How to take photos that will take you on a journey.
Some images merely record a moment. Others take you on a journey, stirring you with powerful images, memories and emotions. We asked our community of photography lovers for their best tips on capturing moments with your lens, to ensure they have the power to take you back and relive them.
One thing that I think adds interest to a photo is trying to have foreground elements. They can be in focus or out, but having items will give the photo depth and can create importance to the subjects that are framed by those foreground elements.
The subject of a photo does not always have to have to be completely contained in the frame. I prefer using angles and details to tell the story rather than trying to fit everything in the frame. When someone asks you to take their photo on vacation, smiling faces are always more important than getting someone’s shoes in frame.
Give direction to create movement.
People love direction, especially when the direction involves movement. We often put a couple (or a group) into a pose to build muscle memory and then ask them to disconnect (5 feet) and run back into it. This gives them direction but allows for a more natural connection. It creates moments within the movement. In the image below, we gave the bridal party space to run into the shot—it allowed for natural reactions instead of trying to get everyone excited while standing in place.
Know your location.
Give yourself time to become familiar with the location you're shooting in—scouting locations and finding spaces will change everything. When we are shooting weddings, venues can be beautiful but also limiting. Going off property to find wide open spaces gives a burst of energy to not only the photographers but also the couple. Giving them an intimate/adventurous place to connect will make for free-spirited images to happen. The spot below was 10 minutes away from the venue—it was a dog park. Not the most typical location for a bridal session but Lorrana and Jake were so down to earth and excited to have these kinds of views.
Use your feet.
It’s an old saying in photography, but it’s true…your feet are the best lens you have! Often just moving a few feet to one side or the other can change what’s in the background of your photograph. This can help to simplify or remove any visual clutter, giving your main subject more emphasis.
In the first image below of the family walking on the beach in Kerala, India, I realized that the first exposure of the lines of water and horizon were very strong so by crouching down to a very low angle I was able to simplify the background and get a stronger photograph by having more sky as the background behind them which you can see in the second image.
Capture the details.
Look for interesting details when you’re photographing. Changing the scale in your photographs, shooting some very wide or some very close details makes for a really nice change of pace. If you’re trying to tell the story of a place or an event in a portfolio or book, it’s really nice to have a variety of scale in the photographs to keep it interesting.
Change with the light.
Being an ocean-based photographer my images rely heavily on the frequently changing outside conditions. I often photograph at sunrise and sunset so it's important to take notice as the light changes and becomes brighter or darker or warmer or cooler. As this happens, I change my settings accordingly. Even if you don't know exactly what you're doing with setting have a play around and see how much you can learn you might surprise yourself, this is the best way to learn.
Follow your instincts.
Every day in nature is different to the last, and the same landscape or seascape can change dramatically from day to day. Whenever I feel like the conditions might be special I follow my instincts and go out and shoot. I am so passionate about photographing the ocean that even if it's the most inconvenient timing I will drop everything and go and shoot if I feel there might be amazing opportunities and light to be experienced. This excitement always lights me up and when you feel that amount of passion it will always result in more special images.
Don't be afraid of that sun flare.
I like to point my camera at my subject and then move my lens directly into the light. I love that it adds more depth to an image.
Aim to capture the real stuff.
If you can create a surrounding where someone can feel comfortable, those natural moments will create themselves. Then, hang quietly in the background waiting for those genuine moments to appear, and capture them.