You took a picture one day and you felt great about it. You believed it’s a piece of art and one of its kind in your lifetime.
Then something caught you eyes…
You saw some people already took a similar picture and it look so much better than yours!
Did they have a secret way of doing this?
The answer is NO. There is no secret way but instead an easier way.
I want to share with you my experience on how to take professional pictures using 5 simple techniques. They will change your perspective on taking your next set of photos so that you can achieve a more interesting, beautiful and especially professional looking pictures.
1) Tell your stories
In order to how to take professional pictures that stand out from the crowd, there are more things to do besides taking a picture that worth a thousand words. You need to make it at least a thousand and one word if all possible (I hope you get my point). One of the best way to tell stories through the lens is to take an action shot right before it happen, but do it carefully in a way that the viewer can imagine the motion that is soon to follow. Here is an example:
In this picture, I took a shot of my friend playing pool aiming for the shot. I took the picture just before he hit the pool ball and I deliberately focused his face but blurred everything else around him. Generally, the viewer will first pay attention to the focused part of the picture which is the back of his face, then the blurred white ball, the pool cues, then the hole in front of him. This series of trail allow the viewer to feel what is about to happen next in just one simple picture.
2) Foresee your composition
You may wonder how can a person foresee a picture before the shot is taken. Perhaps the answer to that is you already know the answer. And yes, the answer is: “The best composition of a picture is already inside your mind”. So before you press the shutter button think about the final scene inside your head and use your camera to make it a reality. Look around you to give you a different perspective of the environment and pay attention to the details. If nothing else work, try looking up to the sky. You may surprise yourself with an interesting composition of your next photo.
I took this picture at an outdoor mall. There was nothing good to take a picture of at the beginning. No interesting angle or person I could find. I was standing between a light pole and building and I looked up to the sky. Ah-ha! That’s an interesting composition.
3) Don’t over think
If you ever play golf you’ll probably understand this concept. Each time you over think is the time you hit the golf ball to the bushes, water, bunker or just nowhere. This is similar with photography. If you are thinking about the rule of third, subject placement, balance, patterns, leading lines etc in each of your shots you will be overwhelmed and will mess up. Certainly, there are things that cannot be ignored like aperture, shutter speed and ISO but outside of those just focuses on how to fill your picture with meaningful objects. In another word, just let your creativity flow to create this professional picture.
I took this shot when I was in Hong Kong. I had nothing in my mind except to have a well balance photo of the building. I walked to the center and took a shot at this building and it turned out great. The total time I spent was about 10 seconds. No magic, no hassle.
4) Do your research
Do not under-estimate the power of research before you go out taking photos. It is not a waste of time and absolutely not a way of cheating yourself by looking at others photo before going to the location. If you know where you will be shooting in advance, make sure you check out Flickr, 500px, and use an app called “stuck on earth” to do a through research online. Let me give you an example, if you are going to take a landscape picture involving sunrise, make sure you know exactly where the sun comes up from which mountain and at what time before actually going to the location. Because if you think the sun comes up at 6am but the mountain is so high that you won’t see the sun until 7am, you are wasting your valuable time. I couldn’t tell how many times the up front researches saved my time and inspire me on ideas to take my best photos.
5) Learn from each shot
This may seem harsh to say, but one of the best ways to learn photography is to feel dissatisfy in the pictures you have taken. Always find ways of improvement in each of your shots and show your photos to someone who doesn’t know you very well to give your un-bias opinion. You will be surprised to know your best shot may not be the best shot in someone else’s eyes. If you can’t find people around you to give you constructive feedback, go to meetup.com to meet people with similar minds, post your pictures online, or even do a photo contest in pixoto.com to check if you photo is really good enough. Remember the journey of learning photography never stops and your skills as to how to take professional pictures will grow each day!
The methods listed above aren’t too hard to do right? I am certain that anyone who took some practice will achieve similar or better results. I hope you enjoy the insights in this post as to how to take professional pictures in 5 simple techniques. Please feel free to comment below and share your experience. Also don’t forget to like my facebook page HERE and follow me on Twitter HERE. In the meantime, keep shooting photographers!