It can be frustrating when you’ve found the perfect location, take several shots and then get home only to realize in processing that a majority of your images didn’t capture the elements you found so inspiring about the site. This is a common problem for novice photographers who find a subject they want to shoot, pick up their camera, press the shutter and then move on to the next area. They may experiment with a handful of different angles before pressing the shutter, but don’t commit the time necessary to create great composition.
Pro photographers seems to capture the ideal image every time, but the truth is that perfect image is the result of taking dozens of images where they changed their focal length, angle, viewpoint, etc. until they feel they’ve captured every nuance of the subject. With today’s digital images, taking multiple shots doesn’t waste film and has the advantages of capturing an interesting variety of shots, some of which are real winners. Nonetheless, taking hundreds of images without knowing key concepts in composition can still produce uninspiring pictures so remember these pro composition tips next time you set out on a shoot.
Shooting something from the standard viewpoint rarely creates original images because you’re simply replicating the work of other photographers. Although you might start by shooting from a familiar viewpoint, it’s essential to explore alternative angles to capture a subject in a new, interesting way. Before you even start taking photographs, walk around your location and take mental or written notes of good potential shooting angles. Once you have a fair number of unique angles in mind and are comfortable with your surroundings, it’s time to set up any essential equipment like a tripod and start snapping photos. With a deeper understanding of your subject matter, you’re more likely to capture eye-catching images.
When you look through a large selection of photographs, you can see that along with lighting conditions and shooting positions, perspective changes as well. How close you are to your subject and your chosen focal length are what determine perspective in a shot. With something as simple as changing your zoom or switching out your lenses, you can take several different photographs without changing where you’re standing, sitting or lying down. Experiment by shooting images with a telephoto lens, extreme wide-angle and everything in between.
Take your time
Although there are occasions when you have to take the shot quickly and on the fly, it’s best to take your time to obtain the perfect composition. An ideal tool in composition is a tripod as it helps you frame your shot with precision, eliminates the shake of your hand that can blur images, and helps you ensure that the elements in the picture look correct before you take the shot. To make a big difference in perspective with a wide-angle lens, try getting down low to emphasize foreground interest. Obtaining the stability of a tripod at lower angles is easy with the variety of small, handheld tripods on the market today.
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Featured image by Jean-Philippe Rebuffet