Part of becoming an improved photographer is understanding how to challenge yourself to put the skills you already have to the test and acquire new skills that will allow you to expand your boundaries as a photographer. But what many photographers seem to think is that in order to find a challenge, one must travel to far-off locations to find material worthy of a photo. And that is just not so! A good photographer will find a photo right where they are, at their home.
Here is a list of things at home you could just practice on, things that you could do to sharpen your photography skills. These ideas are some things that all photographers can do, that will just plainly, sharpen your skills in composition, as well as lighting, and other great skills.
This time with your food, practice the angles of how food would look in a magazine. Use some of the ingredients that make your food look better. How can you make some of your simple food look and taste even more appetizing in a photo? This is good practice for your photo skill sharpening, as well as creating something yummy at the same time.
Find something in the house that would look perfect in black and white. Here is the question I always ask when shooting in black and white: Will this photo look better in black and white, than in color? What would that be? Sometimes a portrait could be great in black and white, if done right. But, usually find something in your home that is really abstract, like the photo above.
This is a fun project to do with another photographer, or maybe a spouse can walk around the house, and yard and give you a list of things to photograph. It can be almost anything, but, the goal is: to find a creative way to photograph everything on the list. This is just a fun game you can do to make the scavenger hunt fun.
When I took a photography class (Photography 101), my first assignment was to take a photo of water, but to stop action with water, similar to the photo above. It’s a tougher assignment than you think. I think there are some other fun ideas to do besides this. This is such a good challenge, though, everyone should do this once. But try some other photo like this one below:
With water, doesn’t those cherries look better than ever. There are a lot of other fun ways to photograph the “water assignment”.
To practice doing shallow depth of field, of course, you would need a good DSLR camera. You would need to have the subject good and sharp and the background out of focus. You need to make sure you are controlling that. Don’t use automatic. Don’t cheat on this. To make it even more of a challenge, pick something other than a person.
You can go out to the garden if you need to, but, focus on a flower and make sure only the flower is in focus, and nothing else. Use a good depth of field.
There is a world of beauty at our feet, and we often miss this beauty. I see some wonderful photos that come from artists who “Look Down”. Check it out. For fun, have your family gather around and do something fun like this:
Interesting photo….. but, oh such memories. Photography is about memories too. Can you see this photo hanging on the wall? I bet that this photo is one of those that somehow makes it to the wall.
Perhaps one of the hardest things to do as a photographer is to learn to thin the herd, so to speak, and compose images that are simple. Going minimal is hard because we don’t see minimal scenes with our own eyes – whether it’s our living room, our backyard, or the view from the front porch, we’re bombarded with stimuli, so it’s natural that we tend to create images with all that stimuli included. But, instead of incorporating absolutely everything into a single image, try to exclude all the clutter and focus on a single, strong subject. All photos benefit from a strong subject, so this project will result in better photos whether they are minimalist or not!
Working in low light is really fun for me. I love how the lighting turns out. The subtle light and shadows are almost breathtaking. And a good low light photo, like above captures such a mood, it is almost mesmerizing. These kind of photos, if you get good at, I think are some of the new types of photos that are going to sell well in stock photography and by people looking for something in their home that are looking for something romantic or something to create a certain mood. A good subject to practice.
This article written by Lanny Cottrell for 123Photogo.
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Has presented this pictorial on MSN and Shoshi Parks put this together. We thank them for the use of their article, dated: 8/5/2019
Landscapes are beautiful as they are. Simply pointing your camera at them doesn’t make you a landscape photographer. Professional landscape photographers work with landscapes in a different way. Jason Charles Hill and Gunnar Freyr share some amazing, non-typical tips to step up your landscape photography to the next level:
By adding a person in the frame, you can build a connection with the viewer. You can make them wonder what it would be like to actually be present in that location. It also gives a sense of scale and shows how grand and beautiful the landscape is.
Hill suggests that you build up your arsenal of lenses to cover as many focal lengths as possible. Typically, you’d start with a wide angle lens for landscapes. Additionally, you can get yourself some prime lens for depth of field and a 24–70mm to cover the rest of the range. For subjects that are far away, you can also get a telephoto like the 100–400mm. Such lenses also help you to compress the scene and create a unique perspective.
Apps like “Sun Seeker” or “Moon Seeker” allow you to know the precise location of the sun or the moon at a particular location at any time of the day. This will help you out by letting you visualize the lighting will be ahead of time.
Nature is unpredictable. No matter how prepared you may be, sometimes things can go against you. Poor visibility and bad lighting are common challenges that landscape photographers face. Don’t give up. Shoot whatever you can get. Try to make the most out of whatever you see.
Sometimes we get so obsessed with taking photographs that our vision is bound by the viewfinder. It’s a good idea to sometimes take a break from the camera. Instead of looking through the camera, use your eyes to see. Walk around the location, enjoy the view, and you might find something interesting.
“Sense the sounds, the smells, everything. It’s definitely going to set you apart and make you a better landscape and nature photographer.”
Shooting from eye level gives you a perspective that we are used to seeing all the time. Shoot from a higher or a low perspective at any opportunity that you get. A unique perspective will make the viewers think differently about your image, making it more engaging.
“Sometimes you bring a ladder along or sometimes you’re just going to lay down on the dirt to get the shot.”
Once you’ve planned to go somewhere, it can be a good idea to search for the location tag using a platform like Instagram and reach out to locals. Build a relationrelationshipem and ask them about specialties of that place, the best time to be there, things you shouldn’t miss, and so on. And when you actually get there, may be you can meet them in person.
Taking panoramas doesn’t just mean that you take a series of photos horizontally. You can take multiple overlapping shots in any direction you want and later stitch them up to get a high resolution image. This technique can be especially useful if you’re stuck with a longer lens.
Using the “All Terrain View” in Google Maps, look for interesting patterns in land structures, like mountains or creeks. Aerial views can assist you in finding the perfect location.
Most of the time we get so excited by what’s in front of us that we totally neglect what we might have behind us. Be sure to occasionally take a break from your camera and have a look at your surroundings. Who knows, your best photo opportunity might be behind the camera and not in front of it.
We’ve been programmed to choose a wide angle lens for landscape photography. How about taking some close-up portraits of nature? Using a portrait or a telephoto lens and capture up close details.
Give some of these tips a try when you’re out shooting landscapes and let us know how it goes!
Here are some more great photos of uncommon landscape photos: