A Photography How to on Taking Photos to Art
- Remain observant. Look all around you everywhere you go. Take a meditation class to help your mind stay in the present.
- Look for texture. When looking at a mundane scene, try to identify something with a different texture or a unique pattern and imagine what a picture would look like with that object as the subject and the mundane scene in the backdrop.
- Look for color. Try to notice where there is a unique color among a mundane scene. See if you can frame your picture to highlight that this color is rare and beautiful in a mundane scene.
- Frame your picture carefully. Stand in such a way that you reduce the amount of non-artistic objects in the photo. Use your imagination to see what would ideally be in the picture. Imagining the final frame will help you block out the mundane and see just the beauty. Zoom accordingly to see just what you see in your imagination.
- Move your body to try to capture your art from different angles. Pick an angle that minimizes non-artistic objects and enhances what you are trying to capture. If you are trying to capture something tall, crouch down to maximize the height of your object. If your focus is something tiny, bend down so that you are eye level with the object and zoom in.
- Notice the sun - usually, you will want to avoid shooting directly into the sun. Position yourself to the side so the sun illuminates your object but you are not shooting into it. Be careful to avoid standing in a way that your shadow is cast into the picture.
- Consider editing - when deciding whether something is artistic, think about the many different ways you can later edit your photo to make it more artistic. Picture what the frame would look like in black and white or sepia. Consider what it would look like with the colors brightened, lines sharpened or blurred, or contrast adjusted. Don’t discard a photo simply because your shot isn’t exactly what you were hoping for. You might be able to edit it into your vision.
- Take many pictures of the same shot from different angles and with different techniques. You will often find that one picture is far superior than the others, for reasons you can’t yet understand.
- Remember safety! It is great to take an artistic photo but it is more important to stay alive. Don’t lean too far over an edge, pull over on an on ramp, back into a busy street, etc. Sometimes you just have to let a potential picture go. (added 1/5/12).
- Have respect. I was once a passenger in a car driving by a rural cemetery. I saw a man on his knees, head down, hand on a gravestone. I thought “that would make an amazing picture.” I knew, however, that it would be wrong to take such a picture. Recognize when you shouldn’t intrude or interrupt someone’s private moment no matter how beautiful the picture would be. Some things are better as memories. (added 2/4/12).
As I think of more tips on how to turn photos to art and other basic photography how to’s, I will post them here with the date. Please feel free to suggest your own tips in the comments.
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