Top Tips for Perfect Pictures

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Guest post by Jason Geeves 

Have you ever wondered why your photos never come out quite right? Do you long to impress people with amazing Instagram images but just don’t know where to begin? Photographer Jason Geeves of geevestakesphotos talks us through some of his top tips on taking that perfect picture…

I will admit I’m fairly new to Instagram, the number of my posts has hovered around the 120 mark for quite a while as I occasionally delete old edits which I’ve come to dislike and balance this out with the occasional upload. Despite being a keen amateur photographer, I’d never really paid much attention to Instagram before but I’ve recently re-discovered my love for this whole new world of sharing and viewing this developing branch of photography.

The other unexpected benefit of this kind of photography that I have discovered is my renewed enthusiasm for getting out into natural landscape, although it has been driven by my desire to find and photograph new and interesting locations, I have definitely rediscovered my appreciation for being out in the wilderness and to enjoy the small details like an evening of amazing natural light, or a sky full of interesting cloud.

During the time I’ve been using Instagram I’ve picked up a few hints and tips, by no means a professional guide but just a few mental notes I’ve made along the way.

Lighting is everything. This doesn’t necessarily mean a shot must always contain the most brilliant light but the style of the final image should complement the light available within the environment. Grey moody days for example can be just as dramatic as a landscape lit by an amazing setting sun, however the treatment and way in which this is captured can be quite different.

I’ve always had an interest in photography and have had lots of different types of cameras – both film and digital over the years, but when I first started taking photography a little more seriously and began to try to take more than just passing snaps, a simple thought occurred to me.

It sounds so simple and completely obvious but this one thought was something that changed my approach to capturing my image and that was; what is it about this view that makes me like it?

It’s very easy to be in an amazing setting and to be blown away by something you’ve seen then to look through your viewfinder, set up the camera and capture a shot only to look at the file afterwards only to be disappointed by what you’ve captured. I know I do all the time.

When you ask yourself the question ‘what is it about this view that makes me like it?’,  before you even touch the camera it starts to get you making decisions on how you’re going to photograph your subject and this will inevitably lead to a better composed and executed photo rather than just jumping in and snapping away. The answer to the question could literally be anything, and there is certainly no right or wrong. It could be anything from the light illuminating the environment you’re in or the scale between the two objects you’re focussing on. It sounds obvious to say this but whatever it is you are trying to capture you should definitely always have this in mind; and let that guide your photograph to make sure it is captured in the best way to convey what it is you like about the scene.

As a hypothetical example, if you were photographing a city landscape and a particular building stood out to you because of its sheer size you might want to try to capture this. So asking yourself ‘what is it that I like about this view’ in this case the answer would be the buildings size, so what’s the best way to depict this? The main way to convey size easily is to include a form of reference that the viewer can relate to, so in this case you would maybe want to include the surrounding buildings to convey the scale? So now you know that you are capturing the full scene it’ll probably need a landscape format? And you’ll want to be positioned in a place which gives the most interesting viewpoint.

These hoops we jump through during the photographic process are in many ways subconscious decisions but making this thought central to your creative decision making will help to make the difference to your shots.

Overtime the analytical process will become progressively more and more specific and technical as you figure out different ways to capture your intended image or employ better technology to do so, but that same central thought should always be the same; ‘what is it about this view that makes me like it?’

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