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  • BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS.

    Photography basics.

    In this guide you will find a few tips to start you on your photography journey. Most of the tipsare applicable to people with any camera, even phone cameras. There are a couple of pages that are

    for more advanced photographers with SLR cameras (p.17). Start using one tip at a time and then beginto put them together. You will find your photography skills advancing with practise.

    Over time you won’t even have to think about the tips and “rules”.

    If you have trouble with any of the tips or activities, please feel free to join my private Facebooklearning group and I will help you out if I can. You will find a link to the group on the last page.

  • CONTENTS

    o Page 3: Composition basics

    o Page 7: The rule of thirds

    o Page 10: The room-to-move tip

    o Page 12: Catch lights

    o Page 14: How to – Silhouettes

    o Page 16: Backing up photos

    o Page 19: The golden hours

    o Page 25: Post-processing

    o Pages 28-34: Phone photography

    2BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • COMPOSITION

    What is composition? Basically it’s the way that the elements in your photograph are positioned in relation to each other and to the camera. Everything from light, lens choice and aperture choice to where you position yourself to take the photo, comes into play when you are considering how to compose your photograph. The aim of composition is to use the elements available to you to create an interesting photograph or to tell the story that you want to convey. You can first start practising different compositions simply by moving yourself around the subject that you are photographing. Take lots of photos and review them to see which one creates the mood that you like most. Do this every time you are taking a photo of something. Over time you will become better at knowing which angle and position you want to shoot from, before you even take the photograph.

    3BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • COMPOSITION EXAMPLE – CHANGING YOUR ANGLE OF SHOOTING TO TELL A DIFFERENT STORYPhotographed at the subject’s level.

    Same position of subjects but taken seconds later from directly above. It changed the whole look of the photograph but I only had to move positions.

    4BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • COMPOSITION

    Try framing your subject using natural elements (the leaves in this example).

    Centre placement of your subject doesn’t always have to be boring. Use “leading lines” to lead the viewer’s eyes to the subject.

    5BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • COMPOSITION

    Check your backgrounds before you shoot. Keep the background free from clutter and distracting objects.

    Simplify the scene. Think about what your point of interest in the shot is before you take it.

    6BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • RULE OF THIRDS

    This is probably one of the most well known “rules” for photography composition. As with any of the “rules” though, they can always be broken once you know how to use them. The rule of thirds aims to create an interesting and well balanced photograph.

    Break your image down into thirds vertically and horizontally. Draw imaginary lines and you will have 9 sections (see pics on the next page). The idea is to place your subject matter, or a point of interest within a photograph, at any of the 4 intersecting crosses or along the lines.

    “Studies have shown that when viewing images, people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the centre of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.” – Digital Photography School.

    7BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • RULE OF THIRDS

    8BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • RULE OF THIRDS

    When shooting landscapes this is a really effective rule that you can follow. Keep either the sky or the landscape in two thirds of the photo and vice versa. If you have a lot of landscape photos and you have never tried this before, go back to them and crop them so that they fit the rule. You will be surprised how a simple crop of a photo can make it look drastically better. While we are on landscapes, keep your horizons straight! A slightly tilted horizon drives me nuts and it doesn’t look great.

    9BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • ROOM TO MOVE

    Use this little tip in conjunction with the rule of thirds. It works really well. Place your subject in the frame so that they have somewhere to go or they are “looking into” the frame. In effect you are creating visually good negative space.

    In the example here, the little boy is obviously walking towards something. In the top frame we see that he is going somewhere and he has “room to move” within the photograph. In the bottom one I have cropped it differently to show you how it looks if he is placed on the other side of the frame. The empty space is now behind him and he is walking out of the frame. “Generally” it is best to follow this rule but again it can definitely be broken when done properly.

    10BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • ROOM TO MOVE EXAMPLES

    11BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • CATCH LIGHTSCatch lights are the little sparkle of light in your subject’s eyes. They are a reflection of whatever your light source is at the time. In the photograph here you can see the rectangular shape of the window that we were sitting in front of. Catch lights are important to make your subject’s eyes shine and sparkle. Without them the person can have very dull, “dead” looking eyes.

