Photography is a learning process to be certain. You start off inexperienced and then gain skill and confidence as you go along. You start to see things in the world. You start to see them in everything, from the most beautiful grass-covered mountain to the simplest everyday object.
Improving with the intention of getting to that level can be a challenge, and it can definitely take a while. Luckily, you can check out David Koonar’s photography guides in order to help you get a leg up on the competition. Remember, you might work hard to improve, but working smart to improve is even better.
So you’ve just started on your road to becoming a serious photographer. Maybe you’ve picked up your first DSLR camera. Maybe you’ve purchased several obscenely expensive lenses. Maybe you’re just wandering around with your Samsung camera phone. Perhaps you have your own company, not unlike our own David Koonar photography. In any of those cases, you may want a general guide to taking the best possible pictures at your current skill level. This cheat sheet might not make you the greatest photographer of all time, but it will drastically improve your shots almost immediately if you apply the techniques properly.
They say that lighting is the foundation of a photograph and I honestly couldn’t agree more. You’re going to have to make some decisions on what tone you want your image to have. Generally, it is better to err on the side of too much light rather than too little, but it is all contingent on the type of mood you are trying to convey. Something dark and moody could require a lower level of light. Maybe you’d even want something with a lot of contrast.
Sometimes, overexposure can make for beautiful shots as well. Imagine people framed by halos of light. Just make certain not to go overboard with it. Overexposure can eat your image alive.
No matter what, however, you need to be certain that your subject is visible in the manner that you want it to be. Dark and moody is all well and good, but it doesn’t help if you can’t see anything at all.
The general rule is: Make sure you see your subject how you want to see it. Then go crazy applying this effect or that. You’re a newbie, so experiment with it!
Perhaps the flaw that infects all new photographers (and indeed, people in general) is laziness. The instinct is always to photograph something at eye level. While this is an acceptable means of doing things, it may not get you the shot that you want.
You are going to need to think about what you want in your frame and adjust yourself accordingly. You might need to get up high above your subject. You may need to get down and look at it from underneath. You may need to crowd. You may need to lie down. You may need to get on a chair. You may need to climb a ladder or a hill. No one said photography was going to be easy.
Unless the space around your subject contains something of particular importance, stay on the side of making your subject the star of your shot. Have it take up as much of the real estate as humanly possible. Oftentimes, one of the biggest mistakes is when someone just takes pictures haphazardly is too much unnecessary wasted space.
Try and pre-visualize what you want your shot to look like in advance. Then parse out how much space you’ll need around your subject. In a lot of cases, it shouldn’t be very much.
How many pictures do you see that are just dead-on centered shots of a person or object? Well, you’re a photographer now. An artist. Allow yourself to get a little weird. Take pictures that are off-center. Take pictures that are bizarre and asymmetrical. Take pictures from weird perspectives and distances. Use your creativity and imagination. At the David Koonar studio, we are constantly going through thousands of pictures, keeping the ones that are great and deleting the ones that are not entirely great (most of them). The more pictures you have, the more likely one of them is that work of art you’ve been waiting for.
We live in an era of digital cameras. You can take eight billion pictures of one item, and you are encouraged to do so gleefully. Get a big memory card and go absolutely crazy with it. Nothing is stopping you.
We hope this cheat sheet will be a valuable tool as you continue on your journey in Photography. Remember, the only way to keep getting better is to keep learning and to keep taking pictures. What in the world are you waiting for? Get out there!