Lets get retro!
Years ago we owned a camera. It probably only came out of it’s drawer for special occasions. We had posh ones and we had easy peasy point and shoots. We processed our films at Boots and crossed our fingers that the resulting images would be fabulous. We sighed as the prints often revealed a camera strap, stray wisp of fringe or unidentified dark blob obscuring the subject.
Then came the digital revolution.
Nowadays we own a myriad of digital devices that take technically high quality photographs, allowing us to shoot away and instantly reject and select our photos. An image can be cropped and beautified using simple effective software in seconds. We can engage with our customers pictorially with 21st Century immediacy. Life is fast.
And sometimes it pays to slow down.
Photography is an art and your device is not an artist. Whilst it can create expert light, focus and saturation aspects, it cannot compose an image. Sadly it’s not possible to buy a sense of the aesthetic in the Apple shop (yet!).
So lets go back to the time of film cameras. The (physical, not virtual) shops were full of ‘how to take good photographs’ books. Crucially, they taught us about composition – the art of framing an image in a way to maximise visual impact. They educated readers about such concepts as the rule of thirds (to encourage us the place the subject off centre, or place the horizon level high or low to create a harmonious landscape image). They spoke of clever lighting tips, the importance of empty space and even how to pose our models.
Whilst some camera users are lucky to have a creative streak, many of us need a little help in order to make our digital photographs bring zing to our social media pages. So I’m suggesting this:
Buy a book.
An actual book, that smells of ink and feels tactile and is chock full of beautiful photographs and helpful words. An Amazon keyword search of ‘composition’ and ‘photography’ brings a wealth of possibilities and I’d recommend purchasing one that was written before the digital revolution. A few standard compositional rules will ensure that next time you post a quick product pic on Facebook, it will appear professional and provide a starting point for discussion and customer engagement.
In the meantime, here’s some examples of how composition can add drama to a simple object:
The diagonal off centre position of the object allows the shadow to create a balanced image with a great range of light and dark features.
Adopting a high angle on the subject creates a dynamic affect allowing it to ‘dominate’ it’s space.
These photos were shot using an iPad on a table next to a window in bright sunlight. They were cropped and processed using the standard Apple software.