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An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

The post An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo first at Digital Photography School. It was written by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Many starting photographers, and more experienced photographers, get caught up in the trap of thinking that a good subject will take a good photo. It's not true. I have seen a lot of terrible photos of fantastic subjects.

A good photographer takes good photos regardless of the subject. I like how British photographer Martin Parr describes his work. He says it is his goal to make the ordinary look extraordinary.

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

The late afternoon light makes this landscape more interesting. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

To take the best picture, regardless of whether your subject is impressive, you must:

  • Show it well.
  • Time it right.
  • Choose the best lighting.
  • Put it together carefully.
  • Connect at a certain level.

Achieving all these five aspects of interesting photos in one frame is a challenge. It requires skill, practice and patience.

Being aware of these pillars of good photography will lead you away from the snapshot when you see something interesting. By keeping these things in mind, you will gradually improve and be able to make the most everyday object look great when you photograph it.

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

Without the interesting cloud formation, this landscape would be rather boring. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Master your camera technology

Trust in the management of your camera is essential. If you use your camera without knowing how it works, your creative growth will be frustrated. Learning what each of the main settings does on your camera is not difficult.

The exposure is controlled using the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. The focus is automatic or manual. None of these are difficult to control if you worry about it and spend some time practicing. Determining which part of your composition should be properly exposed and where the focus should be is part of your creative choice.

Mastering the basic technical aspects of using your camera will set you free to become more creative with your photography.

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

Careful exposure makes this winter tree more interesting. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Press your shutter at the right time

Choose the optimum moment to take your photo. Consider the action that happens for you. Watch the colors as they change as the sun rises and sets. See how a flower blooms in your garden. Every instance that you take a photo ensures that it is the optimum.

What determines the decisive moment for when you take a photo depends on many things. Every circumstance is different, so it's important to observe what happens.

Sometimes you have to respond quickly. Other times you have to be patient and wait, or come back another time. This is the case for landscape and architectural photography, where the right light and weather conditions are so important.

By anticipating when the best time is, you can capture it more often. Think about what will happen. What is the sequence of events that will unfold? How do clouds move in the sky? Will they cover the sun before it sets?

In situations where you have some control over your topic and the action, timing is not that hard to predict. You can ask the model to roll her hair back to the count of three. You can ask your children to run and jump over the sleeping dog and be ready.

Timing is one of the most important elements that influence good photos. Every photo you take is a short moment in time. If you make sure you capture the right moment, you can often take or break your photos.

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

The day I took this photo, it rained all day. The sun came out ' in the evening and it was worth the wait. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Edit your compositions

Based on your subject to make your photo interesting, it means that you cannot compile it well. Don't just place it in the center of your viewfinder, focus and click. Anyone with a camera can do that.

Move. Look for a better background without distractions. Take a moment to reflect on a few lines of composition. Are there strong lines that you could incorporate? Will using the third-party rule make the photo stronger? What else is in the frame and is it relevant to your photo?

Use different focal length lenses to record more or less background. With a wide lens you can see more background information. If you use a longer lens, you cut more from the background and help isolate your subject. Longer lenses also give the impression of a compressed distance with wide lenses doing the opposite.

Many of the best street photography looks like it has made a hurry. People hurry past and look at the camera. Or absorbed in what they do. Usually these photos are not snapshots. The photographer has well planned and anticipated the action. Then I waited.

Action is more easily captured and well composed when patience and observation are applied.

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

The entire dam was interesting, but it was too difficult to find an interesting angle for the entire structure, so I carefully trimmed it. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Enlightenment for feeling

Hard light or soft light will create different moods.

Strong contrast when you have harsh light is more dramatic. If you want a softer, more romantic feeling, hard light is not the best. Even with an interesting subject, such as a newborn baby or a flower, harsh lighting does not give a soft feeling to your photo.

By matching the lighting with the atmosphere that you want to create in your photo, the photo will feel good. There are no set rules. You must decide for each photo yourself. This is part of your creative expression as a photographer.

Consider the direction in which the light comes. Is it hard or soft? How does it affect your subject? Is there too much shade or contrast for the atmosphere you want?

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Connect with your topic

Whatever you choose to photograph, the more you connect to your subject, the better your photos will take.

I always thought that this only applied to people and maybe also to animals. I have changed my perspective and now think that it can apply to everything you photograph.

I like flowers. My wife loves them more and loves to grow them. She takes much better photos of flowers than me, because she has that passion. That is on her photos ' s.

If you like the location where you live, or where you grew up, you will be shooting this more intimately than an unknown person will probably do.

How you make contact with people you photograph certainly makes a huge difference in your photos.

An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Conclusion

Take your time. Be more attentive. When you find your next tempting subject, consider how you can take the best photo of it. Do not rely solely on the interest value.

Travel photography is sensitive to snapshots. When you are traveling, you always see new and interesting things to photograph. This is part of what makes traveling so interesting. I often encourage people who take our photography workshops to not be travel snapshooters.

Ansel Adams said: "The most important part of a camera is the twelve centimeters behind it." Think about your subject and how you can treat it.

Remember that it is the photographer who makes the photo interesting, not the subject.

The post An interesting subject does not take an interesting photo first at Digital Photography School. It was written by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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