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.
- You have to have an understanding of how images would look and move when you convert it into a two-dimensional medium like the camera. This way, you can predict possible effects and you can use it to guide the way you set up your composition. You become more sensitive to lighting conditions necessary to illuminate the subject to precision. You become more adept in calculating different camera settings so as not to isolate other elements in the foreground and background but make them have the dynamic relationship with each other.
John Kenny – accomplished portrait and travel photographer
- Be in touch with your own unique perspective and not just be a copycat of your mentor or idol. This will allow you to break away from the pack and maintain freshness and originality of your work.
For example, use just one camera and one lens on your next photo-op. The key is to manually zoom in or out of your subject until it feels right for you. Even if you’re guided with the things you’ve learned in photography school, it is still up to your senses to create a unique story out of your composition so you can produce a compelling image.
Cameron Davidson – award-winning aerial and location photographer who is a contributor for Vanity Fair, National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines
- Ditch procrastination. Ideas can overflow but if you don’t actualise them, then you’d regret the fact that another photographer has thought of it and was rewarded for the same concept you put on hold. Your finished projects should be ‘higher’ than what’s in your to-do tray.
John Freeman – award-winning freelance commercial photographer
- Don’t be too scared of not getting it right because you’d miss the whole point of it. Think out of the box and if you feel that that is an awesome concept, the books and the critics should not stop you from creating it. Find inspiration in other artists but also have the courage to come up with your own. Experimenting on classic compositions, like a beautiful sunset, would give you that winning edge among the rest. After all, photography is an art, not a science.
Miss Aniela – fine-art photographer and internet phenomenon
- Proper combination of contrasting colours especially in wildlife photography is essential to make the subject stand out. If you want to achieve a blurred background effect, longer wide angle lenses would help you (200mm or longer).
Thomas Marent – professional nature shooter and author of Rainforest
- Patience is a virtue that most photographers dismiss ever so lightly. But it is your best bet to achieving high quality and striking images. It applies to setting up an image, editing, building a masterpiece of portfolio. Success cannot be yours overnight but when you reach it, it is such a milestone you can be proud of.
Eric Ryan Anderson – self-taught commercial photographer
- You have to have your own style; otherwise, people would know that you’re just a second-rate version of a famous pro. Great works of photography is all about creativity. Technique is just a mere percentage of it. So if you have an abundance of original ideas, don’t feel inhibited to showcase them because that could lead you to success, respect and recognition.
Tim Wallace – he’s into commercial and advertising photography, specialising in automotive
- For those who want to dip their fingers in candid photography, you have to make yourself invisible so the subject won’t even know you’re there and they can be at their most natural self. First, you have to pre-visualise the image and then calculate the right settings and when it’s time to shoot, make yourself a bore until you capture the right moment.
Morten Hvaal – award-winning documentary photographer
- A great lens is much better than a great camera. So invest on lenses because it would be the secret to delivering great images.
Lee Beel – widely published freelance photographer
- Garden photography is difficult especially if the most beautiful ones are privately owned. But if you spend a lot of time at public gardens, especially those that would fund a charity, you can meet garden owners and that would give you the opportunity to let them know about your passion and desire. When they give you the go-signal, you can click away for as long as you want in their private gardens. Make sure you come before dawn or before dusk for maximum atmospheric clarity and intensity.
Clive Nichols – one of the world’s most successful flower photographers.