This week’s Foto Friday is brought to you by Nixplay.
“Characteristics of Great Photography”
Have you ever been at a social event and gathered your friends for a group shot? You thought it was going to turn out perfectly—everyone was in the frame and you’re pretty sure no one blinked—but when you looked at it again—Ugh, redo!
Whether taking a snapshot on your phone or learning how to use a DSLR camera, the characteristics of great photography are universal. There are certain elements that help make a moment into a great photograph and endless tips you can use to ensure you capture the perfect shot with each click. After all, moments are worth sharing.
It Utilizes the Rules of Thirds
Break the frame of your photo into thirds, whether it is a rectangle or a square (as on Instagram). Your photograph will be more balanced if your main subject falls at the intersection of the lines or on one of the lines itself. While you will find yourself mentally envisioning these lines most of the time, some smartphones have a “grid” feature in the camera settings, ensuring you follow this rule each time!
It Isn’t Too Busy
Photography is shooting a singular subject; it isn’t creating a collage in one frame. If you’re taking a photo of your child, try not to have too many unnecessary elements within the frame. Great photographs have a clear subject, even though there are other supporting features within the frame. A photograph of a man jumping in a lake may include the lake, a pier, and surrounding greenery, but the man should be immediately identifiable as the photograph’s subject.
It Has True to Life Colors
Unless it is an artistic take on a photograph, the colors of the photo should not be too saturated or too de-saturated. While your photos can be color corrected later on in a program like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, taking the photo with the correct color settings will serve you best in the long run by saving time.
Unfortunately, color can be distorted by unnatural lighting such as fluorescent bulbs, especially in photographs taken indoors. The best recommendation is to use natural light; if this is not possible, there are solutions to counteract the effect. These include adjusting the camera’s white balance setting, exposing the lens for the correct length of time, or adjusting the vibrancy settings on your camera.
It Isn’t All Posed
While there isn’t anything wrong with posed photos, try to get some candid shots in too! The beauty of a raw moment will shine through the photo, even if some of the other aspects happen to fall through. Seek out moments that you want to freeze in time: your child laughing, a gathering of family at a backyard barbeque, or the look on the birthday girl’s face as she is surprised with a party. Take a lot of photos because unfortunately many will not turn out quite the way you wanted—but you will find one that is digital picture frame worthy!
But It Is Composed
Composition of photography refers to placement of objects within a frame. Utilizing the rules of thirds and showcasing a clear subject are two ways to achieve composition in photography. There are no unnecessary elements within the photo that could possibly detract from the subject or balance of the photo overall; the reverse is true in that good photography includes elements that enhance the subject. All elements within the photograph are meant to guide the eye to the key object of the photo.
It Portrays an Emotion
The photos you’ll most want to showcase in your home or on social media are generally going to be ones in which the subjects are happy, excited, or surprised. But the other emotions should not be neglected as they make for powerful imagery as well. Anger, sadness, grief, frustration, confusion, and triumph are moving. They draw in the viewer and make them feel something; they make them connect with the subject in that moment.
It Has Perspective
Sometimes a view is best seen from above—or below, or slightly off to the side. Certain subjects are best captured at various angles and not head-on. Changing the angle offers a different perspective to the photo by showcasing unique details only seen from that view. Perspective also allows the entirety of a subject to be seen and, when viewed together, can draw in the viewer and make them feel as if they saw it in person.
Great photography utilizes these techniques and more. Not all techniques can (or should) be used at all times; some techniques are more appropriate in certain situations than others. Great photography comes down to understanding, of the subject and of the scene. Understand the emotions of the moment, utilizing all the techniques in your arsenal to preserve them in your photo. You will capture a beautiful moment worth showing off!
Hannah Nava loves writing about any topic, and Photography is no exception! She currently writes on behalf of digital frame experts at Nixplay. When not marrying words, Hannah enjoys reading science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian works; sipping margaritas (always frozen); and trying to make the world a happier place. Tweet her @hannahmnava or connect with her on LinkedIn.