How to Take a Picture
The following is a 6 step process on how to take a picture.
Step 1: Turn On Camera
While this seems like an obvious and somewhat ridiculous step, you’ll be surprised how many times you will go to press the shutter and the camera is off. So yes, step one is “Turn On Camera”. There is a part of me that also wants to make “Remove Lens Cap” a step but I don’t want to insult anyone.
Step 2: Frame the Subject
So again, this is somewhat obvious. I’m going to assume you are using an SLR and not a Rangefinder for this step. With the SLR you see what your frame is. Get it how you like and move on to the next step. If you’re using a Rangefinder, just put the subject within your guide marks and hope that it comes out okay. Good luck if you’re using a long lens. Have fun with that.
Step 3: Find the Focus
You have two options here. Manual focus or Auto focus. Auto focus is by far easier but seriously where is the fun in that. It’s boring and anyone can press a shutter halfway down to autofocus. A true “artiste” will live and die by manual focus. If it’s out of focus just pass it off as artistic choice. Also shooting manual focus will save you a lot of time in post because you’ll already know you missed the shot because you were too busy focusing.
Step 4A: ISO
Make sure your ISO makes sense for the lighting situation of where you’re shooting. Depending on your camera you may not want to go too high with that ISO, unless you’re into that whole grainy video look.
Step 4B: Shutter
Decide on your shutter speed. Do you want the movement blurred like you’re drunk or super sharp like you’re on your third cup of coffee?
Step 4C: Aperture
Set your aperture too. Some people shoot wide open all the time. This gives that really nice effect in a portrait where the eyes are always out of focus but the nose is perfectly in focus. Have fun with those photos. They look good on the back of a camera, but on your computer monitor you’ll be yelling at yourself.
Step 4D: Confirm Exposure
So all of the above steps are part of the Exposure Triangle. If you adjust one of them, you’ll have to adjust another one in order to get the proper exposure. I personally like to shoot slightly underexposed, and then with the power of digital magic (also known as Lightroom and Photoshop) make the adjustments that I could have done in camera in the first place.
Step 4E: An Alternative Step
The above steps of A, B and C can all be bypassed by setting your camera to auto mode, and honestly no one will ever know but you and your metadata.
Step 5: Press the Shutter.
It’s as simple as that. Press the shutter and start the process all over again. I wish you the best of luck.
Step 6: Share the Photo on Social Media
Put it up somewhere like Instagram or whatever is your app of choice and remember to put at least twenty hashtags in the comments. Because that’s what photography is all about these days. Hashtags.