These days everyone carries a camera with them all the time. So does that make us all photographers?
The obvious answer is, of course not! There’s a world of difference between someone who takes photographs, and someone who’s a photographer. Just because you’ve got a camera (or a camera phone) means nothing. In my kitchen is a set of Global knives and some expensive steel pans. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m a great cook. Being a good photographer isn’t about owning the gear.
So, what’s the difference? The answer is, it’s all in the mind.
A photographer sets out to make (note that verb please) not take a photograph. And she aims to make it the best that she can.
In a previous post I talked about how important good light was to a photograph. Of equal importance is the thought that goes into the ‘look’ of the image – the composition.
Have you put the subject slap bang in the middle of the frame? You have? Well, that might be good (think of a head and shoulders portrait), but actually the human brain prefers things that are slightly to the left or right (Google ‘the rule of thirds’ or tune in to a future post on this topic). Provided that is, that the rest of the frame isn’t full of distractions.
Notice in this photo how the foreground leads your eye into the scene and towards the back of the room.
Have you made sure that the background isn’t cluttered? That your subject doesn’t have a lampost sticking out of the top of their head? Is the background colour complementary to the subject, or do they jar and clash? If you’re shooting a person, is their expression right for the image you’re trying to convey? If it’s a product that you sell, does it look attractive and desireable? Is it placed at the angle that shows off its features in the best way?
In this photo, we wanted to show the app was for commercial office use – so we needed to show an office. However, I’ve deliberately blurred it so that while it’s clear what the environment is, it’s not a distraction from the app itself.
These are little things, but they make a tremendous difference. Of course, this just scratches the surface of good photographic composition, but hopefully by thinking a bit more about the photo you’re going to make you’re already on the way to improving your photography.