When I started this blog almost a year ago – woo! – I knew quality photography was going to be one of my staples. In fact, I refused to start my blog until I had the camera of my dreams – which is one of my regrets. I love my camera, it’s one of the best investments I’ve made to my personal happiness. However, I shouldn’t have waited for a “good” camera to start writing and creating. My camera gave me confidence to start my blog – but not everything I needed.
Throughout this past year as I’ve learned about myself as a photographer/director (when I’m not behind the camera) and I’m come to recognize that there are some things that a fancy camera can’t fix. While you can edit and filter the image itself, you can’t alter the content. The angle, background, and subject are essential to a quality image and are fundamentals that cannot be altered. Having an eye for photographs is something that is inherit & learned.
Some important things I look for in a quality photograph are background, angle, color, and attention to detail. These are things that you notice too when you see a really good photo. Next time you like a photo on social media ask yourself why you like the photo? & I’d bet it has to do with these things
Choosing the right background is the most underrated part of taking a good photo. It’s always something we think we realize and pay attention to, but it’s often forgotten. One of my favorite places to photograph is the sea. I love the ocean because because it provides a neutral atmosphere that meets my aesthetic (important with social media channels), but doesn’t distract from the subject. Choosing a background that compliments the subject and the context is so important. For example, on my shoot in East Hampton (where these blog photos were shot) I wanted a background that complimented my dress from Leaf Boutique in Brookline, MA. The dock pillars eventuate the stripes on the dress without distracting the viewer from the subject; a backdrop that is complimentary and not busy.
Color has impressive power over a photograph. It can set the mood, highlight a subject and really pull a viewer in ; which we could argue is the point of photography – to convey a viewpoint. I made my boyfriend pull over at this shipyard because of the eye catching contrast of the rusty walls and the vessels. Taking a photo of the scenery alone created a really powerful image. However, the warm tones of the walls and the sand also served to compliment the tones in my outfit. Choosing colors opposite on the color wheel, like blue and orange, really make a subject pop. Thinking of tones, before you go out shooting, that eventuate your subject helps create a quality photograph.
A solid 80% of the photos I take for my blog never see the glow of the internet. A rouge shadow, a silly face, an unflattering angle are all reasons that these are termed “no bueno”. That’s why when I’m shooting I’m always moving, as the photographer and as the subject. Getting a different angle can provide you with different viewpoints of the same subject – allowing you to choose the perfect shot.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is one of my biggest pet peeves. It’s the one small detail of the photograph that was overlooked and now I can’t un-see. For example, and I see this many times on social media, there’s a girl standing in a beautiful dress, she looks great, but about 3 ft away from her on the ground is a Lay’s potato chip bag. Now, I can’t un-see the trash, which distracts me from her and her dress AND it tells me she didn’t take the time to pause before she posted the photo. We all do it – we scan the photo quickly, are ecstatic it’s great, and don’t see the little blemish lingering in the photo. For example can you see the “blemish” in this image? A rouge Corona can in the bottom left hand corner. A pause usually fixes this problem, taking a minute to really take in the photo. What do you like? What could be better? What can you fix? It’s also those little details that take a photo from good to wow. Make sure what you’re posting is quality, and please remember cropping is a very, very good friend.
Whether you scanned this article or read it fully what you should take away is this :
Take lots and lots of photos, try different places and things, pay attention to what you post and remember what you liked about a photo – whether it’s yours or someone else’s
Shawl is exclusively at Leaf Boutique in Brookline, MA