Photography tips from a professional to help you get the best images of your project.
Despite the digitisation of the photographic process, good photography remains all about sharp, well-composed and well-lit pictures. These are best obtained by planning your shoot.
If at all possible use a digital SLR camera, or find someone who has one and is keen to use it. You’ll also need to process the photographs on a computer afterwards – here they can be tweaked to enhance them, and also the file sizes can be adjusted (more on this below).
With decent equipment and good planning and forethought you’ll be able to take great photographs that will benefit your application. Here are some important Dos and Don’ts, and a few ‘Bewares’ for you to have in mind as you plan your photos:
- Spend time thinking about the photos you need to create: the best spot to take them from and the best time to take them
- Be prepared to organise and move things around (especially people) – planning and preparation takes longer than pressing the shutter
- Ensure your composition is clear and simple – less is more
- Ensure the main source of light is behind you
- Use as good a camera as possible. Smart phones can give ok results, but digital SLRs can provide much higher resolution images
- Use a tripod if you can, even if you have a steady hand
- Use a high shutter speed – 1/125th of a second or less
- Set a low ISO speed – 100 if possible – this gives a sharper picture
- Process your photos with care, making copies at the correct file size depending on their intended use. For web and email this is often A4 sized at 72dpi (dots per inch) with a file size of about 350kb. But for a good print the same image at A4 size the file needs to be 300dpi – this will create a file of about 2-3 megabytes.
- Don’t take a photo if you are doubtful of it. Stand back and consider the issues – composition, lighting, distracting details, and then consider alternatives
- Don’t use a wide aperture. The wider the aperture the less is in focus. Use F8 or above, and remember that tripod
- Don’t overdo any computer processing afterwards– keep any adjustments simple
- Use the wrong file size for the intended purpose. This is important - if the image is not large enough for printing it will look fuzzy, and a large image on a website or email may be slow to download.
- Strong sunlight can give great colours, but it also means the shadows and highlights have no detail
- Tilted cameras can make tall buildings look like they are vanishing – keep your camera level
- Wide-angle lenses can help you to get more in your picture, but they also distort the size of things. If in doubt, don’t go wide
- The file size needs to be right for the intended purpose – small for web and email, large for quality printing.
Should you have any questions about photography or need advice for your project please contact me via message here or my website www.ralphhodgson.co.uk