Making Better Photos

August 12, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

We're professionals at Ikon Photographs.  We've spent endless hours in school learning a wide array of techniques to perfectly craft images that last.  We've spent untold hours, days and weeks on sets and location all over the place in the ever-elusive "perfect image".

We tirelessly pursue perfection in our art and trade.  We're never satisfied.  Oh sure we produce some stellar images alright, but a wise man once said "The main obstacle to perfection is satisfaction." 

We all want to make really good photos right?  I mean, what good is showing off your world to friends and family on Facebook if your pictures aren't awesome.  It's been said that a "picture is worth a thousand words." Well, we're about to show you how to add "Awesome, Magnificent, Stupendous and Incredible" to that list of a thousand words when people see the photos you take.

We're going to show you some "professional secrets" about images that you likely didn't know (or you may have but just didn't know what it was called.)

Each camera has a viewfinder or LCD screen with which you can "compose" your image.  This is your "tabula rasa" as the Roman's called it. (Bet you didn't know they had cameras back then eh? :) ) 

Rule of Thirds

If you're not good at fractions, you might want to get brushed up so your pictures will start to have a nice polish to them.  In photography there is what is called the "rule of thirds" by which the "frame" of the camera (the area of the viewfinder or in today's world the LCD screen) is divided into "thirds". Some camera models even have these "thirds lines" displayed in the viewfinder to assist you in composing. (Oh that's what those lines are! You might be thinking...)

 A photo will show this better; In a thousand words or less...

Don't get distracted by the cute...pay attention to the red lines...Those are "thirds lines"...They divide the image into thirds both vertically and horizontally.

Great photo right?  I mean, LOOK AT THAT CUTE!!!! LOOK AT IT....

LOOK.

Ok, stop looking...

Now look at the red lines.  Do you see how the baby is not in either thirds zones either horizontally or vertically?  He's not even placed at the intersection of "thirds lines"?

This might be a difficult concept to grasp right away.  Here's an example of a subject (same cute...prepare yourself...) properly placed in a frame using the "rule of thirds"...

Ok, we've seen the "cute" already...so let's maintain our focus...(See what the photographer did there...he made a joke...) on the subject.

Notice how he is placed within a third 'zone" of the image...in this case, the right third of the image.  This draws your focus to the subject, it makes for more of a dramatic image, it gives the viewer something to say "Hold on a minute...this is something NIIIIICE...." \

Note: You can also use the intersection of these thirds lines (horizontal/vertical) to give specific emphasis to something (a certain detail that you wish to highlight or demonstrate to the viewer etc...).  Our eyes are naturally drawn to this thirds concept.  (It's actually a design thing.)

Nothing other than the framing has changed in these images...Same baby (cute), same lighting, same backdrop, same outfit, you name it. However, just by using the rule of thirds effectively...which image would you prefer to stick up on your facebook wall?

Moving right along...

Space...the final frontier...[/Shatner Voice]

In a frame (that's what we like to call pictures...) you have a certain space...In the above photo there are 2/3rds negative space (empty/unused) and 1/3rd "positive/active space"  Artists use negative space vs positive space to effectively impact the viewer and draw their eye in one way or another.  By putting so much negative space in the above frame...your eye is forced to look at the subject instead of all the neat little wrinkles in the backdrop.  

Another way to use space in a frame is to "fill the frame".  To literally put the subject in as much of the frame (if not all) as possible.

Warning...More cute ahead.

Now that's a frame full o cute! 

Filling the frame can be done for a variety of purposes.  One of the best I ever saw was a photo of a professional football player that a photographer had made a portrait of.  He literally made the shoulders of the linebacker touch each side of the frame, and had even included the edges of the film in the image to demonstrate just how huge this guy was.  He literally looked like he was busting out of the film frame.  It can also be done to draw extra importance to your subject by forcing the viewer to be full on confronted with every intricate detail of the subject in the picture.  You begin to find yourself looking deeply into the cute baby's eyes.  You see the drool on his chin, the happy in his smile...you're sucked in by the cute once again aren't you? 

SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!

One thing that is really important to point out.  When you're making portraits of someone.  Focus on the eye closest to the camera, unless you're wanting to portray that they are looking off into the distance or off the frame somewhere.  It makes for nice photos!

 

Portrait vs Landscapes.

Do you ever look at your printer setup when it asks you if you wish to print in "portrait or landscape" mode and wonder, "What difference does it make?"  Well, it makes a lot of difference in photography.  Portrait orientation (vertical) is generally used...well, for portraits, or long, tall items like trees or buildings.  Landscape orientation traditionally allows you to show items more fully on a horizontal axis.  However, do not let these terms fool you.  You can shoot a portrait of someone in a landscape orientation just fine.  Vis a vis. (More cute on the way...)

Look at that...a perfectly acceptable "portrait" in landscape orientation...and look at all that cute!!! :) 

You might also notice that this image starts to "pull it all together...We've effectively filled more than half the frame.  His nose and eyes are nicely lined up along "thirds" lines and we even managed to get the right amount of "pouty" from the model.  This frame is well on its way towards being a keeper to show grandma, aunts, uncles and everyone that you forcibly inflict your cute upon!

So, those are just a few tips that you can use in putting images together that will make your photos shine next time you whip out the camera to take some pics to show everyone your world.

 

If you're interested in learning more about photography and how to make better images, Ikon Photographs is available for private photography lessons.  We can teach you the basics, the advanced stuff (like studio lighting) or anywhere in between!

Thanks for reading and check back another time for more information and ideas for better photography! 

David 

 

Contact us to book a free consultation for a photography session today!  Bridal, Maternity, Kids, Seniors...We do it all!

 


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