The first and foremost thing to master photography is understanding ‘Perception’. Since you are using a camera lens to capture a 3D world to showcase it on a 2D medium, you need to understand some basic time-space elements such as distance, angle, vanishing point, converging lines, vantage point, line of sight, etc. These elements can help you effectively convey a message in a given picture that can be distance, depth, speed, layering, chaos, etc.
For instance, if you want to capture the grandeur of a well-known architecture amidst the chaos, you can keep a pin-sharp focus on the subject and blur the chaotic elements in the frame. It will direct your viewer’s attention to the main subject while giving them a sense of the ongoing chaos in the frame.
Use Of Converging Lines & Vanishing Points
Another example of good perception is using converging lines to create a sense of depth within the scene. The above image uses two parallel lines to direct the viewer’s attention to the tomb at the infinity, which is termed as vanishing point in the plane. The use of converging lines and a vanishing point creates a sense of depth on a 2D surface, i.e. your smartphone/PC screen.
You can use more than two converging lines and multiple vanishing points; however, it increases the image’s complexity and in some cases, can make it difficult for viewers to understand the message associated with the image. Similarly, you can use multiple objects in succession to create a sense of overlapping in a given frame. Leading lines can be used to direct the viewer’s attention to a particular object in the frame.
2) Framing & Composition
Once you have decided what you want to capture in a given scene, start working towards how to capture it. To better capture a given scene, you need to master the art of framing and composition. Framing refers to the positioning and the angle of the camera to capture a given scene. You also need to analyze the lighting situation, since photography is mostly about feeding the light to the camera sensor to deliver the best possible shot.
Composition takes into account the objects in the frame, the background, and colors. Too much empty space in a frame (Deadspace), or too much noise can alter the mood of a given space. Slight mismanagement of the elements or background composition in the frame can alter the message you want to convey with your picture. For instance, a good backdrop, the right amount of lighting and the correct placement of objects in flat lay photography can make a huge difference.
3) Right Camera Lens & Mode Selection
Post correct framing and composition, you need to find the right camera mode and the lens to nail the shot. Most mid-range and premium smartphones today offer multi-lens camera systems with a myriad of modes and filters to choose from. Selecting the right camera sensor and mode helps you capture the essence of the scene.
For instance, wide-angle lenses work better to capture the glory of landscape scenes and chaos on a busy street. You must capture images with the wide-angle lens for landscape and street photography. Always capture in portrait mode to show the depth in the scene.
Tilt scene mode can help you capture some interesting miniature shots of buildings, cars, and people from a distance. A zoom lens allows you to capture far-field objects with a pleasing natural bokeh, so make good use of it during wildlife photography.
4) Focusing & Exposure Handling
Choosing the right lens and mode won’t help much if your subject is not in focus and the exposure isn’t calibrated well. Make sure you keep the subject in pin-sharp focus and maintain the right exposure for a given scene. A well-exposed shot captures the right amount of details in the highlights and shadows. Almost all smartphones allow you to control the exposure value in both auto and manual mode.
Simply control the amount of light entering into the sensor by the slider visible on the viewfinder screen while taking a shot. To keep the subject in focus, simply tap on the object on the viewfinder screen. You can also lock the focus on a subject by long-tapping or double-tapping depending upon the camera device. If you have basic knowledge about exposure and focusing, you can use the manual mode for even better results.
5) Basic Knowledge Of Post Processing
If you have followed the aforementioned tips, you might have a good picture ready to post on social media platforms. However, some final touches can further enhance the results. A basic understanding of post-processing tools will make you better at photography and digital creation.
Most smartphones have built-in photo editors with the most useful features to tweak captured shots. These include- exposure, brightness, contrast, white balance, sharpness, and saturation. Some devices even allow you to change the amount of blur, bokeh type effect and add filters to further enhance the look, and feel of the shot pictures.
Make sure you choose the correct filters to give the right mood to your pictures and videos. Bad color grading can drastically affect the overall scene and mode of a picture/video. If you are just starting with post-processing, you should explore Snapseed, Adobe Lightroom, and VSCO on smartphones.
I hope the aforementioned tips and tricks come in handy if you are just starting with digital photography. However, in the end, it’s you and your creative thinking that can help you become a better photographer. Step out and click some pictures.