Being able to take a compelling image doesn’t really have anything to do with your camera or your accessories. It’s about you as an individual and how you see the world around you. Often the more you practice something the better you will become at it. So naturally the more you train yourself to be able to look for compelling images the better you will become at doing so. To get you started, here are 5 tips to help you take more compelling images.
Open your eyes
I always find it astonishing when I am looking for something in the house and I may even glance at it but I miss it over and over again. This is because even though our eyes process billions of pieces of visual data every second, our brains decipher what we really need to see. Yes, it means we may miss something but without it, we would never be able to focus on anything. This means sometimes things get missed. This is the same when it comes to photography. You may be walking along the street and you may be looking around for compelling subjects but are you actually seeing them? This is the hardest part of being a photographer. So you need to try to train yourself to not only Look but to see.
One exercise you could try is to get to your location and just wait for a few minutes with your eyes closed. Instead, listen to what’s happening around you. Can you hear anything different? Sometimes you will hear sounds that alert you to things that you hadn’t noticed with your eyes.
Commit to the image
One of the biggest feedbacks that I give on my photography workshops and holidays is that people are too busy thinking about their next shot rather than the one they are taking. I’m sure every single one of you has been guilty of this at some point. You get to a location or find a subject that you want to photograph take a couple of quick photos and move onto the next. If you want to capture compelling images you have to be willing to take your time and think about just that one image.
Try to train yourself to block everything else out. Think of this as the very last shot that you are going to be taking on that day. The more time you spend on that one shot the more you can feel the atmosphere, the light, and even visualise the final shot in your mind. Only leave once you’ve got the very best shot that you can get.
Go with your gut feeling
It’s amazing how often you take a photo that you may not necessarily think looks great at the time. It’s something deep down that just feels right. Then you look at that photo on a computer at a later date you think “wow, that’s a great shot”. For all the practice, tips and visualising that comes into photography, nothing beats that gut feeling or the instinct that says you should take this photo. The great thing is that in this day and age digital photography has made this a non-issue. It’s not like you have to worry about wasting rolls of film so you can afford to be much more trigger-happy with your photos.
Get out there
Let’s be honest you’re not going to capture compelling images sitting in your living room. To be able to take those compelling shots you have to be in places that give you the opportunity to do so. That doesn’t necessarily mean having to fly off to exotic far off places around the world. Anywhere that has people, nature or even wildlife has the potential to provide compelling images. For example, head out in a city at sunrise and you will be rewarded with endless photo opportunities. Or take a hike out in the wilderness and you will come across natural scenes that can provide compelling images. The key here is to actually put yourself in places that are going to give you that opportunity.
Unfortunately, the world that we live in today has become synonymous with likes and shares. Put a photo up on Instagram and instantly you may have people liking or commenting on that photo. This has led to a whole new set of rules that seem to govern how you should take photos. I recently came across a guide that talks about the type of photos that will get the most traction on social media. But photography isn’t about likes and shares it’s about creativity and sharing your vision of the world with the viewer. So stop worrying about what other people think and do what you want to do. Never forget that.
Capturing compelling images is what drives us, photographers. Being able to see the world in a different way and capturing those unique moments can be incredibly satisfying. The great thing about photography is that everyone has a different view and vision of the world. We all see things differently and there are things we like and things we don’t like. This gives a huge amount of opportunity for any photographer to be able to put their own stamp on the way they see the world. If you can do that and stay true to yourself you will be able to capture some incredibly compelling images.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission.