Composition is SO important, I cannot stress this enough! Today this has got to be one of my biggest tips for you. I want to take some time helping new photographers grow their skill. I really do love teaching people about photography and helping them portray to people how they see through the lens. Problem is, that we can get really so busy with our own thing that we don’t really have time to help newbies. Well I want to dedicate a few posts (time) to helping those that can SEE what they want to show, but are still learning how to get that from their eye, to the camera, and through the computer! So if you are well advanced in your photography skill, maybe you can leave your helpful tips in the comments below!
|One of my favorite photos to date. Taken in the West of Ireland on my Canon T3i. A 5 shot HDR image.|
Now to business. I will assume you have a working DSLR camera, not just an iPhone or a simple point and shoot. Although for the tips I will give today either of those devices WILL allow you to practice your technique, but in the future especially if you want to start printing your work, you will need to invest in a camera that can offer some higher quality.
|My gear! I shoot with a Nikon D600 now, best bang for the buck at the time, and I LOVE it!|
So in most teaching scenarios at this point the teacher would start talking about F-stops, shutter speeds and the like but I want to start by talking about the MOST important part of photography, COMPOSITION. Composition is basically how you will frame the photo, whats in it, and how it is lined up, so that it is interesting, and pleasing to those who look at it. A poorly composed image can ruin an otherwise beautiful scene! Composition IS SO IMPORTANT PEOPLE!!!
Tip 1. I take A LOT of landscapes, want to know what the most commonly overlooked composition issue is? The horizon is crooked! It’s painful for me to see it, horizons REALLY should be straight! I do understand that sometimes a “dutch” (Crooked) angle can be cool, but only if it’s on purpose, and there has to be a point of doing it. Most often than not though I see off kilter lines, and it drives me crazy! It will drive you crazy too, you just might not be able to put your finger on it, look below.
|Kill me…Kill me now…|
Tip 2. When photographing people we need to be mindful of “Space” around them. Putting someones face directly into the middle of the photo is NOT how we do that. There is a rule called “the rule of thirds” (shown below) We can divide the screen into equal parts, a persons eyes should be on one of the intersections. Any one of those intersections can work if the rest of the frame is interesting enough.
|An image where centering a subject CAN work, she is looking UP into the frame.|
Tip 3. LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT!!! As a photographer you are capturing light, so why do we shoot in poor conditions. When I ask people “What is the worst time to shoot a photo?” I usually get “Night time!” to which I say “………” Really the only question to ask is what is a really poor time to shoot? The answer, when the sun is at its highest point, on a beautiful, bright, cloudless, day. “What?!?!” Yes, it’s horrible, shadows are brutally contrasted, people cannot keep their eyes from squinting, the sky has no depth or interest in it. So whats the best time? Well “Golden hours” are brilliant! The hour after sunrise, or before sunset are MONEY for portrait photos, landscapes look alive with soft warm light. Add some clouds into the sky and you are washed over with colours that will make people LOVE your stuff. Night is also incredibly fun to shoot, I do that a ton and will cover that in the near future! So let the middle of the day be the time you do your editing on the computer…
|Full daylight… Ok so sure its a great pano, that isn’t the issue, the light is WAY too harsh, causing MANY issues…|
|Similar shot, but right at sunset. Long shadows, warm tones, the clouds feel soft, MUCH more pleasing to look at.|
Bonus Tip: PRACTICE! I cannot stress enough that you MUST shoot a ton of photos! I still shoot 25 thousand photos a year, why? Because I am still learning! And that is how you get better!
Equipment Used: Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-85mm G, Nikkor 50mm D, Yongnuo YN560-TX III Remote trigger and Flash, Polaroid Battery Grip, Lowepro Transit Backpack 350 AW.