I’m currently a member in a photography group on Facebook where many of its members are beginners. I noticed that many of the members were asking how to edit their photos to make them look “professional”.
The repetitive topic of editing to create a “professional” look pushed me to write this blog. I honestly don’t know what do they mean by editing. Do they mean adding certain filters, enhancing the contrast and highlights, or making things disappear? Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom can do magic, especially Photoshop. You can chop off heads, shed few Kilos off bodies, change hair color, and you can even move planets. However using such software capabilities on a photo is not called photography anymore, this becomes more of “digital/graphic designing”. The difference between photographers and graphic designers is that the former use cameras and the latter use computers.
MY 4 POINTS TO CAPTURE STUNNING IMAGES
The common idea today is that if we capture any random image we can make it look “professional” using photoshop or similar softwares. We can use our phone camera, don’t care about light source and direction, ignore apertures and shutter speed and then fix it using an editing software. My advice is to forget about editing softwares and try to capture stunning images straight out of your camera. Editing softwares can be used later to do minor adjustments on your image such as fixing contrast, highlights, shadows, etc.
The subject is huge but I will try to explain my point of view as brief as possible. Here are my 4 points to consider before you capture any image using your DSLR. :
Stop shooting in AUTO mode and start controlling your camera’s shutter, aperture, and/or ISO. Here is a brief of what I’m talking about:
- The aperture controls the depth of field in the image. The smaller the aperture, the deeper the depth of field will be (sharper image). On the other side, larger aperture means shallower depth of field (blurry background).
- The shutter is the part of the camera that controls the movement an image. A fast shutter freezes a moving object, while a slow shutter blurs or hides moving objects.
- ISO is used to calculate the sensor’s sensitivity to light. Lower ISO number (example: 100) = sensor is less sensitive to light = cleaner image with less noise (not grainy image).
Learn about light. Photography is all about light. Light is super important to properly expose your images or create dramatic looking ones. Did you know that there are six types of light (the ones I’m aware of)? They are: Hard, soft, direct, indirect, natural, and artificial. You might have heard about “White Balance”. White balance in camera takes in account the color temperature of light source in order to remove unrealistic colors on objects. In other words, each light source has a color temperature which can effect the colors in your image and make it unrealistic if you choose the wrong white balance. Look at the image below it might help:
Composition is placing your subject in a certain way in your image so that you lead the eyes of the viewers straight to your when they look at the image. There are many composition rules such as: the rule of thirds, leading lines, placing the horizon line, symmetry, and a lot more. Learn the rules then break them. I will be writing a blog in the near future covering this topic in more details.
Tell a story or make the viewer pause for a while to examine what he or she is looking at. Usually when people jump into the photography realm they start taking photos of still life around them like flowers, sunsets, insects, children, pets. I’m not saying it is wrong to do that but try to capture your subject from a different angel and perspective, or use the highlights to emphasize on something you want to show and the shadows to hide.
These are my 4 points to capture stunning images. Please practice them with your existing camera before buying the most expensive gear and spending hours trying to edit your images and give them that “professional” look. Expensive gear doesn’t take better photos, you do.
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