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We can’t all be good photographers. Or can we?
Whenever my family travels, all 5 of us have our own cameras and end up standing beside each other taking photos of the same thing.
Do they all look the same? No!
- An artist, my daughter took graphic design in college and takes amazing photos that are works of art.
- My middle-man son uses a video camera – he’s an actor at heart.
- My youngest son takes funny random pics that remind us of the fun we had, but we’re not going to put them on this year’s Christmas card.
- My hubby has taken photography courses and it’s become a full-time hobby since his retirement – his photos are picture-perfect like postcards.
- And mine? My photos are the typical “mom” tourist pics of everyone lined up in front of something!
Here’s an example of what I mean:
These two are essentially the same photo but can you feel the difference? The one on the left evokes emotion, and the one on the right is a nice photo of a sleeping dog. Why?
I’ll share two important elements of photography that will help you change your photos from snapshots to photos that capture the magic of the moment. One I learned from my artistic daughter, and one I learned from my photography hobbyist husband.
Rule of Thirds in Photography
I was feeling pretty frustrated after looking over our Greece photos, so I asked my daughter why there was so much difference. This is what she taught me.
My daughter says the reason her photos evoke emotion is due to how she frames them. The rule of thirds is what makes a photo a work of art compared to a “tourist” photo.
Make sure the grid is turned on in your camera viewer so you can see the intersecting lines.
This goes against our natural tendency to put the subject square in the middle of the frame.
Let’s look at our examples again:
Photo on the left has the dog sleeping on the line one-third from the bottom. His eyes are one-third from the left hand side of the frame.
The photo on the right has dog smack dab in the middle of the frame, the way most people would take the photo. Nice but not amazing.
Take a second to place the subject of your photo on one of the intersections on your grid, and along one of the lines either vertically or horizontally.
Lesson on Mastering the Rule of Thirds
This lesson is for taking video shots, but it is a great explanation of the rule of thirds that also applies to photography.
Photography Lighting Tips
My husband has become the master of lighting due to his photography courses. He understands how light affects the landscape, animal, object or person he’s photographing so his pictures are gorgeous.
(Except for the night I was posing in front of the White House. He took too long to compose his photo – they actually turned the lights out before he could click the shutter! Good night Mr. President.)
Here’s what he taught me.
Lighting is the one thing that can make or break a great photo. Understanding lighting can bring out the the textures that will evoke the feeling that you want.
Taking a great photo requires thinking ahead.
What direction is the sun shining, or at what angle is the lighting? You may have to move around the subject to take the best photo rather than straight-on with bad lighting.
If outdoors, you may have to wait for the right lighting for that perfect shot.
Okay. Let’s look at those photos again.
The soft lighting in the photo on the left evokes soft, tender feelings.
The brighter light in the photo on the right shows more texture in the photo, making it feel a little harsher. We don’t feel harsh feelings because it’s still a cute photo of an adorable sleeping dog. We just don’t feel any real emotional tug.
Take two seconds before you click the button to think about the kind of emotion you want your photo to evoke. If it’s a soft emotion, you want soft lighting. If it’s a harsh feeling, you want brighter light to show the harsher textures.
Lesson on the Basics of Lighting for Photography
Basics of Lighting for Photos of People
This applies the soft/harsh lighting principle to taking photos of people. Soft light makes the face look softer, while bright light brings out the facial lines and imperfections. How do you want your subject to appear? Soft or harsh?
Basics of Lighting for Photographing Objects
Photographing objects takes the soft/harsh lighting concept to the next level. Sometimes you want a bright light to show more texture. Other times, you need soft lighting for delicate texture or get rid of reflection.
Source of Rule of Thirds & Lighting Infographic:
How to take better holiday photographs Infographic by Sykes Cottages
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Once a week we'll tell you the upcoming daily celebrations & the articles you may have missed.