By Sohail Anjum
Read instructions: Whether it is your smart- phone or an expensive camera, the most common mistake many make is not reading instructions. Instead of relying on guesswork, take time to find out what your camera can actually do and this includes learning about apps that enhance your photo-taking quality. Remember, a little knowledge will go a very long way and result in perfect snaps.
Background awareness: The wrong background can ruin the perfect picture, so you should learn to look beyond your subject matter. The wrong light, object and even person can ruin that seemingly perfect moment. Also look out for elements that will draw attention away from the subject and things like trees or telegraph poles that can look like they are sticking out of some- one’s head. Just moving or rotating the subject slightly can be transformative. The last thing you want is a photograph of a celebrity during a once-in-a-lifetime meeting ruined by a garbage bin or photo bomb.
Content is king: Remember that content really is king. So keep an eye out for moments, people or objects that are eye-catching. Learn to look at everyday things and people in a different way to get the best out of your subject matter. Even just shooting the subject from a different angle can give remarkable results. Think out of the box and carry on experimenting.
Line out: Whether it is windows, railings, roads, walls and pavements, there are straight lines everywhere. You can use a straight line to add an interesting angle or as a guide to make photographs straight, so always look out for them. You can even use lines to your advantage; for example, pointing to the subject if there is a convergence point nearby.
Steady does it: It may seem obvious, but the way you hold a camera makes a huge difference to a photograph. Learn how to hold the camera steady to avoid blurry shots or a missed detail. Tripods are a great option if your hands shake and if you need longer to compose the shot.
Wait a while: Getting a great photograph can be like unearthing treasure and that is why it’s important to have patience. Most will hold the camera to take a quick photo instead of waiting for a decisive moment which will result in the perfect shot. Learn to take a breath, slow down, look for the perfect snap and shoot. Also, have patience when learning about all the functions of the camera you are using. Slow and steady will win the race when it comes to photography.
Viewpoint variety: Most photographs are taken at eye level because logic perhaps dictates this, but many interesting ones are taken from different angles. Even varying the elevation point by a few degrees can make the world of difference to a picture. Whether it’s from a higher angle or a lower viewpoint, learn to play around with angles and perspective. This will give surprisingly artistic results including stumbling into an angle so epic it will make your snapshot look legendary.
Light fantastic: Whether it’s artificial illumination indoors or natural brightness outdoors, lighting can make or break a photograph. Apart from learning about lighting, start thinking about what time of day is good to shoot your subject and how the camera can be adjusted to compensate for too much or lack of lighting. For example, early morning is good for landscapes, but late afternoon may be better to shoot a subject depending on where you are in the world. Experiment with backlighting, shadows and camera position.
Care package: Take care of your equipment and it will look after you. Apart from handling the equipment with care, make sure it is packed away correctly and the lens is covered. Also regularly clean your camera lens so the dust doesn’t get in the way of a good click.
Practice makes perfect: The great thing about digital technology is that you can make as many mistakes as you like and it doesn’t cost anything. Even the world’s greatest photographers sometimes need numerous attempts to get it right. So experiment, learn from your mistakes and use your inner creativity. Enjoy yourself while practicing because that will add to the experience of becoming a fabulous photographer.
Sohail Anjum is an acclaimed photographer who has worked around the world. Visit www. sohailanjum.com, www.facebook.com/ sohailanjumphotography, Instagram: @sohailanjum, Snapchat: sohailanjum72, and Twitter: @sohailanjum to find out more.