CHALLENGE A PHOTOGRAPHER
Ever tried giving the same camera to a professional and “casual” photographer? You will be surprised with the results, and how different the photos look like in the hands of a professional.
If you are thinking “good camera plus a professional equals good photos”, well no. This is where I shall break the myth that anyone with an expensive camera is a good photographer.
Well you see, it’s really all about the photographer, and never too much about the gear. A good photographer looks at things in a different way, and that is what we call the “photographer’s eye”. Once you learn to see things that way, your photos will never be the same.
HOLD YOUR HORSES
How cool is it to learn “the secrets” of taking good photos? Which, is really not too difficult to get started… you do not need an expensive camera either. All you need is a good eye, and planning the shot before taking the photo.
Let me get started with something called “snapshot” and “composed shot”. Most people will causally whip out their camera, and just take a photo of what they see. Good photographers don’t just do that. They plan and design the photo before they take a shot – a “composed shot”.
You, my dear reader, if you want to take better photos, you have to learn to design your photo before going trigger happy. Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. At the very basic, you have to learn to look out for 3 basic things – colors, lines and shapes.
Since the dawn of time, we can all agree on one thing. We humans are attracted to colorful things, and we react differently to colors. I shall not go deep into the study of colors here, which will end up in a tearfully long and boring bible of colors.
I shall give a few tips on how to use colors instead:
- Avoid overwhelming dull colors… like a grey sky and grey city, or murky waters with grey sky.
- Some clashing colors can be beautiful, for example, an orange sunset with blue sea.
- Add a drop of red in a sea of blue, or vice versa. Put a sunflower against a grey sky, a single red apple in a sea of green apples… you catch the drift.
- A splash of colors can be messy, but also be sometimes interesting. For example, different colored balloons in the air.
Where are the lines in a photograph? Look carefully and you will notice.
- A tree or tall building in the photo creates vertical lines.
- A horizontal line in a photo of sunset on a beach.
- Roads can cut across the photo frame, creating diagonal lines.
Photographers play with these lines in clever ways.
- Vertical lines tend to cut the frame. Image a photo with a box full of red apples on the left, and a box full of green peppers on the right.
- Horizontal lines are the easiest to use – look at all the good sunset photos all over the world… but note where they put the horizon. It’s mostly in the middle or 1/3 into the frame.
- Diagonal lines tend to lead your eyes. For example, roads may lead to an interesting Ferris wheel.
Shapes are terribly similar to lines. Put them in the right places, and you get an awesome photo.
- Squares and rectangles makes the photo look “stable” and “restful”. Well, you can think of a sunset horizon photo as two big rectangles… With the sun as a circle somewhere in the top rectangle.
- Circles are attention grabbing in a photo, especially big ones. Yep, for example, the sunset.
- Triangles almost have the same effect as an arrow. “The look here” effect, I call it. They can be tricky and fun though, you can try putting a few cucumbers together to point at a banana or something…
PRACTICE AND PRACTICE
Here comes the end of my short guide. It may not be easy at first, but the more you practice these in your photos, the easier it becomes. So go out, have some fun and take some epic photos.