All of us love to capture moments and freeze the timeless beauty we witness, in our lens. Whether it’s a trip to a museum, a nature trail or a mere walk down the old lanes of a city, some sights catch our attention. The mesmerizing alpenglow, the ferocious look in a lion’s eyes or innocent smiles of the local people, there is so much that we’d wish where time would halt and we could absorb the beauty. It is always a good idea to understand the basics of taking photographs that goes a long way in enhancing the pictures taken, trying to bring it as alive as possible.
Rule of Thirds
Get your basic composition right- understand the position of elements in a picture. Never forget the rule of thirds! Break the image into nine roughly equal squares and balance the image by putting something interesting in each part or if it’s one object that you’re focusing, you could move it to a corner rather than having it in the center, which makes it an aesthetically appealing image. A wide angle lens shows the vastness of the scene you’re capturing.
Choosing the Right Mode
Your camera settings will vary depending on the place you’re visiting. The fill in flash is the best option for places with warm weather. You may also consider Neutral Density and a polarizer filter for bright locations. For clicking people, use a shallow depth of field to have the subject stand out against the background. For fast action put the camera into Shutter Priority (“S”) mode and increase the speed at which a picture is taken—setting it to 1/125 second or faster will help freeze motion, and for subjects like birds you may choose the shortest speed possible to freeze motion.
The size of the lens opening, often mentioned in the form of f/2, f/5, f/11, etc. matters in the quality of the image. The thing to remember is that the smaller the number, the wider the aperture opening and the wider the aperture, the more light is let in.
Depth of Field
Changing the aperture setting helps you understand the depth of field. Smaller the aperture, more you get in the picture, while a wider aperture allows you to soften the background of the picture. For landscape photography on a tripod closing the lens’s iris in order to increase depth of field, will keep everything in sharp focus from foreground to the skyline. Depth of field is also greatly affected by the aperture size.
During the day, it’s better to shoot against the light to avoid a dark image. Set the exposure in such a situation or consider a silhouette. In case of low light, set your camera on a slow shutter speed and make use of the available atmospheric light. Most cameras come with a manual button for exposure composition, shown by a +/- symbol. In case of a dark image, move the scale upwards above zero and if too light, slide it down. In lower light the Aperture Priority (“A”) mode will make sure maximum light enters the lens.
Most cameras try detecting the type of light and adjusting the white balance automatically, however if the camera finds it difficult to do so, especially under mixed lighting, you can manually set the white balance, so that the photos look natural.
Set a High ISO
The sensitivity of the sensor to light is mentioned as 100 ISO, 400 ISO, 6400 ISO, etc. A higher ISO allows you to take pictures in darker conditions; however, the flip side is noise which means the picture is grainy. That explains the characteristic spots in photos taken in the dark.
To sum it up, three elements that are critical in ensuring a quality photo are Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed. So, the next time you’re off on a trip, make sure you follow these basic fundamentals to click some amazing moments.