    12BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • CATCH LIGHTSI have a great exercise that you can do, right now,

    wherever you are, to help visualise what I am talking

    about...

    Grab the person closest to you and tell them to stand

    up. Look into their eyes. What do they look like? Are they

    sparkling? Can you see the catch-lights? Take note of

    where you are standing in respect to where your main

    source of light is coming from. e.g the sun, window light or

    an inside light.

    Now, ask the person to slowly turn around on the spot,

    360 degrees. Follow them around standing in front of

    them and watching their eyes. Watch how the reflections in

    their eyes change as they turn. Take note of where they

    are in relation to that light source as they turn. As your

    subject turns so that their face is in shadow, you will see

    their eyes darken and you may even see the catch light

    disappear.

    Notice the different directions that make your subject’s

    eyes sparkle. You can then begin to notice this when you

    are taking photos of your children. 13BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • HOW TO -SILHOUETTES

    To create a silhouette photo, basically you need a bright background and you expose for the background instead of the subject. If you are using a point and shoot camera you can do this as well. You can even do it with a phone. It’s really easy. Here’s the breakdown. Position your subjects where you want them and make sure they aren’t bunched up. You want to see their outlines. With kids, you can get them to dance or make funny poses.

    Point your camera to the sky behind the subject and half press the shutter. The camera will then meter the image based on the sky. So it will make the sky look pretty and your subjects will be in shadow. While you are still half-pressing, recompose your shot to where you want it (move the camera back to have the subject in view) and complete pressing to take the photo.

    14BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • HOW TO - SILHOUETTES

    On an iPhone you just need to place your finger on the background/sky area and hold down for a few seconds so that it locks the exposure there. Then you can recompose the shot and take it.

    Tip: The area behind the subject should be fairly clear and free of trees, buildings or other objects. You can’t get a silhouette of a person if a building or tree silhouette is already going to be blocking their shape.

    15BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • BACKING UP YOUR PHOTOS

    A very boring but important piece of information to note here. One day your computer WILL crash and you will lose the lot. It happens ALL THE TIME. You need to take a bit of time and create back-ups of your precious photographs. Follow the 321 rule here…

    3: Back up your photos (and important files) to at lease 3 different copies.

    2: Back them up to at least 2 different media types. E.g. DVD, external hard drive, USB, online cloud storage.

    1: Keep 1 copy of everything offsite at a different location in case of fire or storm damage etc.

    16BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • NAILING FOCUS (ADVANCED)This is for the more advanced photographers who know a little bit about how to use the manual modes on your camera. Here are the elements you need in order to nail focus on your subject:

    1. Appropriate shutter speed for your subject. E.g. you will want to use a fast shutter speed to freeze action if you have a child moving around a lot.

    2. Appropriate shutter speed to reduce camera shake. This will very depending on the lens you are using etc. However, I generally try not to go below 1/160th of a second at any time.

    3. Appropriate aperture for the depth of field you want to achieve. It takes practise to nail focus using very shallow DOF’s. At a shallow aperture e.g. 2.0, 1.8, etc, the area of your photograph that will be in focus is very small. Any small movements of your camera may place the focus on the wrong part of your subject. You want eyes and faces generally to be in very good focus.

    4. If you have a moving subject, try using the tracking focus setting on your camera (canon AI-servo) to tell the camera to keep tracking the subject.

    5. Hold your camera steady and lock your arms in at your sides.

    6. Keep people on the same focal plane especially if you are shooting at shallow DOF’s.

    7. If you are doing all of the above and still having trouble nailing focus, try googling different focussing techniques. The 3 that I am thinking of are: back button focussing, the focus/recompose technique and the use of the different focus points using the toggle button.

    17BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • NAILING FOCUS

    When I am checking focus, I zoom in really close to the subjects eyes and make sure that I can pretty much see the individual eyelashes.

