“You don’t take a Photograph, you make it”
Today a lot of people are photographers, equipment is cheap and post processing is easy. Everyone has the tools, the Instagram accounts and the title. It made us think is photography all about snap shots, and sunset photos? Or is there a meaning behind it? Are your photos technical, well thought out landscape photographs, do they not only capture the viewers eye but even linger in the after thought?
Do you ever stop and ask yourself “what am I shooting?” and “what do I want to produce with this image?” Keyword in this thought is: focal point.
I am very often surprised when I ask my friends and clients these two questions how vague the answers are. Because often people are just setting up the camera in a nice situation, capture a nice frame – shoot and go. But what photographers actually need is a clear focal point. This is the base – the essence of your photography, it is your ground zero! Everything is built on top of that foundation.
Ansel Adams was a clever guy and his quote makes perfect sense here: “You don’t take a Photograph, you make it”. It also makes us look smarter when we can quote a celebrity, right?
But Adams actually has a point, there is so much more to making a Photo than just shooting in oblivion. First: established what it is you want to shoot. Second: start to look around and make your image.
Many will tell you to consider the rules of composition. But instead of thinking too much about the composition rules give some thought to balance. Use your “mental scale” to look at your composition and decide if it is in balance, sure this might need some practice but that´s also the essence of photography. The science is learned it´s not a just a gift – it´s more a talent of endurance and experience.
Let your “mental scale” tell you if the photo is in balance. Is it may be a bit heavier to one side, right/left, bottom? OK, how you can adjust it? Is there anything in your environment that can help with backing up your subject? Use what you have, the environment you are in, look beyond your subject, f.x. what can you use as leading lines or is there something else you can use and integrate to your advantage.
What about distractions, is there something in your photo that takes your viewers concentration from the subject. It´s important to deal with distractions on site, readjust the image. Of course a lot of things can be fixed in post but one thing you can´t do in post editing is turn a weak photo into a strong photo. The foundation has to be good, the focal point has to be clear, this you can´t re-do in post.
Check out the new video on this subject. Here Oli shows us how he made a particular photo, how he pictured it before hand and how he delivered the final piece.