A Great Photo, but do you need a photography course?
Photos can look great. An astonishing landscape can transport the viewer to another time and place. Maybe it is just for a fraction of a second. A great photograph of a person can look into the person's soul, and let you share their smiles or tears. A great photo communicates to the viewer. There is an enormous market out there for photographs. Publishers know that the people who buy their materials want photographs that reach out to them. Visual communication is something that we all can relate to. Subjects out there to take photos of are never ending. The only limitations are within your mind.
But what is it that makes a photograph successful? A photography course can definitely help you, but the answer is fairly simple, and you can improve your photography today, if you just learn a few very basic rules.
However, rules are meant to be broken. Some of my favorite photographs very purposely break a lot of the basic rules. But to break the rules in a way that enhance a photograph and effectively turns it into a great photo, you first have to know the rules and second you must have a reason for breaking them.
Number one: Get in close, really close, much closer than you think.
The first, and most essential, rule: Simplify. The more you simplify a photograph, the more attention you draw towards your subject. And the more attention you draw towards your subject, the more successful you will be in communicating your message to the viewer. There are approximately a million ways to do this, so I will keep it simple and stick to my preferred technique here, and that is to get in as close as possible. When you do that, you eliminate anything in the background that may distract from your subject.
Number two: The photographic composition
Most strong photographs position their main elements in certain specific places of the frame. When you think about where you want to put your subject in the photo, you are composing your picture. When a painter starts out with a blank canvas, he or she has full control to decide where to put that river, those mountains, the trees, clouds and whatever thing that needs to be included. Creating a photograph, you ought to go through the same process.
Number Three: Is there a better way to do it?
The last thing we will talk about is point of view. The photographers' point of view more exact. How often have you seen something worth taking a photo of - perhaps a barn, a tree, or your dog - and picked up your camera to take a picture right then and there? If this is the way you go about taking photos, you can noticeably improve your technique with one simple process. Just walk around the subject. Notice how the background changes as you move 360 degrees around your subject. Try to lie down on the ground and point the camera up at your subject. Climb up a ladder and look down, trying the same thing. Tilt the camera vertically, even diagonally. Take a whole roll of film or fill a whole memory card if you use a digital camera, of the same subject from different points of view and compare the results. You will surprise yourself. You will certainly surprise the viewer by trying something different and that will add power to your photo.
So, should you take a photography course? I think so. It does not have to be a long tedious one with a lot of technical stuff and hour after hour with boring behind the desk lecture. No, go out and play with you camera - I will see you out there!
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