develop a genuine interest
I’ve only gotten more serious about photography in the last couple of years. When I say serious, I mean having more fun both from the process of taking pictures and getting the results I wanted. Like sports and many other things in life, people tend to enjoy things they are good at. And usually people do get good at things they put their hearts and minds to. The start is the hardest part. People tend to quit or accept their lack of talent too easily in my opinion, especially when it comes to photography. Photography is something everyone can get good at with some practice, patience, knowledge and interest.
I’ve been approached for advices for taking better pictures more than one person lately. I don’t have much in depth wisdom, but I do have a few tips that I have learned along the way that might be helpful. Here’s one of the installments along with several of the previous ones I have organized in the “photo_tips” category of Light Press.
Develop an interest of the things you want to take pictures of. This is probably assumed by most people. But I never thought much about it until I was asked to take some product photos for Clarie. Books and wedding cards are very pretty but weren’t my usual subjects. It often took me a while, half an hour, an hour of taking pictures of them, arranging/rearranging scenes, lighting, adjusting angles, before I finally feel warmed up to take the pictures that I was satisfied with.
I was in Essential Baking for a whole hour with the paper, the book, and a cold cup of coffee to get this small set. The funny thing was that I didn’t think the book looked pretty at all. I dreaded the job but it turned out great. phew.
I was asked to take a picture of the Fremont sign post. I stood in the cold under-dressed for over an hour last winter. The irony was that I shot the best ones when I thought I was done, started walking away, and then looked back. I caught a cold after the shoot. So worth it!
I’m naturally drawn to things in nature and they are easier subjects to capture and practice on. Over the last 2 years, I’ve really enjoyed practicing different techniques or lenses with natural sceneries, flowers, trees, etc. See my mostly natural collection.
I also take better and better pictures of people I like. :) I enjoy watching people’s faces and expressions. After watching the faces for some time, I get a sense of what is beautiful in that person, good angles or moments to capture the person’s character. Once I know the person enough, such as my friends, I start to get better pictures of them. I have taken many bad pictures before getting a good one, and I believe this is the same with professional photographers.
Clarie was never quite comfortable with a camera in her face even though she’s very pretty. So I am really grateful she even let me take this set at the Triangle Lounge on one of our Friday lunches. :)
Close up portraits are really intimidating for both the subject and the photographer. Take time to get comfortable with each other. I took a lot of pictures of Cherie’s yoga poses before getting into close up portraits. It wasn’t until later I found out that she used to be an actress on stage. The result shows.
I am really fortunate to have friends that trust me and feel comfortable with me taking their pictures. Practice together helps. They are getting more comfortable standing in front of the camera as I’m feeling more comfortable asking them to pose from behind the camera. Have fun!