Taking and creating better photographs

Tip No 1.  Viewpoint

Most people, when they take a photograph, will hold the camera/phone up to their eye-level and click.  This may be fine for snapshots, but if you want to up your game with your photography, then you need to think about where you could position your camera to create an image with more impact.   Let’s start with images 1, 2 and 3 and please click on the images to see them fully and in better quality.

Image 1:  These glorious poppies were in a field in France.  The low camera angle makes the poppies in the foreground dominant whilst the shallow depth of field makes those in the middle and background blur away so that it is only the colour that remains distinguishable.

Image 2: This famous sculpture is made to look even more powerful by the moody sky and low and close up camera angle. The London Eye in the background gives further reference to its location.

Image 3: Passengers in a hot air balloon basket waving.  I cropped into the image to exclude the top of the balloon which also creates a narrower view.  Note the negative space underneath the basket, this adds to the visual height of the balloon.

Tip No 2.  “Seeing” images

Interesting images are generally not ones that have one or two people with cheesy grins smack bang in the middle.  You have to learn to “see” light (and shadows) and shapes.  Take the next three images.

Image 4:  The interest in this image is the play of light and shadow across the beautiful marble wall which is inside the Taj Mahal.  Of course, most people would immediately want to get the iconic photo of the outside, but look a bit further and you can capture things that most people would just walk past.

Image 5: The interest in this image is the striking combination of geometric shapes and the warm colours with just a hint of blue from the lake at the bottom.  Again, every bit as striking as a lake shot and a tad different to the norm.

Image 6: This is the exactly when I had my “lightbulb” moment regarding photography.  I was struck by both the yellow and blue primary colours seen here highly saturated due to the contrast levels of the bright noon light. The highlights coming from sunlight raking through a trellis leads the viewer’s eye down to the potted shrub and then along the window grill.  Thank you, Majorelle Gardens, for introducing me to the world of photography.

Tip No 3. Storytelling/emotion

What would you want your photograph to say if it was a person?  What kind of feeling or emotions does it convey?  Let’s now look at the last three images.

Image 7: This photograph is clearly of a bride and groom – the ivory gown and bouquet confirm that. However, as the groom was wearing quirky socks (which was important to him, otherwise he wouldn’t be wearing them!) I wanted to capture them. By taking this image low down and only including the necessary elements, it made for a “fun” image for their album.

Image 8: This photograph of a Norwegian fjord was taken from the back of a ship. Although there is no obvious subject matter, the soft light, shadows, water movement and almost monochromatic colour palette, make for a very “restful” and “calming” image.

Image 9: The man looking out on the deck of this ship is dwarfed by the expanse of the icy waters of Antarctica. The panoramic cropping and the negative space to the right emphasise a sense of “frigidity” and “loneliness”