At the core of all photography lies subject, composition and lighting. If those three things are poor, no amount of post-processing work will fix it. It won’t matter what your aperture, f/stop or ISO is if you don’t have an interesting subject, good composition, and great lighting. Without these, a photo will lack impact.
Learning how to effectively read a photograph will give you better insight into how to achieve those crucial elements in your own work.
Reading a photograph is the study of how a particular image was created and the thought process of the photographer behind it. Photographers constantly make decisions about lighting (quality and quantity), composition (the arrangement of visual elements) as well as content (subject and meaning) when taking photographs.
Every image offers a variety of interpreta tions and by observing and interpreting t he choices a photographer has made in each we can learn and improve our own skills. To become better phot ographers, we have to spend time looking at what other photographers are doing and learn from each other.
Of course, you may already instinctively know what you like, but by learning how to analyze the basic visual elements a photographer uses to communicate with, you will better appreciate and understand what you like or don’t like about a particular image.
As I mentioned, a successful image depends on a number of things that must come together including: lighting, composition, and subject matter, but for part I of this discussion I will be focusing on the basic building blocks of all visual arts – the elements of design.
Keep in mind that understanding these various elements are only guidelines and you should also follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something different, learn from your successes as well as your failures. Surround yourself with others that share your enthusiasm and you will improve your skills quickly.
The Visual Elements:
2. Form/Shape and Space
These elements are the basic components of composition; they are the structure of the image and provide the photographer with a set of tools to begin working with. I address each of these elements and offer insight on how to use them to improve your photography over at Tidy Mom. Cheryl has generously lent me her space for the day and I hope you will please join me there.
Next week will be part 2 of this series and in the spirit of learning from each other I’ll be featuring YOUR photos!
I’m discussing the following concepts:
Send in your very best images that highlight any of the above concepts and I’ll include a selection of them in next week’s post as examples!
You can email them to me at gourmandeinthekitchen[at]gmail[dot]com or leave a link to the image in the comments section below. I can’t wait to see your submissions!
Read part 3 of the food photography series: Prop Styling with Paula Walters
Read part 4 of the food photography series: Food Styling Q &A with Tami Hardeman
What do you do to improve your photography?