24 Best Tips to Improve Your Photography

Are you just a week away from boarding the flight to your next destination? Are you planning to explore a place that is not always frequented by the tourists? If yes, then you must know that you are in for some amazing experiences. Are you fond of Indian street food photography? There are amazingly photogenic regions all over the world.

Potentially beautiful photographs exist everywhere all around us. All it takes is a little imagination, a camera, a lens, and a tripod. One special aspect of photography is that you don’t necessarily have to capture a scene on film (or on memory card) exactly the way you see it in person. Cameras do not have to be copy machines.

Using various techniques out in the field (i.e. long exposure, depth of field, exaggeration of perspective, manipulation of light, etc…) can help someone visually depict a particular scene in a way that no one has ever viewed that place before. Almost like creating an alternate reality, but doing so by using only what actually exists in reality…not by adding anything artificial.

That’s the true challenge for a landscape photographer: Using a camera and lens to create a visually unique and compelling scene, using only an otherwise seemingly non-photogenic place to do so.

In other words, one does not need to travel only to famous or rare landmarks to get a great photo. For example, anyone can take a beautiful picture of Machu Picchu with their cell phone, but will it be a picture others have seen a thousand times before? If you posted the photo on the internet, would it stand out from other pictures taken there, or would it blend in amongst the thousands of others?

It’s not WHERE you shoot, and quite often it isn’t WHAT you shoot…what matters is HOW you shoot it. Sometimes, if you look carefully enough, you can find something potentially photogenic right around the corner from your house.

The abundance of raw nature and all its wilderness will be waiting for you to come, visit and leave with a heart full of memories. So, when you are going on a trip to a beautiful place, don't you think of eternalizing the moments? If yes, then you must take the best camera for travellers with you.

In fact, if you are thinking of spending this vacation in a different way, going for a photography tour with your camera can be a good idea for you. Instead of visiting the places and then thinking of clicking pictures, plan to go for a photography tour, where your urge and interest regarding photography will take you to different places.

Some of our most exciting moments in life come out of travel experiences. This is when we become unhinged from our normal lives, take a break from the monotony of our workweek, and embark on a mysterious and unpredictable journey. These are the moments we want to remember, the moments in which we'll want to capture and keep forever. And below you will find some quick and handy tips for creating a memorable travel video for your next adventure.

But, when you are preparing for a trip, you must do everything in the right order. How can that be possible?

Tips to Enhance Your Photography

Here, we have put together a few points that will surely help you in planning the photography trip perfectly. Take a look.

1. Getting the Right Camera Gears

You must get the right kind of camera gears for your trip. Since you will be exploring the wilderness, it is necessary for you to get the best camera for travel and the right equipment so that every shot you take becomes glorious. Frankly, photography is not just about capturing a moment. It is telling a story through photo while bringing out a character.

It is possible only when the composition is flawless. And such flawless photography needs the help of a tripod, right lens, and proper flash. Research about the area you are visiting so that you get an idea about which gears will be perfect for you.

2. Don't forget the Camera Accessories

While you are going for the photography trip, you need to take a few accessories with you. Camera charger, batteries, memory card, hard drive and laptop, all of these are essential for your trip. Make sure that the memory card and the hard drive are clear of all files so that you can have enough space to create backup while on the go. Since you will have to click a lot of photos, a backup will be necessary so that you can sort the images later on.

3. Do Your Research

Getting some basic knowledge beforehand is never a bad idea. Technical skill and an eye for composition are of course components of great photography, but there’s a third, elusive ingredient to a heart-stopping image. That’s simply being in the right place at the right time (with the right equipment).

Research properly before you set out for the trip. Get to know about the areas you are visiting so that you can get into the required mindset. It will not only tell you how to plan the trip but also, help you know what to expect in the course of your journey. Once you reach the place, you must communicate with the people around to know more about the place.

4. Finding the right agency

Get in touch with a reputed tour organizer who will perfectly coordinate the trip for you. Getting guidance from an experienced photographer is also necessary, especially if you are going for a photography trip for the first time. Make sure you find out such an agency before you set out for the trip.

5. Prepare for the trip

Know what kind of gear you are going to want to take with you. If you are going on a 3-4 week backpacking trip across Europe, you may not want to hull around a bunch of camera equipment. A convenient little GoPro or Handycam would help save your back, and create more room for other belongings.

