I usually get asked ‘what advise would you give photographers starting out’, so apart from the whole spiel about what camera is best and lens etc, then this would be my advise:
Hack 1: Lighting - It may sound simple but for me lighting is the most crucial component to creating a good image. Natural light is always best but time of day is important too. In my opinion, unless you’re wanting harsh solid lines DO NOT SHOOT AROUND MIDDAY. The best time is either the few hours after sunrise or the few hours before sunset where light is at it’s softest and there is no dark , contrasting shadow. You could even get some fab shots on a cloudy day as the lighting is pretty even.
Hack 2: Play with your depth of field - Depending on your lens you should be able to have a play with taking image closer or further away. Sometimes experimenting with close up shots can create a completely different style of image to taking something else where the subject is further away. Focus in on the detail of things such as a piece or jewellery, an eyeball or even a few strands of hair? Or try the other way round and take a few steps back to create a wide image where you focus on the landscape or a tree in the distance.
Hack 3: Know your subject - It’s all very well getting a camera and thinking it’s all about pointing and shooting but being able to really understand your subject makes your work stand out from the rest. If you are about to do a family shoot, look at the relationships of the family, what makes the children laugh, the cute moments they have all together, you could even make it a game of hide and seek and really interact with your subject. Remember photographs are moments, and what’s better than capturing a completely beautiful moment as you’ve got to know the subject before.
Hack 4: Don’t be afraid to tell people what YOU want - One thing I seem to be useless at is asking people to move a hand up or down, smile a little more, or even just move out of the way of the image. You are the photographer and you are the only one seeing through the lens so if you see something that needs changing with an image then don’t be afraid to tell your subject! It saves you hours on Photoshop after!
Finally Hack 5: Enjoy it - If you, the photographer, seem to be happy with the images and are having a great time then that bounces off on your subject too! Say the occasional ‘Great!’ or ‘I love this shot’. Remember, the vibe you give off reflects your business - so be happy!