Let’s talk about some photography basics today. I’ll share with you some tips that I use.
Remember that all tips below aren’t MUST DO. They are very flexible and I also break the rules very often.
1. Rule of thirds
It’s very simple rule. You just need to divide your photo on 9 equal rectangles. You can turn on the grid option in your camera if it’s hard to imagine for you. The idea of this rule is to place the important subject where rectangles' lines intersect. The rule says that the photo will be more appealing for viewers.
2. Symmetry and Patterns
While photographing look for symmetry, interesting shapes and patterns. You can e.g. place your subject in the middle of door surrounded by two identical hanging lamps on both sides.
3. Centered composition
Very simple composition rule. You just put your main subject in the center of the frame.
I love creating frames using natural elements of environment e.g. trees, columns, doors, windows.
5. Foreground detail
Sometimes I like focusing on the detail which is in the foreground making background more blurred. I use it as a continuation of the story or to create a secret for a viewer by not showing him everything.
6. Leading lines
Leading lines help a viewer to focus on important elements and direct him where he should be looking at.
7. Fill the frame
Filling the frame is a very popular technique in portrait photography. You fill the frame by e.g an entire subject’s face. That technique creates more intimate connection between a subject in the photo and a viewer.
8. Leave a lot of space
Leaving a lot of space around your subject is another very interesting and creative technique which gives interpretation freedom for a viewer.
9. Different point of views
Photograph from different points of view to add dynamism and more appealing look to your photos. Shoot at the eye level (most popular and standard way of shooting), below eye level (even kneeling) and above the eye level (holding a camera above a subject’s head).
You will notice few things:
If you photograph people below eye level they will look more confident and tall.
If you photograph people above eye level they will look more childish and gentle.
It’s much more interesting to photograph landscapes (especially rivers and sea) from very low perspective.
10. Minimalism in details and background
I love minimalism and simplicity. I try to keep everything as simplest as possible, also in details and in background. Sometimes it’s impossible to have an ideal clear background, especially in wedding photography, but during photo shoots you have more impact.
11. Shallow depth of field
Using as widest aperture as you can (in my case it’s F/1.4) to isolate your subject from the background makes a photographing thing or person look more appealing and a viewer can fully focus on a subject.
12. Moving subject
When a subject moves from the left to the right you can give him more space on the right by placing him on the left side of the frame. And similarly with opposite direction.
13. Live View
Shooting in Live View mode gives you chance to see on the screen how a photo will look like in a final version (RAW without editing). You can make adjustments and immediately see on the screen how it affects a photo. I use Live View in 90% of situations. I use view finder only in very dynamic situations.
14. Tell the story
It’s my favorite. I care more about story than anything else. It’s so important for me while photographing to create consistent and interesting story that will take a viewer totally into my world. If you want to learn more about storytelling you can read this article.
15. Time of the day to photograph
As probably you know the best time to photograph (anything) is during the golden hour. If you want to know why and how to photograph during the golden hour click this.
16. Photographing in harsh sun
But what if you cannot shoot during the golden hour and you need to photograph during the day in harsh sun? The rule is very simple. You need to put your subject in the shadow.
If you want to read more about working with sun click here.
17. 3D dimension
How to make your subject look more 3D, more realistic and less flat?
It’s quite simple. You need to find or create the light that will be directed into the subject in 45 degrees. If you use natural light the best light that gives your subject 3D dimension is during the golden hour.
Thank you for reading. These are some rules that I use in different kind of photography situations; while traveling, in portraits, weddings or street. I hope you find it useful. You can always write and ask me about anything on Facebook or Instagram.