Hey friends, I think it’s safe to say that most of us like to take photos, right? But I also realize that most people don’t actually want to learn photography, what they want is a few easy tips to take better photos. So I’m writing this monthly series to help you with that, whether you have an SLR, a point and shoot camera, or even a smartphone.
You know when you stumble onto a gorgeous scene, say a mountain landscape or or a stand of trees that are displaying the best fall color? It’s beautiful to look at, but sometimes the whole picture might not translate into a good photograph.
Next time you find yourself in this situation, try keeping it simple:
Find something similar (but simpler) nearby. What was I going for on the left? Not sure? Me either. I’m guessing I was captivated by the beautiful color at this overlook. The trees on the right were in the parking lot. The parking lot! And then the wind picked up just a little and blew some yellow leaves off of the trees – what timing!
Here’s another example of finding something nearby. This whole beach was loaded with ice covered trees, I just had to find one with a nice background (and a few less branches).
Try getting closer to your subject. While I think the image on the left could’ve worked if I tried a bit harder, there was a lot going on in the foreground and the sky was blown out, and the tree is cut off… I much prefer the detail of the frosty leaves and the colors and the overall simplicity in the image on the right.
Think about capturing the essence of a place. On the left, is a snapshot of our mess of camping/beach gear. On the right, in the same location, is my friend holding out a handful of clams that he just caught in our little bay. What I like about the image on the right is the tidiness of the shot, but also it brings to mind really good memories of camping on that beach: Everyone digging up clams like crazy and then later, cooking them up for dinner on our campfire.
Change your perspective to remove distractions from the frame. Now I don’t think the image on the left is bad, some might think the lines are leading the viewer in, and I kind of agree. But I prefer the image on the right. It’s calm, quiet, and artsy.