5 Inexpensive Accessories To Improve Your Photography

While you should never rely on gadgets and gizmos to help improve your photography, there are certain items that are a must to help you get certain types of shots. For anyone taking up photography they soon find that it is an expensive habit with a get what you pay for ethos. However here are a few simple bits and bobs that every photographer should have that won’t break the bank.

TripodsTripod: no matter what type of photography you do from landscape to travel a tripod is one of the handiest accessories you can own. They can start from large heavy tripods from hundreds of euro to simple table top tripods and monopods that will set you back 15-30euro. Tripods allow sharper shots in low light, slow down your work, and allow you to keep shooting long after its gotten dark.

Good Brands: Monfrotto, Slik, Hanhel, Velbon

Prices starting: € 15

remote releaseRemote Cable Release: a cable release is an absolute must if you a looking to any long exposure or night shots. While you can take shots at night without them, they will be much sharper if you use a remote release.  Also in order to use bulb mode (any exposure longer than 30 seconds) then you will need one. They come in major brands and come in wired and wireless versions, as well as models that can be used as interval meters (time-lapse photography) etc. My advices keep it simple.

Good Brands: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hanhel, Inov8te

Prices starting: € 10

CP FilterCircular Polarising Filter: no matter what type of photography you do, be it landscape or travel, there a few filters more versatile than a CP filter, these filters remove glare, from water, glass, and saturate colours. Depending on the light you are photographing they can have a massive effect on your image. they will help stop you getting bleached out skies, here is a handy place you can pick one up, and here is a very short once over on how to use them.  A top tip would be if you are using an expensive lense then spring the extra money on decent filter.

Good Brands: Cokin, Kenko, Hoya, Lee,   Prices starting: €20

camera strapDecent Camera Strap: A decent camera strap may come as a surprise, but I recommend them for a couple of reasons, firstly, if you’re travelling or doing street photography, you will soon find your camera strap cutting into your neck, two is that as a big man, I find that most camera straps are too short on me and I end up looking like a middle aged tourist. And three a lot of straps announce what camera you have on the strap, in a lot of cities around the world, there is a steal to order service and you’re basically advertising your stock. Finally if you’re more comfortable with your camera, you will carry it more often.

Good Brands: Joby, Blackrapid, Optech

Prices starting: € 10

50 mm 1.8A Nifty Fifty: photographers slang for a 50mm fixed lense, while  not exactly inexpensive compared to other items on the list, compared to other lenses you will not find another lens as sharp, as fast and versatile for the same money.  Because they are fixed (they don’t zoom in or out) they are able to open up to large aperture numbers like 1.8 – 2.8, which means that they are a god send when shooting in low light, they also are great for portraits because of the low depth of field they produce. They are the staple for any photography looking to start out in street or portrait photography.

Good Brands: Canon, Nikon, Sigma,

Prices starting: €100

While none of these items in themselves will make you a great photographer, they will help open up all kinds of shots to you that you would have a hard time creating without them. In order to get the most out of your photography and the equipment you have there is no substitute for photographic skill and technique. But in the mean time have fun and play around as much as possible.

photography course dublin

Learn all of this and more at our Photography courses in Dublin City Centre or see http://www.dublin-photography-school.com

Stewart Kenny is a photography trainer and guide with Dublin Photography School, Stewart teaches photography students of all levels in Dublin and surrounding counties as well as leading photography holidays in Ireland. To see more about his Photography courses in Dublin see here

5 Simple tips to improve your composition of your photographs.

5 Simple tips to improve your composition of your photographs

Something that I am often asked about in my photography classes is something called the “eye” and far from it being a vague reference to lord of the rings for most photographers starting out it is a mystical skill that you are born with and if you don’t have it, you will never amount to much as a photographer. The “eye” refers to basic composition skills and far from being born with it most photographers have to develop it.  How do you develop any skill? Simples, just practise it, and practise different types of it, so if you’re just starting out and looking to shake things up a tad, here are a few simple tips improve your photographs.

Move your subject off centre with the rule of thirds

Image

Rule of Thirds

A very simple way to get a bit more ummff in your photography is simply moving your subject out of the centre of your frame and more towards the edge, you can use a technique called the rule of thirds, this composition technique is the most commonly used techniques to bring balance to an off centre image. Envision your frame is divided into 9 equal parts by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. Then all you have to do is put the most important elements in your image along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.

 

 

 

 

 

Get Lower

Get lower to help fill your frame

Get lower to help fill your frame

How many images do you think are taken every day from a standing position? Millions? Perhaps even billions?  Often when we see photographers they are on one knee taking a photograph? But why? By getting lower they are changing the perspective of the shot, and including foreground detail, this also changes the relationship between the sizes of things in the frame so that things that are closer to the lenses look bigger.

