Photography for Beginners - Easy Photography Technique

Photography for Beginners Series – Easy Photography Technique

When we have some of the world’s most powerful tech in our pockets it’s sometimes hard to make the images stand out from the crowd and so these are just a few tips to get you started on how to make your images different from the rest.

Beginner Photography Series

Getting low immediately creates a connection between the subject and viewer

Get Low!

This is the number one rule I always tell people. It’s incredibly easy but also incredibly effective. Whatever you’re photographing, make sure you’re shooting it at its eye level. This creates a sense of drama and connection between the subject and the viewer. All too often I see photographers taking images of their dogs from above, looking down. This image tends to be a bit awkward as it makes the viewer feel superior to the subject.

Use the environment

Rather than positioning the subject in the middle of the frame, position it in an interesting angle and elements of the environment to create soft areas and out of focus backgrounds. This can be incredibly fun as you hunt around an environment for some colour or contrast to shoot through. You could use a bright flower in the foreground for some out of focus softness, or some lights on water to create beautiful light spots behind. Is there something going on in the background which might add to the image? For example, if I’m photographing a bird on the sea then crashing waves behind it add drama and story to the image. Sometimes we want to use our cameras to remove distraction from the background and this can be achieved through changing the mode on a phone camera or the aperture on a DSLR.

Photography for beginners series

Light reflecting off water can create
some amazing bokeh balls

Bokeh

This is the technical term for an out of focus background. The way to achieve this is fairly simple… the distance between you and the subject needs to be less than the distance between the subject and its background. The further away the background, the smoother the bokeh. If there are pinpricks of light behind the subject in the distance you might find that you can achieve “bokeh-balls” which can really enhance an image. In order to achieve that distance between the subject and the background, think about moving around and getting low down.

Find a new angle

This is particularly powerful when you’re visiting a well known landmark or location. Imagine you’re standing on a viewpoint looking out over the Golden Gate Bridge. How many people have stood in that exact location and photographed from that exact angle? Have a look around the area and see if there’s a new position to shoot from. You can even combine this with using elements of soft focus to bring more into your image. Make sure you’re safe when looking for a new angle!

Photography for beginners series

How many leading lines can you see in this image?

Leading lines

This is a technique which is often drilled into art GCSE students. The human eye quite likes lines but it doesn’t like symmetry. When you’re taking a photo of a landscape or a subject, try and look for leading lines to draw the viewer into the image. For example you could use roads, rivers, telegraph poles, walls, hedges, queues of people, shadow lines etc etc etc. Once you get your eye into looking for these lines, you’ll find that it comes quite quickly. There is always something to help you but you may need to adjust your angle. Once you’ve found a line, try and position the focus of the image along that line. It’ll help tell the story of the image and create a more engaging image for the viewer.

Don’t focus on the subject

The image you create should tell a story and so it’s sometimes important to include the environment in which you’re taking it. Try not to get too caught up on getting super close to whatever it is you’re trying to capture. Look around the area you’re working in and see if there’s more to whatever you’re photographing. Is there something in background to include, is there an interaction 1about to happen which you don’t want to miss?

Holding positions

This last point is fairly simple. The more points of contact you have on the camera and against a support (i.e. wall, floor, lamppost, car door etc) the better the image will be. Hold the camera/phone with two hands and close to your body. This will reduce the challenge of camera shake but also force you to stop and think.

So there you have it, some basic tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your photography when you’re on expedition. As a bonus tip (not really technique based), I would recommend that you invest in some extra storage – either as a USB drive or online. The last thing you need is to run out of space and start culling those amazing images you’ve captured. Make sure you get out and practice and explore using different techniques before you leave for a trip. Have fun and good luck!

Definitions and Meanings

  1. Interactions  – are one of the most sought after things in my photography style. It’s all well and good getting a nice portrait shot of a puffin for example. But if I can get a shot of a puffin fighting or catching a fish, then that image is of far greater value.

About Will Hall

Will Hall – Wildlife Presenter and Photographer. Will is an animal biologist from Hampshire, UK. He has a passion for bushcraft, wildlife and tracking which has lead him to pursue a career in outdoor education and adventure. His videography work has been seen on BBC and ITV while his photography has been featured in the Times, Telegraph and Mail. Will is currently living in Scotland where he works as a bushcraft instructor and wildlife guide in the highlands; teaching young people about nature, conservation and bushcraft – often through the medium of photography.

Why not visit Will’s Instagram for more inspiration.

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