Some of the best photographers of this world make a career out of doing something all of us can essentially do. They just have a natural knack for capturing beautiful photography. They deserve every bit of success, well, because they’ve put in the work to master their craft.
All you might want to do is capture some beautiful photography for your blog, for your own memories, maybe, or perhaps even for your social media platforms – I’ve seen some seriously pro-looking IG pics that make me wonder if they weren’t indeed professionally done…
Anyway, there will always be a fine line between professional photographers, whose photography skills grant them rite of passage into those prestigious international competitions, and the rest of us who can’t even call ourselves hobbyists – the rest of us who just want to make our photography beautiful. However, there are some fundamentals which go into the making of beautiful photography, which if applied, will have you noticing just how much better your photos come out. It will be the onlookers admiring your photos who will make for the ultimate barometer for the newly-minted quality of your photos.
When your ‘job’ is made easy
Spare a thought for those photographers, hobbyist and professional, who started out with analogue cameras. It can be quite the experience, having to wait a week or so, just to see if the snaps you took came out properly, at the very least.
Nowadays you probably have a camera that’s miles better than the best digital camera that was available just a few short years ago, in your smartphone camera. Play around with the settings and your job is made a whole lot easier, particularly if you use your phone’s equivalent of the auto-focus feature. Do I need to mention the auto-adjusted lighting as well?
This is how our jobs are made easier today, but I reckon those with some experience from using analogue cameras hold some kind of advantage over everybody else. Despite all the features available to them through their smartphone cameras, their work just seems to maintain a certain element of realism about it.
You and I (I say that overlooking the fact that I’m more than just a hobbyist photographer) can only make do with the tools afforded to us, within reason. The rule of thumb is that it should look as natural as possible. Sure, blurry backgrounds and effects such as those have their place, but that’s as deployed in graphic design and print media. Perhaps social media as well.
Otherwise merely aiming a modern device and shooting can be enough to account for some beautiful photography. It’s all about the subject you choose to shoot.
Capturing the story
Photos that make people stop and stare are those which tell some kind of story. Think to yourself, “What’s the story I want to tell, here?” and you’ll almost always come up with an awe-inspiring shot. Ex. A classic car with an open road ahead, instead of it parked in the garage…
The famous rule of thirds
The classic car with an open road ahead is also an example of the rule of thirds in action. Basically the subject of the photograph is placed roughly in one third of the bigger picture, with the remaining two thirds, faced by the subject, completing the picture. It almost always works out beautifully, but it doesn’t have to be perfect thirds.
Never, ever use the zoom feature of your digital photography device, be it the latest and greatest smartphone camera or an outright digital camera. Use organic focus instead, much like how we did with analogue cameras. This means that if you need to see more detail, move closer.
Zooming should only be used where absolutely necessary, like when you just need an image for reference. Zooming is the antithesis of beautiful photography.
This is how you maintain that natural look. Additionally, use natural exposure values, like a neutral white balance, etc. If you ever have to adjust these, it’s no longer pure photography, but more like ‘imaging.’ It’s not a bad thing at all – I mean some of the greatest photos are those where the photographer has tweaked some of the features, but the best of these can never compare with the best ‘organic’ photograph.