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“Most amateurs don’t get close enough and their subject is too small,” says John. By manually controlling the depth of field — actually picking up your feet and putting your camera close to your subject rather than zooming, you’ll get a more confident and captivating shot.
Too many objects in one shot will clutter it. John advises you to “carefully add one element a time.” Be selective about exactly what is in your shot in order to keep your most important subject in focus. Remember, you can control more elements in post-processing.
Though experienced shooters know the rule of thirds by heart, John says that “amateurs almost always put the subject directly in the center.” This common mistake fundamentally reduces overall visual interest; it doesn’t give the eye what it wants, so to speak. Beginner photographers can quickly shoot like a professional photographer by dividing the frame and aligning the subject on an intersection of one of those lines. Shooting horizontally makes it a little easier to get your subject perfectly off-center.
Leave a little mystery in your shots. When you exclude elements, it leaves viewers wanting more and helps eliminate clutter. John reminds you that, “we don’t need to show everything in the photograph.” Whether you’re shooting with a fancy new dslr camera or an old Nikon or Canon, your photography skills will shine most if you don’t always put it all on the table.
When in doubt, borrow from Coco Chanel and “take one thing off.” Pare your photos down to create a more nuanced look. New photographers sometimes try to create complicated shots, but great shots can be minimal in nature. Don’t worry if you don’t have a new camera either, simplicity can be captured with any equipment.
“Simplicity,” John reminds, “works very well in photographs.”
When looking for a shot John encourages you to “find an element that makes sense and flows together.” There is a whole world of options available for you – consider a depth of field that will rid any distractions. You can also try increasing the shutter speed to freeze motion for a different point of view.
Find patterns! It’s a busy world and the human eye loves patterns. John encourages you to “try to find them and eliminate all the clutter – they’ll make very good pictures.” This can work in portrait photography or landscape photography. The aim is to find a unique element that you draw attention to.