by Lance Murray, owner of Lance Murray Photography
For me, the ability to capture a moment in time to cherish for years is what makes photography amazing. I mainly photograph for the pure joy of capturing an image.
Here are a few tips you may find helpful as an amateur photographer:
- Understand the principles of composition, the rule of thirds, and when to break them. The more interesting you think something is, the more weight you should give it when framing the image, and there maybe more than one thing requiring the same weight. The rule of thirds is not all about numbers, it is about balancing the proportions of interesting elements in your frame. (Editor’s Note: The rule of thirds is where one imagines breaking an image down into thirds — both horizontally and vertically — so there are nine parts. Important compositional elements should then be placed along the lines or their intersections.) After you know that, your composition will show the world in the way you see it. When taking a photo, shoot from the heart, look for what’s appealing, and have fun with photography.
- Master your camera, get familiar with your equipment. Understand how to use your settings in the menu and what the buttons on the outside of your camera can accomplish.
- Understanding light and how you can use it to your advantage is important. For instance, when you are outside and it’s a sunny day, your average exposure at ISO 200 would be a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second at F/16. This should be pretty close to what you want, so after you have taken the shot, check your image in your camera monitor to see if it looks too dark or too light. Chances are it will either be slightly overexposed (too light) or underexposed (too dark). A common technique used is called bracketing your exposure, which means dialing in the exposure by overexposing or underexposing 1 or 2 f/stops or increasing or decreasing your shutter speed.
- Try not to use the auto settings, and focus when you can. You can still use auto focus when the camera is not set to the auto setting.