    Zoomed in.

    18BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • THE GOLDEN HOURS

    Why do portrait photographers love to shoot during the golden hours and what are the golden hours?

    The golden hours are the 2 hours of the day with “golden” sunlight. It is the hour just after sunrise and the hour just before sunset. We love to shoot at this time of day for so many reasons. Let’s explore this a bit further in the next few pages. I will also show you how you can put it into practice with a photo shoot of your own children.

    19BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • THE GOLDEN HOURS

    When I think of shooting in golden light, these are the terms that come to mind which inspire me for the session:

    Sun flare

    Long shadows

    Golden/warm coloured light

    Soft light

    Low lying light

    Backlight and rim light

    Glowing

    Lets take a look at some of these terms in more depth…

    20BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • THE GOLDEN HOURS

    Sun flare or lens flare is achieved when you are pointing your camera towards the direction of the sun. The sun rays hit the lens and depending on the angle and aperture being used, it can create everything from a starburst lens flare to a hazy glow. My favourite way to shoot for nice sun flare is to have the sun at a bit of an angle to the camera. If you shoot straight into the sun it tends to wash out the photo too much.

    21BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • THE GOLDEN HOURS

    22

    These two photos were taken seconds apart with the same settings. One has a small amount of lens flare and the other a bigger one and you can see the rainbow lens flare on her shirt in the second one. This difference was simply done by moving slightly to one side or up and down. The tree in the background will block out some of the sun depending on where you are positioned. I use trees and bushes like this to block the light when photographing people with lens flare. It is a good way to diffuse the light and make the leaves glow.

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • THE GOLDEN HOURS

    The light at this time of day is so soft and gently wraps around your subject. The warmth of it creates a beautiful skin glow.

    23

    Rim light is that beautiful glow of soft light that is on the outside of your subject when you take a photograph of them with the sun behind them (backlight). You can usually see it best in the hair, as in this picture.

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • THE GOLDEN HOURS - ACTIVITYShadows are longer in the mornings and afternoons. This can be fun to play around with. This is a really simple type of photograph that you can take with your own family. Get outside in the afternoon and look for the shadows. Have a bit of fun photographing them. You might even like to just photograph the shadow itself instead of having the people in the photograph as well. Or maybe just the feet of the people and the full shadow is the main point of focus.

    If you have a simple editing program, have a look at how they look in black and white as well. Sometimes photographs with a high contrast between light and shadows lend themselves really well to black and white conversion.

    24BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • POST-PROCESSING

    Before After – I told you I can’t shoot straight!

    25

    The saying goes: “You can’t polish a turd.” Crass but true! You need to take a good photoin the first place, otherwise there is no point trying to salvage it in post-processing (editing). However, editing is a crucial step to perfecting your images. I just want to point out 2 beginner ways that you can use editing to “polish” up your already beautiful images.

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • POST-PROCESSINGPost processing tools:

    Most cameras will come with a very basic editing software. Use it! If you can’t find yours there are a heap of online free tools. Try these:

    * http://www.gimp.org/ * http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

    If you are looking for a more advanced photo editing software and want to take your photos to the next level I highly recommend Adobe Lightroom (http://www.adobe.com/au/products/photoshop-lightroom.html)

    Tip 1 – Cropping and levelling. Use the crop tool to crop to your rule of thirds, and to straighten lines and horizons (see previous slide).

    Tip 2 – White balance. This is the overall colour and warmth of the image. You can just do this by eye at first. You will get to know what skin tones should look like by playing around with the warmth of the photo (see next slide).

    26BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

    http://www.gimp.org/http://www.getpaint.net/index.htmlhttp://www.adobe.com/au/products/photoshop-lightroom.html

  • POST-PROCESSING

    27

    Too cool (blue) Too warm (orange) Just right

    White balance example.

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • USING YOUR PHONE I will show you a few examples of everything we have learnt so far and how to achieve this using just your phone camera. (sorry about all of the selfies! Haha). ALL of the following have been

    taken using my iPhone.

