Basics of Photographyby Christopher Haslego
he second issue in photography is the aesthetics of the picture. Aesthetics is the creativity and attention to detail that you bring to your photograph. It is the most interesting part of photography since it is almost like a visual equivalent of composing a poem or writing a story. Aesthetics requires the use of visual skills to compose and deliver a pleasing, eye-catching and captivating image. It is a type of vision that you have for your photograph in terms of look and appeal.
Aesthetics requires a good eye for detail. The following factors have to borne in mind in creating an aesthetically appealing photograph:
- Distance from subject
- Changing the direction of your camera based on picture dimensions
- Objects impinging on the picture
- Avoiding too many elements
Each of these factors that go into aesthetics are described and explained below-
The background in a photograph requires much consideration. It influences the manner in which your subject is portrayed in the photograph. Depending on your choice of background, your subject will be shown to effect or may be overshadowed. The background also makes the difference between a boring and an interesting photograph. The colors, the type of background and the context add to the vibrancy of the photo.
A common problem among beginners in photography is not paying attention to whether the image is being captured fully. When you view your subject through the viewfinder, you may think you have clicked a person from head to shoulder or from head to toe in a full shot. But when the actual photograph is processed, the top of your subject's head or part of the hair may be missing! Or, if you did not center your subject when you composed the shot through your viewfinder, a part of the shoulder or hand may be lost into the edges of the photo. You need to concentrate when you view your subject through your camera before you click, in order to get the picture exactly the way you want it.
Distance from Subject
The distance from a subject is another critical aspect in getting a good picture. You want to see facial expression, not a mass of faces when you take a photograph. To do this, you have to be at a suitable close distance from your subject. On the other hand, when you click pictures of a campus, the distance that you click from can give you a wide view and take in a lot more of the scene. To take close up pictures of flowers or crystal or any decorative item, you have to move into close range and use suitable lenses to achieve the right magnification.
Changing the Direction of Your Camera Based on the Picture
Many a time you may not be able to capture the subject in it's entirety in the conventional horizontal position in which the camera is usually held. You can easily change the direction. Hold the camera vertically and then view your subject. You will be able to capture more of a longish subject like a tall monument, a full-length picture of a child, and so on.
Objects Impinging on the Picture
At times there are certain objects in a scene that seem to almost invade into the picture. For instance, if you take a picture of a group of your friends on a street, chances are that a street sign may gain prominence in the photograph unbidden and may seem to sprout out of the head of one of your friends in the photograph. Or the light fixtures in your living room may find a place in the picture and appear in the form an unseemly blob in your photo. And the tough part is, when you take the shot you may not be aware of this because the eye is focused on the people in the picture.
Avoiding Too Many Elements
A picture cluttered with too many objects may detract from the actual subject. For instance, a wide view of a room in which your subject is sitting may create a photo in which too many objects vie for attention. If the person in the picture is your main target then narrow down and concentrate mostly on clicking the subject. While a good background adds value to a picture, too much paraphernalia could take the attention away from the main subject. Your picture may be focused and the lighting may be good but there is so much going on in the picture that it becomes aesthetically lacking and maybe even a little jarring.
Besides Light and Aesthetics, the third issue in photography basics refers to 'focusing' the picture. Getting the right focus is the difference between a blurred image and a sharp image. If you have an auto focus camera, the camera will do the job for you. This is available in most basic models. You can also achieve focus manually in other cameras using the mechanism to adjust the focus and to lock the focus on the subject before you click.
To achieve the right focus, it is important to decide on the artistic elements of the final picture. There are areas of a scene that you may want sharper and clearer. For instance, when you photograph a famous monument, you may want the building as well as the blue sky against which it is silhouetted to be crystal clear. If you are photographing a camel in a desert, you might want the camel to be clear and a slightly hazy/blurred effect of the surrounding sand. If you are taking a shot of a room containing a priceless vase, when you look through your viewfinder, you want the finer details of the intricate patterns on the vase to be clearer than other objects in its vicinity. So, it's also a question of the portion or key part of your picture your focus is really on.
This area that you identify for your focus is referred to as the 'depth of field'. You can lock the focus on the depth of field that you choose. You can control the focus and depth of field depending on your objectives for different shots.
Continue to Page 3, Basics of Photography: Understanding the Camera
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