This month I will continue addressing another question from the public regarding their  photographic concerns. It’s my  hope this column will help you produce a greater level of satisfaction in image creation and “thank you for being here”.

A recent inquiry regarding composing imagery was directed to me from Barb. This individual expressed uncertainty when attempting to create more striking imagery/compositions. Here are her comments……

Hello Mr. Ryan:

I am having a very hard time trying to decide how to make my pictures look significantly better than what they currently look like. I find when I am making pictures of nature objects, I never seem to be able to make the thing I photograph stand out. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. The imagery on your website is absolutely gorgeous being nature or people related! I would be appreciative of your advice. Barb

Hello Barb and thank you for your inquiry. I feel I can be of assistance to you in this matter.

At times when we are out in the field trying to decide what to photograph, it can be somewhat overwhelming initially. What I do frequently is go through a process of visual elimination. In the first instance, I always try to break the scene/environment down into smaller sections so it will permit me to organize my objectives in image creation. The first step of my process is to ask myself what made me stop at this location initially. Once you have decided upon what has attracted you, you are now in a position to begin subtracting elements of the scene that do not add to your main subject matter. Keep breaking down the elements surrounding your subject while looking through your viewfinder and introduce questions along the way such as does the inclusion of this object strengthen the main item I am interested in photographing or detract from it? This series of questions will allow you to make many good decisions being……… am I now at the correct height and angle to create a meaningful photograph of the object; am I using the best lens to depict the subject; am I comfortable enough using my camera in both automatic and manual modes; ***is the quality and angle of light the best it can be to showcase my subject or should I revisit this area under better lighting conditions and a different time of day? This is “very important”!

These questions are thought provoking and require time regarding doing a visual analysis but they will undoubtedly pay good dividends when you view your final image.

***Always remember that attempting to create imagery with good order is seldom achieved when hand holding your camera. A tripod is a photographers best friend in creating strong, well ordered pictorials. My students over the years have frequently complained about using a tripod indicating that it takes too much time to set up and is just another piece of equipment to carry around that they don’t need. This is comparable to the creation of a false economy in my opinion. Time is often required to achieve good results in image composition and with a tripod, your results will escalate. Going through the motions of trying to create strong imagery and discarding the tools-(a tripod) which will benefit you is depriving yourself of opportunity. In a humble sense here, you deserve to be more successful in your photography and a tripod is a welcome tool at your disposal. My tripod takes me no more than 30 seconds to set up from it’s completely collapsed state to fully extended.

Take your time when your out in the field with or  without your camera. One doesn’t have to feel like you have a clock measuring time per image. I mention here “with or without your camera”. I frequently make mental compositions of our natural environment when I am either behind the wheel of my car, going for a brisk walk or when I hop on my bike. It’s a good practice to develop keeping your sense of vision on a more elevated sense.

I hope this information is beneficial to you Barb!

With Good Wishes,  🙂

Jeff Ryan Photography/Ryan Studio


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