Tips That Can Help Define Your Techniques

Tips That Can Help Define Your Techniques

Want to be an awesome pro photographer just like Annie Leibovitz, Dan Winters, or even the next Ansel Adams? Here are a few tips that can enhance your techniques. From what I've learned in the past, the one tip that all photographers share is "practice makes perfect." Remember, don't practice until you get it right; practice until you can't get it wrong. When I feel that creative rut creeping in, I just remind myself of that phrase.

Still shooting in Auto? Scared to take the leap to the M setting? The main goal is to start deviating from the Auto setting straight to the Manual setting. Remember, you are in control of the camera, not the other way around. When you set the dial to Auto, the camera has full control of your photos. There's a famous quote by Peter Adams I read once that said: "A camera didn't make a great picture anymore than a typewriter wrote a great novel." Here are some tricks and techniques.

Try out different camera exposure settings

By exploring the exposure settings of your camera, you can have more brilliant-looking pictures either by underexposing 0.5 to 2 stops in bright surroundings or by making scenes appear more clear with some overexposure. Just by simple tuning of the exposure level, you can create pictures that can bring out different moods from people viewing them. That's why the quote “a pictures says a thousand words" is very true indeed! For newbies, try out bracketing (i.e: take the same photos with different exposure levels), and take your favorite pick from them.

Bring out some creative blur in photos

By introducing some well-planned blur in photos, you can bring across certain important features, while using the rest as good complement, providing an overall nice touch. This can be done in two basic ways.

The first way is depth of field blur. Varying the lens aperture between 1.8 and 2.8 can create a lovely, soft background blur that brings sharp focus to the subject in the foreground.

The second method is movement blur. Set the camera mode on shutter priority, and keep it slow so as to capture interesting streaks as the subject moves in front of the camera.

Create something out of nothing

What does it mean? This exercise encourages you to take a step back and rethink how you can take wonderful pictures with things you already encounter on a daily basis.

One approach is to create your shot out of the common elements around you, such as lines, space, and patterns. This can mean anything: roads, bridges, trees, railings, animals, etc. You'll start to see more possibilities and room for creativity.

Take unique photos

Try to avoid taking photos from already popular places where everyone else has shot before; they will not be fresh, and the excitement will also be much diminished. Try out new extreme photography — for example: underwater photography. It could be as easy as shooting through thick glasses for that extra 3D feel or shooting reflections of objects in water or other reflective objects. You can even try to catch those jets or planes flying by, kind of like what I did with this series.

Experiment with your settings, see what works. You never know what you can achieve unless you try. This is how you can find and define your style in photography. However, I can guarantee that there will be failures along the way. I recommend filtering out what you don't like and enhancing what you like when you start to experiment. 

Isaac Alvarez's picture

Isaac Alvarez is a Los Angeles-based photographer. His work is a reflection of contemporary/cinematic. While his images are often on the edge of any situation, photographing the situation is not nearly as interesting as photographing the edges of human emotions.

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Isaac, I enjoy your running theme on perception and creativity. In a world of tack sharp fanaticism, I especially appreciate your motion-blurred image of the long haired gal.

Thanks Sean! Will definitely focus on creativity and experiments.

Adding the blur is a good idea, either making the effect in the capture process, or, you can also do it in the editing process in just a few steps
I always liked using the blur effect and to play a bit with it because no matter what the picture is, it looks more effective and cool with the blur :)