Know Your Camera

Your first objective should be to learn the abilities and limitations of your camera. Being intimately familiar with every setting and function by experimenting in the field will help make you a better photographer. Knowing your current camera will help when you are shopping for the next. You will know what is important to you and what you can live without.

Put Your Subjects at Ease

Talk to the people you are photographing.  Begin a conversation and get them talking about something that interests them.  Learning a bit more about your subject will help you capture their personality while easing their stiffness and reserve in front of the camera.  Once your subject is comfortable you can start taking pictures.  A relaxed subject will lead to great natural shots.

One Word: Polarizer

If you can afford it, a polarizer is a great investment. The color enhancement and glare reduction is a must for landscape photographers. With a polarizer, you can easily shoot challenging water surfaces and through the water surface to your subject below without glare and reflection. In the shot here you can see the difference in the water surface without and with a polarizer.

Blur the Back

Throw the background out of focus by opening up a wide aperture. The clarity of your subject and blur of the background will concentrate all the attention in your picture on the subject.

Follow Through

What is true in sports is equally true in photography – it’s all in the follow through.  To get great pan shots, follow your subject all the way through the motion – before you click and after.

AF Servo

For great pan shots, use AF Servo focus system. It locks focus when the shutter is pressed halfway and then the focus moves and tracks with the subject. Try it next time you’re out.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

Be consistent in the quality of work you add to your portfolio. You need to be very selective and edit yourself. Find your minimum standard and don’t compromise regardless of temptation. Your focus should instead be on consistently exceeding your standards. Look for a neutral and objective critic to help if you are struggling.

Ignore the Sky

Overcast skies are not a problem. Leave the sky out. Instead, take shots against the background. The overcast sky will help you out by providing better light with the clouds acting as one big soft box. This shot was taken on a overcast day.

Be Present

Always be aware of your surroundings and the impact your presence is having on others. Don’t be a hindrance placing your tripod in the main path or blocking a main vantage point. Respect others privacy and be kind when you are shooting strangers.

Use golden Hours

Though they last for a very short span, golden hours are the best time to shoot. Especially in hot summer days the sky is very dramatic during this time.

Amar Ramesh is an emerging photographer from Chennai, India. He lived in US for several years and has worked with many professional photographers. Photography, to him is a passion with infinite opportunities and he loves to share the lessons and tips that he learned with others.  Please visit his Facebook Page for more.
He is also in Flickr  |  Twitter  |  Portfolio.