But if you are weaving in and out of cities and hotels, then you could think about hauling around something a little bigger. Don’t forget about your phone camera. Almost all new phones come with advanced cameras, and the footage can be indistinguishable from the more expensive DSLRs.

6. Research Your Destination Beforehand

Be sure to research the popular sights and attractions beforehand. If you know you are going to be in a specific city, try to find some less frequented areas, or even talk to some locals and ask them about some very scenic parts of the town/countryside.

Sometimes, the most frequented spots aren’t the most picturesque. Do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Traveling is an adventure, and some of the best adventures are unpredictable. This, in turn, could produce some of your most awe-inducing footage.

7. Learn Video Techniques

Touched upon in our Videography Tips, a couple different approaches to holding the camera can make all the difference. Keeping the camera static could get a bit dull, so move it around a bit. Try panning the camera around an urban scene to get the full effect. Walk up a hill that leads to an amazing view, so as to surprise the viewer when you get to the top.

Get on the back of a moped and shoot some fast moving scenery. Or walk with your phone held up above you on a densely populated sidewalk. The possibilities are endless, and there isn't a wrong way to film, as long as you don't have your finger over lens!

8. Join a basic photography and videography course

Join a basic photography and videography courses to give a head start to your career. To attain technical specialization there are basic and advanced photography courses. Along with your regular classes these basic courses can be pursued or even avail a part time course. For higher level of qualifications you can apply to a photography institute of repute.

If your background is in computers then acquiring technical skills is expected to be considerably easy. Personally introducing your video can add a familiar element to it. Try getting yourself in front of the camera and setting the preface to your travel story. Bring in some of your family members or traveling cohorts.

You may feel a little uncomfortable, at first, but after a few takes it will become as natural as talking on the phone. Make it fun! Experiment with backdrops, write a silly script, or bring in the family pets. These skills help you to pose the right set of pictures, what your client looks upon. This would mean a concise view of the technical knowledge about your equipment, lighting or camera skills and even digital imaging skills.

Aperture is how large the opening is in the lens. There are mechanical blades that move to open and close the lens opening, thereby impacting the amount of light permitted to enter. However it also impacts the depth of field which can be used for artistic effect in photos and is often referred to as bokeh.

Shutter speed on the other hand is how long a duration the shutter curtains will allow light to pass and land on the sensor surface. Typical DSLRs today have curtains that move in horizontal manner, with the first moving across to open the pathway for light to travel and at a predetermined period of time the second curtain will begin travelling across to close the opening.

Modern DSLRs will range from times as short as perhaps 1/8000th of a second and as long as the photographer needs. Shutter speed can also be used for photographic impact with slow shutter speeds causing moving objects to blur or fast shutters speeds freezing the motion or movement.

Once you’ve mastered your shutter speed, you can achieve anything from crisp, freeze-frame sports photos to velvety, motion-filled waterfall shots. A fast shutter speed takes a quick shot, while a slow one keeps your shutter open longer, allowing in more light and movement.

Getting your shutter speed right takes practice – it’s the art of stillness or movement against the science of light. But when you’ve got it, you open yourself up to limitless creative possibilities.

9. Get a Mentor

In the starting phase it is better if you work with a seasoned photographer as you can gain valuable inputs from them. This is going to provide you with valuable insights on what a photographer can come up during their job. Business acumen and how to handle clients would be part of the on job training.

10. Attend Photography Workshops

In workshops you gain hands on experience. Even you can showcase your work on such place platforms as regular visitors would provide true feedback about your photos that can enhance your skills in a positive direction. Undertaking freelance work would also help. You get a sense of confidence when you are approaching other organizations or fellow photographers for work. Photography courses will take your career to a different level.

11. Our eyes like to look at muscle tension

Muscle tension make us look attractive and alive. In a photo, it looks like movement is about to happen. Our eyes are primed for movement. We were once hunters in the wild; the primitive part of our brains reacts to any hint of motion. This primitive part of our brains sees light, contrast and movement not even color, but always movement.

If we see action or anticipated action in a photo—contracting or stretching muscles, we feel that we are seeing some fleeting movement, captured by the camera.

When something catches your eye and calls out to you to create a photograph, your subconscious has already identified a story element. That’s why you have an interest in capturing whatever it is that you’re looking at. Step one is accomplished. Some story is there.

