This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 8, 2014

How to take interesting photos

For whatever reason, many people insist on taking terrible photos. And it really just has to do with the difference between what we see *in real life* and what is captured in the frame of a photograph. It has to do with a concept called composition, which is always included in classes relating to drawing, painting, design, and photography. Or at least it should be.

Composition is an abstract concept, so if you've learned it, fine, and if you're interested in it, take a class or two. If you'd rather not get that deeply into how to create interesting visual spaces, here are a couple of tricks that can help, anyway.

• Have a subject. That is, take a photo of your dog, or a friend. It's OK to have background visuals, but be sure to have what is known as a focal point. You may be surprised that this kind of thing often happens accidentally, as it's what the human eye wants to see. If you take a photo of some landscape that looked scenic in real life, the photo may be interesting if you manage to catch the sign that says, *no photography allowed*. Think of your subject as the star of your *one frame* movie. It's great to have a supporting cast, but focus on your star. Personally, I like pictures of people standing next to cars. Ultimately, the car is the star.

• Avoid the annoying filters. Applying a filter to a bad photo is just polishing something that, well, shouldn't be polished. Like everything else related to visuals, if you know what you're doing, using filters can be beautiful. If you're doing it just because the photo looks awful, take another photo. Applying a filter to a photo just advertises to everyone that the photo you took is awful. Believe me, people already know.

Photography is like acting. Most people don't know how to do it, but most people can tell when it's bad. At the very least, if you're bad at it, give people a break, especially your friends who need to tell you *it's great*. If you're interested in making your photography better, set aside the camera for a while and study composition, and design.

Public domain image by photographer Ken Kistler

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