There is nothing better than capturing a beautiful sunset or the way the light is catching that cloud during your hike. There is nothing worse than getting back to show your friends or family the grandeur that you’ve witnessed only to present them a photograph that doesn’t come close to representing the display mother nature played out in front of your eyes. By following some simple rules you can increase your likely hood of capturing that amazing scene with your camera that your viewers can’t get enough. For a more in-depth description, click on the blue links.
Keep that Horizon Out of the Middle
When it comes to composition, maintaining the rules of thirds is a good start to a pleasing appearance. By taking the horizon out of the middle of your image and placing it close to an imaginary line dividing your image into 3 parts, the viewer will usually stay engaged longer in the image. If you have a perfect mirrored reflection in a lake, this could be a great time to throw this rule out the window and use the symmetry you’re being presented with, but in most cases, the rule of thirds is very pleasing. In the image to the left, the foreground (brown area) occupies the bottom third, the clouds another third and the starry sky, the top third. The main features like the arch, tree, and moon all fall along the lines dividing the image into thirds.
Use Leading Lines to Draw the Viewers Eye
By using elements within your image to draw the viewer’s eye, you can lead them through your photograph to the subject you intended. These are called leading lines. Diagonal lines offer quite a bit to a composition, and by using them within your images you can create a much stronger composition. In this image, many diagonal lines within the composition lead your eye to a central point.
Well, you’ve managed to get the viewer to look somewhere in your photo, now how do you keep them looking at it longer and more in depth? After you’ve led their eye somewhere with your strong diagonal leading line, you need something for them to return to. This is where anchor points come in. This is an element of the image that draws you back away from the direction your eye wants to gravitate, allowing you to keep the viewer’s eye moving through the photo. In this image, the pink reflection and light colored rock at the bottom grab your attention to return your gaze from the colorful sunrise over the mountains.
Bad Weather Can Mean Great Pictures
When storm clouds are heading your way, the first instinct is usually to pack up that camera gear and head inside. Fight the urge I tell you! When the weather takes a turn for the worse, moving clouds can create some dynamic lighting and dynamic lighting can create some stunning imagery. How many rainbows have you seen on a bluebird day?
Use Your Shutter Speed to Tell a Story
In most cases, this will require a tripod or at least a good stable surface to rest your camera. You have three main elements at your disposal to create the image your mind’s eye is seeing when taking a photograph shutter speed, aperture and ISO. By altering the shutter speed you can determine if the moving water in your shot is displayed as droplets frozen in time or if it takes on a more wispy and painted look. When your shutter is left open for a longer period of time, it is capturing anything passing in front of the lens until it closes. With a longer shutter speed, it will capture all of the movement, in this case, waves crashing over rocks during sunset. Here the longer shutter speed allows the motion of the water to cascade over the rocks in the foreground while it is still fast enough to capture waves in the background.