It was only in the recent past, that photographers began shifting from being a hobby to a mainstream métier. People are pursuing professional photography, especially young adults. This shift was mainly catalysed by the digital boom particularly, Instagram and even Facebook. Invention of camera phones also plays an essential role. As both, camera phones and social media, advanced parallel to each other, photography, much like digital addiction, became something that everyone indulged in.
Nowadays, almost every field has a need of a professional photographer to capture every important (or unimportant) moment to create a history more vivid than any before. Professional photographers are required in areas like journalism, wildlife, astrophysics, underwater, festivities, advertising and so on. Even if, you think you are bad photographers, then fret not, because as Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”, so keep the count, till they start getting better.
Thus, we have put together a list of key tips for every professional (as well as non-professional) photographers that they apply to have better results and ultimately better photographs.
1. Sunsets and sunrises are important
Capturing moments at dusk, dawn and around that time give your photographs an edge than those captured during bright daylight. Those minutes of dusk and dawn provide you with a whole set of interesting and dramatic lights and add desired (cool or warm) colours. It will help you to make your subject look prominent while at daytime, the excessive light could create unwanted and harsh shadows around your subject.
2. Polarizing filter
Polarizing filters work against reflections and glare on glass, water surface, windows, or even spectacles. The circular disks of the filter help to block direct light and have desirable contrast. Polarizing filters, more often than not are used during outdoor shoots, mostly when its daylight. Though, in the night it is used to saturate headlights.
These reflections could also be fixed by a software in post production. Choose whichever suits you best. If you are pretty decent at the desk, then perhaps, skip the filters.
3. Rule of thirds and other compositions
Rule of thirds, the most basic form of compositions requires you to imagine 4 grid lines, 2 vertical and 2 horizontal much like a game of tic tac toe. Now try to place your subject along any grid lines. The result would give an image where the subject is placed such that it covers 1/3rd of the area in either corners with usually a lot of foreground or background. This composition is super easy to apply but prevent yourself from using is in literally all of your photographs. Although, composition still remains a flexible idea, you could try symmetry, pattern and textures, rule of odd, etc. to get you started.
4. Don’t distract your viewers
Sometimes, when a scene before you contains everything lively and attractive that you can’t help but capture all the elements in one single photograph. The resulting picture would be a chaos messier than your life. It won’t have any particular subject, even if it has, the image is too distracting. So try to not capture everything in a single photograph and practise minimalism.
5. Post production is a real thing
Post production, often prejudiced as ‘cheating’, is actually a real thing, except for photojournalists. It includes minor tweaking here and there or a fully edited photograph that end up giving a ‘magical realism’ vibe. If you are a professional photographer, its essential to develop basic post production skills.
6. Add a subject (because there’s no point otherwise)
You know, there are some photographers that have beautiful sky and a gorgeous land field and, and that’s it, there is nothing more in the image then those mentioned. The biggest flaw in such images is that they don’t have a subject. Without it, a viewer doesn’t know what to look at and that beautiful sky and land fields sort of become pointless.
Thus, you need a subject, no matter what it is.
7. Use shadows
Using shadows around your subject often gives them an intense and vulnerable look. It constitutes playing with lights (and shadows) and creating drama around it. Shadows, when done properly, can instantly grab your viewer’s attention. If you are a professional photographer, or intend to be one, then learn to work around shadows.
8. Leading lines matter
This is another kind of composition which subtly uses lines or paths that smartly leads to the subject, forcing the viewer to look at the photograph exactly how you wish them to. It let’s the viewer have a certain point of view. When done right, it creates impressive scenes.
9. Allow your image to tell a story
As the old adage goes, “ A picture speaks a thousand words”, let your images tell compelling stories. However, it holds way more meaning to a professional photojournalist. They are obliged or drawn toward capturing those moments that particular comments on the social situation of the day.
10. Get theoretical
Understanding photography has more to it than just knowing photographic skills. Indulge yourself into exploring more about photographers by reading a book about it to comprehend it deeply. You could start with Susan Sontag’s On Photography and Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars.