Photography Tips from

How To Be A Good Photographer - by Robert Hamilton

I have been shooting Wedding Photos for several years now, and have also hired many Photographers to shoot for me as well. Being able to see various different shooting styles gives me a real advantage, as I can learn from each Photographer whose style I enjoy. I must say, though, that some photographers' work I have seen was unimpressive. Here are some tips that should help you shoot more interesting photos. I hope they will be of help to you.

Your customers have hired you because you can shoot better photos than their friends can. They are looking for something they don't know how to shoot themselves. Photos taken from angles we usually do not see in "real life" give us a different perspective. Shoot your photos from every angle you can think of. Shoot from the floor, and from high up. You can just hold your camera high up or low down and point it toward your subject. With a digital camera you can delete if you missed, and shoot again. Shoot from far away and close. Shoot vertical, horizontal, and diagonal.

I have been disappointed when a Photographer has shot all of his photos with just one lens. I want to see some Wide angle lens shots, and some Telephoto lens shots. Throw in a few fisheye shots for good measure. A few filters don't hurt, either. I especially like the circular polarized filter for stunning blue skies. When they see all your camera equipment they should know who the pro is.

Learn as many poses as you possibly can. Nothing makes a photo album more boring than to see the same pose in every photo. The hands are the most important part of a pose. They must always be doing something. (No peace signs, please.) Dangling hands make a bad pose. Let's see some kind of purpose or action in what the hands are doing.

Make sure you shoot enough photos that you can throw away all of the "rejects," and still have more photos left over than your clients have ordered. Some clients may not like certain photos that you think were great shots, because everybody has their own personal taste and sense of beauty. Taking enough photos gives you backup in case you need it, and a reason for them to buy the Negatives.

I have had a few clients who weren't happy because their Photographer (sometimes myself) didn't listen to (or understand) what they wanted. Some couples have said they really wanted good landscape scenery in their photos. They wanted to see clearly the Hawaiian scenery. Because their Photographer didn't fully understand his clients' request, he continued to shoot in his own favorite style (which I like quite a bit, actually). The clients ended up quite disappointed that their instructions weren't followed. They didn't want any filters or special effects, or telephoto lenses blurring the background.

Another couple told me they wanted to be able to see themselves in the photos. They didn't want to look through a magnifying glass to tell whether it was them or not. I thought I understood them until they called me back to complain that they meant they like all their photos from the waist up (or the shoulders up). After spending (or wasting) half the day cropping their photos (cropping out nice Hawaiian landscape, their Wedding Minister and even their own children), they were finally satisfied with the results.

These cases may be rare, but we cannot assume everyone will like the same style of photos, so it is good to pay close attention to what your clients wishes are.

Editing your photos is the advantage of Digital, though it can also be done after scanning the Negatives. Photoshop is the best software I know to clean up a few offending photos. Crop out or erase any parts you don't like. Smooth out rough skin or blemishes. You can even add a little hair to bald spots, or color to the lips. Lighten up dark photos with the "Levels" adjustment. Make a few black & white (or sepia) photos, too, just for fun.

Take note of what is in the background (or foreground). Nothing should be in the photo except things you want to look at. Do you see any dead leaves or other rubbish on the ground? How about people's bags or other "clutter". With group shots, have everyone put all of their "stuff" behind the cameraman. No sunglasses, cell phones, cigarette boxes, or baseball caps in the Wedding Photos, please.

Do you enjoy your Photography? Every one does better work when they are having fun doing it. Are you constantly seeking to improve your skills? A sense of pride in your work will go a long way. Don't be satisfied to give your clients mediocre work. Aim for excellence!

Happy shooting!

Article by Robert Hamilton.

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