Anyone can own a camera and take a few snapshots – but not everyone can tell a story through the camera. Photographs are special mementos where time seems to have stopped, where memories remain frozen for the rest of time.
When you look at a photograph, you immediately think about the things going on with the subject – how you took them and how the photographer was during that exact moment. You feel connected when the subject piques your interests or when you relate to what the photo says on a personal level. And if you want to head out and look for stories to tell through your lens, there are essential things you need to know first.
Tweaking the Camera Settings
How your shots turn out will essentially depend on the settings you have with your camera. You don’t have to be an expert to know all that stuff, but it matters that you got the basics down so that you won’t have to suffer terrible pictures. Since the camera setting can make or break the shot, you should carefully handle the device prep, so the photos don’t look too overwhelming.
All you need to know is when to use the right amount of aperture and shutter speed under specific lighting and temperature conditions.
The Essence of Lighting
Light plays an essential role in depicting the photo’s mood when you intend to tell a story through the camera lens. With good lighting, you can set the right tone. The image may look moody, calm, and soothing if your lighting is soft and sad. Whereas if there’s harsh lighting, it may seem bright, cheerful, and energetic. The temperature will come into play if you utilize the surrounding natural light of your subject. Warm daylight may look hopeful and comforting, while a cold night or cloudy weather will depict sadness, melancholy, and lack of joy.
The Lens as the Window to the Soul
Once you’ve got the camera settings and ambient lighting down, the lens choice is another matter that you should pay attention to. Here are some recommended lenses if you’re planning on taking the following kinds of photos:
For landscape scenery photos, a wide angle or ultra-wide angle lens with a focal range of 14-35mm, but a 10-12mm type will do. If you’re more into casual photography, a telephoto zoom lens with a range of 55-200mm that’s within your budget is good enough, especially if you want your kit lens to be able to zoom further. A wide or ultra-wide lens is also best for architectural photography.
If you don’t feel like carrying a bulky lens around, try a pancake type, which is less than an inch thick. They’re usually prime lenses, but their focal length is an excellent alternative to your typical zoom lens. If you use a pancake lens on a mirrorless camera, you already have the ultimate equipment for casual photography.
If you travel a lot, you need a lens that is an all-rounder so that you won’t have to carry around lots of lenses that you have to use interchangeably. That can be very tiring, so to avoid that and still take good photos when traveling, a superzoom lens with a focal length of 18-200mm or 300mm on a crop sensor will be helpful. These lenses may be expensive, plus they’re not as good to use in a low-light setting. Additionally, superzoom lenses can be bulky. A good alternative would be to use a mirrorless camera rather than a DSLR.
And if you’re into capturing candid images, street happenings, weddings, and other events, a fast prime lens might be an excellent choice. If you use an ultra-wide lens, your subject might be out of focus, and if you choose to use a longer one, it might feel too invasive to look at. The famous “nifty fifty” might be a good choice for these types of photography. It comprises the 50mm lens with a 35mm and 25mm equivalent. They are known for being versatile.
A Few Words of Advice
Whether you’re compelled to take photos of people, events, and places, you need to start somewhere, and hopefully, these tips were able to help. You don’t have to have the fanciest camera around or an elaborate setup for your planned photo shoot. You’re good to go as long as you can translate your heart and soul through those images.