More Digital Photography Advice from a Pro Photographer

More Digital Photography Advice from a Pro Photographer

200611101344The following is the fourth and final part in my series of questions with a Pro Photographer.

What basic advice would you give beginner digital photographers to help them improve their shots?

I get a lot of friends asking for advice from me and showing me their shots. There are a few main things that I’d suggest based on the mistakes I see them making:

1. Move Your Feet – sometimes I think my friends miss great opportunities by being lazy and just relying upon their camera’s zoom feature to frame shots. If they just realized that they could significantly improve their photos by changing the position that they shoot from they’d get some great shots. Simple actions can make a big difference like:

• crouching or lying down
• climbing on a chair to look down on a subject
• getting in nice and close to a subject
• taking a few steps sideways to avoid a distracting foreground element

2. Look for the Details – when I’m photographing weddings the standard shots that I take are of people – however the shots that really make a wedding album special are the ‘detail shots’. The buttons on the back of the bride’s dress, the name place settings on the bridal table, shots of the mean (before it’s been eaten) etc. Most wedding photographers include these elements in their day’s shooting but average photographers can take the same principle into their everyday photography of life’s events (holidays, parties, family get together and even landscape shots). Mix shots up and look for the insignificant things that everyone else misses.

3. Learn to use Depth of Field – most of my friends shoot in their camera’s automatic modes and end up with reasonably well focused shots that are very ‘safe’. By that I mean that in auto mode a camera generally chooses settings that are fairly middle of the road in terms of aperture and shutter speed. As a result many shots are rather flat or one dimensional and don’t have much atmosphere or emotion to them in terms of ‘feel’. I shoot a lot in Aperture Priority mode and tend to choose fairly large apertures which creates a small depth of field which throws everything but the subject out of focus. This lifts a photo to a new level and adds a 3 dimensional feel to your shots.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • ratkellar April 8, 2011 02:03 am

    While "learn to use Depth of Field" is extremely important, I'm just a little hesitant to buy the "shallower is always better" line. Often, shallow can create a great contrast, a sense of depth, and emphasis, but some scenes are done better with more levels in focus. With digital, multiple shots are far more convenient.

  • Melinda April 10, 2008 11:48 pm

    I love this makes me really stretch myself. I always forget to get into different positions/height when taking pictures.

  • Vijay Shah August 22, 2007 08:12 pm

    After I got associated with DPS, and getting tips on digital photography, I started experimenting with my only digicam a point and shoot- cybershoot SONY DSC P-92.
    I use to feel small with my friends having latest gear. But now I am so glsd to know that many people appreciated my pics on flickr.

    I keep experimenting frequently now.
    Thanks to DPS

  • D,Jump says: March 31, 2007 07:34 pm

    Just the tips needed for a beginner, very informative

  • C. William Dunsay November 19, 2006 09:29 am

    The advice here is excellent. I like that it's short, not to technical, just enough to make the point. I'm glad I found this site. It really helps when you know more than a little but are not ready to say I'm a photographer.

  • raymond o'callaghan November 17, 2006 11:03 pm

    I think this is a fantastic website

  • Tracy November 17, 2006 04:21 pm

    Great advice, especially the tip of using manual mode.