In my last blog post, I admitted that my photography skills are not the greatest. While I still attest to that, I thought I could share how I went from a horrible photographer to a decent photographer in a short amount of time.
I know photography can get expensive with different types of cameras and editing programs, but I think the most costly factor in the field of photography is your time. You have to have the patience to take the same photo multiple times with different angles, wait for the right moment to happen and continue editing even when you think it’s perfect. This is the trouble I have—I tend to give up too early, even if it’s not the best product I can produce.
Let’s look at some examples of photos:
What makes this photo good?
- Rule of thirds: This photo isn’t centered, which makes it more appealing to the eye. If you cut the photo in thirds vertically and horizontally, the focal point of the photo should line up with one of the upper intersections. The more symmetric a photo is, the riskier it is for the photo to be categorized as “boring.” But, if you have a very peaceful setting, a centered, symmetrical photo can be used to your advantage.
- Color: This photo has a ton of color in it, and they all contrast with each other. The blue of the bowl complements the green apples and purple-ish dried cranberries. Even the different browns of the oatmeal create texture in the photo.
- Composition: If you look back up at the photo, you can probably tell that those cranberries weren’t just thrown in the bowl. The apples were also lined up to feature the green of the peel as well as the bright white in the middle. And, the sprinkle of cinnamon on top finishes off the photo.
- Angle: The camera is pointing slightly down, so people can see inside the bowl, but you’re also able to see the outside of the bowl. This creates depth and interest to the eye.
- Clarity: As you can see, the camera allows you to see every change in texture and has no blurry effect to it. It focuses on the most important part: the bowl of oatmeal.
What makes this photo bad?
(I can say that because I took this photo awhile ago, for a Spoon article)
- Rule of thirds: Rule of thirds doesn’t apply to this photo at all. It’s somewhat off-center, but not off-center enough to appeal to the eye. It would’ve been better to focus on either the noodles or the red sauce and have the other in the background.
- Color: The red contrasting the yellow of the noodle is good; but, the middle looks sad because it’s so dark. It’s unclear what color is where, and overall, the photo doesn’t have enough natural light to overcome the yellow hue of the photo.
- Composition: I’ll admit, I tried so hard to effectively compose this photo. There’s a lot going on—the red sauce, the noodles, the basil, the cheese and then the fresh tomatoes on top as well. It’s hard to focus on one part of the dish because it’s so complex. The other factors make the photo distracting, and the cheese doesn’t look appealing (first and last time I’ll ever say that, I bet).
- Angle: There’s little-to-no creative angle in this photo. You can see the full dish as well as the plate, but several different angles should’ve been tried before selecting this one.
- Clarity: The most unclear part of this photo is the red sauce. What’s in it? What is the texture? What’s on top of it? A lot of questions are raised when you study the red sauce, which shouldn’t happen with a visual.
Moral of the story: photography is hard. It’s easier if you have the right equipment to work with, and if you do, make sure you know how to use that equipment effectively.
Pictures in articles are really effective, especially because more and more people are becoming visual learners in the modern world. Credibility is also restored if you have nice-looking pictures in your articles. When editing your photos, I suggest increasing brightness and exposure slightly, increasing contrast even less and possibly sharpening the photo. While these editing tricks can help enhance your photo, the edits can’t fix a bad photo.