 

 

 

 

 

Fill your frame

fill your frame when photographing

Fill your frame when photographing

perhaps one of the most important things you can do when composing an image is to fill your frame, get closer to your subject, one of the most common reasons a image will lack impact is because you there is not enough of the subject filling the frame, if there is to much going on in your shot your subject may become lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go portrait

Try to change things up

Try to change things up

Don’t photograph every image in landscape format, turn your camera to the side to get a different shaped frame, this works great for well portraits, but also buildings, anything that’s taller than it is wider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead in lines

Lead in lines are a great way to draw your viewer into your image

Lead in lines are a great way to draw your viewer into your image

 

Leads in lines are a great way to draw the viewer into your image. All you need do is to find two lines that run into the distance they can be parallel and never touch or can touch to form a nodal point in the image.

The most important rule is that you break the rules, move things around, break free of simply compositions, experiment, there’s no such thing as a photograph that is wrong, focus on textures, and form, find depth in your images, try photography the tiniest details when your composing. Just have fun.

 

photography course dublin

looking for photography courses in Dublin to improve your photography?
see http://www.dublinphotographyschool.ie

Stewart Kenny is a photography trainer and guide with Dublin Photography School, Stewart teaches photography students of all levels in Dublin and surrounding counties as well as leading photography holidays in Ireland. To see more about his Photography courses in Dublin see here

Some simple tips to improve your travel photography

travel photography with dublin photography school

When we think of travel photography we often think of the famous landmarks, monuments and attractions  of the city or country we plan to visit. However for many people these famous sites are just the tip of the iceberg when visiting a new destination. To me travel photography is so much more than just landmarks. To me it is a sub genre of documentary and reportage photography that involves looking at landscapes, cultures, customs, people and their history.  It conveys  in an image a feeling that expresses the feeling of a particular time and place.  When we return from a holiday,we often don’t remember the big things like the Eiffel tower or the Brandenburg Gate. It can be the small things, the quirks of the trip that spring to mind, for example the small coffee shops, the local markets, the artisans that ply their trade on the roadside. The food and the art, are all the things that make a culture unique. When we go away what we are looking to find  is not what is similar to our own culture but what is different.  With that in mind here are a few simple tips on what to look for when photographing on your adventures and travels.

  1. Plan Ahead

Think about what kind of shots you want and make a list. If it’s mostly scenic landscapes then pack a wide angle lens. If it’s people a 50mm fixed or if it’s a mix consider a zoom lens.

  1. Research your location

Look at local postcards  or travel guide books to get an idea of scenic areas and monuments to shoot. These are often shot by local photographers who have scouted out the best locations. Replicate a well known image and put your own twist and flaire on it.

  1. Colours & traditions

Countries by their very nature are defined by their culture and traditions. Think about what is unquie to the country you are visiting and try to photograph it.  Spain’s matadors, India’s holi festival and America’s fourh of July are to name but a few. Pay attention to colour.  Colours are one of the most important aspects of a culture and will have a massive impact on your image. They can be found everywhere from flags to food, so remember to keep your eyes open.

  1. Get off the beaten track

Get off the main tourist trail and visit small shops, local bars, markets and cafes. Try to chat with locals. It’s amazing what tips you will pick up from them. Local knowledge is worth its weight in gold to a travel photographer.Remember that your safety is your first priority.

  1. Bring a tripod or a tripod subsitute

A lot of the action takes place in the evening, especially in hotter climates where the heat of the day can be over whelming. Be prepared to photograph in low light and carry something portable you can use as a tripod, i.e. beanbag, tabletop tripod, or a gorilla pod.

  1. People , People, People

Although a countries landscape can lookare stunning in photographs, it is the people that make up a culture. Try not to  get bogged down with only photogrphing landscapes. Photograph locals going about their business and daily chores. Look out for things that they do differently from what you are used to.

 

  1. Respect

This is not just an “Aretha Franklin” song, but a huge part of being a good  photographer. Different cultures have different attitudes and laws to photography. Some cultures will not mind at all, while others will often be offended when you start snapping away. Do some research on this before you head away on your trip.

  1. Food

Take pictures of local cusines and restaurants. Go further also and look into local markets, fruit stalls, wineries and breweries. Look for where the locals are eating and have a try. Instagram is handy for this if you don’t want to carry your camera gear around.

 

Remember that these are just simple tips and a quick guide, so feel free to experiment and try new things. Experiment with angles and compositions and most importantly have fun.  Don’t get so tied up in your photography that you forget what your holiday is about, exploring, relaxing and having fun.   

photography course dublin

looking for a Photography course in dublin then look no further than dublin photography school see http://www.dublinphotographyschool.ie

Stewart Kenny is a photography trainer and guide with Dublin Photography School, Stewart teaches photography students of all levels in Dublin and surrounding counties as well as leading photography holidays in Ireland and Iceland. To see more about his Photography courses in Dublin see here or for more about Photography holidays in Ireland or Iceland see Travel Department.ie