Sunday, November 29, 2015


And I am going to include all types of photography, from using your cell phone, small
digital camera, to the serious DSLR user.

Now I speak a lot about how to make your pictures better a lot on this blog.  I think if I can help you enjoy your pictures more, then you will take more pictures, you will become a famous photographer, and I will be happy to have helped someone become what they want to be.  Sounds great!   So, anyway, I am going to say that I get a lot of my ideas from other great photographers and other writers who also write on this subject.  I think that we all have that passion to help people enjoy this hobby, and hopefully they will enjoy it enough to help other people enjoy it as well.  My goal, of course is that you will constantly use this blog as a source for increasing your knowledge of how to take better photos, and then with the "Photos of the Week", you will see how it is done, and you will be inspired by what comes from this blog.

So, with that, here are some tips that I have learned from my fellow photographers of how to make your photography even better.

Tip #1-   Keep it simple.  Or as we jokingly say:  KISS (Keep it simple, silly).  Don't clutter your photo with too much stuff.  Even in professional portrait studios, the portraits that are the most stunning are the ones where one or two lights are used.  But, also in landscapes and still life, keep it so that you can focus on just one subject, instead of the things around you.

Photo credit:  Donna Ramos
 I was really taken back the other day, by this beautiful flower:  Look at how beautiful the flower is.  Look at how you are not distracted by anything else.  In this photo there is
 nothing in the background.  All you see is the beautiful flower.  If
you can, get the subject isolated so that you are focused on just the subject.  Your photo is much more dynamic and exciting.  I used to know a photographer who specialized in close-up photography of flowers etc. and he carried in his camera bag a black velvet cloth so that he could make his background dark and plain like this.  I don't know if Donna did this, but, I can say that the lighting and background she used is phenomenal.  Simple photos are the key.

Tip #2-    Check all the details.  Yes, the killer of a good photo.  What is in the background?  What is on the person's face?  What is that dirty shirt?  Is the jewelry crooked?  Is there telephone lines ruining your perfect landscape?  Is there creases in the background?  Is the room a messy room?  Is the closet door open?  Is there a tree growing out of the person's head?  How is the girl's makeup?  Where is your camera bag (I love that one)?  Is there a car in the distance that is ruining your landscape photo?  A fence that you don't want?  So many things you can check.

Tip #3-   Wait for the light to be right.  Patience can make the difference between a good shot and a mediocre shot.
Photo Credit:  Steve Luck Photography

If you wait for the right time, the right place, then  you will capture the right photo.  Sometimes, you will have to create that time by getting up early as well.  I hate to get up early from my bed, sometimes, but, sometimes I know that the clouds will be just right, the sun will shine just right through those clouds, and that the timing of the "perfect photo" will depend on if I get my carcass out of bed.  I often tell myself that if I want to be a good photographer, I will get up early, and get that right light, or wait one more hour for the perfect photo.  

Tip #4-   Get closer.  Yes, that's a tough one sometimes.  The subject is too far away?  Don't get too close to wildlife, obviously.  Use a big lens to get you closer.  But, let's look at scenery for example.  I like to put something in the foreground when I take my photos, simply to give it framing, and to give the viewer something to look at in the foreground.  
Photo Credit:  Lanny Cottrell

Ha!  You probably didn't think I took pictures, huh?  Here is one of my own, but, really, interesting color hues in the sky, with a trees in the background, but, trees in the foreground to give you something to focus on so that you feel part of the whole scenery.  Scenery sometimes seems too far away.  It's not a bad idea to put something in the foreground if you can add dimension to your photo.  

Tip #5 -   Think before you shoot.  That is a tough one.  Sometimes  photos happen fast, but, where possible, give your shot some thought.  Think about the most important elements of the scene and decide if you are at the right angle, if you should be taking the photo with a different exposure, different shutter speeds.  What is it you want to say about your photo?  
When you go out to take photos to seriously take photos, then every photo should have some thought behind it.  If you have the larger DSLR, do you have a lens that would create something even more spectacular?  If you can add filters to create special effects, what would you use?   In the cell phone cameras, you have Instagram or PicsArt that you can use to alter the photo (or other apps).  So many choices to use today that will make your photography more expressive.  What can you do with the shot that you are about to take, that will make it better?  That is when you start to have some real fun.

Tip #6-    And the final one:   Take lots of photos.  There is no better way to learn about photography and improve your photos than taking lots of photos.  I love taking pictures today that back when we had film.  If you mess up with today's cameras, and you just don't like it, delete the photo from your memory of you card, and try again, if it's that bad.  Then take more.  Imagine coming home with only good photos.  It is so great to be a photographer today.  Plus, you learn from taking a lot.  Take a lot, bring them back where you can see the photos big, on your computer screen, and then see which ones really look good.  Sometimes I don't really judge a photo when I am looking on a small screen on my camera, as good as the screen is.  But, bring it home, get it big, and learn from it that way.  I picture every picture worth enlarging and hanging on the wall.  

Photo Credit:  Lanny Cottrell


Thanks for joining with me this week for this special subject.  Hope this helps in taking better photos.  Don't miss this weeks "Photos of the Week".  And, I will see you next Monday for another great topic of how to take better photos.

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