Digital Camera World has interviewed some of the best and most famous photographers in its time. Martin Parr, Rankin, David Doubilet, Jill Furmanovsky, Bryan Adams (yes, that Bryan Adams)… it’s an impressive roster of talented lensmen and lenswomen.
Here, we gather together some insightful words of advice from more than 50 of our interviews. Pro photographers from a wide range of disciplines offer their top tips for better photographs and provide insight into the best practices that helped make them famous. Photographers of all tastes and abilities will be inspired to shoot better portraits, landscapes, travel and wildlife shots, and more…
Famous Photographers: 225 tips to inspire you
David Noton was born in Bedfordshire in 1957, grew up in Canada, and travelled in the Merchant Navy. He turned pro in 1985 after studying photography as a mature student. Noton has won three BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards and is now a prolific writer and trainer. His latest book is Waiting for the Light (David and Charles).
59. Follow your passion. You’ll do best shooting what you love, and I see this with my students.
60. Learn from your mistakes. Apply what you have learned, go back to a place and get it right.
61. If an image still isn’t working, really think about why this is happening. Retaking the shot in different circumstances could work.
62. Never stop learning about the endless subtleties of light.
Cameron Davidson was born in North Virginia, USA in 1952 and got into photography after finding a camera in a cupboard. He got his first assignment for National Geographic when he was 23, shooting herons from the air. In the 1980s he diversified and began working on annual reports and books, including works on Florida from the air.
63. Don’t follow trends or copy other people’s work.
64. Focus on the image and the emotion, and focus less on digital trickery.
65. Think about creating images that look fantastic straight out of the camera, without relying on post-processing Photoshop enhancements.
66. Concentrate on your unique vision and learn to listen to yourself.
67. Finally, shoot what you love. Then keep shooting, keep shooting and keep shooting.
Born in 1948, Tim Fitzharris is a leading US nature photographer and columnist for Popular Photography and Imaging magazine. He trained as a biologist and school teacher before turning professional in 1979. Fitzharris’ first book, The Adventure of Nature Photography was published in 1983 and he’s been widely published since.
68. Always use a tripod – it will help you to be more deliberate and thoughtful (check out our 4 tips for sharper shots when using a tripod).
69. By tightly framing the subject the intent of the image comes through strong and clear.
70. Always look for colour and how best to capture it (to learn more about how to use colour, download our free cheat sheet to understanding the colour temperature scale).
71. Allow enough time for wildlife subjects to relax to your presence and react with their surroundings and/or other animals in a natural way.
72. Choose your times – photograph at first and last light.
Morgan Silk is a well-known British advertising photographer and post-production specialist. His images have won several AOP awards and his aerial work has been exhibited in international photography exhibitions. Advertising clients include Sony, Harley Davidson and 02.
73. Mistakes do not necessarily mean failures… they’re a key part of learning so don’t be discouraged when things don’t work first time.
74. Always test your gear before a shoot and have a backup for when something goes wrong.
75. Try to travel light. This will encourage you to always take a camera out and about with you..
76. Take lots of breaks when retouching for long periods and invest in a good chair – this saved my life!
77. Listen to your inner voice… it’s usually right about everything.
Born in 1958, Tim Flach is a sought-after advertising photographer specialising in animals. His most famous collection is Equus, commissioned by PQ Publishing. Flach began his career as an artist and discovered photography at St Martin’s College of Art in the early ’80s. His photographs have received numerous awards, including Photographer of the Year at the International Photography Awards in 2006.
78. If you want to make it as an advertising photographer, try to find a way of reflecting your passion for a subject that’s also relevant to a client.
79. There’s no quick formula to success in advertising and certainly no correlation between success and photographic quality! You need to embrace changing trends, so you stay relevant.
80. For photographing animals, ask yourself what you want to achieve. What’s your vision? Then you’ll find your craft.
Brutus Östling wanted to be a photographer at the age of 15, but didn’t really get to use a camera for over 20 years. His first book, Life on the Wing, won the WWF Panda Prize 2006 for the best nature book in Sweden. In November 2007, Östling was named Nordisk Naturfotograf (Nature Photographer of the Nordic countries), in a competition held every two years. Up until 2000 he only shot underwater.
81. Use a manually pre-set exposure to capture flying birds. Autoexposure systems can be fooled as birds pass across different backgrounds – from bright sky to dark forest, for instance.
82. Don’t overlook the small details – look for a change in a bird’s expression to lift a shot.
83. Don’t forget the non-photographic essentials. Sometimes I take binoculars, an easy-to-carry tent hide and an iPod loaded with sounds of specific birds, in order to attract them.
84. Do something different – most birds have been photographed many times before. Don’t feel that you have to chase ‘perfection’.
PAGE 1: Martin Parr through Bob Martin
PAGE 2: Bryan Adams through Steven Tee
PAGE 3: David Noton through Brutus Ostling
PAGE 4: Clive Nichols through Steve Bloom
PAGE 5: Jonas Bendiksen through Pablo Bartholomew
PAGE 6: Joel Sartore through Emma Delves-Broughton
PAGE 7: Alex Majoli through Peter Turner
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