Blog #150 How to Make Pictures that Work
Here is a basic and simple formula that may help you to make better pictures. Basically, you start by finding an interesting subject. Give your viewer a break and avoid making them work to hard to figure out what they are looking at. Make their lives easier by simplifying your image. Look for a gesture or pose of interest when making pictures of people, to add to the story. You can make more “busy” or complex images but that is a skill that takes years to master. Check out the work of Alex Webb and Gary Winogrand for some of the best complex images ever made. Start simple. First things first, as they say.
After you find an interesting subject, frame it. Next, arrange the subject within your frame and use various compositional techniques to draw the viewers eye to the subject. What’s a compositional technique? Click here to find out more.
Last, eliminate distractions. That’s it! This might sound easy but it’s a lot harder to succeed at this consistently. Click here for past blog post on the subject.
Hang on a second. Is that it? Not exactly.
Bhphotovideo camera store on 34th Street in New York City is one of the best camera stores anywhere. They have literally everything and a host of knowledgable staff as well. They host seminars by photographers and post them to their Youtube channel.
I recently re-watched Robert Herman’s presentation on his Phone Book project. Watch until the end. His website is very interesting as well. At one point in the presentation, he reveals his formula, so to speak, for making images and it is pretty much the opposite of the one that I presented above.
He looks for light, then color, then content, then composition. His images are very good and even excellent. He shoots in the genre of street photography. Herman’s approach does come through in his work in that well lit and bright colours characterise his candid street images. It was a real eye opener for me to consider this approach as it’s significantly different that my own. Instead of walking around and hunting for interesting subjects and gestures, you can try to look for light, then colour. I wonder what might result?
It is worth a go, yes?
Anyway you slice it, the light is always right.
*Images: © Limelight Limited
Where: Bohol, Philippines
Subject: Travel & Wedding Pictures
Gear: iPhone Xs, Fujfilm X-E3 + Fujinon XF Zoom 18-55mm R OIS f/2.8-4.0, Olympus 35RD + Kodak Portra 400 35mm Color film [pushed +1 stop to 800]