Last week I was fortunate to attend a photography basics course. In the past I've done quite a few short photography courses, up to a mid to advanced level, so I was unsure what I'd get out of it. But the simplicity of the teacher's hints was magic. Here are a few I learned...
1. Use your 'big' lens for people photos, and your 'small' lens for landscape photos.
Not sure why this didn't occur to me sooner, but I had it in my head that it should be the other way around. I thought that to shoot a far away landscape, use the zoom lens, of course! To photograph people, the zoom lens was too close for comfort. Well, I knew not.
In fact: the small lens (50mm-ish) is great for landscapes and scenery because it shows a wider view than the zoom lens.
The zoom lens is great for portraits, because a) you are a certain distance away and people will act much more naturally than if they had a camera up their nose, b) you will get some nice, artistic blurring of the background behind them, and c) photography is all a matter of perspective. We are not accustomed to being just a few centimetres away from other people, so pictures taken from that distance are most likely to look uncomfortable and a little warped.
2. Use the multiple shot function on your camera
This is super useful when photographing people, animals or action. Things happen so quickly and using a digital camera means you can snap away without wastage. The multiple shot function can take several images per second and capture priceless facial expressions. Even professionals take lots of photos to get one perfect picture.
3. Use the flash outside and natural light inside
In the daytime, the best place to get a well-lit photo outside is in full shade. If that's not possible, use your flash. The sun casts very dark shadows, for example under the eyebrows and nose, especially in the middle of the day, and the flash will act as a filler to make a more balanced photo. Plus it puts a sparkle into people's eyes!
Inside, flashes can look too stark and they cast harsh shadows. If it is a well-lit time of day, taking pictures near windows with the interior lights on can provide enough light to take a lovely image.
Just a trio of simple tips that might make all the difference to your photographs :)