You want to communicate a message from your mind out to viewers of your photograph – that decision puts your photographic process into the loosely defined category of storytelling. Now it becomes a three-part process.

Step two, you must figure out what it is you’re trying to say with your photograph. That’s called developing the story. Thirdly, you must make the technical choices to transform the story into the photographic medium. That’s being a photographer and not simply a snap shooter. That’s something to keep in mind when you are photographing and want your photo to tell a story.

12. Energy is always attractive

Sculptures are called masterpieces when the sculptor has made the stone appear to have come alive, and is moving and breathing. Even more than a sculpture, your body can give us the suggestion of muscle tension, making you look fitter and healthier. This is true even if you are just sitting around: We only realize how much this group has been engaging their muscles when we see how they looked a moment before.

If your muscles are not engaged, your body looks static and floppy, and less appealing to the camera. Instead, hold yourself as though you have just moved into position. You’ve just paused, and you are about to start moving again.

13. Work your muscles a little harder for the camera

You may be sitting still right now, but your muscles are working to keep you upright: some of the 640 muscles in your body are working on this every moment of every day. Only in exceptional circumstances (maybe a wild New Year’s Eve?) do we get so relaxed that we just go floppy and fall over.

When a muscle contracts strongly, your body moves, but when it contracts slightly, you have tension without movement. Try for a level of relaxed engagement. You want to radiate energy but still look natural and comfortable.

14. Check where your body holds its tension

Muscle tension is appealing, but you want the tension to be in the right place. We all use our bodies to physically express our emotions. The set of our shoulders can express more than our face does. When you look at a photo of someone, you can see where tension is being held. Even when we don’t consciously notice the person’s clenched hands, hunched shoulders, uncomfortable neck or arched back, we feel them. We feel their discomfort.

Where do you hold your tension? Probably in your neck, shoulders or arms. You want to relax them, and transfer the tension to your core. Young models are taught to relax their shoulders, and tighten their abdominal muscles.

15. Step up your posture

Optimum posture just makes you look better.Your everyday posture probably doesn’t show your body to its full advantage. Reading about posture is probably making you straighten up right now. If the Queen of England walked into the room, your spine would become even straighter and you would grow slightly taller. You would be ‘on,’ and that’s the kind of muscle tone you want when you are being photographed.

Posture that feels slightly exaggerated to you is probably about right. It doesn’t look exaggerated. No one looking at your photo will notice that you are tensing your core or standing/sitting straighter; they will see a body that is aligned as it should be.

Look at any photos of models, and you will see it—in real life people don’t have this uniformly good posture. But we are so used to seeing it in photos, we don’t remark on it.

16. Relax your shoulders

Drop your shoulders and roll them back. Feel your shoulder blades move down and inward towards each other. This is important whether it’s a full-length photo or a portrait. Dropping your shoulders will lengthen your neck significantly. One of the things that we humans universally think of as beautiful is a long neck.

Try it now. Imagine an invisible string from the back of your neck, pulling your head up and back, and melting away any double chins and folds in your neck. That’s because dropped shoulders give more space for your chin, and let you lengthen your neck as much as possible.

17. Tense your Core

Tensing your abdominal automatically improves your posture. But keep breathing. You don’t want to strain the muscles in your neck or contort your expression. Models and celebrities don’t just automatically relax their shoulders and tighten in their core. Mentally, they stand at the prow of the Titanic. Think Prow of the Titanic Posture. Shoulders down and back, neck long, chest open, abdominal tensed, back slightly arched, muscles engaged.

18. Bird photography

To get good shots of birds, there a few things that are important. Birds are skittish and will fly away if they hear or see you moving. They are also usually pretty small targets. This means you need to stay far away in most cases. This is more a function of the lens than the camera, but note that a crop sensor camera will always give you 1.5x the reach of a full frame camera given the same focal length lens.

Crop sensor cameras are also less expensive than full frame. The trade-off is that full frame cameras tend to get higher quality bird photos (sometimes to a high degree) with a better bokeh (background blur). Flying birds can be extremely fast moving targets, but even birds sitting still tend to jump around quickly.

