, open fields, city streets. You can shoot almost anywhere! You really only need a small chunk of a red brick wall to take some great portrait photos.
Some of the most beautiful photographs I have seen were taken on the sides of the roads in some flower bushes. Be open to trying weird locations. Your best photos will come when your creativity is flowing!