What do you need to be a real photographer?

These days it’s incredibly easy to point a camera and take great photographs, but what do you need to be a real photographer?

Well, for a start the term is a bit misleading. At the core of it is this: We all take photos, so we’re all real photographers. The cameras that are built-in to modern smartphones have incredibly good specs and are generally capable of taking stunning quality images. We’ve all done it – taken a photo of a person or landscape and thought “Ooh, that’s actually really good”.

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Really, in a day-to-day ‘not that interested in photography but love photos’ sort of way, these phone cameras are more than adequate for capturing decent snaps and selfies. You can upload direct to your socials, and there are even apps out there which will allow you to tweak the images a little before you decide to go public.

But if you’re looking to take your interest in photography to the next level, you’ll definitely need to invest in a camera which is more, let’s say, involved and professional. Something with the capabilities for a bit more bite and nuance. Ebuyer stocks an impressive range, including the KODAK PIXPRO AZ652 Astro Zoom bridge camera.

Kodak is an iconic name in photography, and so it’s no surprise that this camera is a gem for those wanting to move things up a notch from their smartphone snapping. It offers an astounding 65x optical zoom and much more. With a top-notch 20 megapixels BSI CMOS sensor, 5 fps multi-burst, 24mm wide angle lens and articulating LCD, your photos and videos will be crystal clear with amazing detail. It even has Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can share your stuff quickly and conveniently with your family and friends.

We stock cameras from other names which will be familiar to you – Canon and Praktica included. Don’t forget to check out the specifications to make sure you get something which is going to suit your needs, and don’t be frightened to read online reviews from other photographers to inform your choice.

Once you’ve done that and your new camera is in your hands, what else do you need to think about? You may like to approach your photography in new ways once you have these capabilities in your toolbox – thinking about the framing of your shots and so on. We’ve come up with five great tips… 

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The Rule Of Thirds

Sounds a bit like it should have been a title from an episode of Game Of Thrones, doesn’t it? But this handy tip will have you ruling your photography like a boss! It’s all to do with the composition of the shots you take, and where things are positioned in the frame of your image to get the best result possible.

What you have to do is divide the view through the viewfinder or on the camera’s screen by imagining four lines – two horizontal across the image and two vertical. You should end up with a grid of nine even squares. Some photos will look best with the focal point set in the square right in the middle of this grid. But you can create an interesting aesthetic by placing your subject off-centre, at one of the intersecting points of the lines in your imaginary grid.


Depth Of Field

Sounds like it should be the title of an album by Sting, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, though – this tip will have you gasping in amazement with every breath you take! When you’re photographing landscapes, it really helps the quality of your finished image if you can create a sense of depth.

This will really ‘sell’ the photo to anyone who looks at it, and it might even make them feel like they are there in some way. How you best achieve depth of field is by using a wide-angle lens (for a panoramic view) and by setting the camera to a small aperture of f/16 or smaller. This will keep both the foreground and background sharp. If you have a larger object in the foreground – say, ooh, a person? – then this will go a long way to offering sense of scale and emphasising that the background is quite some distance away.

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Don’t do the shimmy-shimmy shake

There’s nothing worse than taking what you think is a stunning shot only to find that the subject is ‘soft’ or blurred. Camera shake causes this, and it’s something that photographers really try to avoid.

How to avoid it? Well, first of all you should hold your camera correctly. If it’s a small model, almost palm-sized, then single handed is fine but you will definitely end up with some shots being blurred. If it’s a slightly larger model, you need to be using both hands to achieve the best shots. Place one of them around the body of the camera and one around the lens, and hold the camera as close to your body as you can for extra stability and support.

Also worth thinking about here is shutter speed. You need to make sure that your shutter speed is appropriate for the focal length of your lens. If it is too slow, any unintentional movement of the camera – however slight – will result in some or all of your photograph being blurred.


Don’t use a flash for indoor shots

This might seem counter-intuitive, but actually a shot taken indoors using a flash can be ruined. Think about those pictures you have taken in the past where the details of people’s faces is ‘bleached out’. This was caused by the strength of the light coming from your camera’s flash – and so it didn’t really help ‘capture the moment’, did it? And now think about those shots you’ve taken without flash…

Flash can make your pictures really harsh and, actually, unnatural – especially for indoor portraits. There are various ways you can take an image indoors without using the flash. Increase the ISO (800 to 1600 will make a big difference) and use the widest aperture possible. Using a tripod is also a great way to avoid any blur on your photographs.

If you have no real choice but than to use a flash, then try and use one with a head you can rotate. Point it at an angle at the ceiling. This will give you a much more satisfactory result than pointing it right in the direction of the person you’re taking a picture of!

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Develop an eye for it

Over time you’ll definitely start to develop a sense of what makes a good photograph. It’s amazing that you can take two shots of the same thing in very quick succession, and only one of them ‘pops’ in that really special way. Perhaps you can’t quite see a difference between them, but one of them is definitely better than the other. That’s the magic of photography! Thanks to this being the digital age you can take multiple photos of the same thing and check through them later to find ‘the one’.


But, ultimately, what makes a good photo? That’s often in the eye of the beholder, as it depends on personal preference. Check out some of the wonderful books available which give you examples: something along the lines of ‘the 100 greatest landscape photos’ or ‘100 great portraits’ and the like. If you study the photos contained within these books – and examine things about them like the rule of thirds and depth of field – you will begin to work it out!

So, that’s it! Happy photographing!

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