Photography Tips: Improve Your Photos Using Geometry & Perspective
Photography is one of the most available art forms in which a huge amount of amateurs engage. The majority of camera users have no training whatsoever $6; most of them haven’t even read the camera’s manual, but, nevertheless, use this wonderful equipment to create pictures of things that are appealing to them, and enjoy doing so.
We could say that the lack of technical dexterity isn’t an obstacle for amateur photographers -something that evidently doesn’t apply to every other art. For instance, let’s compare photography to music, or one of the plastic art forms, such as painting or sculpture. A huge amount of people own a camera and use it, even if they don’t have technical information of the way photography works, and even if they don’t participate that much in the way the photograph turns out; while using the manual mode of digital cameras, the photograph usually turns alright. On the contrary, not very many people own a violin and just go ahead and play it, without knowing the different notes and having mastered years of dedicated practice. Furthermore, not many individuals make hundreds of paintings or sculptures every time they go on a trip, trying to capture the most interesting and beautiful experiences they encounter and create something artistic out of their travel adventure, as many tourists do with their cameras, shooting here, there and everywhere.
However, the art of photography goes much beyond just buying a camera and shooting; there are lots of photography tips and technical information that can take you from achieving pictures that are “alright” or “good enough” to photos that can take your breath away, and make captivating images that can truly be admired.
The truth is that photography is a fantastic way of generating an artistic expression and almost everyone loves it. I know I loved it ever since I started using my first camera, and the more I know about it, the more joyful it becomes.
How to Improve Your Photographs: Composition
One of the most important things to learn about photography has to do with composition. In order to create captivating images, one has to incorporate elements that give the picture depth and make them more appealing to the human eye. There are several composition guidelines that are recommended to create generally appreciated photographs; no matter which subject or theme one might be engaged in, these guidelines will improve your pictures. It doesn’t matter if the photographs are made for one’s own pleasure or for the world to see, an absolute truth is that a better composition will always make more interesting, beautiful photographs.
One of the easiest composition guidelines, easiest because it can be learned and be applied right away and make a huge difference in the aesthetic composition of your photographs, is the guiding principle of “Geometry and Perspective”. This guideline can be implemented even with compact automatic cameras, as well as manual mode photography in more sophisticated cameras, and it is quite simple.
Geometry in Photography
In photography, geometry has to do with the way the elements included in the photographic frame are arranged in relation to each other, creating different lines and angles and thus, forming identifiable surfaces such as circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. Nothing better to explain this than precisely a photo:
Compare photo A and photo B. These are some pretty basic photographs that are almost identical one to another except for their geometry. Photo A is completely flat, it has no dimension and it isn’t attractive, even though it has the same gloved hand and the same dotted red sheet than Photo B.
On the contrary, Photo B is quite interesting and suggestive, it makes you think and imagine more than just a gloved hand and a dotted sheet, and it actually catches your eye. The difference between these two photos is that the elements in figure B are arranged in a way that creates geometry and gives depth to the image. The hand is positioned in a way that forms a big triangle, and these by the way, are the stronger geometrical forms simply because humans tend to fixate first in them.
By comparing these to pictures, we can say that Photo B is a better photograph than Photo A because it has a richer composition, which follows the guideline or photo tip of geometry.
Another Example of Geometry in Photography
The black and white photograph to the right is a good example of a very well composed urban landscape using geometry. As you can see, there are many geometric elements contained within the image:
- look at the arm and leg of the guy sitting on the bench, they are forming triangles,
- the garbage man’s leg and the garbage container are also forming another triangle, as well as the two garbage man’s leg with each other,
- in addition, the hole figure of the garbage man and the garbage container form another bigger triangle that contains the other two smaller ones earlier described,
- the two men leaning against the wall in the background form a rectangle,
- the buildings in the back have rectangles as well, including the big penguin movie ad.
All the geometric surfaces, the rectangles and specially the relevant triangles in the foreground of the picture, contribute to a richer composition, and thus, a more attractive photograph. The composition guideline or rule of geometry is enough, in and by itself, for achieving a much nicer photograph; go ahead and experiment with it, see for yourself.
Composition Guidelines instead of Rules
Many authors call what I call “Composition Guidelines”, “Composition Rules”. I’ve changed the word rule for guideline because I find that more than laws that have to be applied in photography, they are suggestions that one may or may not follow, depending on the theme you are working on, to improve one’s photographic compositions.
Other Photography Tips to Improve Composition
Perspective in Photography
When speaking about art, perspective is a method of showing distance in a picture, by making far away objects smaller; in other words, it is the ability to use your camera to control the relationship between the background and the foreground of your picture. If applied correctly, this composition guideline gives depth to a photograph and, in a way, makes it “tridimensional”.
By modifying the angle from which you take a picture, you can create or eliminate perspective. Objects can be taken from many different angles and viewpoints including left to right, right to left, top to bottom, from above or from bellow; by moving around the object you are intending to photograph, you will see the perspective change and you’ll decide for yourself which angle is the best shot. One recommendation to improve your perspective is to avoid photographing the object in the center of your digital camera screen; this tends to create flat unappealing images. Try experimenting with angles to discover which viewpoint makes a more interesting picture.
Going back to our example of Photo A and B, the latter has perspective because it lets you see which point of the gloved hand is nearest and which furthest away; it also shows that the gloved hand is on top of the sheet. This doesn’t happen in Photo A, where the gloved hand and the sheet are in the same plane, and there is no visual distance between them. Now, we can go further and say that Photo B is a better photograph, because it has a richer composition that includes a high level of geometry and perspective.
If you are asking yourself: How to make better pictures? How to become a better photographer? Start by enriching your composition with these two basic photo tips:
- Incorporate perspective to your photographs by experimenting with shooting angles and different viewpoints.
- Geometrize your photograph by making as many triangles as you can with the elements in your frame.
Happy shooting days!!!!
Applying Geometry & Perspective in Photography
Are you going to apply the photography tips of geometry & perspective to improve your compositions?
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