A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. If pictures you take must make people go “wow”, shooting along these lines will help.

Preparing For A Photo Session

One of the most evocative forms of art is photography. It is a visual art that narrates volumes through its images and creates an impact words often can’t. If a picture is worth a thousand words and what you click must make people go “wow”, shooting along these lines will help. Be clear as to what and why you want to photograph well before the actual shoot, if you have the luxury of time at your disposal. Understand the subject, and choose the location in advance, be it indoors or outdoors. Survey the place ideally a day before the actual shoot, or at least a few hours before. Then decide on the mood of the image. While great photography is a direct result of a lot of common sense and fine creative judgment, real finesse as a photographer comes only with a lot of practice and exposure to different situations. Shooting conditions can change drastically from session to session, during each of which again there are likely to be several other variations and adjustments. Here are some tips which will help you capture your theme perfectly.
Tips For A Great Photo Shoot
Everything in the shot needs to look just right. Start by paying fine attention to a few important basics such as:
  • Common sense
  • Sense of aesthetics
  • Sense of dimension
  • Good rapport all around
  • Good mood
  • Good atmosphere
There are four common elements vital to all good photographs: simplicity, composition, lighting, and practice, and a repeat of the same elements a few times over!
Simplicity is not a quality easy to achieve! As a photographer, allow your camera to help you with your objective. In other words, use its lens as eyes that help you look at your subject as if they were already part of a lovely framed picture. The final satisfactory visual you get by doing so will be the one that will help you click just what you had in mind. Start with a filled out frame first and slowly keep zeroing in on the minimum required, either by approaching the subject or by zooming in on it with a telephoto lens. For example, photographing a person’s face only instead of a full length shot is always advisable, unless the action your subject is engaged in is equally important!
A technique adopted widely by photographers to achieve a good composition, commonly known as the "golden mean" is the creation of an imaginary grid of three horizontal and vertical divisions each. This thumb rule, known as the rule of thirds, is used to create the impression of space and motion in a picture. Since human beings are never really static, it is best to keep the subjects off-centre or they will look almost lifeless. You could also experiment with the way things are placed in front of you or the angle at which you click the picture for a more artistic look. You could also keep a few soft shadows which are not too disturbing, so as to give a three dimensional look to the picture.
Lightingis everything. It is not just enough to have a light source, natural or artificial. How skillfully that light is used separates the winning shots from the others. The best times to shoot are either at daybreak, in the late noon hours or at sundown. Winter days that are usually slightly overcast with the sun playing hide-and-seek are also excellent for shooting portraits. Never schedule a high noon shoot if you can help it, as light does not lend itself much to depth or dimensions at this angle. Play as much as possible with both natural and artificial lighting. It creates a different kind of magic in the shot. Light ‘color’ is vital to the feel conveyed by the shot, so be prepared with a bagful of lamps of different wattages at all shoots.
There is no substitute for practice. Whether you possess costly paraphernalia or not, practice will stand you in good stead. With each shot taken – acceptable or otherwise - you learn better technique and composition as you go along. Having followed these four rules to the best degree possible, never overlook the other equally crucial factors such as:
  • Rest: Be relaxed, sleep well the night before, and stay sober.
  • Equipment: Keep equipment and accessories to a minimum, and ready well in advance.
  • The Look: Get the make-up right if you are shooting live models for a glamour photo session
  • Approach: Maintain a creative approach
  • Instinct: Get an intuitive feel for the shot
  • Perfection: Reshoot whenever dissatisfied, and also know when to stop
  • Image balance: Balance out all the different elements in the shot
  • Duration of session: Don't rush through the session. A hurried job will show up as bad results
  • Props: Furnishings, if any, must not be left looking limp and bedraggled in the frame. Even at a minimum, props are very useful in bathroom, kitchen and other such shots. Real or artificial plants provide a fresh feel to the picture. Unique pottery also adds a nice touch. Follow the prop rule appropriately for other shots as well.
  • Safety: Conduct the photo session in complete safety
  • Time of the shoot: If shooting in a busy place, do it before or after rush hours to avoid distractions or interference
The key to a great photo session lies in your ability to make it a fun experience not only for yourself, but also for the subject of the shoot, be it a person or a group of people. This will go a long way in bringing out your best in the work and will accrue rich monetary and career gains. And fuzzy images will magically start translating into a brilliantly fuzzy logic of beautiful imagery.

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