I’ve had several people ask me for tips and tricks for photography. Professional, hobbiest, or individual with a camera, this is one thing that is VERY important to know!!!
I’m going to try to make this short and simple.

When photographing a subject (anything from a cake, to a building, to a chair, to a person) changing your position may completely change the look of your image!

Here’s an example.

See this picture here?

This is a beautiful little dead flower, it makes you think of deep woods. The photographer must have walked a mile in the woods before they saw this little flower and they were able to capture this cute little sad image, right?
Actually no. This little flower is a dead little garden flower. Surrounded by grass, other dead flowers, and neighbors…

When taking a picture of this great opportunity to tell a story with it.
When you capture it in the wrong position, you lose a great story.

See this picture here?

This is the exact same flower from straight on. I’m eye-level with it shooting it.
It’s still a cute(ish) flower I guess, but really? The neighbor’s house?
A lot of people will tell you “Don’t worry about the background, no one notices it.” I’m sorry to say, but they’re wrong. People really DO notice it. (Especially other photographers. :P *laughs*)

So, you say, how do we change the position with this flower?
Let’s try it from another position, let’s try shooting down a little so we change the background to the grass. (Grass looks great with just about anything, right?)

See this image?

Still the same flower, just a different position.
It’s still bland and boring. The grass is distracting, and the flower just looks skinny, long, and very 2 dimensional.

When you’re dealing with the 2 dimensional/flat look, you definitely want to find another position to add dimension and life to your image.
In this case, let’s try shooting almost straight down.

Now we have this image!

This is a great position because you now have a less distracting background AND great dimension to your image.

Change a few settings, edit the colors a bit… and voila!!!
You end up with this!

And this…

And this!!!

All from the same position!!!

See how a simple change of position makes a world of difference?
I barely moved a foot. My body stayed in the same place, I just moved around to capture it differently.

SO, the next time you’re out shooting something or someone and you are just not liking how it’s turning out. Try changing your position! :)
Even after you’ve found “THE” position, keep changing it up and try a few new angles! You can never find too many different angles.

Happy shooting!

Coming next…
“Auto VS Manual!”
Not a deep explanation on Automatic VS Manual, just some quick and basic examples of the difference between the two.

If you haven’t read “What Makes a Good Photographer Great – Part I” then this section may not make any sense to you, as I am going to be referencing several points from the first part. :P So take a few moments to read Part I first!

In the first part of “What Makes a Good Photographer Great” I mentioned on what makes a photographer great, now I will be talking about how YOU too can become great in your photography!
Any aspiring photographer can shoot like the pros.

Now, to quickly clarify, I am not claiming to be a great photographer. Just a photographer aspiring to be great, and hoping that some day I will be! :)

Here’s some of the things I have found to be very helpful (or absolutely necessary) along my way of becoming a better photographer.

- Books, Study, and Research!
Some things I have found that are KEY is always to advance your knowledge of photography.
There’s always something else to learn, and someone else to learn from.
I found that getting books from the library, borrowing them from fellow photographers, and buying them from Amazon or Half.com are some great ways to begin studying!
Find blogs from other photographer, or websites, or forums and go through anything that interests you. You don’t have any idea how much you can learn from someone else until you apply yourself and listen.

Have a question or are confused about what something means, or how to capture a shot like one you saw on a book? Google it! Find a blog or website on it and do some research into it. :)

Study them, learn from them and apply them. Test your knew knowledge and purposefully go out photoshooting to try it! :D

- Practice and Patience.
Get out and try something new! Keep your photography skills alert. Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more! :D
If you’re not happy with it, be patient, try it again, try it from another angle or distance. You’ll find a shot you like if you keep trying new ways of shooting it.
Don’t let the winter blues keep you from using your skills! I’m saying this because this is one of the main things that gets to me. I’m a mood photographer, I always enjoy capturing moods, mostly happy, joyous and love-enraptured moods, I don’t want to be shooting when I’m depressed because it’s 34F, dark and raining!
You have to give yourself challenges, if you like an image that someone else shot, go try to do it yourself! :D

- Get inspired, and encouraged!
Even though it’s always sweet to have friends and family tell you you take great pictures, it’s not enough to truly be inspired and encouraged, Aunt Shirley doesn’t know the first thing about good photography and of course mom is going to say she loves your picture of your big toe, it’s because they love you and will love any photo you take.
It’s time to connect with other photographers!
One of the things that has encouraged, inspired and helped me more than anything else is connecting to a 365 Project group that was loving, encouraging and helpful!!!
These people have KNOWLEDGE and they know what makes a good picture good, and a bad picture bad.
They will give you honest and encouraging comments and criticism to better further your photography skills.
(Tip: Take their opinions into consideration. If you have several people telling you to do something differently, there’s generally a good reason for it. They know what they’re talking about. They most likely have done it themselves and learned from it. I have one person in particular that has helped me more than they know because they kept telling me to change something, I admit I got a little frustrated and had no idea how to do what they said, but they helped me learn what it was and it changed my entire way of Post Processing.)

Look for a group on Flick.com for a 365 Project group to help you.
If 365 (a photo a day) is too much for you try a 52 (a photo a week) group, or a 30 Day challenge group.
Don’t forget to ask for other people’s opinions, or suggestions!

Flickr is also a great place to get inspired!
Go to http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ and look through some of the “Explored” photos. Some days are not as good as others, but on an average day I will find dozens of really amazing photos that inspire me to capture something similar, or that at least spark my own creativity!
(Tip: On the Explore page you can just click ‘refresh’ to find a whole page of new photos!)

Generally, if I find a photo that I really like I “favorite” it and look through the photographers other photos, which then leads me to some more amazing photos. Other times I go through their list of “favorites” which leads me to a completely new photographer and their photos and favorites… etc.
*sighs happily* Flickr was created for photographers like me, so I can legally “stalk” other photographers whose fantastic skills I normally would never have seen or even heard of.

I have many dear friends of mine who I would have never even met except through Flickr! :) I can’t sing their praises enough.
(Facebook and Twitter just don’t even come close, not in this area.)

- Know Thy Camera
I cannot stress this enough!!!
Know your Manual settings!!! (not to be confused with your camera’s manual handbook) Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Program AE is NOT going to cut it. It works well for situations like birthday parties, or a quick shot of something, but when you are doing something (or anything!) professionally, you MUST shoot manually.
It’s best to have manual control over every setting possible.

If you don’t know how to operate your manual controls, or what ISO, Shutter Speed, or Aperture(F/Stop) means then it’s time to learn! It’s simple, you will understand it in no time.
Here’s some quick Youtube Videos to watch, by the time you’re done you’ll have a deep knowledge of how to operate your camera in Manual mode, and you’ll be one step closer to being a GREAT photographer.
This is longer and explains more about each setting —-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9BH4JOMPss
This is shorter but, sadly, not as detailed —-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv59QkeVvio

The more you know about your camera, and your camera’s capabilities and settings, the better your pictures will be!
Also, search through your camera’s manual hand book. I assure you, you’ll find settings you didn’t know your camera had!

I have so many other things that have helped me, but these are some of the main issues that stuck out at me.
Work on each of these areas and you’ll watch how far your photography skills advance because of it.

Next up on “What Makes a Good Photographer Great” will be what to avoid, what not to do, how to avoid most mistakes photographers make. Don’t want to miss it! :)

Have a great week everyone, thanks for reading it means a lot to me!
Capturing Life,