Do’s And Don’ts Of Photography
Have you been watching someone’s Facebook album and gone “Damn! Why can’t I get such shots?”. You can – it takes practice, effort, and a lot of patience. It is a build up that starts from choosing the right camera to choosing the right frame and all the little things that go along with it. Here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts that you can follow to build that amazing ability to take the right picture at the right time.
Care for your camera
Just like a Formula 1 driver cares for his car, you need to care for your camera. Treat it like your special window to the world. Clean the camera regularly and check for smudges and fingerprints. Be mindful when the camera is attached to a power source or a cable – switch it off properly before unplugging. I also recommend that you keep your camera dry and free of condensation. Store it well, in a cool and dry place. Personally, I remove the batteries if I know that I am not going to use it for a long time.
Good pictures don’t come easily. When I shoot, I hold my breath and place both my hands firmly on any support that I can find. I suggest that you put this into practice, consciously. Less the movement, less is the ‘shake-effect’ in the picture. Move your hands closer to your body and try to be as stable as you can.
Get a tripod
Many photographers make the mistake of not using a tripod, thinking that stability and balance will be achieved by hand. Well, let me tell you that I was one of them until I used my friend’s tripod on one of our camping trips. It is a pleasure to use and lets you divert your attention on the subject rather than focusing on keeping a steady hand. A tripod will give you ultra crisp shots and let you frame the picture in a much better way. It is much better when you want to take ‘low-light’ pictures because it reduces camera shake. And hey, it lets you take your own pictures too! For those of you who find carrying a tripod a pain, there are many smaller devices like the UltraPod in the market that are smaller and lighter.
Buying a camera is a daunting task. When my old camera was shouting out to be replaced, I started scouting for good deals and found it extremely frustrating because there are so many choices out there. If you are in a similar spot, I have an advice for you – know your budget, and know what you need. I would consider paying extra for better image stabilization or anti-shake technology. It is going to be your saving grace in reduced light. I also know how annoying it is when you find the perfect spot and you run out of batteries. Hence I strongly recommend buying a camera that accepts all common battery formats and maybe dish out a few extra dollars to get those rechargeable ones. They might cost more to begin with, but will save you many on those foreign trips.
Choose, compose and be quick
You might be emotionally attached to a picture but remember, the viewer is not. Choose your subject or frame carefully. Then think! Think of your frame and visualize a composition. Compose with care. Photography is like a sport, you need to be quick and seize the moment. Someone had told me to put in an effort to do this ritual every time I shot. I can tell you, it was very irritating in the beginning, but it sure did pay off in the long run. I am now able to do all of that in mere seconds and I am sure you would too.
A very quick point to all you old school photographers, move on. Technology is here to make our lives better, easier and quicker. I know change is hard, but put aside your old bulky film SLRs and go for the new digital ones. It is surely a charm to develop films and see the final product. But hey, there is an easier way out and it allows you to be more creative. If you still don’t agree, I suggest you borrow your mate’s digital SLR and spend a few days with it. You will fall in love!