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Pick up photography as a new hobby with these tips from a pro
// By Lydia Schrandt
Photo courtesy of iStock / AleksandarNakic
You don't have to leave home to start shooting
With nowhere to go and extra time on our hands, many of us are dusting off old hobbies or picking up new ones. While we're all photographers at some level thanks to the phones in our pockets, now's an excellent time to push those skills to the next level. Learn to capture memories at home so you'll be prepared to capture them once you're on the road again someday.
Here are 10 tips for getting started from Nikon Ambassador Corey Rich.
"We all need fresh air (especially now)," says Rich. "Head to your backyard, the roof of your building, etc. And when outside, shoot portraits. Make the image about the faces of your family. Portraits are timeless." Natural daylight is one of the best sources of lighting, especially on a slightly overcast day. Experiment with blurring the background of your photos by adjusting aperture (aperture priority mode on a DSLR, Depth Control on an iPhone, Pro mode on Samsung).
"Great photographs contain energy," explains Rich. "Keep the camera in your hand and just keep shooting. Look for those fleeting moments." Slowing down your shutter speed can help create blur to convey the idea of motion, while a fast shutter speed will capture motion in freeze frame.
Remember the quiet moments
"Look for genuine interaction," says Rich. "By using a longer lens, I was able to step away from my father and my daughter to capture this more intimate moment. But be patient. Take your time."
Experiment with angles
"Surprise your viewer with your camera angle or perspective. Using the flip screen on your camera, place your camera on the ground to shoot up, or stand on furniture so that you can achieve high angles," suggests Rich. Create a rule for yourself that you'll never simply put the camera to your eye and shoot; crouch down, lie on the floor, or climb on something to create more interesting images.
Take a burst of images
Don’t be afraid to turn on your camera's burst mode to help you capture the perfect action shots. "By shooting 6 frames per second I was able to capture this moment with my daughter’s feet off the ground, and it helps tell the story of running to the door excited," says Rich.
Get close up
"Focus your lens at its minimum focus distance and force yourself to find images that are close to the camera," explains Rich. Common photography advice tells us to fill the frame; you don't always need to include your entire subject in each image.
Look for reflections on tabletops, counters and glass to add interest to your images. "Alter your camera angle to find the reflection," says Rich. "Often these are very subtle moves. Also follow the rule of thirds; positioning my daughter to the far right makes for a far more interesting photograph."
Dirty the foreground
"While my daughter was painting on our deck, I shot through the paintbrushes and buckets," explains Rich. "It made for a more interesting photograph." Make sure to shoot with a wide aperture to blur the foreground and draw the eye to your subject.
Look for details
The little things can say a lot about the bigger picture. "Look for the small parts - images that help tell a more complete story," advises Rich.
Watch for interaction
Our most memorable moments are often those we spend with those we love. Practice capturing these special moments that make up your day to day. Rich explains how he got this shot of his wife and daughter: "In low light, shooting wide open allows for a shallow depth of field. Only my daughter’s face is in focus, while the arm falls out of focus."
For tips on how to shoot better home video, check out this short film from Corey Rich or free Creator's Hour photography discussions from other Nikon photographers.