Taking photos is a fun and easy thing to do and it´s the best way to KEEP MEMORIES ALIVE. In the recent years the technology has become more accessible and cheaper, so that many hobby photographers and even those who have little clue about photography can EASILY BUY A GOOD CAMERA. But even the best cam in the world will not do a good photo on its own. I´m not a professional, I´m far from being one, but still, I can say that in all the years taking photos I do know a little bit about how to make good ones. Or at least better ones. And I do know how to correct the not so good ones! Read more 😉
Basically I was inspired by oh-so many photos popping up on my Facebook account, taken by friends (not saying names haha). Sometimes I really think to myself “wow, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SUCH A GOOD PHOTO, IF ONLY this and that would be different / better”. I understand that not everyone is aiming for that perfect shot, but I´m sure there are some of you out there who will appreciate reading this 10 points I put together. Considering the fact SUMMER HOLIDAYS ARE COMING UP for the most of us, this might be perfect timing to post it! I will not talk about all that “professional stuff” like how to use the shutter and adjust the right ISO and so on – I don´t feel i have the rights to do that 😉 and besides, there are many PHOTOGRAPHY BLOGS explaining it better than i would have. Instead, i concentrated on basic mistakes – HERE ARE THE 10 MOST COMMON MISTAKES in my opinion, WITH ADVICE ON HOW TO AVOID OR CORRECT THEM!
THE HORIZON LINE
First one, my favourite “summer photos mistake”. The horizon! Every summer the same story – the most beautiful beach (and possibly a brown-tanned girl waving at the camera) but then this disturbing factor – THE HORIZON IS NOT STRAIGHT. I bet not everyone will even notice it (especially those concentrating on the girl in bikini haha), but for some (like me) it´s very disturbing. Either you pay attention to it while taking the photo (some cameras have HELP LINES) or you correct it afterwards. If you have no clue using Photoshop or similar programmes, the easiest programme for such stuff is PICASA. It´s free and very easy to use!
CUTTING OFF THE FEET
You know that feeling when you kindly ask a stranger to take a photo of you as a family and you see later on that they CUT OFF YOUR FEET FOR LIKE A COUPLE OF CENTIMETRES? One one side you´re happy that you even have a photo with all of you on it, but on the other side you ask yourself: “WHY?!” So, take care of the feet. Either you add a little under the feet or you cut so much off that it´s not obvious anymore you did not pay attention to the feet – by cropping the image you can achieve the same result. Obviously, you cannot add the missing feet 😉 So, TAKE YOUR TIME and TAKE A FEW STEPS BACK if you need to, make sure everyone´s feet fit into the picture!
DO NOT USE FLASH ALL THE TIME
We have all seen them, those SELFIES IN THE BATHROOM with flash pointed into the mirror. Or in MUESEUMS, trying to take pics of whatever protected by glass. Ohh, do I need to explain? Shortly: NEVER USE FLASH WHILE PHOTOGRAPHING ANYTHING UNDER A GLASS SURFACE or at least (if you must), point the flash away from the glass surface. Here is the same object photographed with and without flash – which do you like more? 😉
DO NOT OVER-PROCESS
If you are keen on POST PROCESSING THE PHOTOS or are just starting to get to know how to do it, take care that you DO NOT OVER DO IT. It´s not a competition of who can shoot the most orange sunset or the bluest sea – we all know that using saturation is a piece of cake, so everyone can do it with just one click. Rather stick to a more natural look, it will look more real! The left photo was shot as it is, I processed it a bit in the middle one, but I clearly overreacted at the right one. SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE!
TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN SHADOW
Always KNOW WHERE THE SUN IS! And take care of you own shadow. Sometimes I like to make photos where the shadows play the main role, but if you are actually trying to photograph something else (me & Lu on the picture below for instance) then you should avoid having your own shadow on the photo. In case it happens, you can still crop it off later, but the proportions of the photo might change, so it´s better to think about it before.
Sometimes, if there are many object in the shot you camera will automatically (unless you are shooting on manual of course) focus on some of the objects. The problem is, IT MIGHT NOT FOCUS ON THE ONES YOU WANT IT TO FOCUS! Sometimes this is even hard to recognize on the little camera screen and you see it firstly on the computer. That´s why it´s always better to switch on manual and set focus on what you want! See the difference on the two photos below.
THE RULE OF THIRDS
Let me just quote Wikipedia on this one: “The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section. The main reason for observing the rule of thirds is to discourage placement of the subject at the centre, or prevent a horizon from appearing to divide the picture in half.” So basically, there is nothing really wrong with the picture on the left, but the COMPOSITION does look better on the right one!
TAKING PHOTOS THROUGH CAR WINDOWS
Taking photos from a moving car can be tricky, but they can also work out just fine if you have one thing in mind – the objects / surface close to the road will never be sharp and will always be SMUDGED (depending on how fast you go). So either you are aware of that and CROP THE IMAGE later on or you zoom in already while photographing a bit and concentrate on the landscape which is far away. In any case, put the window down to avoid reflections (especially at sunny weather).
DO NOT FORGET TO WAIT FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT
Often, in order to get that perfect shot, you will have to wait! So, PATIENCE IS IMPORTANT. Either you are standing in a big city on the main market and want to photograph a church with the most beautiful staircase in front of it – but the staircase is filled with bus tourists who just stopped for a visit or you are waiting for a lion to show up on a safari or a geyser to erupt – you will simply have to wait for it to happen or for the crowds to get lost. The first shot might be okay or good enough, but I´m sure it will be an even better one if you wait and take your time!
BACKUP YOUR PHOTOS!
Last but not least, backup! It happened to me also – all my photos were away and since then I try to always MAKE COPIES. I save them to another disk and leave them on the memory card sometimes, I send some to my email and I still develop some and put them in an old-fashioned photo album. Especially since we have Lu, because I would like his to see them once he is older! Also, a good alternative to an album is a PHOTO BOOK, which takes even less space and lets you decorate it like you want to, add some text, etc. So, don´t just make photos with your phone and wait until the phone is dead so that you can buy a new one and forget all about the photos on the old one ;).
There you have it! Hope it will help someone make “better pictures”, although the main point is having fun at photographing and as long as you like how they turn out everything else is not important :).