How to improve your photography skills

Photographer Lucas Evans shares tips he has learned from his years of practice

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Lucas Evans

Utilize perspective and give context to your photos.

Photography, especially good photography, takes time. You can’t just pick up a camera one day and expect to take great photos. But I believe everyone has the potential to take amazing pictures with enough time and practice.

That’s why I put together this list of photography tips and tricks for anybody wanting to learn or refresh. 

Perspective, perspective, perspective!

Utilize perspective and give context to your photos. (Lucas Evans)

Pictures convey a message, they tell a story. So you need to think about what story your picture is telling. Do you want to illustrate the grandeur of a mountain, the intimidation of a lion, or the beauty of a lake? 

For example, in this photo I wanted to illustrate the isolation, and desolation of my friend’s campsite.

So to do this, I made sure to capture plenty of background with the goal of making my subject seem small and alone. That way I convey the point I wanted to make it clearer and more meaningful. Truth be told I could have zoomed the lenses out more, capturing even more of the landscape. But not everything always comes out perfectly, and that is ok! The aim of the game is progress, not perfection.

Your settings matter

There are a lot of settings on modern cameras. I can’t go over all of them but here are a couple big points you need to keep in mind when shooting.

First of all, shoot in RAW. Just do it. There are select cases like time lapses where it may be advantageous to shoot in JPEG or something else.

However, in general it will make editing and processing your photos smoother. As well as preserve the quality better. Unless, If you have no intention of editing the photos afterwards then it might not be as necessary. 

Yet, a good rule is to keep shooting in RAW unless you need to change it, not the other way around.

Secondly, keep that ISO down! Remember the higher the ISO is the more grainy and less clear your photos will appear. This can be mitigated in editing but not as well as you would hope.

Keep your ISO setting low to avoid grainy photos like this one. (Lucas Evans)

Personally, I like to stay below 400 for just regular shooting. But, as with everything, there have been exceptions. Turning that ISO up can be dangerous. Here is an example of a picture that had an ISO way too high.

Especially when it is expanded to fit this format you can see how ugly the grain makes it look.

The ISO here was an astounding 1250! To combat high ISO in low light settings you can put your camera on a tripod, turn the aperture down, or have your camera over expose the photo as it is being taken, although the latter is more of a hack than a full-bred solution so be wary and don’t over do it!.

Remember Your Rules of Composition

There are a lot of really basic, easy tricks you can use to drastically improve your photo game. Go back to the basics, rule of thirds, framing and leading lines. These simple concepts can have a profound effect on your photography.

This is a great example of framing, putting your subject inside a frame of some kind. You don’t always need some incredible idea to have fun and take a good picture.

Just keeping simple principles in mind while you’re out shooting can lead to amazing outcomes!

Just Try!

 

Using everyday objects to create Rules of Composition is an inexpensive way to improve your photography. (Lucas Evans)

This the most important tip I can give to anyone. If you want to take photos just go out and take them.

I know a lot of the time it seems like there might not be anything to take a photo of but there always is! All you have to do is find it. Just take your camera with you when you go out somewhere. I find that just having it one me gives me the chance to take a picture of whatever I might find.

There are good pictures hiding in plain sight everywhere, so don’t be discouraged. Plenty of my favorite pictures came from just wandering and exploring. No matter what, as long as you have a camera in your hand you are on the right track.