Grab it: Take your camera with you…everywhere. Digital, SLR, whatever you have or at the very least your mobile phone. You can’t get that great shot without having a camera with you.
These shots were all captured on an iPhone 5
Hand it over: It may be hard to hand over the camera, but do it every now and again. Ask someone you’re with to take a couple of shots for you, with you in them. It’s important. A lifetime of gorgeous images and captured memories won’t be the same without you in some shots too.
Love the light: Always look at the light. Morning and afternoon light throws beautiful shadows, can soften subjects and create magic. When I was growing up I was always asked to face the sun for family photos. The result? Squinty eyes and grimaced smiles. Don’t be scared of a little shade. In the beach shot of my daughter, the sunlight-brightened colours framed the shot, drawing attention to her gently shaded eyes and expression. Sunlit backgrounds behind your subject are fine too, and will often highlight details you could otherwise miss – just stand to the side to avoid direct glare.
The light and time of day can completely shape, add mood and feeling to your shot. Sunsets in Autumn and Winter are amazing on the coast, creating soft pastels and long shadows. Embrace it and go for a weekend walk at sunset with your camera or iPhone.
The take-home message is…experiment with natural light.
People often make the place: You don’t always need to know who’s in your shots… well, maybe that’s partly true! But if you’re on your own and want to capture photos of your surrounds, sometimes you need people to add to the sense of place. My iPhone shots taken at Nobbys breakwall use the silhouettes of strangers to add interest, give perspective and tell the story. They’d be far less interesting as straight landscape images. Similarly, the people in my image of The Leaf Seat are unknown to me – I asked if I could photograph them as they provide perspective on size of the seat. As a general rule, it’s always polite to ask to include people in your shots if you can see their face, and where children are involved, you MUST ask their parent or guardian.
Fresh eyes are your friend: Try walking around an area of your home town that you love. Take your camera and take your time. Try rediscovering the space through your lens. You’ll be surprised at what you see and how your shots look. No-one sees your world quite the way you do.
Forget the self-doubt: Good photographers question themselves, review and learn from their shots. It’s easy to start doubting yourself. There are many, many great photographers out there. Don’t get down, use other’s photography for inspiration and ideas. Learn from them. Remember: nobody sees the world quite the way you do. You are unique and so is your perspective. Go for it!