As a Professional Photographer one of the most frequent questions I get is “What kind of camera do you have?”, and frankly, I want to say “What does it matter!” The quality of a captured image has so much more to do with other factors. The good news is that most of these are in your control and don’t cost a penny.
Maybe you’ve heard someone talk about “Composition” which refers to the arrangement of the items you include in the photo. Composition is a big topic so let’s start with a key aspect, “Using the space to tell a story”.
Here is a typical picture of a wonderful peak on Kruzof Island in Alaska.
How much of this picture is showing interesting subject? Today the sky is not interesting. If there were dramatic clouds that would be different but it’s basically blue. By showing so much blue sky and positioning the peak at the bottom, we’ve diminished the importance of the peak.
When we see the scene in person, our mind takes over and reconstructs a picture in our “mind’s eye” that pleases us. We ignore real items like a lot of boring sky, a power pole or trash can, and even an area that is too bright or too dark. Our mind constructs a beautiful image consisting of only those parts we found appealing.
Oops, a photo can’t do that. A photo captures everything at equal value and our mind’s eye sees everything in the photo. So when you look through your camera viewfinder, or the screen on the back, stop and think differently for a moment.
Pretend the screen is divided up into a lot of squares.
Then ask yourself “How many of those squares are filled with interesting subject?” If not many, maybe it’s time to zoom in tighter or walk closer to your subject or simply change the angle of your camera. Of course you can do this with cropping in the computer but you’ll enjoy your pics a lot more if you can take a good one to start.
In this example, if we pointed our camera down then we’d get a more interesting photo with a lot more depth.
Or if we had zoomed in tighter we’d keep the peak as the main feature but fill more of the square with interesting subject.
So grab your camera and take a few practice shots and see the difference for yourself. Next time we’ll talk about “Moving the Actors In your Photo”.
Dave Ness is a photographic artist specializing in natural landscapes and is often hired for specific photography projects. You can view Dave’s photos at www.DaveNessPhotography.com
and follow his progress at