Seeing photographically

To make good pictures it is essential not just to know your camera. It is also important to take your time to learn some about image composition. Because the best camera in the world would be useless when you don´t regard the rules of composition. So if you are a beginner in photography, you need to develop a photographic view by adopting those rules.

If you ask yourself, were do they come from I can give you the answer. They were developed and established by genius artists in the past centuries. Later they were adopted by photographers. But I have to tell you that you don’t need to follow these rules blindly to create great compositions. You can rather do good pictures when you are willing to disregard obsolete and antiquate principles. For example, in the classic photography, it is said that the entire motif has to be presented in a picture. Modern photographers though go further and photograph just specific sections of a whole. Thus, they are able to make some new and bold creations.

Now let’s take a look on a couple of the methods which could help you to develop your photographical view

The two-dimensional view in photography

One of the photography basics is to learn to see the motif two-dimensionally which you want to photograph, because a camera cannot produce any 3D-pictures. In other words, what you see through your eyes has a complete another impact on a two-dimensional photograph.

For that reason, some of the professional photographers recommend to observing the landscapes with one eye, while the second one is closed or covered with the hand. This will help to develop your ability for a photographical view.

For my share, I never did this. Instead, I formed a kind of a frame with my thumbs and forefingers and held them in the front of my motif (like in the picture above). This method is also used by photographers. It works pretty well and my experience was that this corresponded quite good with the pictures I made by using this method. But of course you can choose your favorite way.

Circle around

Additionally to the frame with the fingers or the one-eye-view you should circle around your motif if possible. Don’t dread to go down on your knees to change the point of view. Neither don’t hesitate to lay down prone and to direct the objective of your camera onto the motif.

Avoiding of overlappings and disturbing elements

Seeing photographically does not only mean to see two-dimensionally. It also means, you should learn to see the details which no-photographers would not see. Overlappings are one of those details, every photographer should recognize and avoid absolutely, to ensure a good picture composition.

Disturbing elements are leading likewise to poor results. Hence, you need to avoid them as well. Now let’s take a look on a photo to see an example for overlappings and disturbing elements.

Looking at this composition below I have to say, it could have been a great picture, if there weren’t been the boat’s masts. The masts cause a lot of overlappings and for that reason they bring a lot of restlessness into the photo and let appear it unbalanced.

This is another example of a miscarried composition. In this case we don’t have hardly annoying overlappings but too much disturbing elements. But where are them exactly? I’ll tell you.

There are too many disturbing elements besides the main element – which is the building complex on the left side. On the right side you can see a red ship, behind this ship a part of a white cruise liner. There is also a tower with some power supply lines and so on. As you can see, this photo is quite unattractive.

Now let’s take a look, how to improve it. Observe the picture below.

This one is still not perfect but much better that the previous photo. By zooming in (or cropping) to make the disturbing elements disappear, you see now a picture, which brings more calmness and more structure by the clear outlines of the building and the peer.

Calm backgrounds

Seeing photographically also means to give attention to the backgrounds. Calm backgrounds are an important technique for a successful picture composition. For this reason, when you see through the seeker of your camera, you also should pay attention to the background, not only to the motif. If you see a disturbing background, you have the choice. Either you can open the aperture more widely to make the background blurred or if you can, put your motif in front of another background.

This is an example of a restless background which makes the photo pretty unattractive:

So let’s take a look on another picture. This one comes much better into its own because the background is blurry and delivers the calmness. Thus, the eye of the beholder can concentrate to watch the main motif.

Actually, the background is pretty disturbing. But as it is blurry, it brings the calmness into the composition.

Deleting failed pictures or retouching them instead of learning how to see photographically?

Of course, you can delete the failed pictures when you check them back home on  your PC. But what if you notice a mistake and would not have the possibility to return to the place you shot your photo? By means of a steady training of your photographical view, you would be able to avoid these disagreeable situations on the spot.

And of course, if you are good in Photoshop, you could retouch the failed picture. But what if you feel that the photography is for you more than a nice hobby? In this case you would notice that all of these belated retouchings would be a very annoying job which costs a lot of your precious time.

Hence, it is better to avoid all the disturbing elements from the outset by training of your photographical view.

Okay folks, these were just a few photography basics for beginners. Please, be aware that if you want to make real good pictures and act like a pro in photography, you need to read some good books firstly. To start, I can recommend you the book “BetterPhoto Basics” from Jim Miotke.

After you’ve read this book, you need to practice as often as you can. Because the best book in the world can only impart the theory. But you can only achieve real good results when you are practice the theory. You should also note that the photographical view will not come over night and it will take its time. So don’t be disappointed if it will not work immediately.


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