Have you ever been invited to flip through hundreds of pictures taken by a family member or a good friend and found it very boring? It doesn’t matter if it is an old-fashioned color slide show, or a modern production from digital picture files shown by a digital projector, a lot of pictures shown on the television screen or a photo album or scrapbook.
Honestly, most of us find it very boring, unless the photographer is really having some commitment to his or her photography. It helps if the show is including some people you like or some places you are familiar with, or at least have visited. But how can the person who isn’t occupied with photography improve the outcome of photos from digital cameras to get some better and more memorable photographs and to avoid to take too many banal pictures?
I have included a little exercise for the reader who will spend one hour to improve her photography, see the end of the article. Here I run through the most important photo tips, I can give you.
1. Go close on the subject
Most people include too much in the picture, and that makes it messy and less interesting. Decide what you really want to photograph and then exclude most other things, except one or a few persons. Also include something close even when you shoot landscapes.
2. Avoid a messy background
The more uniform in color and texture the background looks like, the sharper and interesting is the main subject becoming.
3. Include one good color in the picture
A common mistake is to try to include as many colors in a photograph as possible. One good color will often do a better job. Especially if it is a bright color. Red and yellow are often regarded as impressive colors if they are used with care. Blue is also a good colour if not that aggressive as red and strong yellow.
4. Include a human dimension in the picture
If possible include a human dimension in the picture. It doesn’t need to be some persons, but something most people can relate to. Pictures of monkeys in the zoo look more interesting if they are showing some behavior that have resemblance with human beings’ behavior compared to pictures with truly nature behavior. A human dimension can be added to many kinds of subjects you want to photograph.
5. When possible shoot several frames of the same subject
When it is convenient for your activities always try to shoot a number of alternative shots – it doesn’t cost you a cent with a digital camera. Really try to make each shot a little different. When time allows it afterwards, make sure to delete all frames except the best one. If no one is really good delete all frames.
When we take pictures it is mostly to be able to remember people, special events and special experience. When these are related to ourselves we might be very tolerant about the level of required quality that is acceptable for a keeper – a picture we want to keep for infinity.
But that kind of pictures aren’t interesting for other people, unless the pictures have some special qualities. Remember how our daily life is filled up with pictures, often taken by really gifted photographers and artists.
A little exercise might help you develop your photography to unknown high levels:
– A. Take your digital camera. Make sure you have plenty of space on the memory card and a fresh battery.
– B. Make sure you remember the list above of photo tips 1-5.
– C. Select five things in your local environment (could be people, settings, pets, flower etc.) and plan how you can take pictures of each thing following the 5 photo tips.
– D. Take at least 10 different pictures with different angels etc. of each of your five things.
– E. Sort the pictures on your computer in two: One best shot selected from each motive as one sample, and the remaining in another sample.
– F. Compare the two groups of photos, and reflect on what you have learned.
If you apply what you have learned you will increase your own satisfaction with your photography because you will be able to create much more memorable photographs and your digital photo shows will be much more appreciated by your guests, friends and family.
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