How to take a good picture

How to take a good picture

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Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

A powerful photo can evoke a multitude of emotions and responses. 

Many people assume photography is simple and easy, especially with the availability of digital cameras. It’s easy to just point and shoot a camera; however taking an amazing photograph involves a lot more in terms of technique and skills.

PringSamrang, a top photographer at news agency Reuters, has been working as a photographer for over eight years and has a wealth of experience. The 32-year-old shares with Lift his ideas and knowledge on what makes a great photograph:

“Before even picking up the camera you must understand one basic rule: you are the owner of the camera, the camera is not the owner of you. It is essential to know how to use all the functions on your camera, not just rely on the automatic function.

“Three very important functions are shutter speed, aperture and ISO- if you can manage to control all three of these you’ll have a good photo,” Samrang says.

Shutter speed can be defined as how long the shutter stays open. The longer it stays open, the more light that comes through the lens and onto the film. A faster shutter speed is good for capturing fast moving objects. However, since so little light is let in, you usually need to open up the aperture a bit more. 

Slower shutter speeds are good for long exposures but are mainly used for special effects- you’ll need a tripod to stabilise the camera.

Aperture controls the depth of field- whether the foreground or background is in focus. ISO lowers the light sensitivity- the lower the ISO, the less sensitive the camera is.

“Taking a good photo requires additional elements, such as having knowledge of brightness, composition, expression, action, comparison, perspective and colour. You must pay attention to these elements when setting up a photo. These will all change in different conditions and situations,” Samrang says.

“News photographers are completely different from studio photographers - the picture has to represent the story it goes along with. I often need to cooperate with the journalist or the writer. This is especially true for feature stories and photographs. You need to be creative and patient.

“For breaking news, I don’t have as much time to think - I need to be flexible, quick and focus on what is happening around me.

“What I love most is that people all over the world can see my images,” he says.

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