Photography tips for artistic photos

Photography tips for artistic photos

Happy snapper photos and MySpace posing shots are the first step. Now it’s time to start giving your amateur photos the edge. You don’t need expensive equipment to have an artistic approach to photography – you just need to start building your artistic eye.

Oppose camera discrimination

First of all, it doesn’t matter what camera you use – whether it’s a big ass, high-tech black missile-launcher or just a simple point and shoot. You just have to apply yourself and think about the photos you’re taking. Ansel Adams, arguably the best photographer ever, used a camera which was so backwards it had to take pictures on sheets of glass and he’s renowned worldwide. So don’t put down your CyberShot too quickly – all you need is knowledge, practice, and a little creativity.

Look for colour

Always look for colour (believe me, it can pop up in some unusual places). All the best photos (OK, not Ansel Adams – he worked in black and white) have some element of sharp colour or some form of colour scheme. It gives you something to look at in a photo. Anything will do: smarties, felt-tip pens or even your fluorescent legwarmers. In our everyday lives we see colour all the time and ignore it – or our conscious brains think we do – because it’s ‘just colour’. A good photographer will tune their eyes into the colour ‘channel’ and notice things that a normal person won’t see. They capture a moment or an image which possesses something worth seeing but would otherwise pass unnoticed, and taking a conscious approach to colour in your photography is a great way to do that. That’s what makes a good photo.

Suggested exercises for colour photography:

  • Photograph someone carrying a bright umbrella on a grey day
  • Arrange a still life to photograph using colour as a theme
  • Work with sunsets contrasting against a cityscape silhouette

Keep shooting

By way of probability, the more photos you take, the more chance you have of taking a ‘fluke’ photograph which happens to be amazing. So take full advantage of the digital age and snap loads (although changing rooms and toilets are not recommended). But use caution; if you take 100 pictures, you’re going to have to sort 100 pictures when you get home, which is slightly less exciting.

Suggested exercises for colour photography:

  • Arrange a ‘Blue Steel’ model photoshoot with a friend. Even if the shot is in just one location, with them wearing just one outfit, take loads of shots – get them to change their position, and change your own position when you hold the camera. While they pose, circle them, move in close then further away to catch the same pose from different angles. Don’t be afraid to retake a shot after you’ve moved a houseplant away because it spoiled the first otherwise perfect shot. Remember your background is in its own way as important as the foreground.

Scout for the interesting

When you see a good photo it probably won’t be of a house or bedroom wall. A pro could take your granny’s knickers and make a really good photo out of it. Unfortunately, we aren’t pros, so you need to get out there and find somewhere that’s interesting and different to kick start your creativity. If you’re not sure where to go, just start walking. Sooner or later, you’ll come across something interesting.

Suggested exercises for arty subject matter: