We love looking at pictures, today more pictures than ever are made and shared across the globe.
And there is plenty of evidence supporting the fact that if you want your content to be shared then post with an image.
But how do you stand out enough to get shared, there's a lot of competition!
You need to make sure your pictures are better than the rest and worthy of lots of shares. So here are my tips for doing just that:
1 Use unique photographs not boring-been-seen-everywhere-free stock material.
2 Post relevant pictures
3 Don't post pictures that you don't own or at least credit the producer.
4 Post pictures that are:
5 Optimise the dimensions for your chosen social media
Tips for Pinterest
Tips for Instagram
Tips for Twitter
Tips for Linkedin
6 And with all platforms use relevant #hashtags, so people can find your content.
But, not too many!
7 Geotag your photos
8 Use an app like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts
9 Add some text and use design tools to make your images more editorial like Canva or Picmonkey
10 Watermark your image with your website url or © symbol
11 Post a video or giff
12 Share, share, share other peoples work and post comments.
That's what social media is all about!
The camera can be a weapon, it is also a valuable tool. . Get to know it, experiment with it but remember;
the quality of the camera does not determine the beauty of the image.
“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth. ” Richard Avedon
We're at the beginning or middle of Flower Show season depending on how you look at things.
Last weekend I was at RHS Malvern, this weekend I'll be up at RHS Chelsea. It's always an exciting time. Designers, nursery owners, suppliers, builders, sculptors etc etc all decsend on a smallish patch of land just north of the River Thames in London to build gardens and exhibit their wears.
RHS Chelsea is gardening's London Fashion Week.
This year I have been commissioned to photograph one of the gardens on Main Avenue, The Beauty of Islam. I'm really looking forward to it. It involves photographing the garden for the clients but also photographing the glamour and glitz associated with RHS Chelsea and to photograph the designer Kamelia bin Zaal with the various famous visitors to the show.
Photographing people is great fun, but can be challenging especially if they are not used to the camera. Most visitors on Monday's press day at RHS Chelsea are veterans at looking good for the camera but most of us aren't.
So here are my top tips on photographing people to make them look natural and relaxed.
1 Always talk to them, about them; what they do, things that interest them, this will put them at ease.
2 Smile. A smile will always break the tension.
3 Explain what you want them to do. Try to work this out before hand.
4 Ask them to stand side on to the camera and look into the lens this often works better than facing the camera.
5 Give them direction; suggest what they should do with their hands, hold something relevant, slip them into their pockets, rest them on the seat they are sitting on etc.
6 If their hair or clothing isn't looking right let them know so that they can fix it.
7 Don't tell them to relax. If they are very tense ask them to shake out, shake their heads and arms to relax their body. Or get them to blow a raspberry-anything crazy like this will usually end up in a giggle and be ready to take that shot.
8 If they don't look comfortable looking into the lens ask them to look away and back, the second they look at the lens snap the shot. You may have to do this several times.
9 Politely ask them not to talk too much. Nervous people always talk, you will not get a good shot if their mouth is always moving.
10 If they are struggling, stop and take a break.
11 Photograph them in a situation that they are familiar with.
12 Shoot them with the sun directly behind them to throw them into silhouette.
13 Photograph them in shade, not direct sunlight it is very unflattering.
14 Use props. Chairs can be sat on or leaned on, walls are good to lean against, steps, tools, flowers the list goes on.
15 Ask them to walk away from you and on your command get them to look back at you.
16 Don't just photograph faces, how about hands, feet, close-ups of eyes.
17 Stand on a chair and shoot them from a higher angle.
19 Ask them to lie on the ground and get down to their level or stand over them.
20 Look for interesting backdrops such as long straight roads.
21 Photograph them going about their daily business.
I hope that gives you the confidence to go out and shoot more portraits. Oh, one more thing, always ask permission to take someone's photo-it's polite and it keeps things friendly!
I asked Michael Caine if I could photograph him one Chelsea, he wasn't courting attention but I smiled and he just smiled back - he was charming. It doesn't work every time. There was a moment with Mary Berry, but that would be telling!
And here are a few from over the years...
I photographed the photo above of a farmhouse with a wide=angle lens, holding the camera portrait style.
It's important to find an interesting foreground that leads the viewers eye to the main subject, in this case a sprinkling of daisies.
Let the camera work out the shutter speed by setting your camera to aperture priority.
Use a wide depth of field, a high f number.
Several elements have to come together to make a photograph; the subject, the light and of course the composition. Here I'll show you how using perspective in your composition can improve your photography.
I used a similar technique with the photograph of the path and gate above, but this time I used a narrow depth of field, focusing on the gate to throw the background out of focus. This give the photograph a dreamy feel.
Andrew is a woodsman, so I used some branches to lead your eye towards him and his son in the wood he manages. Again a wide angle lens makes the shot.
When I photograph flowers I like to get down to their level.
In the shot below-a group of alliums made the perfect backdrop to the main flower.
This time I used a long lens, a Canon 70-200mm and set the aperture so that the main flower is sharp and the rest are slightly blurred.
I positioned the camera so that all you can see are the colours purple and green.
Uncluttered and simple.
At Chelsea flower show a few years ago this vertical garden by Diarmuid Gavin was displayed with lots of Chelsea Pensioners.
Complimentary colours red and green look great together.
I wanted to show the height of the garden and also highlight the pensioners - I crouched down low to get this shot.
I photographed Jake (below) who is an expert at cloud pruning.
He carried interesting tools and was thoroughly absorbed in showing some gardeners the skills involved.
Everyone was concentrating on what he was doing and no-one paid any attention to me.
This time I used the wide-angle close-up to my main subject.
And finally, have some fun.
Using perspective in composition is a great tool.
Play with your lenses, move around focus on different parts of the shot.
Once you understand how powerful they are you can start to plan what story you want to tell.
As with everything the more you practice the better photos you will take.
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