Better image is the goal of every photographer. It is almost automatic that you aim to capture a better one each time you press that shutter. Of course, it is not an overnight success to have better image of everything you try to feature in your photo. There are lots of patience, failure, ups and downs, new learning, and eureka moments in the journey. However, there are some minor adjustments to cut it short a little. Please remember that there is no shortcut to success and it also apply to photography.
Identifying the elements on how to create a better image is one key. Being able to determine what to focus on is a game changer. Knowing where to concentrate will help you maximize the potential of doing it better. Moreover, be open minded. If these elements are not good enough, break them. Since, photography is about following rules and breaking them.
ELEMENTS TO FOCUS WITH
Before doing the shoot, be sure to include the concept in the planning. A better design starts from a good concept. Same is true in photography. Having a good concept will help you boost an already good skill. Concept depends on what your subject is, who you shoot for, and why you are shooting this certain subject. First, you have to research about some photography concepts. There are tons of it in the internet. Second, relate your subject to different concepts. Then, choose what is the best fit. However, you could conceptualize on your own, on what you think is the best concept for the subject.
Break it: Personalize. If you think that the concept you have in mind is not good enough, try to consider personalizing the shoot. These may not be applicable to product photography but perfect with wedding/prenup photoshoot.
Better image has the perfect mood. However, setting the mood is quite complicated as it deals with lighting setup, temperature, background, and props. Mood is connected to the concept you are trying to achieve. These two come hand and hand. Make sure you blend them perfectly. Ensuring the mood is in sync with the plan should be your first priority. A darker setup could make a more dramatic and cinematic feel. Knowing what kind of light and how much light you need is a key factor in setting the mood. You could use the light passing through the window and balance the softer light using a reflector. A reflector could be anything that is white, silver, gold, or any color you wanted. This will intensify the feel you want in it.
Break it: Shoot in a full studio setup where there is no shadow. This is when you want to show details in the subject or you don’t want to build any story, just showing something. This is usually in the case of product photography but it doesn’t mean that you cannot set mood in product photography.
In framing the subject the safest way is to follow the rule of thirds. The know how in where to place the subject will help you in the long run. The subject should pop in the image. Proper distance between the background and the subject creates the dimension within the photograph. You should create balance between everything within the image. This balance could be different with symmetric balance.
Yes, we are talking about where should you focus your lens. Focusing to the subject make it sharper than the background and the props, if any. However, you could make everything in the image as sharp as any other things in it to attain a better image. Setting the aperture right is the key to achieve this. The aperture is the f-stop in your lens (set in the camera). The widest aperture (F/ lower number, e.g. f/2.8) of your lens will give you shallow depth of field which means a certain spot is sharp and the others are blurred (perfect in achieving bokeh). A narrow aperture (F/higher number, e.g. f/12), on the other hand, will give you equal sharpness throughout the image.
The color of the image could make or break the image. Selecting the color of your subject and the background should compliment each other. Considering the hue and saturation is the key. I would suggest that you keep the saturation level low (but not negative) to make it more realistic. Unless of course it is a HDR image.
Break it: Shoot in black and white. Sometimes, shooting in black and white is still the best option. In shooting black and white, you have to mind your contrast and exposure very well. This genre of photography needs higher contrast. However, my tip is that you still shoot in color and convert it to monochromatic in post processing.
It is very important that your image catches the attention of the viewers. Easier said than done. This is the main element you have to build. Appeal is something special about the image. You can’t just switch a dial and get appeal. With the perfect combination of concept, mood, composition, focus, and color you will achieve a better image.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR A BETTER IMAGE
- Be sure to check the images after each click so that you could adjust when necessary. It is always better to be sure than sorry. Checking each image after clicking so that you prevent disappointments after. You don’t want to find all your photos in the photoshoot over/underexposed or blurred.
- Maintain a low ISO as possible to avoid noise. Higher ISO will give you more grain and noise per photo. However, you can still use higher ISO depending on the situation and mood you want to achieve in the image.
- Shoot Raw. Shooting in raw format is usually the most recommended format due to its flexibility and advantages. It is better when it comes to enhancing your photos through post processing. For more information about RAW format, you may check this article. Why should you shoot in RAW format?
- Do post processing. As digital photography see daylight, post processing becomes more and more needed. It is already a part of producing good quality images. Although other photographers might not agree, I believe post processing is a must. It might be little adjustment in exposure to some other retouching.
- Make sure you have spare battery and memory cards just in case. It is a sin draining your battery out in an event or a photoshoot. I believe this one is very evident and need no further explanation.
- Rely on a tripod to avoid camera shake. A tripod is very useful to make a steady and firm hold when shooting. Any movement caused by unnecessary camera movements in taking a photo could ruin everything. Unless of course you have a reason not to use a tripod. When you opted not to use a tripod (or the situation doesn’t permit you), you can use any steady posts or walls to brace yourself. You can also hold the camera in a manner that your elbow is braced to your chest/body.
- Have a backup plan (Plan B). Your plan A might not work out as it is supposed to be. So, a series of backup plans should be always available. Adapt and improvise.
- Be patient. Patience is a virtue. Wait until you have a better angle, light, and moment. Knowing when to click the shutter takes a lot of experience before you master.
- Continue learning. Photography is a very broad and fast changing field. Don’t be afraid to try new things and be consistent with your effort. Practice makes perfect and you can learn more through your mistakes.
- Experiment. Think out of the box. Try something new each day. Look for different angles and composition. Change is not a bad thing. However, try new things only after taking your safe shots.
- Don’t quit. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Photography is not a very friendly environment. Bear in mind that every successful photographers experienced what you are experiencing right now. What happened is that, they never quit.