Over the years, photography has come to be a key feature of social media.
With every good-quality or interesting photograph that you post come many likes and even new followers.
This is down to the attractive and engaging nature of photographs which makes them a perfect medium for people to develop an online presence and have an influence on their followers.
Whether it’s simple filters, frames and retouching or specialist software including Adobe photoshop Lightroom, there are countless tools for improving the appearance of photographs – so it’s not that difficult to create the illusion that you have the artistic skill of a professional photographer.
However, if anyone can at least pretend to have mastered the art of photography, how do you stand out from the crowd when it comes to your own photography skills?
The secret is to learn photography on a photography course taught by a professional instructor.
Signing up for expert instruction in photography will teach you everthing you need to know to take your photography skills to the next level. In photography workshops and tutorials, whether they're beginner or advanced photography, you can expect to learn how to use your camera to its full potential by first mastering the fundamentals then perfecting your practical skills.
“Passion is the essence of social media”, Jay Baer
If you don’t have your own digital camera, the camera integrated into your smartphone will be good enough to get started! However, it is recommended that you invest in a high-quality camera if you develop a serious interest in photography.
As technology evolves, more and more cameras are becoming compatible with Wifi and Bluetooth, so not only will your photographs look more impressive, but you will be able to share them more easily.
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By using a professional digital camera, the photographs you produce will be of higher quality and you will be able to capture more of the scene in front of you.
Using high-quality equipment, coupled with real photographic know-how from your photography classes will make your Instagram or Facebook page more interesting to look at and the followers will come flooding in!
Here are some more useful digital photography tips to stand out from the crowd when it comes to sharing your talent for photography on social media.
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Composition: Play to the Psychology Behind Photography
Harmonious photographs are taken when a photographer bears their composition in mind.
Having a well-composed photograph means that it has a balanced structure and is pleasant to look at.
So, how do you achieve this?
In photography, the composition is about the way in which the elements of a photograph are arranged. These elements can include colours, lines, shapes and objects.
This technique has been a feature of arts such as painting and drawing since long before the invention of the camera.
There are many rules to follow if you want to produce a photograph with a satisfying composition. Here are just a few of them:
- Rule of thirds: This is the fundamental rule of composition. It involves imagining your photograph divided into nine rectangles by two vertical and two horizontal lines of equal distances apart. Next, try to position the object you want to focus on at the point where two lines intersect, rather than in the centre of one of the rectangles. If you find it difficult to imagine these lines, the majority of modern digital cameras have an optional feature that adds the lines for you.
- Leading lines: This rule follows on from the rule of thirds, as it is the leading lines of a photograph which dictate the position of the imaginary horizontal or vertical lines. If your photograph features a horizontal element (such as a barrier), you should position it on one of the two horizontal lines. The same goes for vertical elements (such as buildings).
“If your photographs are not good enough, you are not close enough”, Robert Capa
- Isolate the main element: The aim here is to get your main object to be the focus of the whole scene – this is to say that there will be no distractions from other objects (such as a passing car or pedestrian). This can be done in several ways. Firstly, you can move closer towards the object so that it takes up a larger portion of the frame. You can also reduce the depth of field around the object in order to soften the background. Focussing on your object will also blur the background.
- Experiment with repeated patterns: Patterns of objects or motifs are pleasant to look at – so make the most of them! The patterns you find might include wire fencing (which can be used as a frame for landscape photography), a field of identical flowers or a cluster of similar tower blocks. Your photograph can be made more interesting if you include something which interrupts the pattern. For example, this could be a window with a different colour frame to the rest.
- Symmetry: This rule demands a high level of attention to detail when it comes to choosing a subject and its frame. Your subject might be a solitary object placed at the very centre of your image (such as a monument at the end of road, for instance). You could also have two objects in symmetrical positions to one another.
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There are many other photography techniques which can be used to achieve a good composition for your photographs, but getting a good grasp of the basics is the key to taking your photography to the next level later on.
Flat Lays: Instagram’s Most Popular Trend
If the term ‘flat lay’ doesn’t mean anything to you, here’s a quick run-down of what it involves.
Flat laying is all about photographing from above several related items which have been arranged on a carefully selected background.
This style of photography is especially popular among those who run lifestyle, food and travel accounts.
Flat laying is a method of presenting essential items for a particular outing or event to your followers. For instance, travel blog flat lays may include a tourist guide, rucksack, camera, sunglasses, passport, sun block and a bikini.
For food accounts, flat lays are used for displaying all of the ingredients required for a particular recipe.
The flat lay has popularised the high-angle shot across social media and even in day-to-day life. Taking pictures of restaurant meals when eating out to be later posted on social media is now incredibly poular.
Here are some tips for taking beautiful flat lay photos:
- Position yourself well above the arrangement or plate – standing on a chair will do the trick! Your camera should be above and directly in the centre of the objects you want to photograph.
- Make use of natural light. Daylight will give your photograph a better effect than studio lighting. However, try to ensure that this light is indirect by using a curtain, for example.
- Don’t neglect the composition of your photo - the success of your flat lay depends on it! The positioning and arrangement of each individual object should make for a balanced photograph. Make sure you consider the size and colour of each object in arranging your flat lay.
- Choose your background wisely. Your flat lay should be harmonious – this means creating a balanced ambience within your photograph, whilst still emphasising the objects in the flat lay. As a general rule, try to choose light backgrounds for darker objects and dark backgrounds for light-coloured items.
The Best Social Networks for Photographers
Among the multitude of social networks that are available, there are some designed specifically for the sharing of photography.
Here are just some of them:
- Instagram: Instagram is, without doubt, the King of social media when it comes to photography. It revolves entirely around the sharing of photographs and creating communities based on content with hashtags.
- Pinterest: With Pinterest, you can create virtual mood boards, which you can use for saving and categorising the photographs which inspire you. There is also an option to follow other users with similar interests.
- Flickr: Flickr is a social network which allows users to share photographs in a professional manner.
- DeviantArt: This is an online community where artists can showcase their creativity and have their work seen by others.
- 500px: 500px is a sharing platform aimed at professional photographers. The photographs on this social network are of a professional standard.
Now you know how to really make your photographs shine and develop an online presence, you will hopefully start to see results very soon.
So, find a photography school, sign up to online photography courses, work on your composition, consider your lighting techniques, exposure, lens aperture, white balance, ISO, shutter speed, then stand on a chair and post your pictures on your favourite social network!