In order to take your photography to the next level, whether you are just searching for some inspiration or simply starting out in digital photography, our top 10 photography tips will help
Tell a Story
If you wish to tell a story you can do that using your photography. The first thing you have to do is to choose a subject, but remember that this is the hardest part of the entire process. Try experimenting with photo ideas closer to home, prior to heading off to far-reaching countries. You will see that there are a lot of interesting stores near you, such as the joy of working your own allotment or the drudgery of life.
Do Some Research
You should do some research, even if the story is close to your home or heart. You should plan what you wish to say. You might need just one picture for your story or if you want something more complex you can use a series of multiple pictures. If you want to reveal more about your subject, you can do a photo essay.
Choose Your Style
Think about how you want the final image to feel and look and the way you intend to shoot. Do you prefer the finished pictures to be in color or white and black? Do you just want to use natural light to improve the mood, or will hard flash light complement to your story? Your photos will be more coherent with a bit of planning. For inspiration, from our past Photographer of the Year contest, you could take a look at the best documentary photography entries contests.
After you have made a decision about the style and approach, you will have to make sure that you have the right equipment to capture your shot. Probably, you won’t need to take the whole kit bag with you, so only select the tools you need. Make sure you have the right focal lengths and tripod. You have to check if the batteries of the camera are fully charged as well as whether you have enough memory cards and spare batteries for your flashgun.
If you are taking shots of people doing their daily stuff, it’s better to have their permission. Just tell them what you are doing and in most of the cases, you will have their permission. However, you will be asked to leave or get a wide berth, if you sneak around suspiciously. In order to get results, you will have to build a healthy rapport, especially if you are doing a long-term project.
You should try not to capture all the shots in one go or rush in, because often a long-term project is the reason behind the best documentary photography. You should try to maximize the time you have, if you do end up in one location with limited time.
Making sure that all your images are safe is one of the most crucial tasks for a digital photographer. After you return home from your day’s shooting, you are advised to make back-up copies on an external DVD or hard-drive after you download your images. It is better to save your back-ups in a location, different from your main computer.
Process Your Image
You can start to process your images once they are safe. Using smart software such as Adobe Camera Raw, at the processing stage you can make your tweaks to contrast, tone and color if you prefer to shoot in raw. It is not very likely that you’ll prefer to enhance your images substantially, for documentary photography projects. For added impact, just try converting to black and white or make a few adjustments.
Think about how you want to present your project, once you’ve finished it. If you’ve taken a number of shots, maybe you could have them framed and printed to be displayed in an exhibition, or perhaps it would be better for them if they are viewed in a book format. There are a lot of online printing services that can create amazing books of your pictures at a decent rate.
Study the Best Photographers
Just after the Second World War, a photo agency called Magnum Photos was founded by David “Chim” Seymour, George Rodger, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. Since then it has become one of the most important photographic institutions in the world.