It’s been stated that the iPhone is now considered the most popular camera in the world. However, with all of this technology at our fingertips, there are still some techniques used in traditional photography that can help to bring our photographs to another level. So I sat down with a very creative member of the Redbubble crew to share a few tips and examples. Take it away Keegan.
Photography has been a passion of mine for along time. My dad is a professional photographer and my grandpa was a professional photographer as well. When I look at a pictures I often wonder what types of angles and negative space help to make the image meaningful. I thought I’d include some basic examples and tips on framing with geometry to improve your day to day shots. Once you’ve mastered framing and composition in your pictures, the fun part is breaking these rules.
This is the act of finding balance. By keeping an eye on contrasting elements, you can balance out a picture to add impact. For example, in the image below I used the railing to create a mirror-like effect that adds contrast and balance to the photo. In addition to the color and meaning behind transit, the lines help to guide the viewer’s eyes deeper into the frame.
The boxy symmetry, seen in the image below, creates an almost mechanical effect. A box within a box. If it weren’t for the framing and symmetry in this image, it would fall apart and the story behind the hoop wouldn’t translate to the viewer.
Rule of Thirds
Thirds have played an important role in visual design for a very long time. The below picture is an example of how this technique can be used with negative space in order to ground the silhouette of my friend Steve. When placing objects in photos, don’t just center the attention in the middle of the frame. Try offsetting them into the third of the frame for a more pleasing composition.
Always take a moment to think about the composition before you click the shutter button. Whether it’s with the golden ratio, rule of thirds, or whatever. Actively use your mind to take a moment and make sure you are aware of everything in frame, as well as the geometry of the shot. In the image below there are leading lines flowing from left to right, and in the third of the shot is the subject.
This magic formula has existed for thousands of years and artists have been using it in their work just as long. If you study visual design you’ll be familiar with this subtle, yet effective technique. Leonardo Da Vinci was a fan and you should be too. In the example below you can notice a light overlay showing the golden ratio and how it helped to compose this photo.
Additional tips to consider:
- Let the image come to you, but pay attention and make sure when the time comes, capture the moment.
- Try to imagine a narrative for anything before clicking the shutter.
- Have fun. Find a partner that’s into hanging around and chatting while photo walking. It’ll help to train your brain and keep you in tune with your surroundings. Photo walks are wonderful while being alone, but having a partner around can help boost confidence while you take pictures.
- If something’s not right, like your pic is overexposed for example, try and use that to your advantage by using it to add character and individuality to the image. It’s all about asking what does this convey vs what you might want it to represent.
- Listen to music when shooting photos to get in the cinematic mood. But be careful! This can be dangerous while walking around, but can really help to break a creative lull.
- Take photos in a series, as they not only look great next to each other, but can help to expand on the story you are trying to tell.
- And last but not least, it’s important to remember: the best camera is the one you have on you. A lot of people ask me what camera I use and the truth is, many different cameras. From old and new cellphones over the years, to different dslrs, bridge cameras, and even point and shoots. Honestly, the camera is what matters least, it’s what you imagine and create with your surroundings that will propel your images forward. Get to know your camera and it’s settings so you’re ready to capture your next masterpiece at a moment’s notice.
Thanks Keegan, now get out there and take some pictures!