Following photography rules to the letter would not only be downright confusing (because there’s just too many of it!) and would leave no room for flexibility, creativity and experimentation. Then again, we asked the famous and the pros to share their photography secrets to challenge and inspire you to always giving it your best shot in your craft and/or business.
- Scout a potential location, pre-visualise the lighting condition, plan the composition, then take as many shots as you can until you get the award-winning image you want to show off. That’s about it but it’s actually easier said than done. If you don’t practice, imagine, innovate, persist and learn from your mistakes, you won’t get why your shoot is not working as you have planned it. Most importantly, do not underestimate the many hours you spent at dusk and dawn because it will be worth it.
David Noton – award-winning landscape and travel photographer
- Make sure you do your research before you venture out to your photo-op. If you’re in a strange location, it is best to find a local assistant who can show you around. If you’re going to do this regularly, keep a detailed list of your equipment so you won’t miss out on potentially magnificent shot simply because you left something back home and it would be too expensive and illogical to buy one there – if it is even available.
Making detailed technical notes while in a studio is a must. Information about the distance between the subject and the background, the light outputs of the strobes, the f-stops and shutter speeds and such would make your life so much easier the next time you make the same composition.
Mary Ellen Mark – contributing photographer to The New Yorker
- You have to visualise the final image on your mind before you set it up. That would jumpstart your production – location, models, backgrounds, lighting, etc. But don’t be too rigid about your vision and allow for little changes – if that would only make the images look even better than you expect it to be.
George – multi-award-winning advertising photographer
- Knowing your depth of field preview button completely is essential for producing awe-inspiring images. It manually stops down the aperture to its working size and this lets you determine the best depth of field you need for your composition. Furthermore, it makes it easier to read the image graphics. It also bridges the gap between the real world (in 3D) and the photography world (in 2D), which is much more help than just what you get from the screen at the back of the camera.
Colin – award-winning landscape photographer based in Scotland
- Having the confidence to make critical decisions necessary to create stunning images and acting with grace under pressure when everything you’ve planned seemed to be not working as you’ve hoped for – those are some of the factors needed for your photography to stand out in a sea of wannabes and the overachievers. You must also know when to accept an honest criticism, if that would lead to honing your craft for the better. And learn from the most successful photographers of today – they are leaders in their field rather than just mere followers or imitators.
Nick – advertising and street photography specialist, and the founder of In-Public, a street photography website.