Creativity in photography

How creative are you? My wife tells me that she was not present in class when they thought that class. Of course, it’s a joke. But seriously, when you take pictures do you click and just hope for the best, or do you very deliberately select a composition that is going to make your photograph stand out from the rest?  Knowing about composition in photography can be of great help. I have seen so many photographs of people or just mundane things in which the main subject is dead centered in the picture. Of course, the photographer has no idea of what to do so they limit themselves to focus and shoot. The other group of images from some people I know is a repetition of the same bad composition hoping that this time it looks different. (Isn’t this the definition of insanity? Repeating the same thing over and over hoping to get a different result). I am going to tell you how you can improve your pictures.

  1. After you focus on your subject, hold the shutter button down *halfway* so the focusing mechanism keeps the subject in focus, don’t let go! Now move the camera and place the subject anywhere in the frame, just not in the middle.
  2. Keep your background uncluttered! Make sure that the background is very unobtrusive, if the subject is merging with the background or if it is so busy that takes all the attention to from the main subject, choose a different point of view or location. This means watching out for light poles, piles of garbage, or even waiting for people to cross and get out of the way…
  3. If you are photographing portraits of people, use the lens fully open! This is going to give you a faster shutter speed making your portrait much sharper. Just make sure that you focus on the face of your subject and not the clothing. More specifically, try to focus on the eyes. The depth of field will be short with the lens fully open (high aperture number, or f-stop), and capturing the face sharp is enough to have a very cool looking picture. If you focus on the clothes of the person, the possibility of leaving the face out of focus is very high. Make sure the person occupies at least 50% of the frame. The nice thing about using the lens fully open is that you can make anything stand out when you use the lens in such way. Take a look at the following photo. 
  4. Photographing landscapes can also be very tricky for some people, just make sure that you use a 50mm lens or wider and use it around f/8. This will give your image a tremendous depth of field making everything very sharp. Of course, using a low ISO is important for great photographs. High ISO will give you a lot of digital noise (grainy pictures) and if you don’t know how to get rid of it, that can be a problem.

So, there you have it, a few suggestions to improve your photography, yes I am including a few samples. Thank you for reading and I will post more helpful hints soon.

Interested in my digital photography classes in Chicago? Join us at Truman College! Also if you want to apply concepts to film photography, join the darkroom classes.

Ignacio Alvarez



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