A great photograph is irreplaceable.
After talking with the folks at Shotzr, a Denver-based startup described as a blend between "the Uber of photography" and "Commercial Instagram," it made me want to dust off my old DSLR (digital single-lens reflex, or big obnoxious camera you need a backpack for) and shoot with hopes that my image will someday be used to help somebody with their business. It's truly a fascinating concept, and if you're a business owner looking for real photography and not stock photos, you should give Shotzr a serious consideration.
Since I'm not a business owner, though, I'm more interested in the photography aspect and I'd like to start shooting again. So I asked our staff photographer for a few tips on how the pros shoot Colorado, and here's what he recommended:
First, he said read up on the basics of SLR photography. Learn what shutter speed is, learn what aperture is, and learn how they work together. To briefly cover these concepts, shutter speed is how quickly the camera closes its shutter (yes, think like a window) and aperture is your field of depth. The longer the shutter is open, the more light reaches the sensor and the longer your field of depth, the more light you'll need to properly expose the sensor.
So in other words, many landscape shots – which we adore in Colorado – will require a slower shutter speed and a high aperture setting. On the other hand, a Columbine on its stem with the background out of focus will require a low aperture setting and a faster shutter speed.
This is all if there's adequate light, which led him to his next point. There's a light meter in your camera. It's not always perfect, but it can help you get within range. Just something to consider, but as far as light goes, there's a reason why they call the hours the sun is rising and setting the golden hours. If you see a stunning natural photograph, more often than not, it was taken at one of these hours.
Here's a stunning 'golden hour' shot of Denver, which is so much better than a stock photo, in our opinion, photographed by Shotzr photographer Chris Romero.
Yet shooting a landscape or cityscape with limited light, like during the golden hour, means you'll have to increase the aperture and leave your shutter open for a relatively long time. Unless you have a tripod to keep things stable, your images will likely blur. If you notice, most pros always have a tripod handy, and it's for this reason. As for this image, it's safe to assume he used a tripod or has a surgeon's hand because those buildings are crisply in focus, and there's not too much light!
Starting to get the idea?
There, that's a good place to start! So if you're thinking of getting into photography, get a DSLR camera and do it! And start saving for your first set of lenses! If things don't turn out the way you want, just stick with it. The more you practice, the more you'll become familiar with the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, and the better and artsy-er you can be!
Featured image courtesy of Shotzr photographer Matthew Clark.
What are your thoughts? Any photographers have any tips for a first-time photographer? If so, let us know in the comments below!