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.
- For a remarkably vivid street scene, this is the camera setting you should always remember: 1/250 sec at f/5.6 during winter and f/8 during summer, both in ISO 400.
Bob – award-winning former Fleet Street photographer
- Even when you’re confident that you know everything there is to know, practice until it turns to perfection. When you’re absolutely certain about what you do behind your camera, it is shown in your images.
Brett Harkness – one of the UK’s most in-demand wedding and social photographers.
- When shooting on the streets, a normal wide-angle fixed lens is better than telephotos and zooms. The latter cramps your style when framing and composing your picture. A 35mm lens is ideal because it forces you to shorten the distance between you and the subject. And then you just adjust accordingly.
David Solomons – one of the leading lights in the UK street photography scene
- Even if you’ve learned tons of photography theory and technical knowledge, the best way to hone your craft is by doing it all the time. Don’t be intimidated with photographers lade with the latest gear because it is not just about what you’ve got but where you’re at. That’s why even amateurs can place their work side by side with seasoned photographers.
Matt Cardy – news photographer for Getty Images
- Read a lot, like Pirandello, Musil, Saramago and Amos Oz. Be light on your equipment. Shot a slide film at least twice a year. And enjoy what you’re doing because it is not a contest.
Alex Majoli – multi award-winning member of Magnum Photos
- Think outside the box – capturing images of abstract concepts like absence. It is present on the dark silhouette of a person or an object against the light. It can manifest in the veiled face of a person or an object that is strongly out of focus. If you use it as a subject, your viewers are enticed to become more involved with the image so they can fill up the space with anything that they can imagine.
Aldo Pavan – author of The Ganges, The Nile and The Yellow River
- When you’re into taking pictures of people from all walks of life, go simple and stay as invisible as you can be so you won’t disrupt the normal flow of the events. When photographing kids, get on your knees. Your images would look so much nicer if taken from the child’s eye level. Make an effort to capture the light of the eyes because it adds intimacy. You can ask the subject to move their eyes or their head gently. Or, you can also just change your angle.
Annie – award-winning National Geographic photographer and a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers
- Art college would specifically teach you to shoot behind the sun to avoid flare. But there’s a way to get back at it. Use a thick black paper to extend your lens hood and turn it into a funnel shape. This way, when you shoot with the sun in front of your camera, the flare won’t be too excessive.
David Loftus – shot Jamie Oliver’s last six books
- According to David Bailey, exceptional photos have one secret ingredient – luck. The more you shoot, the more your images contain luck. His advice? “Everyone will take one great picture, I’ve done better because I’ve taken two.”
- Don’t treat photography as a job; otherwise, your fascination will diminish and the lack of passion would be evident in your images. It is better to have the attitude of an amateur because they can’t get enough of the experience and all the lessons they are still learning than with that of a pro that won’t stop whining about how little they’re paid. If you have already figured out what you want for your next composition, then just go ahead and make it happen.
Anna Kari – freelance photojournalist focusing on humanitarian issues.