Want to take better pictures? You and me both! No matter your skill level – from someone picking up a camera from the first time to someone with decades of experience, you can always be improving. That’s one of the great things about photos, you have tangible evidence of your improvement over time, so long as you keep after it.
So, besides simple practice there are some ways to bypass some of the learning curve involved with photography. One – read a book. Simple, relatively quick, and inexpensive, reading a book is a good option to undertake regardless of what discipline you’re after. A good one to check out is Henry Carroll’s Read This if you want to take great photographs (
see it here on amazon). Two – obtain a mentor. Not as easy as a book, but will help leaps and bounds, especially when learning a specific style. Mentors can be found anywhere, and most of all don’t expect anything from them without major sacrifice on your behalf. Seriously, their time and knowledge could prove invaluable, so be ready to learn A LOT.
There are a lot of other ways to jumpstart your photographic abilities, but here are three simple rules of thumb which will prove dividends as your crafting your photos.
1. Leading lines.
Leading lines are a very important concept for creating a focus/subject in your photos. Say you want to put a person in your photos, and you want them to stand out against a bunch of background ‘noise.’ The way to do this is position them and the environment in such a way that there will be invisible lines leading the viewers eye to your subject. In the picture above, the red lines depict the leading lines, which draw the viewers eye to the subject at the top of the escalator.
2. Landscapes Vs Portraits
So, probably pretty obvious and you probably already know what it’s all about… but knowing the difference in setting up these photos will allow you to better create a mood. Landscapes are typically used for just that, landscapes – best for wide mountain ranges or plains, landscapes are always good to capture a nice wide berth. Portraits are the opposite, tall and slimming, These can be good for capturing both the roads and clouds/sky when you find your perfect subject off in the distance.
3. Rule of Thirds.
You’ve probably been beaten over the head with this one at least once before. The rule of thirds is a simple trick to help set up where a subject is to give a much more dynamic feel to a photo. In the example above, we see the 4 red dots where our lines are drawn to divide the picture into thirds. As you can see, the photographer set up his/her subject on the intersections, leaving some negative space to the left side of the photo. This give the photo a much more docile feeling and sense of calm.
So there they are, three simple rules you can employ on your next outing to help snag a better photo.
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