The world probably doesn’t need another top tip list, but I presented this at the conclusion of a photography intro course and figured it was worth sharing.
Practice and training is more valuable to your photography than gear, get out there and continue to develop those skills.
Understand what caught your eye and emphasise it
We respond to something in a scene, if you understand exactly what inspired that reaction you will have a better chance of composing and ensuring the right content is captured. It’s easy to include unnecessary elements that won’t support the scene if you’re not careful, or you could be cutting out important areas.
Watch your backgrounds
Backgrounds and foregrounds present the environment of your subject, they can make or break an image. Avoid being so focused on the main subject that you ignore the surroundings. Background mess or distracting elements can often be easily avoided through position changes or lens choices. Be creative in the way backgrounds are isolated and used.
What point do you want to make
We often have a personal message to convey, consider this as you compose.
Trust your instincts on composition
The ‘rules’ are nice to know, they give ideas and a grounding of how perception works, but feeling the composition will help you be more more creative.
Anticipate and prepare
For many images timing is critical, it could be a weather pattern or a body position that makes an image work, learn to anticipate when the right elements will come together and be prepared. Several elements are often needed for an image to work, that could mean waiting for the right light, or moving to a different position to ensure all the elements come together. And get those camera settings sorted out advance.
Watch the edges
Be careful what gets cut off, I have a habit of cutting off feet, branches poking in from sides can be distracting and elements on the edge of frame need to be considered. As you compose the image consider how it might be cropped later, some areas will be removed anyway and won’t matter in the final image, other elements are difficult to remove later so it’s better to consider how you frame at the moment a photo is captured.
Look at great photographs
Looking at the work of great photographers will inspire us and give new ideas. By studying great work we can lean what makes images work and incorporate that into our own photography.
Understand and use light
I would rather have great light and a smart phone than bad light and a great camera. Great images need great light, but at the same time we need different light for different subjects, so understand how light makes your images work.
Learn post processing
Many non photographers and beginners are still under the illusion that cameras see what people see but this is totally false. Cameras use a bunch of pre-programmed algorithms and assumptions to output an image, we still need to tweak an tune this image interpret our own vision.
Don’t get discouraged
We all get results that don’t match our expectations at times, don’t be let down by a bad day, learn from it and carry on.