Got a new DSLR and want to start taking great pictures straight away? We’ve compiled the hacks, tips and tools that could turn any novice into Ansel Adams in a matter of days… Well, they’re a worthy starting point.
1. The Rule Of Thirds
One of the best known quick-win composition techniques, you’ll likely remember the Rule Of Thirds if you ever did a GCSE in Photography. The idea is about dividing your image into thirds so it looks like a noughts and crosses board. With this grid in your mind’s eye, the next step is to place the striking parts of your image on one or more of the four intersections. The four lines which connect these intersections are also a perfect place to align key elements of your photo.
Much like Da Vinci’s Golden Ratio formula promises a beautiful face, following the rule of thirds will theoretically produce an image that is aesthetically pleasing and which encourages natural interaction on the part of the viewer. Basically, a few clever people have done the research, and it turns out that when we look at photos, our eyes naturally go to one of these intersections rather than to the centre. Give it a go and see what the results are!
For more composition techniques, check out this article by Sebastian Jacobitz.
2. Know Your Lenses
If you haven’t got there yet, you’ll be interested to know that the cylindrical thing sticking out the front of your camera is where most of the magic happens. Standard, telephoto, wide angle, prime, macro, zoom, fish-eye… The options are almost infinite. If you’re struggling to figure out your ultraviolet from your swivel lens, then put your trust in old auntie YouTube, who’ll readily serve up a host of tutorials from your friendly neighbourhood camera-blogger.
Next up, you’ll need to get trying a few out. At this stage you’ll likely look to buy one or two before realising that they come with quite the price tag – which is why we’d suggest lens hire instead! If you hire a lens instead of buying, you can get a feel for different lenses without having to save up a year’s wages to get your hands on one.
3. Little And Often
It’s a journey, not a race, but your photography skills are muscles that need daily flexing in order to grow. Your new routine starts now. Figure out what or where it is that inspires you most – whether it’s period architecture, celebrities or alpine lakes – then get snapping.
Once you’ve experimented with your camera for a few months and know your aperture from your shutter speed, you’ll likely want to try a few others for size. With Fat Lama, you can hire a camera from a fellow London photographer and try before you buy. Camera hire might even help you get to the bottom of the infamous Canon versus Nikon debate (answers on a postcard…) Got a spare DSLR knocking around? Camera rental could generate you a significant additional income and on Fat Lama, you’re fully insured.