Those of us who have discovered the unbridled joy of photographing the world around us can attest to the almost intoxicating feeling that comes with finding the perfect shot. The excitement that a photographer feels, the sense of anticipation that builds, from the moment they take the shot, until the time that they finally see it in all its glory on their computer screen, is quite unlike anything else. Digital photography has completely transformed the very nature of the hobby for most of its adherents.
If you feel that your photography is stuck in a rut and you just don’t seem to be making any progress, this guide is for you. There are a number of simple things you can do to breathe new life into your work and to focus your efforts on improving specific aspects of your work.
The first thing that anyone who wants to turn their digital photography into art needs to learn is how to carry out some basic image retouching. The most common tool for this is Photoshop, although there are now a number of free alternatives. While these tools can be used to carry out some very advanced manipulation, infusing the scene with any number of impossible additions, most photography doesn’t require extensive retouching.
With people, applying a small amount of makeup can dramatically change how people look. In some cases, it is the most subtle of changes that make the biggest difference to how we perceive people to look. By the same token, if the advanced manipulation capabilities of Photoshop represent the total makeover, image retouching is like applying makeup. Adjusting the contrast, brightness, color balance etc., can all make a big difference.
Digiscoping is a technique which is becoming increasingly popular as it becomes more affordable and more accessible. Put simply, digiscoping involves connecting a smartphone or digital camera to a scope or other external lens. For example, telescopes, microscopes, and other attachments. Businesses like Phoneskope offer Digiscoping products for smartphones which greatly expand the range of photos that you can capture and allow you to undertake some specialized photography while on the go.
Framing and Composition
Much of photography is intuitive. We look out over the scenes in front of us and we just instinctively know whether we find it to be beautiful or not. The decision of whether to take a photograph is often inspired by this instinct, if not by events unfolding directly before the photographer. However, if you start to think about exactly what it is in any given scene or photograph that you find worthy of capturing, you will begin to understand your own process better.
One of the best places to begin here is framing. Framing involves using elements of the photograph to act as a frame. These border elements often enhance the center of the photograph and will encourage you to think more about composition more generally.
Photography is a really great hobby. It gets you outdoors and encourages you to think about and engage with the world around you. If you are looking to take your photography to the next level, the above tips should help to get you started.