Photographs are everywhere! With the proliferation of mobile phones, we are almost always within arm’s length of a camera. That coupled with a focus on image sharing on social media, means that there is a strong desire to stand out with better photographs. Whether you are a casual Instagram-er, a creative marketer looking for the next best shot or looking to flex the capabilities of your new DSLR; here are a few beginner tips to creating a better photograph.
Composition is the foundation of your photograph. It is made up of all the visual elements within the frame and how they are arranged to create an image. Look at any good picture and you’ll see that it can be broken down into simple lines and shapes. A good picture will use these lines and shapes to lead your eye to a specific path. So use this to your advantage and place your subject where lines lead and converge.
Balance – The Rule of Thirds
Create a well-balanced image by placing your subject off-centre. Imagine a grid that divides the image into three horizontal parts and three and vertical parts. Place important visual elements along these lines and even more important elements on the points where the lines intersect. This gives your image a sense of balance and an organised complexity. It is an easy way to avoid a static looking image and will make your photographs more visually appealing.
Get in Closer
Too often we fail to capture a great moment because we are not close enough to the action. An image can lose its drama if it is cluttered with too much information. So get in close, and then get in closer! Fill your picture with the detail that drew you to the subject in the first place. An image will communicate a more refined idea if it is composed with the details of the subject and is free from conflicting elements in the background and foreground. Unless you can organise these into compositional elements, crop them out by taking a few steps closer.
More important than the objects in your photographs is the light that illuminates them. Light creates depth and shapes to create three-dimensionality, and influences the mood of the scene. The only way to master great lighting is to observe it constantly. You’ll soon notice the direction of the light from the sun during particular times of the day and the resulting quality in colours and textures. Light is harshest when the sun is highest in the sky and softest in the moments before and after sunrise and sunset. Watch the way it fills the street and the way it falls on the face during these times. The light’s direction will influence the way it wraps around a subject and the way it gives your subjects a three-dimensional feeling. So, take pictures according to the direction and therefore the time of day.
Master Street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson cites “The decisive moment” as the perfect split second when all the elements of the image fall into place. A second before would’ve been too early and a second later would’ve been too late. It is that moment of magic and inspiration that makes an ordinary scene, extraordinary. But how do you capture these moments if they are so fleeting? A good photographer knows how to anticipate the action by finding patterns in movement and setting up to capture the next beat. A great photographer has the patience to wait in a spot in hopes that the moment will recreate itself. So be observant and be patient.
So these are my beginner tips. Keep on clicking! Tag your photos with #DigiGround and follow our Instagram page!