Photography is one place where science and logic meets philosophical creativity and discovery receives the limelight. Photographers, for decades, have been trying to find the techniques to outrun each other; while some of these came up because of a logical thought process, most fit into the category of accidents.
Now that photography has become a completely digital phenomenon (well, 90% of it), more has become the number of techniques that can be applied. If you are someone looking forward to advance beyond the correct posture to hold your camera, without a proper introduction to the basics, things can well translate to a traumatic experience for you. Hence, first thing first; before you can be called Mr. Or Ms. Photographer, it’s time to indulge into the photography basics so as to make you face a lesser number of hurdles. Let’s start by defining the associated terminologies.
- Composition: The spatial property resulting from the arrangement of parts in relation to each other and to the whole (ref: WordWeb). This is what a photograph is all about; it is a combination of various elements put together to create an entirety.
- Subject: You need to fix your mind first upon what your photograph is going to be about. This forms the very foundation around which things shall fabricate. An image doesn’t work without the subject being emphasized. To simplify, a subject is the prime focus of the photograph you are going about to take.
- Rule of Thirds: The position of the subject defines the appeal of an image. So form an imaginary tic-tac-toe board (nine equal squares that are equally spaced). The central square thus forming shall be the strongest focal point whereas the lines are to be preferred next. This is playing psychologically; the human eye considers things within a definite frame. However, this must not be confused with the center of the frame. The subject thus needs to be placed along this point of intersection or one of the lines. E.g. In case of a portrait, eyes of the subject must be placed along these lines and the points.
With the three initial points being cleared, now it’s time to know about focusing, lighting, color and the motion. With an appropriate back- or foreground, all these four can be intensified and more than that, you can add extra dimensions to the photograph you are taking. This is because photography is all about creating a 2D representation of a 3D scene.
Focusing can be sharp or fuzzy and depends on setting the aperture (for controlling the flow of light to the film or on the digital surface), the F-Stop (for aperture measurement) and also on the depth of the field (sets the sharp- or blurriness of the focus). With all of them thrown in right proportions, you can control the flattening of the scene. A short tip here is: the subject, along with a certain part of the foreground must stay in focus while the background should remain blurry. But if you want to bring into focus an entire scene (landscape scenes, for example), you need to remember to keep the F-Stop number at a higher magnitude while keeping the light soft and ambient with the subject in a perfect contrast. One thing you need to keep in mind is clashing colors are to be avoided; it shall distract the subject.
Now, all that was about shooting at a stationary subject; what happens when you shoot anything in motion? If the shutter speed is fast, the resulting photograph shall have more definition to it; if it’s slow, the subject will be blurred.
So, to end this discussion – what matters the most to photographers? A conscious choice, beyond any doubts!