It’s never been easier to get into photography. With every new generation of digital devices and superior-quality cameras coming to light, the quality of pictures you can take is improving, making photography ever more accessible as a hobby. Yes, gone are the days of toiling away in dark rooms to develop film (unless you’re into that, of course, and it can make you a better photographer). You may have grown accustomed to taking the same kinds of photos of your friends and loved ones, so, here are five ways budding shutterbugs can have more fun with photography.
Try using the rule of thirds
A rule might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think fun, but adhering to the rule of thirds is a simple way to take better-composed photos, and generally improving at something is more fun than, well, not. Before taking a photo, mentally divide it into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, so you’re left with nine boxes. Then, rather than centring your subject, experiment by placing them—or it—in one of the boxes to the left or the right for more interesting composition.
Photograph what you know
You don’t need to travel far to find inspiring subject matter, suggests photography educator Jonathan Groeneweg. So while you may feel inclined to save the camera for stunning sunsets or trips down south, try simply photographing commonplace items at home—it could be more fun than you think. “I find the most inspiration from the things I’m around all of the time,” says Groeneweg. “I’m looking at these cacti that are on my windowsill,” he continues. “It’s not just a cactus; it’s all of these forms and these textures and patterns and repetitions, and photography allows you to bring that out.”
Experiment with depth of field
Ever notice how some photos appear to have blurry backgrounds and in-focus subjects? That’s an example of a picture with a shallow depth of field. There’s an easy way to achieve this effect, which really makes a subject stand out. If you’re using a DSLR, like the versatile EOS 80D, get close to your subject—this will create a fuzzy background and a crisp close-up of your subject and make it the focal point of your photo. Or, try different zoom lenses with various focal lengths, like a portrait lens or a macro lens – they are perfect for pinpoint focus against a blurred foreground and background. For awesome versatility, give the EF 24-105 L-Series lens a whirl. It’s great for landscapes, portraits, and even sport photography.
Explore a new photography niche
You might already know that you enjoy taking portrait photos of your family—but what about photographing something completely new and unexpected, like say, food or landscapes? Take close-up photos of delicious-looking baked goods and experiment with depth of field and composition. Try using the monochrome setting to create a classic, old-fashioned vibe or use saturated colours (that can also be done in the editing stage with Photoshop, Lightroom, or similar programs) to make that colourful icing pop. Going for a stroll in the neighbourhood or nearby park? Stand back and get a wide shot of the landscape in front of you, which may or may not include people in the background. Sometimes a blurred silhouette or a person walking by adds another layer and visual interest to a photograph. It’s also what makes the image uniquely yours.
Join a photography group
Photography doesn’t have to be a lone pursuit. As with photo editing, there are lots of online resources available (in this case to help socially inclined photographers connect in real life). Check out, meetup.com, a popular website with postings for everything from book and chess clubs to writers workshops and movie nights. It has a whole section dedicated to photography gatherings. Whether your niche is mirror-less cameras, like the EOS M3, or you’re just getting started with your first point-and-shoot, there are regular meet-ups in cities and towns across Canada where attendees share knowledge and experiences.
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