Discover your Eastman Adventure: Photography 101

Taking up new hobbies has been a hot new trend for about a year now. One hobby that a lot of people push away is photography. Most people think you need an expensive, professional camera, expensive editing software on your computer, and generally, a lot of expensive things and tools.

But that is far from true! All you need is your phone and some research! Starting with just using your cellphone is ideal. Most people already have one, the picture quality is incredible, and you can download editing apps.

The tips below are just the tip of the iceberg of things to learn about photography, but they are the basic things to keep in mind when on your photoshoot.

Don’t forget to add geolocations and hashtags when you share your photos online!


  • Stay home if you have been travelling or do not feel well. Here is an excellent resource if you are quarantined. This will help you find people in Manitoba who are willing and able to help you while quarantined. Help Next Door Manitoba
  • Go out with people within your household, but practice social distancing (2 metres away) with other groups.
  • Please call ahead before visiting a business and inquire about their regulations to enter the building, such as capacity, sanitation, etc. Also, consider using curbside pickup where possible.
  • Please practice Leave No Trace. Clean up after yourself and leave nothing behind, such as trash and waste.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the first things people learn about when starting their photography journey. By using this rule, you can create well balanced and interesting photographs. However, breaking this rule doesn’t necessarily mean that your photos are bad or boring. But knowing the role and importance of this rule before throwing it out the window is essential!

How the rule of thirds works is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (horizontally and vertically) with nine parts. See photo below.

When taking a photo, you can imagine this grid in your mind, or most phone cameras have the 3×3 grid option in settings. The rule of thirds identifies four important parts of the image where you should consider placing points of interest as you frame your image. See photo below.

The four lines are used as suggests of where to position your elements in your photo. See photo below.

By placing points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced and enables viewers of the image to interact with it more naturally. Photo credit for image below: liannetphotography

Show off your Focal Point

The fun part about focal points is you control the placement of them. Whether you want it smack dab in the middle of your image or off to the side, you decide. But, if the point of interest can be anywhere, what makes something a focal point?

Once you’ve decided what you want your photo to convey, pick your focal point, and take sharpness, focus, and depth of field into account. You want your point of interest to be sharp and clear. For example, say you’re taking a photo of a dog cuddled up with a blanket, and a pile of his toys are by him. If your focal point is the dog, you want to make sure that the dog is clear and focused; rather than his pile of toys be clear.

With regards to depth of field, a limited depth of field will emphasize your focal point. In comparison, if your photo is the same from the foreground to the background, your focal point will be less noticeable.

Play with Angles

Don’t be afraid to play around with different angles! Get up close, scooch all the way back, get down to the ground, climb up on something or anything else and try a new angle. Take your time and explore all avenues!


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A post shared by Daniel Melnyk (@danielmelnykphotos)

Try to use Leading Lines

While this is far from a rule, it can be a fun exercise to hone your skills and a cool technique. Leading lines are a compositional technique where the viewer’s attention is drawn to the point of interest by lines, paving an easy path for the eye to follow through different elements of the photo.

One thing to keep in mind is that leading lines are not paths. There isn’t a huge difference between the two. Both are a technique used to draw the viewer’s eye to a specific point; however, the difference is a leading line takes you to the point of interest in your picture, while a path guides the eye towards a horizon.

Below are two photos. The one on the left is an example of leading lines. The one on the right is an example of paths.

Finding leading lines shouldn’t be too difficult – they’re practically everywhere! From roads, buildings, rivers, trees, and many more, you can find them wherever you go.

Some examples are:

  • Fences
  • Window panes
  • Builds
  • Doorways
  • Bridges
  • Shorelines
  • Lamp Posts
  • Train Tracks
  • Dunes
  • Cliffs
  • Sun Rays
  • Waves
  • Long hallways
  • Rows of lockers

There are several types of lines you can play around with.

  • Horizontal Leading Lines
  • Vertical Leading Lines
  • Diagonal Leading Lines
  • Implied Leading Lines
  • Intersecting Leading Lines
  • Curved Leading Lines
  • Converging Leading Lines

Now you know what leading lines are and the different types that are out there. A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Examine your scene. Before you start shooting, take a few moments to explore your scene and find all the possible leading lines you can use.
  • Decide what your focal point is.
  • Try taking the same shot from different angles, heights, and positions.

Keep the Editing Simple

You know those sayings, “less is more” and “Keep It Simple Stupid”? With editing, those sayings are perfect for keeping in mind.

When editing your photos, keep in mind that the idea is to enhance the desirable elements in your photo (for example, colour, contrast, brightness) and remove anything you deem undesirable. A lot of people do when starting out is change the photo too much by doing too many corrections (or adding too much of a filter) and adding edges or frames that don’t compliment the photo.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with adding any of these to your photo, in fact, they can make your image look more interesting and stunning, but too many of these things can make your photo look too busy, clunky, and hit the eye wrong.

But don’t be afraid to play around with different things! When you’re just starting, the editing process can be daunting, but the best way to learn is to do your research and keep trying new things.

Some great editing apps that are free and easy to use are Adobe Photoshop Express and Snapseed. Just head over to your App Store and download one of the apps to start your editing journey!

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