    28

    Good light – Natural window light stage leftComposition – Subject slightly off centreEditing – edited to still have a warm, natural feel. I like to use the iPhone editing app called Afterlight.Interaction – interesting interaction with the subject

    Good light – in the bathroom is a somewhat crazy place for a photoshoot but bathrooms often have white walls and excellent light bouncing all over the place! Phones need a lot of light to take a clear exposure.Clean background – white walls with no distracting objects in the background.

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • USING YOUR PHONE

    29

    Room to move – this picture is using the silhouette technique and the room to move rule. It’s not a great example though. Can you see why? My husband and son look like they are one person. They should be separated and holding hands or maybe even my son being held up in the air.

    To create this on your phone, tap on the area where the little red box is. This will make the camera expose for the sky so that the people are underexposed.

    Shadow play – Shoot during the “golden hours” to create looong shadows.Composition – Subject placed in the top third of the frame and their shadow mirrors their image.

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

  • USING YOUR PHONE

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY 30

    Backlight – This was a tricky one! If you have an iPhone you can plug the ear phones in to take a photo from further away (so you don’t have to extend your arm). You just press the plus/minus button on the ear phones to take the photo. In this photo there is a strong light coming from behind us (the morning sun coming in through the window). I wanted to expose the photo so that you could see us, instead of a silhouette. So, I needed to click on us to expose correctly (red box). If I had just let the camera decide it would have exposed for the background and we would be in silhouette, like the last slide was showing.

    Deets – set up the phone so that you can see the image (reverse the camera), rest the phone against a book or whatever you have available as a makeshift tripod, tap the area in the red box to expose for yourself, quickly pose and press the shutter (ear phones).... Keep going until you get a good shot!

    Often when you reverse the camera on the phone it will give you a very grainy/noisy (un-sharp) image. Try converting to black and white on your preferred editing app to combat the effect and make an “artistic” image.

    Excuse my crazy hair. It’s like 8 in the morning. I’m not a morning person.

  • USING YOUR PHONE

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY 31

    iPhones are actually really great for landscape photographs!They have a really wide angle lens.

    They even take good firework photos. Hold down the shutter button to take a succession of photos in bursts and choose the best one.

  • USING YOUR PHONE (DIFFERENT LIGHTING SCENARIOS)

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY 32

    Just because you are using your phone camera doesn’t mean you can’t control the light to some degree. On the left we have window light coming from camera right creating a bold\shadow on one half of the face. The subject (me) is placed close to the light source (window) to emphasise the contrast between light and dark. The face is at a 90 degree angle to the light.

    To the right, the lovely Renae (My sister-in-law) is standing just out-side the window where I was. She in is what you might call “open shade”. She is completely shaded from the sun by the pergola but still getting good light flow onto her face. In contrast to the pic of me, her face is fully facing the light source and so it is exposed equally. (We were getting ready for my sister’s wedding here.)

  • USING YOUR PHONE

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY 33

    Catch lights – (see page 12 and 13) See that speck of white in my eyes and the way they are sparkling? That’s a catch light. I was facing into full blown, afternoon sun here which I would not recommend unless you want to blind your subject. The point is however, you can get catch-lights just as easily with a phone camera as you can with a normal one.

  • USING YOUR PHONE

    BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY 34

    Golden hour sun flare. You can get some crazy sun flare using a phone because the lens/glass is pretty much plastic. It will depend on what type of phone you have, what time of day it is and the angle of your lens to the sun. See page 21 for tips.

  • PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

    Once you have practised and practised each individual element then you can start to put it all together. Good photography takes a lot of clicks so don’t be impatient. Have fun with it, enjoy the moment and sometimes put down the camera and remember the moment in your heart!

    Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any further questions. [email protected]

    I would like to invite you to join my private Facebook group where we will meet up occasionally for photo walks and learning activities. Share your photos and learning with the group. Request to join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/816013531796364/

    35BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY

    mailto:[email protected]://www.facebook.com/groups/816013531796364/