As a photographer, you will always be looking for something pleasing to the eye to take a photograph of. This will be because you think it is or because you just know others will. A professional photographer has to make a living, after all, and an amateur photographer does their best to impress friends and family members with their photography skills.

So, let us consider some subjects to focus on and some tips when doing it.

Landscapes

The easiest subject to photograph one might say is a landscape. That is simply because it does not move. However, there will still be many things that a photographer needs to take into account.

Some tips might include selecting a low ISO (100-400) to keep the image from getting grainy and choosing a mid-range aperture, such as f/8 or f/22, for a clear and sharp image. A tripod will ensure no camera shake blurs the image when zooming in on the landscape from a distance. It depends on how much foreground you desire.

In terms of composition, the rule of thirds applies, in that landscapes will benefit from the photographer imagining the photograph split into thirds horizontally. So, you then have an even distribution of sky, perhaps a mountain range, and then the grass in the foreground. If taking a seascape, this would be sky, followed by sea, followed by sand.

Many photographers, particularly with landscapes, will consider there to be a golden hour to capture their photographs. This will generally be just after sunrise or just before sunset.

Colours of landscapes can be enhanced by using a polarizing filter. This will also help with reducing glare where the sun’s presence has the potential to spoil the image.

Finally, different perspectives can make a difference to landscapes, so it is always worth experimenting with your viewpoint as a photographer.

People

People can be directed up to a point. Encouragement can be required for a smile to be raised. Portraits can be taken indoors as well as out, but in both cases, the lighting can be problematic for the photographer. Outside, the sun can create shadows and under trees can look dark. Inside, the lighting can be impacted by the number of windows and the quality of the electric light. For this reason, professional photographers will use photographic umbrellas and lightboxes to deflect light. It provides more control than trying to lighten an image after the event and ending up lightening parts other than the face that are best left dark.

Wide-angle lenses are a must for group shots when you want to capture people reasonably close, yet still want to accommodate them all within the photograph. Consider two or three rows rather than spreading everybody out in a single line where there is a particularly large group. As long as everyone’s face shows. Remember to put tall people at the back even if those less pleasing to the eye are shorter.

Animals

Pets are more likely to pose for you, while wild animals are as unpredictable as their name suggests. In both cases, it is useful to get to know your subject in terms of spending time in their environment. Be prepared to take a lot of photographs to get the perfect shot. This is easier and more cost-effective now with digital photography as your ally and no possibility for lots of films being wasted from your many attempts. You will merely have possibly more images to delete than you might have had using manual cameras. This is good because there is more chance of the perfect shot being among them.

With pets, they often require distraction to look in the right direction. With continuous shutter mode, this might not matter as you should capture them in the right place at some point, but perhaps a toy being shown in the background behind the photographer might help. If they are not your pet, it is useful to have the owner around to keep the animal calm for a better shot.

In the case of wildlife photography, a tent is a good idea so that you can remain hidden from the wildlife that you are taking. An animal that is spooked can charge at you or disappear into the undergrowth and result in no photograph at all. It is about respecting nature and being patient if you are looking to obtain the best possible photograph.

To summarise, the main three categories of photography tend to be those listed above. Landscapes require more consideration than a photographer might think to achieve clear images at the best time of day. Photographing people or animals differs in the amount of control you have over their positioning, but there is no reason why, with a little patience, you should not be able to capture just as good a shot of an animal, either domestic or wild, as you can of a human.

In terms of equipment, the tripod is a way of avoiding camera shake with long-distance landscapes and has uses in many other photography situations. Particularly when waiting for the perfect wildlife shot. The aids to deflecting light will mean that it does not have to be a particular time of day or location to take a short. This provides the photographer with much more flexibility.

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