7 Essential Things Every Photographer Needs to Learn

What’s the difference between a great photo and a great photographer?

Other than “grapher”, you cheeky monkey.

So you want to take great photos? You want to up your game as a photographer? This is where to start.
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1. Know Your Camera

Would you believe there are professional photographers out there that don’t fully know how to control their camera?

We started off shooting in Aperture Priority mode, and let the camera do the thinking for us. We thought it was faster and easier than learning all that scary technical stuff.
What we are talking about here is needing to understand the essential features of your camera and your lens, and knowing how that affects the look of your images.
You need to know how changing your aperture changes the look of your photo. You need to understand how to set your shutter speed to get the results you want. You need to be able to make decisions with your ISO that fit your situation. And then, based on what features your camera has, you’ll need to know about drive modes, white balance, focusing, stabilization modes and so on.
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2. Understand Exposure

Once you have a solid grasp on aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and how they affect the look of your photos, you need to put them all together and learn how they balance to create a good exposure.
A good exposure is how bright you want the image to be.

If it’s brighter than you want, it’s overexposed. If it’s darker than you want, it’s underexposed.

Simple.

In the end it’s your own creative decision. You’re the photographer after all. But you need to know how to adjust all your settings to get that exposure you’re looking for, and how to use your camera to help you figure it out.
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3. Explore Depth of Field

Depth of field is a huge part of your photography that you probably greatly underestimate.
Depth of field is one of those things that seems simple at the outset, and gets progressively more complex the more you learn. But learning about it, even at the basic level, will make a huge transformation in your work.

For instance, without first learning about depth of field, you might think that to get some background blur in your image, you just need to decrease your aperture value.

But you didn’t take the focal length, subject to background distance, and camera to subject distance into account. And with a certain combination of factors. your aperture might actually have very little to no affect on your depth of field. It’s true. Sometimes there’s no discernible depth of field difference between f/1.4 and f/11.

Depth of field is one of those things that seems simple at the outset, and gets progressively more complex the more you learn. But learning about it, even at the basic level, will make a huge transformation in your work.

For instance, without first learning about depth of field, you might think that to get some background blur in your image, you just need to decrease your aperture value.

But you didn’t take the focal length, subject to background distance, and camera to subject distance into account. And with a certain combination of factors. your aperture might actually have very little to no affect on your depth of field. It’s true. Sometimes there’s no discernible depth of field difference between f/1.4 and f/11.

Don’t be afraid of high apertures. Or low apertures. In fact, don’t be afraid of your aperture at all. Learn how depth of field works, and then use it as a creative decision to make each and every image just right. That’s what a great photographer does. They know their options, and use them all.
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4. Get to Know Perspective

This is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated topics in photography. Put very simply, perspective has to do with the spatial relationships between objects in your frame – their sizes, their placements, and the space between them. All of this positioning works to change the way your viewer interprets the scene. It might make things look more 3D, giving the photo a sense of depth, or it might flatten everything out.

So why is this obviously important topic not widely discussed? Because it’s complicated! Or at least it can be at first glance.

Where you position yourself when you take a photo is a hugely important decision. It is what determines your perspective. And changing your perspective can take your photo from bland to totally engaging.
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5. Conquer Composition

Going broader now, we dive into composition. This is a huge topic that is all about how the various visual bits and pieces in a scene have been organized. It’s broader than perspective, and encompasses things like light, lines, shapes, forms, colors, frames, textures, patterns, movement, reflections and more.

You may have heard of the “rules” of composition: The Rule of Thirds, Negative Space, Balance or Visual Paths. Rules sound scary, and boring, and the idea that you have to sit down and memorize them before you’re allowed to be a photographer likely prevents many shooters from really diving into the wonderful world of composition.

For instance, that “Rule of Thirds” you always hear about it. Well, it suggests that by placing your subject along one of these magical thirds lines, or at an intersection of the lines (what I like to call an Awesome Spot), you will automatically give that element a boost of importance in your frame. And that’s a great thing to know, because it can help you direct your viewer to look where you want them to!

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6. Perfect Your Post-Processing

Let’s end it off on a topic that is a little bit controversial.

See there are two camps in the photography world. There are those that believe that post-processing (using software to edit your images after they’ve been taken)

The other camp believes that post-processing is a tool that a photographer can use help their images more closely resemble what their eyes witnessed as they took the photos, or go further to enhance the mood or tell a story. It’s a creative technique that has been around for as long as photography itself.

 

It’s a simple fact that straight out of your digital camera, your images don’t look anything like the original scene they captured. They’re dull, flat and lifeless. Post-processing helps bring back that beauty by adjusting things like contrast, brightness, sharpness, and saturation.

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7. Master Light

We photographers are the glad and willing slaves to light. Without it we can’t do our work. And it can be a fickle master (especially if you use natural light).

But to learn about light. To understand it’s many facets and subtleties. To know how to work with it in any circumstance. To create it. To seek it. Well, this is really the photographer’s lifelong pursuit. We won’t ever really be the master, but we may come close, with a lot of respect and decades of practice.

Where to begin? Simple. Outside. The are endless lighting opportunities waiting for you when you step outdoors. Can you shoot in harsh midday sun? Golden hour light? After the sun goes down? When the stars come out?

Then hop back inside. Use the light of windows. There is unlimited variety there, and you can really start to get the finer points down in such a simple (but complex) scenario.

Keep seeking light, keep learning about it, and keep pushing yourself into new lighting situations. It will bring you a lifetime of photographic adventures, and more than a few great images.
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Credits – http://photographyconcentrate.com/7-essential-things-every-photographer-needs-to-learn/
http://www.camerasteps.com/camera-settings/know-your-camera-better-73/
http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipe/images/exposure.jpg

http://www.brekend.nl/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/pfoto5.jpg
http://www.photographymad.com/files/images/lighthouse-rule-of-thirds.jpg
https://www.fototripper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/how-to-make-your-images-pop.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/2a/be/e8/2abee87d04a402e562626f5c550c6dae.jpg

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