Every now and then I hear someone complain that their photos look boring, or that the photos they have taken of a scene or subject don’t do it justice. So I thought I’d put together a little series of tips for taking better photos!
‘Better’ is obviously a subjective concept, so for the purpose of these tips, I mean photos that the photographer themself is more pleased with.
One good tip for ending up with more interesting photos is to stay with the subject. Don’t just take one photo and think that’s it; I have a photo of it now. Don’t give up so easily. Persevere. Examine the subject or scene for a longer period of time and consideration.
For example, I saw these ferns on my dog walk yesterday and thought I’d take a nice photo of them.
Wow. How underwhelming! Possibly the most boring photo I’ve taken all year. First of all, the light was crap for this kind of shot. Very flat and bland. Compare the light with a shot I took during another dog walk a week ago.
This kind of light gives a photo depth and mood.
Damn, OK. What can I do in these drab conditions? What if I go closer? After all, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”, as the great Robert Capa once said.
I’ll apply my favourite filter as well: one that simulates the old landscape photographers’ favourite: Fuji Velvia slide film. One that I like to use with a bit of soft focus and underexposure.
But. Not much better. Let’s try a different composition.
OK… slightly more interesting perhaps. But doesn’t excite me. Move closer?
Hmmm, not convinced. OK, let’s try every ‘creative approach’ recommended: look up! Go down, and look up.
Nah. Hang on, what’s next to these ferns?
OK. Nice. Kind of. What else? Oh, hang on, let me take a photo looking down on the ferns!
Kinda nice. Oooo! This one has a plant in the middle of it!
Sweet! What else can I do… Oooo! A nettle!
Let’s try a different position for the nettle. In the other “thirds” position… quite like it.
Can I do something a bit more abstract with the ferns?
Yes, I like it! One with a nettle? :D
Make the nettle more important part of the photo? The nettle is beautiful. Event if it hurts.
Two centres? I’m loving this one right now.
One more, a closeup of the pretty plant in the middle of one of the ferns.
Let’s try something more abstract again.
I think this is my favourite.
So this is what can happen when you see something you like and stay with the subject, rather than take one snap and be disappointed that you didn’t get an interesting photo of it. You go from the photo on the left to the photo on the right.
This is also the reason why a person with an enthusiastic interest in photography is not popular with family members who don’t possess an equivalent interest in photography. :D
If you have a photography enthusiast in your family, be sure to confiscate their mobile phone (let alone their camera!) unless you want to spend endless hours waiting for them on your travels.