Over the past few weeks I have been exploring how to use my camera in order to learn how to take better photographs. There are two parts to photography, the first part is the technical part and know what the different settings on your camera do. I have learnt that the camera sees the world as an 18% grey shade and that a photographer will need to compensate for this in order to get the correct exposure. I discovered how aperture can be used to blur the background in a photograph, how to capture fast moving objects by changing the shutter speed and how to compensate for dark days by using ISO. Finally I learnt how all these elements work together in an exposure triangle allowing you to take control of the photograph. I finally put my camera on manual mode and took some photographs.
There is much more to photography than being able to take a technically perfect photograph. Photography is an art. The art is in the way the photographer has captured the scene. Two people may take a photograph of the same object but the result will not be the same. How the object is placed in the frame is part of the art of photography. This is the composition of a photograph and there are rules that can be used to help make the photography more compelling. Before learning about these we need to know what elements make up a photograph.
The elements of a photograph
A photograph is made up of a number of key elements:
- Foreground – This should lead you into the image and guide you to the subject.
- Background – The background should show context or contrast but not detract from the subject
- Subject – A photo should only have one subject
- Whole frame – Once you have placed your subject in the frame with the right amounts of foreground and background, look at the whole image and see if it is pleasing.
Changing the viewpoint
You can change the way the image looks by changing the viewpoint. Move your camera higher or lower, alter the amount of foreground and background and you will get a totally different picture. The art of photography is picking the view point you like the best. Don’t just point and shoot at the scene, take a few minutes to walk around and find the best viewpoint and the best lighting. Taking time before you take a photograph will improve your photography without having to have the best camera in the world.
To demonstrate how moving the camera changes the viewpoint I took a number of photographs of a diffuser bottle I have in my house. Whilst it is not the most exciting photograph in the world it does demonstrate how changing the viewpoint can alter a photograph.
This picture shows more of the subject than foreground and background.
This picture has very little foreground. I could have even removed the foreground altogether.
This photograph has a very long foreground which leads you into the photograph
This photograph shows more background.
A pleasing balance between the three
This final photograph should show a balance between the subject, foreground and background and look more pleasing.
Do you think about the foreground, background and subject when you take photographs or do you just snap away?