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15 Awesome Hacks To Make You A Photography Expert

15 Awesome Hacks To Make You A Photography Expert

Learning to take pictures that look professional and uploading them to Facebook or sending them as Christmas cards to your family is a skill worth mastering. Forget about spending your money on expensive cameras and lenses. Instead, learn to take great photos with tricks that the pros use. Once you’ve mastered the art, you can start saving for the fantastic digital cameras that your heart desires. Follow the advice from this article and go from being an amateur photographer to a real professional.

1. Identify The Focus

Identifies the focus

    Before shooting, decide on the focus of the photograph. What is the picture? Is it a picture of your girlfriend? Is it a photograph of the pyramids of Egypt? It has to be easy for someone to see a picture and know what the picture is focusing on. Do not make the mistake of trying to capture too many elements.

    Although the center is named, the focus does not have to be the object that is in the center of the photo or be the object that occupies most of the image.

    2. Fill The Frame

    Fill the frame

      The best way to tell a story in a picture is to occupy the frame with “something” so it becomes the center of attention. It is a common mistake to want to stuff too many things in a single picture. In the end, what we get is a photo with no focus or no story. When in doubt about whether or not something should come out in the picture, just take it out.

      3. Lean On The Lines

      Lean on lines

        The bay lines are an essential element in the picture. The lines give us shapes and contours. With the lines, we draw the viewer’s eyes from one part of the picture to another. The horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines are compositional elements that provides meaning to images. This directs the viewer’s gaze to the point of convergence.

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        4. Work Flows

        Works flow

          Flow is the way in which the viewer moves from one part of the picture to another. One way of defining the flow of a picture is by using lines. They can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, diverging, or converging. The viewer should be able to loop through the items from one place to another.

          The flow creates the illusion of movement (or no movement if desired). Diagonal lines are generally considered “dynamic”, whereas vertical and horizontal lines are considered more “static”.

          5. Play With The Direction

          Plays with the direction

            The snowboarder is similar to the flow direction. It also creates the false impression of movement. When there is something in the picture that appears to be in motion, keep the background objects in the image consistent.

            This figure conveys movement because we can see the static image a second later on the other side of the picture. Similarly, a person about to cross a street while his arms and feet do not move can still portray a sense of movement.

            It is important that the moving elements seem to enter the picture, leaving more space in the direction of motion. Otherwise the route is cut off and it would look like we were late in taking the photo.

            6. Follow The Gaze

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            Follow the trail look

              As seen in the previous rule, the person or animal that looks towards a certain direction should be located on the side away from its gaze, so that the free space in the direction of where its looking is drawn out.

              This rule is very useful in portrait photography. Apply it to create better compositions.

              7. Repeated Elements

              Repeated elements

                The bright white roses have a repetitive element, giving a sense of relationship to the different parts of the image. For example, a flock of birds may be moving in the air, defining interesting shapes in the sky and adding information on the direction of photography. Sometimes you can provide psychological factors, such as the sense of togetherness and companionship.

                8. Colors Always Say Something

                Colors always say something

                  The sunrise has two types of colors, warm and cold. Red, orange, and yellow are part of the warm palette. Blue, green, and violet are on the side of the cooler colors. There are many psychological elements linked to colors. For example, consider the blue calm colors, while the reds are more temperamental. Colors play a decisive role in the composition.

                  9. Groups Of Three

                  Interest groups three

                    Three boys jumping for a wedding photo looks unique and wholesome, but why three? A single element can convey loneliness or isolation, while two elements can make an image well balanced but static, and four may be too many elements to distribute. For some reason you cannot explain to people why we like the number 3. Ultimately, photography usually works in the sum of three elements as the center of interest.

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                    10. Rule Of Thirds

                    Rule of thirds

                      For the rule of thirds, imagine you divide a picture into grids of equal size 3×3, four grid intersections within the box. The 4 points of intersections indicate the photographer what areas are the most appropriate to place the objects you want to be the center of interest. In case there are two points of interest, you would try to place the subjects on opposite sides.

                      11. Catch The Horizon

                      Horizon

                        Derived from the rule of thirds, this basic rule tells us where we should place the horizon in a photograph. Placing the horizon in one of the strong horizontal lines, either in the bottom or the top, is usually the most effective, but never in the center of the image where we usually put it instinctively.

                        12. The Negative Space

                        The negative space

                          Large empty negative space, usually in black or white, are usually on the sides of an image. The remoteness of the central element of the image, filling out the rest of the photo of an empty space, allows us to transmit additional information of loneliness, isolation, or calm to the image. Although it is not a resource that we will often use, it is worth knowing.

                          13. Working Three Dimensions. Foreground And Background

                          Working three dimensions. Foreground and background

                            The front and back of a photo are both important aspects. The important thing about the foreground and the background is that there is too much detail that distracts the viewer’s eyes. The best tool we have for the difference between the front and back of our photos is the depth of field. Thanks to the aperture we use when taking pictures, the background won’t stand out as much.

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                            14. Framing Nature

                            Framing Nature

                              The building’s framing elements can help put a framework to focus the picture. Some of these elements are very clear, completely covering the photo, such as doors, windows, or bridges. Others act as a way to orient our view. This is the case of traffic signals or tree branches. Anything that “encloses” the focus will allow us to frame the photo, drawing attention to the desired item.

                              15. Curves In S

                              Curves in S

                                The curves in the letter “S” are very powerful visual elements that gives an interesting element to photos. It is associated with sensuality. It also transmits motion and helps define the different levels in an image.

                                A highly priced camera is not the deciding factor for being a professional photographer. The most important factor is to learn and practice. If you maintain these hacks or tips in your daily practice, after some time you could become an amazing photographer as well. For some lazy learners like me, you can take advantage of your apps on your mobile devices, such as PowerCam, which can offer numerous effects to preview before you capture an image.

                                Featured photo credit: Levitation Photography/sinuskumar via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                                Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                                Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                                So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                                Joe’s Goals

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                                  Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                                  Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                                  Daytum

                                    Daytum

                                    is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                    Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                    Excel or Numbers

                                      If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                      What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                      Evernote

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                                        I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                        Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                        Access or Bento

                                          If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                          Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                          You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                          Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                          All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                          Conclusion

                                          I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                          What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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