Learning to make the most out of your photography is very rewarding. Once you’ve mastered the controls on your camera, further learning about composition and lighting will be a huge boost for your images. Here’s a rundown of my 5 tips to improve your photography.
Keep It Subtlety Simple – this is especially true of creating a simple composition. Decide what the subject matter of your image is and make it the central focus in the scene. Move in closer or adjust the focal length on your camera. Watch out for a messy scene with debris, or loud colours, that will distract from your subject. Silhouettes, textures and patterns lend themselves well to a simple composition.
2) Background noise
One of the early lessons I learned was that I paid too much attention to the subject and not enough to the background. On more than one occasion, I had taken what I thought was a great portrait image only to later see a branch or lamppost sprouting out of the person’s head. Checking the background for distracting objects is a really simple but important task.
3) Rule of thirds
Imagine your image with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines running through it. The rule of thirds suggests the best place to position the subject of your image is where the lines intersect. This will result in a more pleasing and balanced composition. Try framing the shot so that your subject sits in the right hand third, or in landscape photography, try placing the horizon line on the lower third.
4) Leading lines
A leading line draws the viewer’s eye through the different elements of an image. Usually a straight or curved line will start at the bottom of the frame and take the eye upwards and inwards, often leading to the main subject. An obvious place to spot a leading line is on a road that leads into the distance. Lines can sometimes point so far inwards that they reach a vanishing point (where two or more lines converge into theoretical infinity).
5) Understanding light
Different lighting conditions and the position of your subject relative to the light source can bring a certain mood or feel to your image. Full midday sun can cast harsh shadows, whilst shooting during the golden hour (hour after sunrise / hour before sunset) will reveal lovely vibrant colours. A subject facing the light source can result in a flat look, side lighting gives depth to the subject and backlighting (light from behind subject) gives a warm and soft effect.
The best way to improve your photography is to get your camera out and use it regularly. Daily if you can. You never know when a great photographic opportunity will strike and it’s only through trial and error that you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Sign up for a workshop or a course to improve your skills. Find inspiration from websites like 500px and Instagram, or magazines like Time and National Geographic.
At Carma Creative, we specialise in portrait and wedding photography, call us on 01392 920372 or email for a free quote.