Delving into the world of photography can be as surface or as deep as you want it to be. As a new photographer, there’s a ton of information to absorb. It can be intimidating at first. Through the years, I’ve discovered there are three areas new photographers should work on before they advance on to harder elements. By mastering these elements, your work can and will be taken to new heights. You’ll build outward upon them and be able to more effectively break the rules of photography as you move forward.
Let’s check out the three elements you need to focus on as a new photographer.
- Light – I’ve discussed lighting often. It’s also a critical part of my SNAP HAPPY courses too—and with good reason. The right lighting can truly make or break a photo. This however, doesn’t mean you have to stick yourself into the “golden hour” box and never get out. (Though, I highly recommend spending some time playing with photos in this special light.) Understanding the temperature or tone of the light, the intensity, direction, and the contrast it creates will guide you to the best image possible. Through careful observation, a new photographer can make just about any light source work for them, instead of against them. There’s definitely good reason photographers obsess over lighting—and why you will too. Take the time to truly understand the element of light and the way it affects your subject matter.
- Composition – Being able to place items of interest within an aesthetically pleasing position is crucial for photos that wow. For beginners, learning and utilizing the Rule of Thirds is a great place to start. This rule basically breaks up your frame into nine equal squares (or two horizontal lines and two vertical). By placing your points of interest on the lines, you can capture a much more visually interesting photo. Our eyes will naturally find the subject in any image. Centering them in the frame is actually pretty boring to the viewer. By utilizing the Rule of Thirds, you’ll set yourself on the right foot to be able to later build upon this rule and even break it when the images call for it. Smartphones and cameras these days give you the option for setting up your grid to be seen as you take your shots. I highly recommend you use it until you can comfortably find your thirds without it.
- Perspective & Focus – While these are technically two different elements, they go together nicely. Understanding how to take a photo from a perspective slightly different from our own can turn a nice photo into a spectacular one. Experiment with perspective when lining up your shots. Zoom in, zoom out. Get lower, or go higher. Play with your focus. (See how I slid that in there?) Change your depth of field and know where your focal points really are.
- Snap Photos Daily – You can’t master something unless you put in the time. It’s been said you need to put in upward of 10,000 hours into learning and practicing a new craft before you become a master. Photography is no different. This why it’s so important to make a daily ritual out of taking photos and perfecting your style.