There are so many things to discuss, as art can take on an infinite number of forms, and to simply say, “take your pictures like this” really doesn’t work. Why, because setting, subjects, processing, equipment and purpose can be unique to each picture. Therefore, in this first segment rather than discuss the technical aspects of photography or overwhelm you with a course on optics, I think it’s more important to discuss the basics of a photo opportunity. Yes, that’s right, the photo opportunity, not the photo itself. The reason to focus on the opportunity and not the photo is that like with most processes, shooting a photo is 80% preparation and 20% action.
So let’s begin by planting a seed. I believe that with every photo opportunity there are 6 key factors to consider. They are as follows:
Subject: Is your subject easy to portray or are their challenges? (bodily features, obstruction, noise).
Intent: What is the intent or desired message that you want your photo to express? (joy, sadness, solitude, violence, power, etc.).
Yeah that me throwing a punch at Marty McSorley (rememeber him from the NHL). Here I'm trying to portray that I'm in control and ready to give Marty a knuckle sandwich. Luckily he wasn't buying it!
In this shot expression of motion was important. Use of angles help capture the motion as the subject (our son Caleb) falls off the wake. Arm position and facial expression are also factors that illustrate the stresses that Caleb is under.
Post-Processing: If the photo is not ideal, what can you do in post processing to make it so or if the photo is good, can you make it even better.
Use of cropping cut out the unsightly buildings that were in the foreground. Adding a sepia tone adds to the mystery of the picture.
Okay, it’s time for your first pop-quiz. Can you guess what I call this approach to taking pictures? If you guessed SIMPLE, you may not be smarter than a 5th grader, but you are on the road to taking better photos.
So let’s just keep it SIMPLE for this chapter and send you off with a little homework. Until the next chapter, each time you get ready to take a picture, ask yourself if your photo opportunity is SIMPLE.
Next time we’ll discuss how the 6 components of the SIMPLE approach interrelate, then we’ll start putting this approach to the test. Until then, happy shooting!