I started photography as a serious hobby in 2014. There is a tremendous amount to learn. My journey has provided me with some thoughts to share.
Why did I like some photos better than others?
As a beginner I took many, many photographs. I only liked a few. Not knowing why I liked some photos but not others was very frustrating. After exposure to the rules of composition, gestalt theory, how the eye moves through an image, and works of others, it began making sense. Let's look at a few of my likes.
- Clear subject.
- Lighting. The subject is highlighted by light.
- Subject is interesting. It's different. It's ambiguous. A seed pod or a creature?
- Background is not competing with the subject.
- The fisherman and location are both interesting.
- The composition has foreground, middle and background that work with the fisherman.
- The natural lighting is providing both depth and highlights to the picture.
- The eye follows the churning foreground water to the fisherman then to his fishing line then up the sunbeams and finally back towards the sunlight touched bush behind him.
- It captures the feel of fishing.
- The viewer's eye is drawn to the part in focus, the eyes.
- The catch light adds to the impact of the eyes.
- The blurred background does not compete with the subject.
- The subject is balanced within the frame.
- She's cute.
Here's one I don't like and why
- No clear subject.
- No clear separation from background.
- No accents from natural light.
The rules of composition are guidelines. For example, the rule of thirds guides the balance of the image. Your brain reacts to that balance.
Learn why you like the photos you like.
THE BRAIN EDITS
When I took this photo, I did not notice the power lines nor the gray sky. The brain affects the perception of your surroundings. The brain emphasizes some things and ignores others. The camera simply records what it sees and often surprises us when we look at the recorded image.
Learn to see like the camera sees.
Getting THE SHOT
Great photographers understand the aspects of a good image.
- Foreground, midground and background
- Technical use of the camera
- Time and Location
- How your eye walks through the image
Even so, great photographers will often take many shots of a subject to get a winner.