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Just 10 short tips about photography

Photography is translating what you see in a picture. You can just point and click, but you can also think further and then take the photo Your photos will be a whole lot more interesting. Here are 10 simple tips just to give you that little bit to get more out of standard pictures. Tips you can keep in your mind, and use easily when you want to make a good photo instead of a snapshot.


Read the light
Add depth to your image
Take your time
Look around
Tell everything
Frame it
Fill the frame
Think about the image in your head
Break the rules

An example of the importance of light in photography

Read the light

Taking photos is all about light.
How does the light comes into your frame? How intense is it? Where are the shadows? Where are the highlights?
All things that you should ask yourself before you're shooting somewhere. The light in the photo creates the mood. Very important. You should look at the light before you create the photo. Bad light will ruin a photo while great light can create a great atmosphere.

Through the interplay of shadow and light, the emphasis is more on the sunbathing lioness. She is obviously in the sun because it's comfortable. But because she is in the light the attention remains with her. The things in the shadows draw less attention.



An example of depth in a photo

Add depth to your photo

The human eye can see in width, height and depth, your camera can't. A camera can show the width and the height of a situation, but depth is not possible. While seeing a picture move your head left and right; the image remains the same. So try to bring depth to the picture by carefully picking out your subjects.
You can split a photo into 3 layers; foreground, middle and background and then subsequently fill it. A subject in the foreground can be a wonderful introduction to the background. And thus tells something about the depth of the picture.

Shooting this runner with a wide angle made her close to me to fill her in the frame. Through her shadow you attention is pulled towards the background to see in what environment the photo is made.


Take your time

Don't try to take a quick photo. It does not work. If you take your time and slowly walk around, you will often see more then when you run to your favorite place. Take a look around you and enjoy the little things. And if they really are beautiful, take a photo!

Relax is the greatest tip. If you just stay calm and you walk around in a forest, you can be blinded by the beautiful tree. But please have the patience to take a good look around. Why is that tree beautiful? What's in the background? What if you take away that one disturbing bush (by not framing it, don't pull it out of the ground)? Where should I stand?

All things you might ask yourself if you take the time before you take the camera to your eye.
You have to imagine what you want ant take your time to create it.


An example of something happening behind your back when you are photographing a sports event

Look around

Do not only focus on that one thing that you want to catch. There is so much more to see. Look around you, look left, look right. But certainly look up and also behind you. I bet that if you'll do, you come across many more interesting things.

It wouldn't be the first time for me that I put my focus on something and overlook other things. Especially in football it still happens again and again. I'm so focused on looking through the camera, the complete game passes me.

And sometimes that can be a waste of good photos, because there's happening a lot outside the lines of the field. For example, it can be very cold in winter. If you're totally focused on the match you can see the packed crowd in the stands overlook. And quite nice pictures can be sometimes be found at your back.


Tell everything

When you're somewhere, show me everything. Use different kinds of pictures. Make it in landscape orientation, but also in portrait orientation. Work with wide angles but donĀ“t forget your longer focal points. Search for wide landscapes but also get into some detail. Make variation in your photos and you get back at home with a varied choice. As a photographer you are concerned with communicating by the camera. Amuse me; tell me everything!

You can take just a single photo. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you, when photographing a building for example, walk around you can photograph a whole lot more. Create different things. Try to make an outline of a building and search for detail shots.
When your photos varies, then you will see that you create a little story. You can emphasize your small things of the building with detailed photos and prevent to show your viewers a puzzle. As a photographer, you can tell your entire story.


A example of natural framing in a photo

Frame it

A painting or a picture on the wall is often framed. And there is a reason for that. It makes the transition between the edge of the photo or painting a little less harsh. For a photo on the internet it is basically the same.
You can provide a picture of a frame, but you can also make your frame in the photo itself. By creating your photo in a way that your subject is framed by the boundaries in a setting for example. Don't immediately grab to Photoshop and put a frame around your photo. That's a bit lame. Just frame your photo in the environment.

In this example I was with a group in a forest on a rainy sunday afternoon. While some of the group went deep into the woods, we stayed with a small group behind to just what to talk about photography.
The trees left and right together with the above hanging leaves make a natural framework which keeps the focus on talking and listening people.


A phoot with a good background



Backgrounds can make or brake your photo. Make sure there are no strange things cutting through from your subject. A flagpole out of a persons head is not done. A horizon that runs through someone's neck is not an option.

Try to get your backgrounds so that they be part of the picture, but not distracting. In fact, try to make it so that the background subtly adding something to the atmosphere of the picture.

To take this photo with a little more wide angle, instead of diving into the car alone, I show a bit more of where it all happened. I tell more than the fact that the car was racing at high speed. I also tell you that the racetrack was in a green surrounding and in the middle of the hills.



Extreme close-up of a girls face

Fill your frame

Show me what you think is important
Don't be afraid to get up close. It's not bad not to show a complete face. You don't always have to show legs in a photo.

But do try to keep attention on how to cut right. Don't cut off the fingers of your model. It looks strange.
It doesn't have to be a problem to frame a face tight. If the face is what I want to show, why show the rest?



Two photos. One original and one edited

Think about the image in your head

Photography is more then pressing a button. You will have to do some post-processing. Keep that in mind while making the photo.

Here is a before and after photo. The sky is the limit. You can often see, in advance, what you can do afterwards if something is disturbing. It's an example. When the photo ran for publication, it was shown with all the signs and poles of course.


A paper plane in negative space on a footbalfield

Break the rules

When you know how to apply the rules; break them. Photography is about being creative. So be creative. Do something different, do something crazy. Show things from angles you don't expect.

By leaving a lot of space around the paper plane I emphasis the plane more.


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