Most of us use photos every week. We post them on social media to detail that fantastic weekend away. We print them out to give to family members as gifts. We even use them to evidence bad driving, antisocial behavior and everything that’s weird or wacky. Seeing is believing after all. So how can you make your photos better? Can your humble smartphone really be used to capture an image that could go viral?
There are a few standard rules of image composition that help us to create a great picture. The rule of thirds, where everything in the frame is clearly divided into three, is just one of them. But when it comes to social media and telling a story, it’s more about capturing that incredible moment. See the emotion and hit the button at the right time.
Context and perspective are also really important things to consider. Showing a woman smiling in the street means a lot more when you see the reason why. Perhaps she’s just accepted a marriage proposal? You need to show her partner down on one knee to get the whole story into a single image. Putting objects into context is handy if you’re trying to show something that isn’t normal. A close-up of a dent in your car means very little unless there is a familiar object next to it to show its size. A hand or a ruler gives us context about the scale of the damage.
Once you have captured your images, your work is not yet done. Now you need to edit the images. Crop out the unimportant edge of frame areas. Grade the colors to help convey the mood or occasion a little more. Remove problem areas, or edit them to improve them. Packages like Photoshop are the industry standard for this kind of work. Understanding the Photoshop interface isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s best to take a short image editing class to help you along.
Altering the brightness and contrast can create incredible effects for your image. It can even alter the whole mood of your photograph. Of course, most of us use it to correct balance problems caused by the technology we used to capture the image. A smartphone held very steady can create incredible quality images. There are also plenty of options within your phone camera settings to alter the focus and look of the picture you create. It’s worth considering whether these are useful or if it’s better to use a pro software package in editing to tidy up what you capture.
Once you’ve finished touching up your image, it’s time to print it or post it online. Sometimes it can be really handy to print an image out at home or at work to distribute as part of a presentation or for someone who needs a hard copy. Posting the image online can give people the opportunity to print it out for themselves, or to enjoy it digitally.
However you use your digital photography, a little bit of editing can go a long way. Manipulating images can help you convey a mood or idea better. How do you take pictures?