You will need a camera that can grab focus nearly instantly, or you will miss most shots (you’ll miss a lot of shots even with fast autofocus, but your hope is you can get a few keepers from the bunch). Most newer mid-level cameras and up have very fast autofocus, and even entry level cameras are pretty quick these days.

Because birds move fast, you’ll want a camera that can take multiple shots quickly. The higher the frame rate, the more photos the camera will take per second as you simply hold down the shutter button, increasing your chance of getting a good pose from the bird. Pretty much any newer camera should have a sufficient frame rate, but 6–7fps+ is fast enough.

19. Portrait Photography

The keys to good portrait photography are lighting, composition, and direction. A great portrait starts with a good rapport with your subject. Your subject is collaborating with you to create the perfect shot. Take your time and get to know them so you can trust each other to be open and see the process through. Portraiture is more about intuition than technical skill. It’s about capturing emotion and bringing your subject’s story to life.

Post production is also very important. The .CR2 file coming out of the camera is a rough draft, not a finished product. The digital darkroom is an integral part of photography. Getting and learning to use off-camera lighting is an essential skill for portrait photographers.

There are dozens of tutorials for learning to use off-camera lighting for portrait work online, and hundreds of books on the subject. Likewise, photographic composition is a subject that is well-covered and there are a plethora of resources to help you learn it. Learning how to direct your subjects is a soft (people) skill. Again, there are plenty of resources online and in print to help you learn.

20. The magical art of still life

From a collection of inanimate objects to latte art for your Instagram feed, still life is a fantastic training ground for budding photographers. It offers a great opportunity to experiment with light, colours, texture, materials and subjects in a controlled setting. Nailing a still life means building a strong composition that guides the viewer’s eyes through the image. It tells a story but is entirely about form and a pleasing arrangement of items.

21. Mouth-watering Food Photography

Great food photography takes careful planning. Have multiple options of each food item to shoot – not every apple looks good enough to eat, and ice creams melt fast. Make sure the background matches the food. And aim for a natural look with your styling – appetizing is better than picture-perfect.

22. Wildlife photography

If you want to improve your wildlife photography, photographing birds is a perfect way to practice. They are beautiful, small, fast-moving and provide lots of photographic opportunities. Know your camera settings and work off of automatic. If you don't feel comfortable in full manual mode, use a semi-automatic mode.

Shutter priority for action (birds or otherwise) will allow you to set your shutter speed (at least to 1/400 second depending on lens and camera body) and your camera will choose the aperture for proper exposure. With fast moving subjects, take as fast as a shutter speed without going too high with ISO. However, with the newer cameras now increase ISO to levels never thought possible.

Everyone has their preference and limit as to how high to go with ISO settings. Auto-ISO is also an option, especially if you want to practice photographing wildlife or motion without worrying about your exposure (other than shutter speed). Set a limit as to how high your ISO goes to, based on what you prefer (taking into consideration the higher ISO the more grain you get).

23. Fall photography

The fall is one of the best times of year to go out and enjoy photography. It’s all about light, colour and mood! Remember, the leaves change colour almost every day, so a location that may not look so great, a week after can look stunning. The best time to shoot is early and late in the day as the sidelight brings interesting shades and textures.

Thin clouds create a soft light perfect for foliage colour and foggy days make also beautiful and dramatic scenes. Sometimes a detail on a frosty leaf or covered with morning dew droplets will create a very appealing photograph, also water reflections always look great during the fall.

24. Support Your Own Body weight

If you slump against the wall, or plop your weight on the furniture or on railings, it can distort your body shape. You want your muscles to keep holding up your weight. If your support vanished in thin air, you should still be in the same position. If you are propping your head up with your hands, rest your head very lightly. Not ‘oh, my head is tired and heavy,’ more ‘ooh, a fairy has just alighted on my hands.’

Go look in the mirror and try out photogenic posture. Stand with your natural posture. Then see what difference Titanic Posture makes. It may feel like you are making some sort of statement with your body, but, by being photographed, you can’t avoid making a statement with your body. It may as well be one of energy and confident posture.

Try to remember what Titanic Posture feels like. Go back to that feeling the next time you are photographed. You will see the transformation in your photos, though it will look natural to everyone else.

Now, you must be confident enough after reading these tips, isn't it? If you want to learn more tips, check here: Travel Photography Tips.

So, don't wait any more. Board the plane and get ready to experience the best time of your life.
Kalyan Panja

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