Five Tips For Taking Good Photos

Taking Good Photos

When I was a student at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, I was prevented from taking photography classes until I had taken some fine art courses, and art history. While many of my fellow students grumbled about taking art classes before pursuing our passion for photography, I absorbed all the information like a sponge.  I was anxious to learn how to create art, and we routinely had to draw models while in art class.  Learning how to create the brush strokes, the thickness, or angles, and understanding how light hit the model all became relevant when learning about photography.  The art classes ignited my passion for photography.  Learning about colors, shapes and form in design classes helped me develop my creativity level when viewing a scene.  While working for other professional photographers we would go out and look at a great scene.  Often when I was sent out on a job the professional would think he found the best shot and just shoot it.  Meanwhile I would walk around 360 degrees and sometimes stumble on a better photo just because I was open to trying something different. I stumbled on an engagement shot through the vines at Bluemont Vineyard this way.

Bluemont Vineyard Engagement Photo

This article assumes you already know the basics such as understanding shutter speed and FStop to get the correct exposure so if you are looking for technical photography advice, this article is not for you.  If you are looking for ideas to increase your creativity when looking at the scene then read about my five photography tips.

Five Tips For Taking Good Photos



1. Stop and look. Engage yourself with your environment.  As with a painter, spend more time looking than shooting. In the old camera days of film, we had to be very circumspect about the photos we took.  Just because you have a digital camera doesn't mean you snap everything in sight and hope for the best.

2. Turn around, sometimes the best things are happening behind you while you're concentrating on something else.

3.Keep it fresh, and keep it simple.  A child holding its parent's hand, or a dog looking away can be powerful photos although they seem mundane.

4. Don't stop just because you think you have the shot. Sometimes the best shots are an after thought.  The child may lean its head, or a dog may turn toward you.  When I took one of my favorite pictures, a red tree, I was actually supposed to be shooting the skyline of the city.  Suddenly a huge thunderstorm came, and we rushed to put our camera gear in the car.  When the rain passed, I had gorgeous billowing rain clouds with the sunlight coming through that I would not have photographed just fifteen minutes earlier. Then I saw this red tree.

5. Always remember what inspired you to take pictures in the first place and never lose sight of it.  I am inspired by an artist called Irving Penn who did a portrait of Pablo Picasso.

Pablo Picasso Inspired Portrait like Irving Penn

Irving Penn inspred Pablo Picasso Photo

Irving Penn inspred Pablo Picasso Photo

Irving Penn's work is timeless, elegant, and I love his work with light and composition.