Having a Good Eye is Key

I have been lecturing practical photography courses and workshops for more than 12 years and have found that one of the most common questions that I get asked is how can I improve my photography. Most people assume that learning how to use your camera properly will be the answer, but unfortunately this is not the case. If you enjoy taking photographs, you need to ask yourself the question, why? In most instances the answer turns out to be the same, it is that you enjoy photographing a certain genre, as you either like the outcome, or the “tense” of the subject. This indicates that you have an eye for composition. This is what’s most important in developing your talents to becoming a good photographer. Composition is everything, and of course, being able to interpret and read light, both work together in capturing that perfect shot. For the avid photographer that intends to take photography more seriously, I would recommend a short outdoor workshop to better understand working with lighting and composition, or, a tailored indoor workshop that meets the areas that you wish to focus on.

Basic rules to follow to improve Composition

  • Avoid chopping out hands and feet as you can always decide on this later when you are editing the image.
  • The rule of thirds is something to keep in most for most genres, both indoor and outdoor, as it plays a large role in balancing the shot as well as where the main focus is intended. This effects the way people view your work as they are appealing to your style and intention when interpreting the story behind the shot.
  • Using frames is sometimes helpful in your balancing the intention of your key focus points to highlight the image. Understanding how your focus points operate on your camera is important. Obviously, there are certain cameras that offer more focal points than others, but again at the end of the day, the number of foal points you will require will be determined by what you are shooting.
  • Speaking of focus, be able to understand and use your depth of field, this again will have a major effect on the result of your photograph, may I stress, understanding how to work aperture is very important in most genres. The backgrounds does not always have to be sharp…
  • Negative space is something that helps your composition, the same as artists will use negative space when sketching. Both negative space and the subject need to work together. One will see examples in this when looking at clean in studio fashion and figure photography as well as in genres of dance and gymnastics.

To conclude, the above is only a guide for you to follow and to think about, but remember, rules are there to be broken , especially in photography. Although it is important for every photographer to develop a signature and style, trends are constantly changing. Photography is an art, as well as a form of advertising product and services. A client may wish to have a portrait commissioned for creative attention and exhibition use as an art, or just for corporate or social identity like a profile page or CV picture.

So my advice is develop your style and use “the eye for photography” that you have been gifted to use. We never stop evolving or learning, so keep an open mind to change, listen to the clients brief carefully for perfect delivery, and lastly, keep yourself busy perusing reference sights pertaining to what you enjoy most to photograph. It is not the camera settings that make you a good photographer, nor the cost of your camera.