Why and How: Improving Your Photos in 15 Steps – Part 1
Do you want to really improve the quality of your nature photographs by making them more interesting, more creative?
Do you want to go beyond making beautiful postcards?
So, you are like me.
In this article, I offer 15 tips that I apply for each of my fine art print collections.
Take the time to read because I am revealing the very essence of photography.
The Little Story of This Article
This is the month of February. The temperatures are quite pleasant in Arizona. I left the studio in Texas for three weeks to create new photographs for my master photo project. For three days, I have been in the Valley of the Gods. I have only met two people since the start of this stage.
As soon as I work on new photos for this personal project, I have an extraordinary energy. I feel like the first day when I had my first camera in my hands. I am inspired. I have visited dozens of websites about the Valley of the Gods. I have read several books on this amazing place.
I decided to take six black and white photographs.
For three days, I have been driven between the buttes with my off-road car. I have not yet managed to create a single photo. The sky is perfectly blue. The light is beautiful in the middle of the morning and in the middle of the afternoon. But there is not a single cloud.
I need them to show off what I feel. I need clouds to accentuate the dramaturgy of my scenes. I need clouds to create scenes with multi planes to create depth. They will allow me to accentuate the details of these marvelous mineral landscapes.
But then, the depression announced did not happen. I have to wait until tomorrow.
I am sitting on a rock. My picnic is ready. I am thoughtful. I mentally list the essential points to create interesting photos.
They are like a mantra. Finally, I grab my voice recorder which never leaves me. This is my reminder. I speak out loud. A squirrel waiting for me to give him a few crumbs from my meal looks at me. He must really think that human beings are a strange species.
If he knew the importance of everything I said, he would consider me differently.
The rest of this article is a summary of all these points that I apply in all my photo projects.
Reminder on the Necessary Points to Judge a Photo
There are 10 points you must always remember to judge your photos.
You can optionally use this method to judge other images.
I advise you to print this list and always have it with you. Over time and practice, thinking about them will become automatic.
- The impact.
- Centers of interest.
- Color management.
- The story.
- The technique.
TDLSC: The Essential Rule for Creating a Nature Photograph
When you create a picture of nature, you must always keep in mind the five following essential points. This is what I call the TDLSC rule.
Now, I am going to detail them.
‘T’ for the first letter of timing.
You always have to choose the right moment to shoot and take your photo. For an animal photo, it can be a behavior or an attitude.
In underwater photo, it can be the position of a fish, an underwater mammal.
In landscape photography, it can be a particular light that will highlight a mineral structure, vegetal textures or a particular reflection.
The timing is also creating a project photo to a specific period of the year when the weather is favorable.
In wildlife photography, timing is when a particular event occurs.
In landscape photography is when a phenomenon such as the northern lights are the most active.
In underwater photography , it is for example the coral spawning.
I believe that in photography everything is a question of timing. There are times better than others to take interesting photos. Be curious.
Before going to the field, for a photo project or a photo session, put the maximum of chances on your side by choosing the right timing.
‘D’ for the decor.
this is the second point of my rule. The decor is very important for the construction of your photographs. Without decor, there are no good photos.
You will certainly ask me first what an appropriate decor. Above all, it is a decor that will carry your photographic elements to enhance them.
The decor must be mass balanced, must use creepage or lines of convergence, etc. This is what I explained in the article on how using photographic language.
Never forget that the decor is like the case in which you offer your main subject.
Try to make an analogy with a piece of jewelry that you are going to give to a person. The packaging will already suggest the brand. Then, the case will whet the person who receives the gift. She has not yet seen the jewel that all senses are already on alert.
A good nature photograph is exactly the same thing. The décor is going to whet your audience's appetite so the viewers will want to analyze and look at your photograph.
‘L’ for light.
This is the third important point to consider. Whether in landscape photography, underwater photography or wildlife photography, light will create the dynamics, the relief and the depth of your nature photographs. It is what will give impact to your images. Here, I am talking about natural light.
Personally, I prefer side light because it allows me to create shadows that generates modeling.
‘S’ for the subject.
First, you will certainly ask me why I have placed so far away the subject in my rule.
The reason is simple. It is not that important. For example, in abstract conceptual photographs, it is above all the atmosphere, the colors which are the most important.
The subject in artistic and creative photography is one of the elements that will translate your emotions, your feelings, transmit your messages.
It is only a support. If you give too much importance to the subject, you return to the illustrative photography . Your subject becomes an illustration and not an interpretation of what you see.
‘C’ for composition.
While composing a nature photography is organizing all photographic elements of your scene in order to create a balanced and harmonious picture.
The choice of a good composition makes it possible to highlight the main photographic elements (the subject (s)).
This way of composing was intended to create aesthetic images, pleasant to watch.
But if you want to create interesting photos that make sense, it is not enough . A good composition should allow you to place the photographic elements to properly express your emotions and your messages.
The elements of the photographic language that you are going to use will be developed in your composition. Be very vigilant during this step.
Remember this acronym TDLSC. If you apply it correctly, your photographs will have that little extra that makes the difference with other photographers This is how you will customize your photographic creations.