Having spent 40 years in the classroom as a full-time educator, my mother is an exceptionally creative person. She can cook, sew, draw, paint, and sketch. But as she said to me in her email, "I am totally not sure about this photography stuff."
1. Look at everything
Taking a photograph is about more than just capturing the subject. A good photographer must take into consideration lighting, color, contrast, and the background. It is important to look at everything you see in the viewfinder, not just the main subject. Before snapping the shutter, ask yourself these questions:
- Have I looked at all four corners within the viewfinder?
- Does the background look clean and clear?
- Is the shot clear of any miscellaneous objects that I don’t want photographed?
2. Have patience
Unlike painting, sculpting or dance, photography is an art that photographers often do not have complete control over. A portrait photographer may have to deal with a screaming baby; a landscape photographer may have to work with cloudy skies; a wedding photographer may have to put up with the dreaded photo bomber. While each of these things is outside of the photographer’s control, the one thing the photographer can control is when s/he snaps the shutter.
Getting the right shot requires more than skill—it often takes patience and the insight to know when and when not to shoot. Waiting for the right time is just as important as having the correct composition and camera settings.
Following the rule of thirds and always keeping a light source at your back are great tips that often produce great photos. But don’t be afraid to break those rules. Experimenting with your camera may lead to unexpected but fabulous results.
4. Photoshop does not fix all
As a photographer, you may often hear people joke about Photoshop and all the ways a photo can be altered using this program. Photoshop is a marvelous tool that, if used properly, can greatly enhance good photos. But Photoshop isn’t magic. A bad photo is a bad photo. Don’t assume you can rely on fancy programs to adjust your photos. Always try your best to produce quality work you are comfortable with and proud of.