Multifaceted creator and small business owner, Jesse D Poole, has been doubling down on his photography offering as of late. He recently hit the open road with his family on a road trip totalling upwards of 3000 miles, capturing print worthy shots throughout the Southwestern United States. Jesse captured the Desert View Watchtower, a scenic spot in Coconino County, Arizona in his still below.
Given Jesse’s vast knowledge on the subject, I reached out to ask him if he could share beginner-level tips for photography. Jesse shares his 3 beginners tips for photography below.
Taking engaging photos can be difficult. You have to first be interested and engaged yourself in what your doing!
Tip 1: Think about the composition.
What is composition? In art it means how the elements are organized throughout the work, or simply the layout. This means the piece is balanced, keeps viewers interested, and makes the work appear as though it was one conscious thought. The basis for composition is knowing how to take good photos. When photographing people; don’t cut off people’s heads, arms, fingers, or feet. Now this rule can be broken depending on what your doing.
I use a 60/40 rule. If less than 40% of the person is shown, such as a headshot or portrait that doesn’t capture the majority of the individual, you can zoom in and crop them a their waist, or chest and crop out shoulders. However on the flip side, if more than 60% of the person is in frame, zoom out and make sure you can see the entire subject. A person standing for portrait wouldn’t want their feet or their hands cut off. Keep them all in the frame.
Use the rule of thirds. It’s a simple yet effective trick for placing focus into the composition with intent. How does it work? Take an 8.5×11 sheet of paper and divide it equally into 9 parts. 3 rows up top, three rows on the side. Using those thirds put a subject on one line and let the rest of the composition breath and show where the subject is. This puts the focus into perspective, showing ‘where’ the person is, or ‘how’ the rock formation rests. Asking yourself those questions can help. How is this like this, or why is this the way it is? We all tend to want to zoom in and show only the subject, and thats fine too for certain looks. If the image doesn’t look good to you, reshoot and try again.
Tip 2: Use the gear you already have.
There’s absolutely no reason to run to buy the newest piece of tech or camera or cell phone if you have one that works. FOMO ( fear of missing out ) is real and you don’t need to cater to it! There’s hundreds of great cameras, lenses, and tools and gadgets to help you ‘be a better photographer’ attempting to sway you to buy their products.
Recently I’ve been shooting on film with 20 and 30 year old cameras just to achieve modern looking images on older cameras and expired film. Why? Because it’s not the gear that make the image great, it’s the artist or photographer holding the camera. So use your cell phone, the 10 year old camera you already have, or find an old camera online and jump in without dropping a lot of money into a new hobby or pastime. Almost every entry level DSLR or Mirrorless camera these days are leaps and bounds better than old SLR 35mm film cameras, but yet those photographers still made iconic photos that rival the images photographers are producing on the newest, most high end gear. Basically, don’t use gear as an excuse to not go shoot!!
Tip 3: Learn your camera’s settings.
Let’s face it, cameras are a complicated tool to the untrained beginner. Even the most advanced photographers don’t always get everything perfect. The easiest way to dive into the settings is to turn the camera off full Auto mode. You need to take time to learn the main three components of the camera; Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Lastly the most important part is focusing. Even if you can choose your correct settings, but can’t properly focus on your subject you still need practice. Get out there and get shooting!