I will be the first to admit that I haven’t got everything figured out in photography. It is a craft that comprises such a vast spectrum of skills and knowledge, personal creativity, technical aspects of equipment mastery, and interpersonal skills (yes this is a big one). Yet even with most of these down pat, it is not a given that your audience will like your images. Whether someone likes your images is highly subjective!
Well the keyword here being ‘subjective’, what I am going to cover in this post are 3 elements that have helped me like my own images more, and hopefully others do too.
Location — I firmly believe that the location in which you shoot your subject is paramount to the results you get from the photoshoot. This might have been a product of me starting out primarily photographing landscapes, but I just find that an image comes together much better when the subject is allowed to interact with the surrounding environment.
It is true that we can still achieve great photographs of people (for example) even in less than ideal locations. A simple example would be taking a close up picture of a groom gently kissing a bride on her forehead with a golden sunset backlighting them. Granted this would be a beautiful addition to the album, but it might pay to include more of the surrounds into the pictures.
This is especially true for weddings or engagement shoots. It always brings more meaning to the couple when they look back at the photos and while sharing the photos with others… think to themselves, “Hey that was where Adam popped the question to me!”, or “I still remember this park when Jane and I had our first date”.
Lighting — There’s no way around it, if photography is a country, then light is its governing body. No light, no picture. The way light is captured in a photograph also sets the mood and tone of the image.
In order for a photograph to stand out from the millions of similar ones taken, more often than not it helps to have interesting lighting. Maybe its bathing the subjects in the warm glow of the golden hour, or highlighting an interesting part of the picture with shards of light penetrating a stained glass window, lighting choices (or availability) can really make or break a picture.
Composition — Now I’m not talking about the Rule of Thirds, which by the way is super important in the field of photography. But here I want to touch more on the importance of knowing what you want to capture in a photograph, and finding ways to accentuate that.
In weddings, say during the ceremony, it says much more to capture the groom’s expression WITH the bride and her father walking down the aisle. Granted this is a pretty simple example to illustrate my point, but composing the image in certain ways does give it more context.
Then there’s the choices of where you want your subjects to be in relation to the environment, do you want to show more of the location or more of the subjects? There are little nuances to composition that when grasped properly can give the photographs more meaning and pop.
So these 3 elements are what I feel can really make an image look better and it is important to realise that when applied together, the results you get are often greater than that of the sum of its parts. Hope this helps and let me know what you think are crucial to taking pictures that stand out!
Keep shooting 🙂