3 Steps for better photographs

Do you want know how to take great photographs?

Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Well, the process for taking a great photograph is the same every time.

It doesn’t matter what your subject is, or what camera you’re using. It always relies on these three steps to be in place.

 

So, what are the three steps?

The three steps consist of an important Technical skill, setting your intention for the final image and deciding on a method of composition to achieve it.

I’ll break down each one in turn.

 

Setting Your Intention:

One of the most important things to consider when you want to take a great photograph, is clarifying what story you want the final image to tell.

And your intention should include both the motivation for taking the photo, and the reason why you want to create the desired result.

Taking a great photographIf you can become more intentional in your smartphone photography, you’ll be taking a huge step towards producing photos with much more meaning than simple snapshots.

Because it means you’re taking into consideration many aspects of the photo you’re creating, including the intended outcome.

So, what exactly is ‘setting your intention?’

It’s really the thought process you go through, before you press the shutter.

A way of thinking through the story you want the image to tell.

How will the image engage with the viewer? What emotions do you want to bring out? How should the viewer ‘feel’ when they see the image?

All of this information together, gives you your intention.

Technical:

Just as with any standard camera, the first thing you need to achieve is correct focus. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy when your camera is part of a Smartphone.

If you haven’t really used the focussing system on your smartphone before, it’s simply a case of tapping the screen.

When you first activate the camera on your smartphone, it guesses what the subject may be. For snapshots, etc. it does a pretty good job. Cameras generally, want to focus in the middle of the screen.

General focus point image

But, what if you want a different point of focus?

Once you have your image positioned, simply tap the screen where you want the point of focus to be. Autofocus will take care of the rest.

In the following image, you can see how focus has been placed on the remote control. The keyboard is now out of focus.

Setting focus

 

Composition:

Composition can take many forms. The most common three are;

You can use the links above to read an article about each of them. But,I’ll explain the basics below.

Rule of thirds:

The rule of thirds says that important parts of the image should be place along along an imaginary line.

That line will be either a vertical line, one third in from the left or right side. Or, on a horizontal line one third from the top or bottom of the image.

 

Diagonals:

Diagonals refer to slanted lines in the photograph, both natural and man-made, that draw the viewer’s eye into the image. And they work in a similar way to leading lines.

There are hundreds of ways to incorporate diagonal lines into your shots. Here are some examples:

  • A branch on a tree
  • Road signs
  • A fallen log
  • A river, or road
  • The side of a building
  • Steps, or a staircase, etc.

They can also give the image dynamism and energy.

 

Leading Lines:

Leading lines are self-explanatory. By using a natural line in the image (that could be a road, a fallen tree, or a pathway, etc.) the viewer is drawn into the image naturally. Almost as if they’re taking a path from where you want them to begin, all the way through to the final subject of the photograph.

 

Conclusion

There are obviously many more things you can do, to increase your changes of taking a great photograph. But, get these three right and you’ll be well on your way.

Try to practice these three steps and incorporate them into every image. The only way to consistently take a great photograph, is to incorporate these three things. And, as with everything, the more you do it, the easier it’ll become. Eventually it’ll be second-nature.

If you’ve got any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Good luck and Happy Shooting!

 

Steve

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