Thursday, June 11, 2015

Michael Doven: Photography Tips from a Professional

Getting photography tips from a professional is a great way to take your own practice to the next level. He ( has 25 years of experience with still photography and motion picture filming, giving him the kind of well-rounded experience that allows him to help others who need assistance in their own photographic journey.

He gives several tips for those who want to become better photographers, whether they are just starting out or have been photographing for some time.  These tips include:

Compose your portraits with attention to expression.  Depending on your subjects, you may want everyone looking at the camera.  However, it is important to understand that this can create a posed feeling that may not be what you were looking for.  Taking a picture with a soft profile can result in stunning portraits, although this technique is not suitable for every portrait.  

Check your background.  Like a painting, ( the background of a photograph is the foundation on which your picture is built.  Without attention to background, even the best foreground compositions will suffer.  It is amazing how many great pictures are ruined because the photographer never realized a tree was growing out of someone's head!

Understand flash values.  Flash and lighting are some of the most difficult aspects of photography to get right, and there is no substitute for practice.  However, new equipment makes this part of the job much easier, so opt for technological assistance when your budget permits.  In addition, be sure that you have the right equipment for the type of photography you are doing.  Outdoor lighting has different requirements than indoor, and it is important to understand why, even if you do choose to use technological help.

Try the unusual.  Some of the most stunning photographs in the world juxtapose the expected with the unexpected.  Position a subject in a place that you would not expect to find him or her, and watch how the creativity and the ideas begin to come together!  Of course, beaches, fields and lovely rooms remain great backdrops, but try adding a prop that is unexpected and see how beautiful your results can be.

Understand exposure.  A soft, misty look can be the perfect complement to certain photos, but sharp, crisp lines bring out the beauty of others.  This manipulation of exposures is another difficult skill to acquire, and the only real way to do it is through trial and error and practice, practice, practice!  As you work with various exposures, timings, lightings and other factors, you will come to find a place where you are excited about your results.  The next time, it will be a little easier to find that perfect result.  Ultimately, your experience begins to show in your final product.

For more tips on how to become a better photographer, visit Doven's websites at and  You can also see examples of Michael's work at