Easy tips to better photos
At the end of every year or the beginning of the next one, we tend to set goals or make resolutions. Since we are at the beginning of 2020, I’d like to offer an easy goal to add to your list: taking better photographs! Not only will creative works (blogs, articles, power points, fact sheets, etc.) look more attractive, you will be the hit among your colleagues and friends!
This idea was inspired by my role as co-editor of our quarterly Extension Connection newsletter. I collate the articles and design the publication, which often features one of my images on the cover. Now, some of my co-workers might contend that this is an unfair advantage as I have classical training and two photography degrees, but my response is this: anyone can make a good photograph. I also often hear, “what a great photograph, you must have a great camera.” Also not necessarily true! Here are some ideas to get you practicing with whatever tool you have, whether it’s your LG smartphone or digital SLR.
Here are the tips, with some visual examples to accompany them:
- Use your feet to zoom, not your screen or your camera (aka, walk closer to your subject whenever possible).
- Fill the frame with your subject. In other words, cropping should be minimal unless you are intentionally leaving extra space for design purposes.
- Have the sun or light source behind you, putting light onto your subject.
- Think about design elements you can use in your shot: leading lines, strong foreground/background relationships.
- If outside, try to photograph in the shade so you can reduce dramatic, high-contrast light scenarios.
- Take active photos of real people doing real things, avoid posed or stagnant group photos in front of signs.
- Don’t be afraid to put your subject off-center. Practice using the rule of thirds to achieve more interesting composition.
- Don’t put people right up against a wall or sign, it can feel like you’re looking at a mugshot.
- If you’re unsure about which might be the “best” photo or angle, take several pictures. Digital makes it a lot more affordable to experiment. Just don’t overshoot, more is not always better, and then you have to look through all of those pictures!
- Think of your subject as a story that you’re telling, take photos that demonstrate the main idea, as well as detail shots that will give the viewer more information.
Now, get practicing! All of your publications will be complemented by stronger photographs. You’re welcome.