Are you an intentional photographer or a ‘snap happy’ photographer?
I must admit, before I began to take photography more seriously, I fell into the latter camp.
I would arrive at a well-known ‘honey pot’ location, be in awe of the beautiful view, then get out my phone and snap away, hoping that I would have a ‘nice picture’ to take home with me.
However, as part of my learning in photography I began to study the work of good photographers and appreciate good photographs, and my attitude towards taking photographs changed.
I began to realise that good photographs all had some things in common that helped them appeal to the viewer.
All the photographs that I admired were composed intentionally to include certain elements.
Some of them had a leading line directing the viewer’s eye to the subject or into the centre of the frame.
Some had subjects deliberately placed in a certain way within the frame.
In some of the images, there were layers to include a foreground element, a mid-ground and a background.
I took this image on a hike close to my home. I tried to do more than just shoot one mountain from the top of another. I got down low to include some foreground which I hope makes the image more interesting
All these images used light effectively and added drama or mystery or evoked emotion through their choice of subject and in the way they told their story.
I came to realise that it is not a good view or an interesting scene that makes a good image; it is the way in which the photographer interacts with these elements, how the elements are intentionally placed and how the overall image is composed to achieve maximum impact for the viewer, that makes a good photograph.
Now when I arrive at a scene, I don’t just grab a camera and snap that beautiful view. I spend time observing, thinking about what I want to achieve, what way I want my image to turn out.
In the above images I tried to be more intentional about my compositions, rather than randomly snapping
Since I am not a professional photographer, and don’t need professional equipment, I often find myself mentally imagining my images as I walk along and then taking out my phone camera to see how I can translate this image in my mind into something real and tangible.
In this instance I was looking at reflections in a river as I walked past and wondering if there was a spot that might give me a vantage point from which to make a reflection image. With a bit of scouting, I managed to find this spot and get close enough to get the bridge reflected in the water
To sum up
Even though my images would not be ‘keepers’ to most photographers, to me they are an important part of my learning curve therefore they teach me more about photography than simply snapping a beautiful view.
I don’t go to many iconic locations.
I prefer to make my images by composing intentionally in lesser-known locations, rather than taking photographs of the views that are presented in front of me in iconic locations.
My image may not be an image of an epic scene, but it will represent a step further along the road of learning how to put all the different photographic elements together so that they result in an image that is pleasing to the eye and maybe worthy of a second glance from the viewer.
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