The word photography itself originates from Greek words meaning light and writing. John Herschel formally introduced the term around 1839. The first known photograph was taken by French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1825.

An amateur to photography can always take help and study the craft to improve his or her work. The basic concept is to get proper core guidance. Join a short course, or learn from books that have been written about the subject. One does not need to enroll themselves into expensive institutes. Photography, apart from its techniques and methods is also about instincts and creativity. What is important is to learn the ropes in the beginning and get a push in the right direction so that when you start, you know what you’re doing and where you’re heading. There is a vast variety of literature that is available on the subject, containing some fundamentals that can take you from an amateur hobbyist to a professional.

People often say that the only rule in photography is that there are no rules! However there most certainly are some composition guidelines that can be applied to most instances and therefore enhance the impact of the image.

The most basic can be called the Rule of Thirds. Imagine your image being divided by two vertical and horizontal lines into nine equal segments. The aim is to try and position the key elements from the scene along these lines, or at the intersections of the lines to create a semblance of balance and placement.

Now Balancing the elements is also very important of course. Placing your subject off-centre does create an interesting effect but the rest of the frame should not feel empty or void. Include other subjects that may be of lesser importance but lend some ‘weight’ to the image. Balance is the key.

Using techniques like Leading Lines gives the viewer an opportunity to view the image or photograph just as the artist wants them to. The placement of these lines or the composition of the picture can affect how our eyes move or travel through the frame and hence, give the photograph a distinct quality.

Symmetry and Patterns are just as important as creating a balance in the photograph. It lends to the feeling of even-ness and whole-ness to the frame. The Viewpoint itself can greatly effect not just the visual quality of the picture but also the message that it puts across. Different angles may depict entirely different stories.

Background of course contributes to the overall picture quality as well. It can sharpen the focus on the subject or help it blend in, creating an entirely different effect. The scene of depth of field also helps one achieve a wide or a narrow focus, thereby creating different effects. Framing and Cropping are two other techniques that provide variety when clicking and presenting a photograph.

Amateur photographers should also grab the opportunity of experimenting instead of settling down with a particular style or signature immediately. Digital photography has greatly reduced the added costs and the worries of wasting expensive film. With proper guideline and direction, one can turn photography into an enjoyable, fulfilling career.

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