Now that you’ve shaken off the cloak of darkness created by the “cheap camera myth” and are ready to either learn photography with the camera you have, or improve your current skill set, we can move forward.
The whole point of the last post, Great Photos from Really Cheap Cameras was to cheer and encourage you to shoot with whatever camera you own. It’s not about the camera. Let me repeat that, It’s Not About The Camera! Put any camera in the hands of someone with a trained eye, and the results will please.
A lot of the skills I use today with my not-so-cheap camera were learned on a disposable one. Thanks to Kerrin at My Kugelhopf for her story about her Granddad capturing some of the best photos taken at her wedding with a $5 disposable camera! To that, I say EXACTLY. To quote her, “nuff said.”
Assuming you’re shooting with anything other than a disposable camera, here’s the most important tip in the universe: Read The Manual. Oh! I know, you were expecting something more profound! Take comfort in this: there isn’t anything profound in learning photography. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t have your manual? Check out Craig Camera, or do a search online. Several years ago I located and ordered the manual for my 1957 Yashica and finally figured out how to change the battery. I’ve never claimed to be mechanical.
When I began in earnest to train my eye, with every shot I mentally repeated two things:
- If it’s not interesting, you’re not close enough. – Robert Capa.
- Don’t put the object of interest in the middle, a rule commonly called the Rule of Thirds. Offset the focal point, is easier to remember.
3 additional tips that will help add interest to your captures:
- Change your perspective. Get higher, go lower, or walk around to see what the scene looks like from a different angle.
- Look for symmetry of objects or a repeating theme (one of my favorites).
- Develop your eye to search for reflection. Reflection can be created from water, mirror or glass, the cone of an airplane, a pair of reflective sunglasses, a rear view/side mirror, or someone’s retina.