Life Hacks: Capturing the perfect photo

Life+Hacks%3A+Capturing+the+perfect+photo

Dustin Braden

BY DUSTIN BRADEN (’17)

We use our iPhones daily, especially our cameras. We post these pictures on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. However, you’re not taking pictures the right way. Here’s how to fix that! An iPhone can’t yet compare to a DSLR, however the rules of composition that the pros use are still applicable. While there are no fixed rules for photography, there are guidelines that professionals have been using for years.

This picture shows how the rule of thirds makes your subject stand out, in this case, the caterpillar.
This picture shows how the rule of thirds makes your subject stand out, in this case, the caterpillar.

Rule of Thirds
Firstly, the Rule of Thirds. Imagine your camera is split horizontally and vertically into thirds. You want to put the most important elements of your pictures in these boxes, or where they intersect. Doing this adds balance and interest to your pictures, making them more aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.

Your eye should naturally be attracted to the subject, but by putting the subject, the bee, off to the side, you create a more aesthetically pleasing picture!
Your eye should naturally be attracted to the subject, but by putting the subject, the bee, off to the side, you create a more aesthetically pleasing picture.

 

 

 

 

Balancing Elements 
Next, instead of taking the picture so your subject is in the middle, put them off to the side! Everyone puts the subjects directly in the middle of the pictures, but you’d be surprised to see how much of a difference taking that portrait with your friend a little more to the left will make. This gives you shockingly better pictures.

 

You can see the depth of this picture by how some leaves are in front of the others, and how the background is blurred while the subject is in focus.
You can see the depth of this picture by how some leaves are in front of the others, and how the background is blurred while the subject is in focus.

Depth
When you take a picture, you’re turning a 3D view into a flat, 2D image. So it’s very important that you try to create depth in the image by including objects in the fore-, mid- and background. Another way to create depth is by overlapping—intentionally covering something in the picture up with something in front of it. The human eye automatically recognizes that one object is closer than the other when you do this, and it’s an easy way to add depth.

In this picture you can see how I frame the heart through the shadows of the tree trunks. This makes the subject stand out more!
In this picture you can see how I frame the heart through the shadows of the tree trunks. This makes the subject stand out more.

 

 

 

 

Framing
Another important thing to take into consideration is framing, or using natural things in your environment to frame the subject. By doing this, you draw attention to your subject in an uncommon but striking way.

 

 

Viewpoint
There have been hundreds of millions of pictures posted to Instagram of food. Why is yours any different? It’s all about viewpoint! When you’re taking the shot, instead of just snapping a picture looking down or at eye level, try taking the shot from an interesting angle. Take a shot with your camera almost touching your food. When taking a picture of that sandwich, get down below the top of the sandwich so the camera can see the meat bulging out. Viewpoint is what makes the biggest difference between a bad shot and a good shot. A professional photographer can find an interesting viewpoint in the daily, plain object, and that’s why you should try your best to emulate them.

Most Important Rule: Break the Rules
These rules aren’t so much rules, more of just guidelines… Photography is an art, and artists aren’t great because they all follow the same rules. Find your own style, experiment, fail, and succeed! This list is a great starting point, but don’t forget to do things your own way.