One needs to do more than checking exposure settings to start taking good pictures. Take a step back before setting aperture and ISO. You will have to evaluate your subject, the surrounds as well as available light and then how to encapsulate those elements in a picture.
A lot of this comes down to trial and error and in today’s digital age one can just take so many more pictures than in the days of film if you still shoot film as well as digital you may find that you pay, more attention to composing your shot. Also, learn from your mistakes, look at your dud pictures, it may assist you in trying something differently the next time. But here are a few tips garnered over time;
- Aim for simple composition, often when shooting landscapes or even urban street pictures one tends to cram as much detail as possible into the frame, you tend to want to get it all in. You don’t need to shoot every tree in the panorama, sometimes even just the bark and thorns on an Acacia tree can tell a story, or even some cracked earth and scrub. Next time you are out with a camera, identify a few details in the landscape and try to capture them in a way that is evocative of the whole landscape- then shoot a few close-ups of the details you picked up – it becomes a visual story.
- Then consider your framing of the image, use the natural features of the landscape draw attention to the subject, be it people, animals, a car or even a building. A road or trail can be great for leading the eye to the subject. This even applies to shots of hikers, mountain bikers or even runners. The line leads the eye to the subject.
- Contours and details in a landscape also help the process even ridges or trellises can be used. Try using a trail and getting a friend to do laps on a mountain bike and look for ways to capture the action, framing using tree branches, bushes even the silhouette of mountains.
- Lighting is critical, dramatic lighting usually creates the best shots. Use shadows as well they will come out black and can be great if they are an interesting shape. Watch the way the light falls and look at the way it moves, identify interesting shadows and photograph the landscape feature with its shadow to enhance it.
- Don’t delete you bad pictures, hold onto them until you study them to analyse what you did wrong and before deleting anything run through them and analyse them, if you delete too quickly you may regret it later.
- Then when processing the photos at home, analyse, take notes and work out what went wrong, this will help with future settings and on that note do not be afraid to play with your settings.
- Get out there and take pics with like-minded people, attend training sessions, many manufacturers off free sessions with their brand ambassadors.