Let’s face it, we’re all obsessed with saving our hard earned cash in search of purchasing that camera body or lens we dream of. What about the false impression people have, when they tell us what a great camera we must have, after showing them our magnificent photos? Do we really need all the latest bells and whistles to become good photographers?
Nowadays, the way we take and share photos has changed drastically. Photos rarely get printed and are now simply shared onto social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and others.
Social media and smartphones are revolutionizing the way content and photos are shared. During Hurricane Sandy alone, Instagram reached a new milestone, when more than 800,000 photos related to the natural disaster were shared. On a different note, 300 million images are uploaded daily onto Facebook and the most popular camera used on Flickr is the iPhone 4s. Crazily enough, we’ve even heard of people hiring a professional photographer to photograph their wedding (probably the most important day of their life) only using an iPhone!
Time magazine turned to Instagram during the recent Hurricane Sandy in New York. They sent out 5 renowned photographers, solely equipped with their iPhones and access to their Instagram account to record and photograph the devastating state of New York during the storm. They acknowledged the great strengths of social media, by which their photos can be shared across all their social media platforms and become available to thousands of followers within seconds.
This helps prove that talented photographers are capable of using any camera to communicate the message, achieving it through use of creativity and inspiration, together with mastering the fundamentals of photography such as proper composition and use of light. Of course the photos may have turned out better if a DSLR was used, however the photos wouldn’t have been available to the public instantly. Needless to say, it was also a clever marketing move, with Time’s Instagram account gathering 12,000 new followers in just 2 days.
With proper execution and inspiration one can take a better photograph with an iPhone than someone using the latest top of the range DSLR. Even though the November’s Time Magazine cover photo was shot + edited with Instagram, a DSLR may be worth in excess of 5,000 euros, bad execution and use of it will still result in an unpleasant photo.
The above has hopefully convinced you that with a vague idea of the fundamentals of photography, together with the will, makes it possible to take good photos with any camera.
Observe the light and how it plays with the scene, feel inspired, do what you love and whip out your phone to photograph the moment. We all know the feeling of regret we get when we miss that special photo opportunity. The worst photo is that which you didn’t take, so don’t be scared to experiment and make mistakes, its what makes you learn and helps you improve.
I shot this from the crowd during a concert. Upon seeing Flo Rida jump in front of the crowd I quickly got my mobile out and captured the moment. Proper composition and a quick B&W edit make it a decent photo to share, and show others what a great atmosphere there was during his performance.
Look for new angles, set yourself apart from the hundreds of snap shots already taken of the same thing, walk around and look for new perspectives. Compose the shot right, its what differentiates a good photo to a random bad snapshot. Master the rule of thirds, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing a sunset on Instagram with the sun and sea composed bang in the middle. Push the subjects to the side and avoid including any unwanted objects in the photo, such as a branch or railings. Your best zoom is your feet, don’t be lazy and plan to crop it right later in Photoshop, always plan to get it right in camera. However do use post production software, even on Android or iOS there are several applications available to get that little bit more out of your photos and help them stand out from the crowd.
What’s also important is for you to gather a good grasp of what to expect from your subject. This will help you be prepared of what to expect from it and help you focus and plan on how to bring out the best photos of it. For example watching some videos of the sport you’ll photograph in the evening can be extremely beneficial when shooting it, helping you time shots and not simply depend on spray and pray! This is extremely important, especially if you have a body with a low rate of fps (frames per second).
Last but not least, have fun and enjoy it. Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Learn from them, it’s the best way to improve your knowledge in photography and experience. So next time you wish you had that expensive camera of the photographer next to you, think twice, get creative and give it your all.
Therefore next time someone tells you what a great camera you must have, don’t bother explaining the whole process done to take that splendid photo, simply ask them if someone who can’t cook would be capable of creating a 5 star meal just because he’ll use expensive pots and pans. Plainly no and the same applies to taking good photos, whatever the camera.