3 Tips on Taking Great Photography
By Cullen Chan, Contributor
When I look at my own journey as a photographer, there are many variables that come into play when achieving greatness in this art form. But in my own experience, I have found these three most helpful tips so far.
Getting to know your camera
Getting to know your camera is one of the most important factors in attaining great photography. You can learn more through your friends or professors if they have a lot of knowledge about cameras. You can also use online resources like YouTube to find camera experts.
The first camera I started using when I became serious about photography is the Canon T6i — an entry level digital camera. One feature that I paid attention to when I purchased this camera is the length of its lens. When looking at digital camera lenses, one of the ideal beginner lengths is 18 to 55 mm. This length provides you with many options and is usually a kit lens for most starter digital cameras.
With a new era of technology and social media, using phones has become an accessible and popular way to photograph, and now newer phone cameras can take pictures at the same quality as cameras. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you use to take photos, it’s how you use your technology and knowledge to take that photo.
After gaining knowledge from whichever resource you use, play around with your settings while you’re taking photos to find the right photographic style you want.
For a camera, this can be settings such as white balance, ISO, aperture number on the lens and shutter speed. For a phone this could be flash, dark mode and exposure.
Once you are comfortable with your settings, another important aspect to look at is framing or composition. This could mean focusing your camera at a person, object or landscape. You can consider the rule of thirds which is essentially placing your subject or landscape in the left or right third of an image and leaving the rest of two thirds open in contrast.
Once you are comfortable with your camera, actively place yourself in new situations that are out of your comfort zone — seek discomfort. By this, I mean don’t try photographing the same things that you usually do.
For example, if you usually just take photos of landscapes then try something new and attempt taking portraits of people. You’ll never know if you’ll like something or be good at it if you don’t try it out.
If you’re struggling for inspiration with your photography, you can find local events. As a journalism student who specializes in photography for the Calgary Journal, one tip I find helpful is constantly checking for events around the city.
One event that I found out about through multiple social media channels is the Black Lives Matter protest last June 1st, 2020. Hundreds of people showed up for such an important cause. Many were passionate about the cause and injustices. This helped me capture the raw emotion and unity of the people through the event. So make sure to check different social media platforms for events that interest you or are important to you.
To take good pictures there isn’t just one element you need to have, it’s being able to possess a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience. These three pillars create a skilled versatile photographer that can create great photography.