How to Take Professional Photographs
For inexperienced photographers, it seems that taking an excellent photo is just so simple. Just point and shoot and you are done. However, those who have tried to take professional photos know that there is a lot more to it.
There are a lot of things to consider when capturing a great photo, from finding the best lighting to selecting the right subject, as well as setting up a cool composition. If you would like to take your photography to the next level, then the following tips can help you in learning how to take excellent pictures. After getting a hang of these fundamental professional techniques, you can see improved results.
So, what are the benefits of knowing how to take professional pictures? First of all, it can lead to new opportunities. The more professional your photos will look like, the better it will be for your photography portfolio. And the better your photography portfolio will look, the more photography jobs you can score. So, let’s start!
Be an Expert on the Fundamentals of Composition
Select a Strong Focal Point
What is the focal point? Well, it is the main point of interest in the photo. It can be made up of different things such as a building, a house, a person, a tree, or even a person’s eyes. Discovering a strong focal point is one of the essential steps in taking professional photos. So when you are setting up a shot or you are planning to have one, then you should ask yourself what you want your viewers to focus on.
After realizing what your focal point is, you should try to make it as strong as it can be. The composition rules below can help you in creating an interesting focal point that attracts attention from viewers.
Learn About the Rule of Thirds
Rather than positioning the focal point at the middle of your shot, you can make your composition more interesting by following the rule of thirds. In this rule, you are required to place the most essential elements in your photograph off-center.
Try to imagine that there is a tic-tac-toe grid in front of your shot. Try to draw two vertical lines to divide your frame into thirds vertically and two horizontal lines to divide your frame into thirds on the horizontal. Additionally, try to place your subject and other essential elements of your shot either along these lines or at any of the four points of intersection.
This is one of the simplest ways of learning how to take professional photographs. This guideline can help you in finding a better balance between your background and the main subject, rather than just making your portraits look like mugshots.
Utilize Leading Lines
So, what are the leading lines? Leading lines refer to the line shapes in your shot which can guide the viewers to the focal point of your photo. This can include anything that consists of a line, for instance, fences, trees, roads, hallways, buildings, or even shadows. The trick here is to catch the viewer’s attention and take them where you want it to go. You can either draw their eyes directly on the subject or lead them on a unique visual journey using your composition.
Do you know that the direction where your leading lines are going can also alter the condition of your compositions? For instance, vertical leading lines express a strong, commanding mood, and tranquillity and calmness can be achieved in horizontal leading lines.
Consider the Perspective
Perspective can create a great impact on the composition of your photograph. By simply altering the distance or angle of your shot, you can entirely transform the meaning and mood of your images.
One of the easiest ways to view this is by taking a shot of the same subject from above and below. A bird’s-eye view or taking a shot from above can make the subject look small while taking a shot from below can make it look like the subject is towering over you. On the other hand, if you take a shot from far away then the subject can look more insignificant whereas taking a closer shot can fill the frame expressing a sense of power.
So, when setting up your shot, take some time to think about perspective. Don’t hesitate to walk around your subject so you can find an interesting angle, then observe how it can drastically transform the composition’s mood. This can take you one step closer on taking professional pictures.
Another important aspect of learning how to take professional photographs is to find ways to convey depth. By ignoring this rule, you might end up having boring and very flat pictures. One of the ideal ways to convey depth is to incorporate some elements in the background, middle, and front. So, for instance, rather than taking a portrait of a person standing up against the wall, try to take them closer to the camera or try to look for a better background with some depth.
Make Your Subject Pop
The best way to make your subject pop is to use the bokeh effect. This can help in adding more depth to your photos. Bokeh refers to the intended out-of-focus blur effect that is used in several professional photos. Photographers usually apply this to make their subject look clear and crisp while keeping the background blurry and soft. As a result, your subject will pop out of the background.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to bring your subject up close to the camera and shoot in front of a distant background. It’s even better if you are using a zoom lens. Set it to its maximum focal length in order to reduce the depth of the field and generate a stronger bokeh effect. When the time comes that knowing when and how to use the bokeh effect will be second nature to you, then you are on your way to perfecting how to take professional photos.
Frame Your Shot
Another method that can help you in taking professional photos is framing. This is done by searching for something that can be used as a natural frame for your composition. When shooting your subject, make sure that they are inside it. Some great examples include an archway, a doorway, a hole in a wall, or some foliage. This kind of framing can greatly help in directing the viewer’s focus to your focal point.
Furthermore, if the frame is quite close to the camera, then it can also be used as a foreground layer which can add more depth to your photo. Another technique, which is just the same as producing a bokeh effect in the background, is to focus and zoom in on the subject at the center. Try to keep the frame out of focus to make sure that it does not catch attention away from your focal point.
Fill the Frame
Photography students are usually advised to fill the frame when practicing their photography. This is because if there is a lot of space around your main subject, it can distract the elements in the background, taking away its composition.
So, for instance, if you are trying to shoot a portrait, then you might choose to include the person’s waist up or much better fill the frame with their face. It can look more captivating and professional-looking when all the unnecessary extra spaces are cropped out.
Look for Patterns and Symmetry
Incorporating patterns and symmetry in your pictures can make them more eye-catching. Usually, humans tend to spot patterns instantly. This is one of the reasons why they should be included in your shots when you are trying to learn how to take professional photos.
You should try to find ways to incorporate symmetry, patterns, as well as repetition of colors and shapes in your photography. Additionally, adding an element that obstructs the pattern can make an interesting focal point. An excellent example would be a picket fence that has a missing or a broken picket.
Ensure That You Have Good Lighting
One of the essential parts of knowing how to make your pictures look professional is to ensure that your shots have proper lighting. Typically, this is something that most inexperienced photographers overlook.
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that there is sufficient light to make your subject visible. If the light is not sufficient enough, then your camera will be having difficulties in capturing the details in the scene.
If you turned on the automatic settings on your camera when taking a shot, then it will be using an extra-long exposure or a high ISO setting. You can end up having blurry or grainy results. Also, if you attempt to brighten them up with Photoshop, then you might end up doing a lot of adjustments, which can result in a low-quality image.
If you want to learn how to take professional photos, then you can take some photo lessons at Myphotolesson.com. For your inquiries, you can contact us at 720-581-4461 or send us an email at [email protected].