over time, photographers develop good habits when they pick up their camera. by either learning how to shoot in manual mode or by learning how to achieve good focus, photographers are continuing to build their skill with each and every photo they take. but sometimes, being successful with photography is more about what you do before you take the picture. i have made a habit out of doing a few things before i actually snap the photo that has made me a better photographer. the next time you pick up your camera, try and remember these 4 things to do before you take a picture.
getting ready to head somewhere with your camera? here are 10 things to pack in your camera bag.
4 Things To Do Before You Take A Picture
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1. Turn Off Any Artificial Light
if the situation allows you to, turn off any artificial light before you take a picture. natural light is so much better and creates a more natural photo. sometimes you will be in a situation where you can’t control the light, whether you are on an outing to a museum or if you are photographing at night. for those times, artificial light is your only option. but for the times when you can use natural light, be sure to turn off any other lights. even if you are taking photos in a bedroom, turning off the lights in the hallway or adjacent rooms is very important as artificial light seems to trickle into any image and cast unnatural colors onto your photo.
2. Check Your ISO
this is more for avoiding a mistake than anything else. have you ever taken a wonderful picture in broad daylight that you are absolutely in love with, only to realize your ISO was set to 3200? ugh! don’t get me wrong, high ISO’s are just fine…just not necessary for broad daylight. for me, i am always grabbing my camera real quick to photograph a moment and not realizing that my ISO was still set from the last time i took a picture. making a habit out of checking your ISO before you take a picture will help you avoid photographing moments with an ISO that isn’t appropriate for the lighting situation.
3. Think About Your Composition
before actually taking the photo with your camera, think about what composition will be best. is a center composition best or should you try enforcing the rule of thirds? are there leading lines available? is there any opportunity to create depth? are their any distractions that will be within the frame and, therefore, compete with your subject? thinking through your composition will help you look for inspiration in your surroundings so you can take a really successful picture.
how are you doing with composition? here are 8 photography compositions you should be using.
4. Decide What Aperture Tells Your Story the Best
your aperture is what is going to tell your story. should your entire photo be in focus or do you want to have some blur in the background and foreground? do you need your background to be in focus to tell your story or would it be better to keep the focus on your subject? you can control these things by choosing the best aperture for the story you are trying to tell. using higher apertures like f/8 will ensure that your entire photo is in focus, while lower apertures like f/2.8 will allow you to place your focus on your subject and blur anything that isn’t in that focal plane.
there are a lot of things to do before you take a picture, but i find that these 4 are what i do on a regular basis. by knowing the things to do before you take a picture, you are making the most out of the photograph and your experience.
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