Knowing the basics of photography is the groundwork for understanding how to shoot video. That’s why I always start with photography when I’m teaching journalists how to create videos. Here is what you need to know to take a good photo.
But first, figure out what equipment you’ll want to use. You can use a phone or a camera. For a more detailed list of options check out my media kit.
rule of thirds
The rule of thirds helps when it comes to framing the subject of your photo. Using a grid that divides the screen into nine sections, subjects are placed either in the left or the right third of an image.
You can get the rule of thirds on your phone too! Go to settings, camera and then turn on “grid.” Then you’ll have the rule of thirds grid built into your iPhone’s camera when you use it.
For the basics of photography always consider simplicity, asymmetry, leading lines and point of view when framing a shot.
The idea of simplicity is just that: use a simple background to highlight the subject in your photograph. This can help your audience better understand and focus on the primary element.
You can use symmetry or asymmetry in photography. Asymmetry is usually preferred and aligns with the rule of thirds (see above) to create compelling depth.
Leading lines is a concept that uses line shapes in an image to help give perspective to a viewer and draw their eye toward the intended subject.
Point of view (POV) is where the photographer is taking the photo from, examples include a bird’s-eye view from above.
get a range of shots
Always get a good amount of shots. You want to think in this sequence: wide, medium, tight. A wide shot will capture the entire situation. It will give your audience the most information about the scene. A medium shot is getting closer to the action. And a tight shot will focus on the details.
When you’re getting tight shots of people, it looks more natural to cut off their forward and include the chin and mouth in the shot.
depth of field
If you’re familiar with portrait mode on the iPhone, then you know what I mean when I say depth of field. There are two depths of field: shallow and deep. Shallow depth of field is when your subject is in focus and everything else is out of focus. Deep depth of field is when most of the photo is in focus, which works well for landscape shots.
Lighting is key to any shot. Always aim to use natural light if you can. The golden hour is the first hour of light after sunrise or the last hour of light before sunset. It gives you the most beautiful natural light.
When it comes to zoom, always try to use manual zoom on a camera. If you’re using an iPhone then get physically closer because zooming in with your fingers will pixelate the image.
Get acquainted with different lenses which can help you with depth, focus and zoom.
Use a tripod! If you don’t have one, then hold your arms close to your body and hold your breath to help stabilize the shot.
Keep your lens clean. This is super important, even when working with a phone.
Want more details on the basics of photography? Click here.