Words by Through My Lens
Through My Lens looks at the photographic journey of eight photographers. Through a combination of hard work and lessons learnt along the way, they’ve slowly mastered their craft and gained a loyal following. Here are their top tips for aspiring photographers.
- Instagram is a great tool for a photographer. Thanks to instant feedback from followers, the creator gets an incentive to take photos every day; each photo more beautiful than the last. And, look around: there are so many talented people on the platform you can collaborate with or take inspiration from.
- A bit like being an athlete, you need a good work ethic. You need to study, to work, to seek out information. That way everything will work out.
- I’m self-taught and continue to study every day. All the information is out there; you only need to be able to find it and apply yourself. This is, of course, easier said than done, but you’ll get a lot out of it if you invest the time and stay patient.
- The most valuable thing you can do is to discover the photos you want to capture – and why. Playing with different mediums and styles of photography is a good place to start.
- Things often don’t go as planned on a shoot. But make the most of the valuable time you have. These mishaps can often lead to a project going in an even more exciting direction than originally planned.
- Practise your craft. Take as many photos as you can. When travelling, look for the little things happening around you and the way objects interact with the environment. Try to capture that interaction in as many ways as you can.
- Purchase the best gear you can afford and make it work! Vision is the really important bit.
- Take inspiration from your favourite photographers and practice incorporating aspects of their images into your own photos. The could be editing style, framing, subject matter, use of light and shadow, etc. If you do this with a variety of photographers and styles you are inspired by, it can help you create a look that best represents your own vision.
© Scott Rankin
- Try to work with the “Rule of Thirds” in all the photos you take. Imagine your photo split into thirds horizontally and vertically, giving you 9 segments. Try and position key elements of the photo along the horizontal and vertical lines. In many striking landscape photographs, the horizon is in the upper third, and the rest of the image falls below that.
- It’s a rite of passage for any start-up photographer to learn how to avoid camera shake. Use a fast shutter speed and make sure the camera has solid support, like a tripod.
- As a rule of thumb, keep your ISO between 100-500 when shooting outside. When shooting inside, try to stick to 1600. And at night, keep your ISO lower than 1000, employing a longer shutter speed and using a tripod as a counterbalance.
- Shoot in RAW file format! Especially if you’re a beginner. You will then be able to edit your photo and make corrections to them if need be.” “It’s easy to try and copy the big influencers on Instagram. But my biggest advice would be to develop your own style.
- Don’t shoot in automatic settings. Your camera doesn’t know what you want. You do. Trust your eyes and your brain.
- Wake up early to get the best light and atmosphere, regardless of whether you shoot landscapes, cities or even people!
- Just start shooting! Practise makes perfect!
- It’s easy to try and copy the big influencers on Instagram. But my biggest advice would be to develop your own style.
- If you have a DSLR, stop shooting on auto and learn manual settings. You have much more control over the end result.
- Avoid crowds – sometimes getting up early is your best option to get the shot.
- Don’t leave your location until you are happy with your shot. Tell yourself there is something to be created and it will come to you. And when it does, you’ll get that feel-good buzz.
- Use the light. While you can still take a great photo in the middle of the day, the hours before and after sunrise and sunset give you the best chance of taking amazing photographs.
- While it might sound counterintuitive, put down your camera once in a while and experience a location with your eyes before you look through your viewfinder.
© Carmen Huter