What does it really take to shoot for National Geographic? How do National Geographic photographers think and take photos? How is their working style different from that of a “regular” photographer? Photographer Bob Holmes shares with us how he approaches photography to make images worthy of National Geographic:
“The camera is the biggest barrier to great photographs very often.”
Moments come and go in the blink of an eye. If you spend time trying to work your camera when you should be taking images, you’ll lose lots of photo opportunities. Preparation is key, and as a photographer, you’ve got to be prepared by knowing your gear through and through. The camera should be your tool to take images and not a barrier. When out in the field, you shouldn’t be thinking too much about the equipment and the settings. You should rather be concentrating on what’s happening around you.
Besides working with gear, it’s equally important that you educate and train your eyes. By studying other great photographers, or even painters, you can train your eyes to look for interesting compositions, expressions, and even anticipate decisive moments.
“One of the things that you need in strong composition is some punctuation.”
Think of punctuation as a decisive moment. It should get the viewer’s attention and force them to think of what’s happening or about to happen in the image. Include elements in your photographs that make viewers pause and think.
“As a photographer, it’s your fault if there’s something in the frame that shouldn’t be.”
Always be careful of what you’re composing. You may be so interested in the subject of your photo that you end up missing out on what’s happening on the edges of the frame. This increases the chances of unnecessary elements being introduced into your composition that can ruin the shot. Be responsible for everything in your frame.
Also, pay attention to the background. Are there branches or poles popping out from behind your subject? Is there anything back there that shouldn’t be? Have a holistic view whenever taking photographs.
“To take your very best photographs, you have to be on your own, and you have to give your subjects a hundred percent of your concentration.”
While interacting with your subject is one thing, it’s also essential that you study your potential subjects. Understand what they’re doing and what they’ll do next. Think of ways you can present the story of your subjects through your photographs.
For instance, in the following photograph, to give a sense of the heavy loads the boys were carrying, Holmes used a wide-angle lens and shot from a lower perspective. This has given an impression of the weight of the load coming in from the top of the frame.
While the topics Holmes covered here may not land you an immediate job with National Geographic, his tips will certainly help you out in improving your style of photography.
For DSLR users, this is one of my favorite subjects. Why? Because changing the aperture in your lens can totally change how your photo will look. And there will be photos in this article to show you just how much this change will do. But, I like what the changes do vs. changing shutter speeds. Changing shutter speeds in your camera are meant for certain types of photos for sure, but, changing your aperture settings in your camera can significantly change the outcome of your photo.
To explain this, I have found a couple of good articles how exactly the aperture works and how it changes your photo’s outcome.
The first article is from PICTURE /CORRECT, and was written by: Tiffany Mueller:
Photographers use aperture for a multitude of things from getting the proper exposure to creating a specific depth of field. Understanding how it works is essential to being able to use aperture to your advantage and taking the photographs you envision in your mind.
Photographers use aperture for a multitude of things from getting the proper exposure to creating a specific depth of field. Understanding how it works is essential to being able to use aperture to your advantage and taking the photographs you envision in your mind. In this quick primer, John Cripps breaks down the ins and outs of aperture and lets us know what it’s all about:
Simply put, an aperture is the opening in a lens that allows light to enter and, conversely, blocks light from coming in depending on which setting it is on. If you hold a lens up to the light and move the aperture ring (or arm depending on your lens) you will see the aperture diaphragm opening up and closing down. That is your aperture.
Let’s say you want to take a photo of a tree, but the tree you want to photograph is surrounded by a bunch of other trees. How do you isolate the chosen tree from the others to draw the viewers eye to it? Simple. Just adjust your aperture. Look at the two photographs below. They were taken using Aperture Priority Mode, which locks your aperture to a setting that you control and automatically adjusts the ISO and shutter speed to get the proper exposure.
The F number (i.e. f/4, f/8, f/22, etc.) represents the ratio between the focal length of your lens and the diaphragm of your lens. But there’s no need to memorize any complicated formula. Just remember, the bigger your F number, the more depth of field you will have, even though it’s actually a smaller sized aperture opening. A wider aperture (small f number) lets in more light and results in a more shallow depth of field. Think of it this way:
“Say you have a horde of screaming tweens at a Justing Beiber concert trying to get backstage. If you only have 2.8 security guards holding them back, well, there’s a lot space in between them for those teeny boppers to get through, but if you have 22 guards holding rank, there’s a lot less space for those Beliebers to make it past.”
Justin Beiber, huh? Well, I like that analogy.
Here is another article that gives just a little bit more detail about how the aperture works depending on what lens you use. Check this out:
This article was written by Lee Johnson for PICTURE / CORRECT:
Depth of field is a photography term that refers to the selective focus of the camera lens along a certain plane. This creates a sharp focus for any objects at a specific distance from the lens, while objects further away from that specific distance become increasingly blurry. The more shallow your depth of field is, the more precise your focus becomes, thus leaving objects in front of or behind your subject more blurry. A deep depth of field is the opposite, and all objects are sharper.
There are four main factors that affect the depth of field:
As you might guess from these factors, this makes getting clear pictures in macro photography very challenging.
In macro photography, the lens is usually either very close to the subject, at a longer zoom length, or both. To mitigate this, there is a technique called “stacking,” in which a subject is shot from the same angle multiple times, each with a different focal point, and the images are digitally combined to create one smooth shot that’s completely in focus.
So, with all that information in mind, I hope you can take that and go practice with your DSLR, and discover what you can do with your aperture setting. It will amaze you. You too, will find joy in realizing how you can change the outcome of your photos.
Here are some more creative ideas of how to use your aperture:
An eternally-burning pit in the middle of Turkmenistan. A church near Prague made out of human bones. A tiny village in Japan where life-sized dolls outnumber the residents nearly 10:1. We may live in a big, beautiful world, but our planet certainly has its fair share of terrifying and mysterious places—places just waiting for the next morbidly inclined traveler to come visit. From hell-themed amusement parks to islands covered with snakes, these are some of the scariest places in the world. Have you started packing your bags yet?
Provided this article and it was put together with the aid of : Caitlin Morton . And was first shown on the internet on MSN / Travel
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