The Internet is crammed with photography tips; everyone seems to have an ‘expert’ opinion, but sometimes those tips relate more to smartphones or film cameras. Which ones work best with a micro four-thirds system? Here are our top 5 tips to get the best results from your camera.
1. Get to Know Your Camera
To create amazing photos, you have to truly understand the capabilities of your camera equipment. Each camera has many features that you will never use, but many are highly important if you want to take better photos.
You should know when to use Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Program mode settings to capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot. Other functions (such as spot metering and exposure bracketing) take you to the next level as a photographer, so make time to learn about them too.
Reread your camera’s manual and experiment with the main functions to discover what you can do with your camera.
2. Use the Flash During the Day
On sunny days, the sun often creates hard shadows. You get high levels of contrast when your shadows are too dark, and your highlights are overexposed. One of the best ways to remedy this is to use the flash.
Given that your subject is within the flash range, it will work as a fill light, lifting the shadows and giving you a more balanced picture. Keep in mind that the flash range of most micro four-thirds cameras is around 9 feet (about 3 meters). If you take a photo of a subject further away than this, the flash will have little or no effect.
3. Try Night Photography
Shooting long exposures at night is one of the best ways to learn how to improve your photography. Under these conditions, leaving the camera on ‘auto’ won’t give you the images you’re seeking. The flash will want to fire on the automatic setting, and the shutter won’t stay open for long enough to capture light trails.
To get a good exposure, you have to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO manually. Doing these adjustments force you to learn how to balance these settings, and you’ll be a better photographer as a result.
Don’t forget your tripod! It may seem like a burden at first, but using a tripod is necessary for long exposures, and it has the added effect of making you slow down, which means you have more time to consider composition options.
4. Get Close to the Subject
When you get excited about taking photos of family, friends, or pets, it can be easy to forget about getting close to them. When this happens, your images end up with your subjects in the distance and lots of space around them.
Getting closer eliminates distracting elements in the background, especially if you use a wide aperture to blur the scene behind the subject. Filling the frame makes your photos more interesting. Use your zoom, or move closer; it’s that simple!
5. Tell a Story with Your Photo
An image that is well-exposed and in focus doesn’t make it a good picture. A photograph that stands out from the crowd has more than the depth of field—it has a depth of emotion. The image has to stay in your heart and mind long after it disappears from sight.
How do you take more photos like that?
To shoot a memorable photo, you need to tell a story. Any camera can handle the technical aspects of an image. Still, it’s up to the photographer to find an emotional element in a scene and capture it in a storytelling way. Creating a story with your photo means teasing the imagination of the viewer.
They should be wondering what’s happening in the image. Storytelling with photographs often involves people, but you can have an interesting story within a landscape or architectural portrait, too, as long as it somehow evokes strong emotions in the viewer’s psyche.
An excellent example of this is when you have two elements that contrast with each other, such as nature versus machine, or when you photograph an ancient temple next to a modern structure.
Another image that will tug at heartstrings is when great-grandma holds a newborn child.
This type of photography is storytelling! The image juxtaposes the innocence and potential of a newborn against the experience and wisdom of the elderly. This image is a reminder that time goes by too fast and makes you pause and ponder.
Conclusion: Top 5 Tips to Improve Your MFT Photography
All of the tips shown above will help you with the practical side of taking a photo and having it turn out fine, but incorporating emotion into an image is what meaningful photography is all about.