Beginning Photography Tips



If you've just broken your camera out of it's box and looking for some beginning photography tips to point you in the right direction then the following 3 tips are just what you need.

As you would have guessed, I love shooting the Great Ocean Road, and in particular, it's Beautiful Waterfalls.

I will use the photo below to demonstrate the use of each of these tips.

Beginning Photography Tips:
Slow Shutter Speeds

The one single tip that will make the most difference to your shots is to use a Tripod and a Slow Shutter Speed when shooting waterfalls. This is what gives that 'professional' water motion effect you've seen in all those postcards!

You're never going to get that look without a tripod, so do yourself a favour and go and get yourself an inexpensive and compact tripod.

Any shutter speed slower than about 1/30 will give you motion blur, but I like at least a second or two for a real 'dreamy' water look. The easiest way to do this is to set your camera to Shutter priority and select a 1 second exposure. If you don't have a cable release, set the self timer to avoid any movement of the camera when pressing the shutter.

In the shot above, I had to find a balance between a shutter speed slow enough for water motion blur, but fast enough to prevent my daughters from looking blurry due to movement. You can't see it in this shot, but they moved slightly which caused some motion blurring, but for this size, it's acceptable. From memory, this shot was around a half a second exposure.


Beginning Photography Tips:
Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a compositional guide to subject placement within the shot. Photos where the subject is placed right in the middle of the scene can often look boring and clumsy. Imagine dividing your viewfinder into 9 squares, like a 'naughts and crosses' game. This divides the scene into both vertical and horizontal thirds. By placing a subject one one of the lines, or on one of the intersecting lines will often create much stronger photos compositionally.

Once again, looking at the shot of the waterfall, you can clearly see that the waterfall is placed at the top right third of the frame, and my two lovely daughters are aesthetically placed at the opposite third. This creates a very strong image, and one that is much more pleasing than if either the waterfall, or the girls were placed smack bang in the middle.


Beginning Photography Tips:
Foreground Interest



The third tip, also shown using the same photo, is foreground interest. The waterfall is very beautiful, but without something to draw your eyes into the shot, it would still lack 'something'. By adding the girls (or even tilting the shot down a little to use the rock they are sitting on) to the foreground adds lovely depth to the shot.

You can see how the use of these 3 simple tips has created a very strong image. Stay tuned for more tips in the coming weeks.

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