Learning to Analyze Your Photography requires introspection and self-analysis. It’s an essential aspect to the development of any photographer. This leads to a realization of the mistakes that one is committing and that realization in turn leads one to improve in his work. But often an individual doesn’t have what it takes to be a staunch critique of one’s own work. It needs special traits. This is why it is best to trust someone who can be honest in his opinions and often be brutal in his assessments of your work. You need either a friend who understands photography, or a senior who can play the role of a mentor from time to time. Alternatively, you can also join a photo club or class where you get to interact with other photographers and work with them. In this article we shall be looking at certain aspects which you can inculcate into your photography to improve the appeal of your images.
Pay attention to the composition
Composition is a highly stressed aspect in photography. Along with light it constitutes two of the most important factors that make or break an image. You would probably also throw in the scene or the moment that you wish to capture in that mix. But if the composition isn’t right the moment will not be captured with anywhere near the same impact that you thought it would at the instant when you made the exposure.
There is a fine line between what works and what doesn’t in photography. That fine line is easily breached. Experienced photographers develop an eye for the moment when everything falls into place. This one attribute segregates them from beginners who have to try very hard in order to achieve something fruitful out of their endeavor. This obviously comes from experience. You need to study the works of masters and practice hard in order to reach that zenith.
Use basic geometric shapes to build your image
Why is that some compositions work and others simply don’t cut it? Why is that moving the camera to a few feet left or right makes the image more endearing to the eye? And why is that changing the camera angle sometimes makes clichéd subjects make for striking images? The answer is a mix of both aesthetics as well as science. What to shoot and how to shoot it is as relevant a question as probably the time of the day or the equipment that you use. Using different elements such as light, camera angle and the concept of exposure you can create a reasonable image out of a seemingly impossible situation.
Straight lines, triangles, squares and basic other geometric shapes does have an overbearing impact on your images. Straight lines are often used as leading lines in composition and can be found on the streets, in landscape horizon lines, building roofs and other places. They work to lead a viewer towards the main aspect of the image. Similarly curved lines can also be used as leading lines in your compositions.
Triangles are one more such shape which tend to make a composition more appealing. Triangles are often considered to be one of the more ‘stable’ shapes. I am not sure why but when it comes to photography triangles tend to generate a lot of interest. E.g., can you spot the triangles formed by the rays of light in the above picture?
Play around with shapes and forms
Shapes and forms are two basic factor that governed photography when photographers did not have the luxury of colors to distract the viewer. I used a harsh word but the fact remains that the real challenge for a photographer is to draw the viewer’s attention when you cannot use color. Composition, tonal range and everything else assumes critical importance all of a sudden. The easiest way to incorporate shapes in your images is to backlit your subjects. If shooting outdoors place the subject between you and the light source. Sometimes that will happen without you having to make any serious efforts from your side. Shape can be intriguing in photography.
Form is when the shape all of a sudden take a three dimensional form. You need to play along with the light, creating subtle shadows that bring the texture forth. Form is essentially about imparting a three dimensional treatment on a two dimensional image, creating an illusion of depth and feel.
Is it possible to use all that conscientiously?
One would argue that to keep in mind all these and to consciously use them at the moment of making an exposure is probably asking too much from a photographer. I say it’s like learning how to drive a manual transmission car. You not only have to keep an eye on the road but also change gears at the right time as well as follow the road signs to drive safely. It is daunting at first. Then slowly it becomes muscle memory. You do it without consciously making an effort. The calculations are made on the fly and when you look at something you instantly know things like which focal length to use, the focus point to be selected as well as the camera angle to be used even before raising the camera to your eye.