We’re often asked, “How can I make my shots more dramatic?” or “How do I tell a story with my photos?”
The truth is that you need to adjust your overall perspective of your own photography. But the simpler truth is that you can make one quick change to improve your work.
Let’s start with the perspective-adjustment: Begin by recognizing what is or isn’t working with your shot. How is your subject being portrayed? Is the background clashing or distracting? Could you be more focused on your subject? What changes when you look at your photo in black and white? Or crop out the side? If you like your photo: why do you like it? If you don’t like your photo: why don’t you like it?
(By the way, this is why we put so much emphasis on critique – especially of others’ photographs – in our weekly challenges. By training your eye to see what works and what doesn’t, you’ll start taking better shots!)
OK, so that sounds abstract and a bit overwhelming… We know you just want to hear the quick change that you can make. Well, you ready for this geniusbomb we’re about to drop on your hippocampus? It’s this: KEEP MOVING.
Don’t settle for the first or second or third shot and shrug your shoulders and wonder why your photos are not coming out as powerful as you had hoped. Don’t stop shooting until you have lots of options to review. Try different angles, move your feet, change your lens, wait an hour for better light. Digital files are muuuuch cheaper (and freer!) than film. Use ’em!
If you have the time, this 13-minute video from Allversity.org gives some great examples of how to identify the best way to tell your story by properly composing your shot.
This next video is a real gem. Another from Mike Browne, he shows you in real-time the thought process behind getting a dramatic shot, and how important it is to just keep moving around until you find ‘the shot. If you’re short on time, start at 3:39.
Finally, this short 3 minute video is another great example of how to keep moving around until you get what you’re looking for.
Oh yea, your 7 tips. In short:
- Find your story.
- Position your subject.
- Get high.
- Get low.
- Keep moving until you are satisfied.
- Don’t be lazy.
NEXT UP: Exposure Compensation
Did ya catch the last one? ‘Twas a good one: Advanced Composition – Beyond the Rule of Thirds