Basic Photography Tips

Want to tell your own stories with a camera? Try these basic photography tips.

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A photograph from Lee Klancher's book "Red Tractors 1958-2013."

Photo By Lee Klancher

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Shoot Just shoot. As with anything else, the more you practice the better your result.

Look, think and shoot some more Simplify, move around and try different angles and heights. Zoom in on details and look at what’s in the background – crowded backgrounds can make it hard to appreciate your subject.

Consider the light Morning and evening light are best. Try to avoid the harsh light of midday, don’t make people stare into the sun, and don’t be afraid to use the flash on cloudy days.

Think about context Is the subject stationary or in motion? Can a nearby person or object help show how big that engine is? Are there shadows over interesting details? Do you want just this tractor or the whole line-up?

Be familiar Get to know your camera settings and don’t be afraid to change them. A different flash may mean better colors or captured motion, and larger photo sizes might take up more space on your memory card, but they also make higher-quality prints to share later.

Recommended books: For a comprehensive guide, try Photography by Barbara London, Jim Upton and Jim Stone. For a simple approach to the basics, pick up The National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Photography. FC 

Read about a professional photographer's introduction to old iron in Lee Klancher Tells History of Old Farm Life With Photographs.