Taking and printing your own photos can be a very fun and exciting concept. Gone are the days of booking professional photo-shoots in fear of wasting money on film, gone are the days of waiting anxiously for developed prints and gone are the days where we had no control over the whole process.
Since the digital camera boom of the past 10-15 years, photographs now cost nothing to take. As a result of this every man and his dog has become an amateur photographer, and there a millions of, well, amateur looking photographs out there.
So here at Toner Giant, we thought we’d put together a checklist of things you can do to get the most out of your equipment and end up with that professional-looking print!
Visualise the space and frame it.
The legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams once said, ‘The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.’ What this means is that the camera you have in your hands is a mere picture-taking device, it is the photographer that must first see the shot and visualise the end result before even pressing the shutter.
Tips: If you’re shooting people, look at the space around them, are they centralised? Do you want them to be in a certain part of the frame? Maybe there’s a landmark or piece of furniture in the shot, use this prop to position the people in the frame, and ask yourself if this is the shot you imagined.
Maybe you’re shooting landscape, does the frame look nice and open? Are there any distracting elements or people in the shot that take away the overall effect of the landscape? Of course all this is subjective to the person taking the picture, there is no right and wrong photograph; as long as it’s the effect you want to go for.
How’s the light looking?
Some people say photography is as much of a science as it is an art. This can mean constantly checking levels of natural light as you enter a room, or adjusting your flash for different times of the day.
Tips: Make sure you haven’t ‘doubled up’ on unwanted light sources, if you’re snapping indoors, you may have a light on in the room but also be affected by natural light. Check any natural light sources in the daytime and be sure that they don’t clash with the more yellow looking light that can be produced by bulbs. If you’re shooting outside in the sun, make sure that the bright sky doesn’t cause people or objects in the foreground to appear unnaturally dark; you can counteract this with a flash.
Through the looking glass.
The right lens is arguably more important than your camera. For portraits and close-ups, use a lens with a wide aperture to get a nice bright light on the subjects in the foreground. For landscapes, the right focal length is extremely vital; go with a wide angle lens to make sure you’re fitting in as much scenery as possible; you can always crop it down in post-production later!
Take plenty of shots!
Remember, the reason you have a digital camera is because it’s free to use! Snap, snap and snap some more; you can never have too many versions of the same photograph, it just means you have more to pick from later!
Extra work can always be done.
Little tweaks can be done in post-production software, and if you do it right, nobody will even notice it’s been tweaked. Stick to the basics for natural looking photography: contrast, brightness and colour levels. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; make the photo look how however you like!
Once you’re happy with your chosen finalised shot, pick a nice batch of quality paper and print it off! Think about what you’re going to use it for. If it’s going on a wall display for all to see, then you may want to consider a wide-format printer. For smaller shots, a standard A3 or A4 printer should do the trick.
Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to photography, this is simply a guide to help you technically get the most out of your shot and equipment; the idea must come from you!