Queue my internal eye roll, as a vain bursts from my forehead; I struggle to refrain from speaking before you finish the sentence. “I’d take nicer photos if I had a better camera”, you say. I take a deep breath…
Absolutely anyone can take amazing pictures with, quite literally, any camera. That includes you. From an iPhone to the highest end digital camera on the market, it’s you that creates an amazing image; not the camera. Ultimately it all comes down to understanding composition.
Just so we are all on the same page going forward, heres a quick list for 10 rules of composition.
- Rule of thirds
- Leading lines
- Frame within a frame
- Viewpoint(high, low, pov, neutral etc.)
- Light and dark
- Depth of field
Now I’m not here to explain all about the rules of composition. However, assuming you understand a few basic compositional elements, allow me to explain why your photos maybe aren’t turning out quite the way you hoped they would. No matter what camera you are shooting with.
Look For Depth In Your Scene
Have you ever felt like your photo looked ‘flat’ but you couldn’t explain how or why? Depth is arguably the most important thing to consider in any photo you take. You can create depth in several different ways. In this example I created depth through establishing my foreground, mid-ground and background, using light and dark to draw the eye and colour to enhance the tone of the scene. Take a look into some of your own images and try to decipher whether you have created a sense of depth through different compositional techniques. Always, always, look for depth in anything you shoot, this alone will drastically improve the quality of your images.
Establish Your Point Of Interest
Keep it simple. Too many times have I seen people who couldn’t quite pick a singular point of interest. This causes the viewers eye to dart all around the image; looking for something to indulge in, yet we simply can’t find it. Before you take a photo decide on its point of interest. It can be someones face, a waterfall, an animal, a tree, anything! Whatever you choose, base the rest of your composition solely around that. Heres an example of a simple image, with a clearly defined point of interest:
Shoot At Better Times Of Day
Often times, you may have checked off every single box in creating the best composition you could make. Yet somehow the photo doesn’t quite turn out the way you hoped it would. Now let me ask the question, what time of day did you shoot at? I know many people, including myself, who try to refrain from shooting in the middle of the day. When the sun is higher in the sky, it casts harsh shadows and unflattering light across your environment. Try to stick to shooting only around or during ‘golden hour’. Roughly the hour during the sunrise or sunset is when you’ll discover the most flattering light and vibrant colours. Here is an example of an image that would not have turned out very nicely had it not been shot during ‘golden hour’.
So those are my 3 tips to instantly improve your photos no matter what camera you are shooting with. Besides these 3 important tips, it ultimately comes down to your knowledge of composition. Understanding composition will become your most valuable tool as a photographer as you progress. Just remember at the end of the day, a camera is just a box; they all do the same thing, just some at higher megapixels than others. It is you, and solely you, that creates amazing images.
I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts about this post and how it may have helped you in furthering your understanding. If you have any extra thoughts or things you are still uncertain about, let me know in the comments!