April 19 2016

16 Excellent Tips on Getting Your Shot

Lately, I’ve been scooping up photography books left and right, trying to learn as much as I can about the craft. One of the books I’ve enjoyed the most is called Getting Your Shot by National Geographic. Back when I was with My Modern Met, I wrote countless posts about National Geographic’s online photo community called “Your Shot.” This book reveals the inside stories on how those photographs submitted to the Your Shot community were made and it also gives invaluable tips on how to set up your photos.

Here are 16 of my favorite tips.

1. Scenes evolve. Follow your subject until you are out of time or your subject is out of patience. Then go one step more.
2. You don’t have to go far to get a great photo. Keep an eye out for graphic elements that surround you every day.
3. Photograph the people and things you love.
4. Consider using your camera to create a visual diary.
5. Show the relationships between the animals and the people in your photographs by looking for expressions of love, interdependence, and gratitude. Capture the connection.
6. If possible, layer images with movement in the background. This will add weight and interest to your composition.
7. Tourists often take photos they are “supposed to” take but forget to document the real-life elements of their visit. When you travel, immerse yourself in the city and capture mundane moments-such as subway rides-and you’ll have more honest pictures when you return home.
8. Nature is beautiful, but people add a complementary dimension. Consider including people in nature scenes for added interest.
9. Take pictures of the everyday moments in your life. These images end up being some of the most personal and powerful because we approach them with such intimacy.
10. With your eye in the viewfinder, take a minute to look around at what you’re including in your composition before hitting the shutter. Take out what’s distracting or unnecessary in the image.
11. A good place to start when taking pictures is to determine where the best light is in the scene. Then stick around to see what happens in that spot.
12. The famous French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson said that every situation has its decisive moment: you watch as something builds and wait for that peak. Applying the idea of a moment to your photography will make you a more observant and connected image maker. The moment trumps everything. The waiting is the hardest part.
13. Get close, and then get closer. Sometimes your best zoom lens is your feet.
14. Make sure everything in the picture is relevant to the image.
15. Eye contact often makes for more compelling photos of people and animals.
16. Take a step back. Don’t always go for the obvious. Look for different angles. Spend time taking in the scene and allowing it to unfold. Then shoot like mad.

Photo by Ankit Narang – Delhi, India


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