Shooting a great picture
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say. Still, there are some common threads that make for a great picture, one that makes you stop and admire it for its beauty.
First, photos need to have a structure, meaning a composition that is attention-getting at every distance. That structure is not necessarily an actual building in the background, but rather the structure of the photo. It has to do with the colors, textures, and light patterns. These are called positive space (the item in the focus) and negative space (the background and unused areas). This is why even black and white or sepia photos have such impact – they don’t rely solely on colors to draw your eye.
A good structure can be a foundation, and the rest of the image can be cleaned up or fixed in a photo-editing program. If you’re the photographer, don’t be afraid to be a photo director, though, putting people just where you want them to be in the picture.
The details are second. Without a good structure, the details have nothing to set up on. If you try to take pictures of the details first, they’ll get lost competing with each other, instead of relying on the image’s structure. While looking at details, you should look to see what might create an accidentally funny composition, things like a vehicle in the background that looks like it’s on top of someone’s head, or an object in a room in a strange location.
Something else to keep in mind is that the subject is not always the focus. As counter-intuitive as it seems, it comes back to the structure of the photo that supports the subject or the story. Your photo should not be composed based on the details, but rather on the directional lines in the image, so that they will do the work of compelling the attention to your image, then the details will get a chance to speak once the viewer has been drawn in.
A subject should be composite to be looking at the camera, generally speaking. We look at each other when we talk, so an image should be taken to do the same. If the photo is of a child, it should be taken more on their level, to keep that same idea of being able to look at the person. A photo is often more interesting if the main subject is slightly off-center.
If details are tucked into the corners of the images, they will often get lost. They should be placed into the body of the image more, and blank space or dark areas should be in the corners instead. That will help keep your viewer more engaged. If you really want a person to be the central focus of the image, use a basic background that won’t distract the eye.
Light is always important. If the people’s faces are in shadow, the fill flash should be used so people aren’t too dark in the final photo. You may need to take a step in to get the flash to do it’s job properly; otherwise it might be too far out of range. Sometimes on a cloudy day, you don’t want to use the flash because the softer light can make for a really interesting photo.
One of the great benefits of a digital camera is being able to take a shot, then redo it if necessary should the first one not have turned out right, or to take it with different effects to see what it would look like. Then, just delete the ones you no longer want. It’s that easy to play with photography! If you need other tips to help your event or are looking for a great photographer to take amazing shots of your event, contact us and we’ll be glad to help.