As an amateur photographer, you come across moments where words themselves cannot express the full emotion of a simple fleeting moment. Since the day I took my first photograph, I was infatuated by the idea. In one single click, I was able to capture memory of serenity and peace. I was able to personify the emotions of fun and happiness. But most importantly, I was able to grow my passion and love for photography.
For many people who are looking to explore the field as a hobby, I congratulate you on your journey. No matter where you go, no matter what you see, you will begin to view the world with the eyes of a photographer. Below I have provided some helpful times that can truly perfect your photographs as you dive deeper within the hobby. These tips and guidelines are by no means steps you need to take for each photo. Rather they are recommendations in providing the best high quality photograph for you and your audience.
1. Know Your Audience
This is by far one of the most important tips you should internalize as you grow as a photographer. The starting point for all communication is become aware of your intended audience. Taking random photos can be fun at times, but if you want to make this into a serious hobby, you need to take into consideration the questions and critiques your audience may have with your work. To ensure successful photographs for your projects, think about the people who will be viewing it. Put yourself in their shoes. Try and see what insights they may have about the work you are producing.
2. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Steve Jobs
Going hand-in-hand with knowing your audience, try and keep your photographs as simple as possible. Overcomplicating your photos with various objects and unknown backgrounds can eventually compromise the work leading to a confused and unsatisfied piece. Any items in which you can mitigate that can potentially distract your view, take it out. Even if you have to wait so that you get the appropriate space, do so. The goal of your photos is to entice an emotion and capture a fleeting moment. Providing harmony within your composition with simplistic photos will enhance those raw feelings even more.
3. Depth, depth, and more depth!
One of the most common flaws amateur photographs do is that they usually take flat photos. This means that the setting in your photographs usually portray your subject or subjects on the same plane as the environment around them. When taking a photo, you want to create as much depth as possible, especially for landscape scenery shots. Not only do they look better, but they also space out the subjects on multiple planes. This additional space allows the viewer’s eyes to run fluidly with throughout the entire photograph.
4. The 3/4ths Diagonal Shot
One technique used popularly by photographers is the 3/4th diagonal shot. This is especially useful when mitigating flat shots. You can accomplish this in two ways: 1. Start with the focus your subject at the bottom left, move to the center, and end with the setting to the top right or 2. Start with the focus on your subject at the top right, move to the center, and end with the setting at the bottom left. Either order you pick will provide that harmonious fluidity you are looking for in your photographs.
Similar to depth, you want to clear out any clutter between the setting and the subject. Remember, your photo should have one main subject. Any type of obstructions near your subject can ultimately distract your viewers and compromise your photos. At times, you will be asked to play the waiting game, especially if you are taking a scenery photo in a crowded area. If, however, you are able to control your setting, make sure everything is spaced out!
6. Level Out Your Camera
One big mistake many people do when they take photos is that that they never really level out their cameras for their subject. Take for example you are taking a photo of your child or your dog. Standing and angling your camera to your subject will only create a bird’s-eye-view that could potentially compromise your subject to disappear in the background. Leveling your shots will prevent this from happening. Furthermore, it will give you more impactful photos that can express the emotion and reaction you are seeking in your photos.
To create a true harmonious and balanced piece, you want to make sure everything is symmetrical. To achieve this, think about vertical and horizontal parallelism. This type of mentality will allow you to create well-balanced photos while also clearing out clutter that could possibly compromise the integrity of your campaign.