If you happen to be the proud owner of a selection of beautifully handcrafted personalised photo albums you will undoubtedly want to fill the pages with precious photographic moments that you have captured yourself.
As every keen amateur photographer knows, if you want to hone your skills, it’s important to practice, practice, practice. Freely taking snaps of people, places and objects can result in a huge stash of images for your customised photo books. You can even theme your photo collections, and create striking photo albums that highlight special family events, like birthdays and holidays.
Follow our tips to improve your techniques, as you learn to take photos like a pro…
- Shoot First, Crop Later
To make your photo albums really stand out, it’s a good idea to feature an assortment of photographic styles and images. When you’re starting out as an amateur photographer, there’s no need to worry about the overall composition of the image you are snapping, as you can crop accordingly later on.
Practice shooting snaps in a variety of settings and in different lighting, so that you can show off a range of photographic skills.
2. Experiment With Light
Lighting is the foundation of professional quality photography. As an amateur photographer, it’s important to learn the difference between good and bad lighting for your photos.
The golden hour (the hour before sunset) is considered to be prime time for capturing gorgeous images that feature a warm and flattering glow. For dramatic twilight images, aim your lens during the blue hour, which occurs just after sunset and before sunrise.
If you like to take landscape shots, you need to discover how to choose the best natural lightning for your photography. Too much light, on a bright sunny day, can result in harsh shadows in your images.
To take photos like a pro, observe the light before you start snapping. Identify the direction that it’s coming from, so that you can work out the best place for your subject, or the optimal angle to photo from. To make portraits shots look softer and more flattering, make sure that the light comes from the front.
- Master The Rule Of Thirds
To create a visually appealing display of images in your albums, it’s essential that you master using the ‘rule of thirds’.
This composition principle divides an image into nine sections of equal proportions, with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. All of the important elements viewed through the lens are placed within these lines.
Although the ‘rule of thirds’ is mostly used in landscape photography, it can also greatly enhance other genres. Once you’ve mastered this photographer’s rule, you may want to explore the more advanced compositional principles of the Phi Grid and Fibonacci Spiral.
- Learn All About Lenses
For every type of photography, there is a perfect lens. As an amateur photographer, it’s a good idea to invest in a professional quality kit. Most photographers prefer to use a camera with a separate lens that is appropriate for the shoot.
A 24-70mm zoom lens, or a 100mm macro lens, is the equipment that professional photographers generally use when shooting still life photography. For portraiture work, the 85mm lens is the best option. A wide-angle lens is a crucial piece of kit, if you’re photographing beautiful panoramic landscapes, or snapping on your travels.
Most camera lenses can focus manually or automatically. Manual focusing – by turning the ring on the lens until the area comes into sharp focus – gives you complete control of the image quality. However, if you have less than 20/20 vision, your manual focus may not be as sharp as you think it is. As a result, the images may look blurred.
Autofocus adjusts the camera lens to automatically focus on your subject, without the need for you to turn the ring on the lens. In dimly lit environments, autofocus can sometimes struggle to lock in and focus on the subject. Calibrating your lenses to your camera can help you to improve your focusing accuracy for better quality photographs.
5. Keep Practicing
It’s common for amateur photographers to feel like they are stuck in a rut, when practicing the hobby. To make the experience more enjoyable you need to practice as much as you can, by taking snaps of interesting people and places.
Start by taking snaps of your family and friends in a home setting. You can then progress to photographing objects that interest you – you may find particular shapes or colours appealing. When you’re comfortable with your camera, go outdoors and explore landscapes through your lens.
If you want to create stylish personalised photo albums that are themed, you can focus on a photography concept to improve your skills. Free-flowing practice requires you to take snaps of anything and everything that catches your eye. As you do this, you’ll likely want to experiment with different angles and camera settings, which makes practicing fun.
Structured practice is perfect for refining the new skills you have learned. You can do this by picking a subject or a composition style and focusing solely on this.
Reviewing your work is recommended, as it offers an opportunity to closely examine how you photograph. As you review your images, you’ll be able to spot how you can improve your techniques so that your photos are more striking and dramatic.