Adding visual impact to your shot

Albert PedrosaAlbert Pedrosa
Photo mania

WHEN you test new camera equipment, whether this is a lens or the camera body itself, you start shooting at random scenes. You check how the equipment performs and the feel of it. The photos you take during tests are often, if not, always goes to the trash. The photo lacks the appeal to be shared in social media or at least takes space in the memory card.

That’s how a photo will look like if you don’t add creativity to a shot. Photography is a split between technical merit and art, where one complements the other. You may have familiarized yourself with the camera function and probably spent a lot of time reading the camera manual — at this point, all you’ll get is a nicely exposed shot. No impact!

I’ve once chanced on a tutorial video of internationally known photographer Steve McCurry about composition. I would strongly recommend for any photographer, whether starting up or experienced, to watch it. It’s a three-minute video that talks about the different compositional guidelines.

This photo was taken in one of my out of town projects. I didn’t have any assistant at that time given the equipment that I normally carry with me. To direct the light from one direction, I used a gridded softbox. I allowed the ambient light to fill in some warm light and added space on top of my subject to bring in other elements in the composition.
This photo was taken in one of my out of town projects. I didn’t have any assistant at that time given the equipment that I normally carry with me. To direct the light from one direction, I used a gridded softbox. I allowed the ambient light to fill in some warm light and added space on top of my subject to bring in other elements in the composition.

I saved the video because up to this point, even with all my experience, I still find the video very helpful in sparking up an idea or just basically reminding me of the elements that create impact in a photograph. I also use it to help me explain how composition works.

When you start practicing your compositional skills using these guidelines, you’ll find out that the art of photography is not as complicated as you think. Your shots will immediately take form and start to create visual impact. This is good motivation for you to practice some more and move to the next level.

Know that the challenges you face to realize your imagination of how the scene should come out in the photo is very much hardwired on your technical skill of photography. The focal length compression, exposure compensation and the rest of the technical side of photography are as important as your creative skills.

As you realize and get frustrated with the limitation of the equipment that you have, you tend to bargain with your composition and force yourself to find a different angle or story that can be achieved by what you have. That becomes the marriage of creativity and technical part of photography.

Equipment is not the only limiting factor in getting your shot — lighting condition is a frequent obstacle and of course, weather. Surrendering to the situation and accepting the given challenge is essential to overcoming these obstacles. When you refuse to be limited by obstacles, you now dig into your experience to create a fresh perspective.

I find that photography is just like the way we run our lives. It can be as beautiful as we want it to be as long as we start accepting what cannot be changed and refuse to be limited by what we have. Enjoy the beauty the surrounds us and freeze the moment with your shot. Keep on shooting, everyone!

Rest in peace to our brother in photography, Fernand Ozon Vicoy.

photomania.sunstar@gmail.com / www.grp.ph

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