Last month I wrote about keeping your photo simple—isolating the subject and avoiding distractions. But there’s much more to composition, many more ways to make your photos terrific. Here are a few tips and suggestions you may find helpful. (more…)
It’s helpful to understand your equipment, to know how to set up your camera so your subject will be in focus and properly exposed. Knowing how everything works will allow you to avoid mistakes and the frustration that accompanies them. If you’re especially enamored of technical things, you’ll probably enjoy trying out all your camera’s menu choices, dials, and buttons, learning what it’s capable of. But just as most of us don’t pull out our phone simply to play with the settings, understanding the technical aspect of photography isn’t our final goal. Rather, it’s the means to an end. We want to create quality photographs.
As I mentioned last month, if we want our photography to look like art, we need to study art. I find that the more I learn about composition and design, the better my pictures turn out. Here are a few more things to consider when looking through your viewfinder.
Objects in a photograph have visual weight to them. Imagine that your photo is a seesaw, supported by a point in the middle. For example, a large, black crow to the right of the picture will tend to pull that side downward unless balanced by something else on the left side. Just as with actual weights, two or three smaller objects can balance one big one. Most pleasing pictures are visually balanced. Remember that a large open space can also have weight, so you don’t need clutter your composition. (more…)
As I’ve mentioned before, there are lots of reasons to photograph birds. Perhaps you just want a record of what you’ve seen, or proof of a rarity to convince those eBird auditors. Maybe you can’t ID the bird at the moment, and you want to give it another shot once you get home. In cases like these, it doesn’t really matter how pleasing your photograph is as a work of art.
But maybe, like me, you don’t just want a snapshot of the bird—you want a good photo. You’re paying attention to the lighting and the background, and to what the bird is doing. You’re hoping to create a work of art. In that case, it helps to think like an artist.