Watch the background. It is the background which will often make or break your image. No matter how good your subject is & how pleasant the light is but a cluttered background can ruin your entire photograph.
The key to a good background is to keep it simple. Often including too many things can give the background a cluttered look. Even if you shoot with a shallow depth-of-field, a cluttered background will still look busy. If you’re shooting outside, be on the lookout for streams of light which may be passing through tiny gaps in your background. These can be a nuisance. Instead try to get a clear single coloured background which would not compete with the subject. Often we see tree branches poking out of people’s head. Unless you want to portray your subject as a reindeer, its better you take time while framing to avoid this common mistake.
Most amateur photographers are tempted to include a flashy background which off-course looks good but directs the viewer eyes to the background than the point of interest in the photograph. You do not want this to happen. A good background is one which complements the subject & not one which competes with the subject.
There are many tips on how one can get a good background to shoot but that will demand an entire post. I’ll do it in future. For time-being, watch the background & see how your photographs improve radically.
Being a photographer, you might be used to watching photographs from various photographers. You might have been addicted to seeing pictures published in newspapers, magazines, brochure etc. This is a good habit since it lets you study how the photographer made the photograph. It introduces you to viewpoint & thinking process of other photographer. Overtime, this will lead to a gradual growth in your photography skills. However, have you spared a thought of doing the same thing with video?
Photographers often perceive, video to be a totally different field & don’t seem to pay any attention to it. However if one looks closely, both photography & video share the same roots. Video shooters even abide by the rule of thirds, use a similar lighting setup while shooting video. If you observe movies closely, you’ll notice how the camera glides through the shot & at any point of time, the frame is perfectly framed. The lighting looks great, the composition is immaculate & so is a great deal of attention given to keeping the frames uncluttered. In movie’s, often DOF is managed perfectly & its an area where photographers can learn a lot from. Then there are framing techniques, like framing from within something, framing besides something & framing in such a way which might give photographers a new way to compose.
It has become an unconscious exercise for me, to pay attention to the cinematography whenever I’m watching any TV Show or a movie. I’m always thinking of the light, the composition technique, the camera movement etc. This has helped me immensely in improving my photography skills. Similarly, for cinematographers doing the reverse will also hold good. Next time, while watching a movie try this & you’ll appreciate how it helps to raise the bar of your photography. However, don’t complain to me if you miss the story-line doing so. It has happened with me on a few occasions . ;)
Exactly six months ago, I began my 365 Project. For those living under the shell, 365 Project is where one takes a photograph each day for coming 365 days i.e. an year. I began this project with the sole aim to further develop & enhance my photography skills. It has been a joyous ride till now as I reach the midpoint of my 365 project today. I strongly recommend this is the best thing you can ever implement to hone your photography skills & polish your creative eye. However, the 365 Project comes with its very own challenges & I’ll briefly touch over them so you know what will be coming your way. The idea behind this post is not to make your challenges easy(and they won’t) but to help you recover & not leave your 365 project midway. With that in mind, let’s proceed.
Photography has become less expensive since it has gone Digital. Its easy for anyone with a camera to right-away create wonderful photographs, to put ones mental creativity into action. Due to this, we have tons & tons of photographer around the globe. Its easy to get bogged down by work of other great photographers. Often amateur(& even some seasoned) photographers have the bad habit of comparing oneself with other photographers. They behold the photographers at a pedestal position & treat them as a benchmark. Its one thing to get inspiration from them but this amounts to comparison.
Due to human nature, its instinctive to fall for easily attracted bad things/habits. Its easy to gauge oneself lower than others. Its easy to convince one that we’re not good enough than to convince one we’re good if not better. Often as a photographer, we get lost in style of others photographers, their gear(lenses, flash etc) & their processing styles. Its fairly easy to get intimidated with great photographers & to see one’s work not worthy enough in comparison to theirs. Once a photographer gets lost in this torrent of comparing oneself with other photographers, his/her personal growth gets stunted. His/Her self-confidence suffers badly & getting out of this rut becomes difficult.
The best way to avoid this, is to compare “Yourself with Yourself”. Compare your present photographs with your earlier photographs. Compare your present lighting techniques with the ones you used earlier. Compare your present approach to photography to your previous one. Compare your present processing techniques to your previous ones. This way, you’ll be able to know whether you’re progressing or not. Try to better your own previous results. Try to improve your shooting, lighting, post-processing & planning techniques than you already have. This way, your confidence will get boosted automatically as you better your own previous work. Ultimately, this will make you a better photographer & allow you to better yourself over the photographers who you once used to get intimidated with. Good Luck. :)
Instagram has skyrocketed to popularity ever since its inception. The recent launch for Android platform has only added to its user-base. From what they say, “It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family. ”. One can say, its a Twitter for Photographers. However, most of the photos I see being uploaded are nothing more than snapshots. They are degraded further by rowdy application of the filters found within the application. Most just use the filters since they are present without caring a bit about how the final photo will look. Its like making a fun of photography as an art. In reality, Instagram has a huge potential of improving you as a photographer. Not many know this. It can be a great tool in the hands of a capable photographer. As Chase Jarvis says, “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”. Lets begin.