- There is one thing that changed entirely, the way I look at photography. It was an article I read by Ken Rockwell (who is my self appointed guru, when it comes to photography). The article said that the photograph should take you to your sweetest memory, or any memory for that matter. It should arouse some emotion in you. It should take you back to some place, to some time, to some phase in your life. I guess, every form of art should do that, and does. A particular song reminds you of something, someone, some incident. Like Himesh bhai's songs remind you of that time in India, when the electricity would be cut off and the dogs in the neighborhood would collectively start howling till it came back. A good painting of say a sunset will remind you of a particular sunset which you have imprinted in your mind. Likewise, in photography its very difficult to achieve this (as per the article) and a very few people can actually paint such a photograph with their camera. Good photos, everyone can take, but there are very few masterpieces. I was so very motivated when i read this. I hope atleast once, I can take a photograph that would arouse some emotion in atleast one living soul.
- Photography is very little engineering and maximum ART (Again, something i learnt from guruji, and kind of agree with). True, If you have a high end camera, you must know how it works, what are the different controls. Whats the use of a good camera if you cant exploit all that it provides? But all said and done, I have seen people take awesome snaps with their cell phone cameras. Some better than the ones taken by SLRs.
- One of the most important things while taking a photo according to me is its framing. How big the object is, how is the plane of the picture divided, how much sky you have (Snita would know, coz i bugged her a lot recently to take my snap with the right amount of sky), how much empty ground you have. A photo divided exactly at the center, with half part sky and half of it land would rarely look effective. Likewise, the size of the main object shouldnt be too small (otherwise it would not catch attention) or too large (there should be a conversation between the object and its surroundings). Making use of depth of field to create 'depth layers' in the photograph, so that your attention is eventually guided to the point of focus by the way the space of the frame is divided. This is probably the easiest way to ensure that the picture looks good, and you dont need an SLR for that!
- The lighting. I feel, this is where the SLR comes handy as opposed to a point and shoot. You can control the exposure. The amount of light you want to have for a particular setting. And there are so many combinations of the aperture, shutter speed and ISO one can use to get the desired light and the effect. Of course you can always post process it to some extent using picasa, photoshop etc.
- The photograph should have a rythm. A motion. Even if its a snap of just trees and mountains, there should be a kind of rythm in the lines. (by lines, i mean the main lines that divide the frame). This is kind of similar to the above point.
- You really have to look around you, keep your eyes open, for sights that you can capture with your camera. If there is nothing around you that looks good to your eye, even the best of photographer cannot take an effective snap. Photography is not about making boring objects look good in photos, its about making interesting objects look the way they appear to your eyes. I personally feel, that our eyes are the best cameras. (And this is technically true too, i think). I guess all the cameras are designed to meet the specifications of the way the eye sees a particular object.
- Last but not the least, best way to take good pictures is to enjoy doing it!! Take pictures because you love doing it, and not because you want to create masterpieces.
Heres wishing my Nikon a happy anniversary! My life has been much more productive, creative and informative with you around! cheers :)