The more you do something, the better you get at it, practice, practice, practice!
I recommend doing some kind of a picture a day, project. Back in 2009, I decided to force myself to take a picture every day for a year, to document a year of my life. I joined something called a 365 group on the Flickr site that I use for my photo storage. https://www.flickr.com/photos/amford61/sets/72157617874208619/
I have to admit, it was hard to look at myself in photos, but I was the one always taking the photos and there were not very many of me. Now my kids have a year's worth if they need some for my funeral.
Most days I just poked fun at myself and didn't really improve my photography skills. I was always having to put my camera on a timer or ask someone else to take the shot.
What did happen, was I had to become more creative and had to think of how to change things up a bit. Also, because I was posting these photos for other people to see, I wanted them to be good photos. As you can see by some of them, I really didn't know what I was doing. I did however, spend a lot of time reading up on photography to figure out what I was doing wrong.
After the year was over, I was hooked. I wasn't hooked on taking selfies every day, but I was hooked on using my camera every day.
I started another 365, but this one was for taking a picture of anything everyday. Because of my desire to not post just any old picture, I really started to learn more about photography. I looked at subjects from different angles and tried to not take typical shots. My first try at taking the above tulip was really boring. I tried different ways of taking it, and this is the one I liked the best.
For the above picture, I noticed this ant was attracted to my watermelon. I let him get right in there and got my macro lens out. That ant and I spent over an hour together and I learned a lot about depth of field and focus and he didn't mind at all.
Sometimes I planned out my shots. Like the ones above and below, instead of waiting for something to happen.
I went to places looking for something to photograph.
Each time you create a picture, you gain more skill. Failed pictures are opportunities to learn how to get it right.
A while back I asked a friend, who used to love to take pictures, why she stopped taking them. She told me she had run out of thing to take pictures of. There is always something to take pictures of. Even a doorknob can be interesting, even without clouds "Photoshopped" on them, but to add a bit of interest, I added them. Learning how to use photoshop and other editing software, has been another outcome of taking more pictures.
Everyday stuff can be interesting.
In preparing for this post, I looked back at my images from the project and realized that I miss taking a picture for myself every day. I really like the variety that I came up with, so I decided to try again, not necessarily every day, but at least 2 or three times a week. I was able to capture this hawk the other day because I had my camera with me when my husband spied it on a neighbor's lawn as we were driving by.
Here is another sample of one I took this week for fun. I went looking for this one.
Finally, this is what I found as my profile for the 365 project when I went to look it up for this blog. I had forgotten that I had written that. At the time, I had no inkling that my wish would ever be true. God has blessed me with so much!
In my last session, I talked about when it is okay to center your subject. Today's session is about a technique that helps center a subject or bring focus to it. Using leading lines to improve drama and composition, is one of my favorite techniques. The lines don't have to be straight, they just have to draw your eye in one direction or another. This image has two kinds of leading lines, both straight and curved. The straight line leads your eye to the subject, my husband, then your eye continues on to the curved line following the landscape. It creates more drama.
Side note: A curve is not a line, if we are talking geometry. Or is a curve a line, that is not straight? Wait, maybe a line is the only curve that is 0 degrees? Now I've gone off on a tangent. (A straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point, but if extended does not cross it at that point.)
Anyway.....check out a less dramatic version of the above image without the curved leading lines.
Not the same, is it?
Below is an example of many lines leading your eye to converge on the subject, in essence, pointing to it.
The length of the lines leading from the front of the frame to almost the center of the image, create drama. The subtle lines in the water, and the clouds, along with the dark horizon line, bring your eye to the center where there is a small dog looking out into the big scene. I love the contrast, small dog, big world..
The dog was my white Miniature Schnauzer named Sprite, who has since gone on to dog heaven.
In the above image, the sneakers, the rose's stem and edges of the floor boards, all form converging lines pointing to the shredded rose petals. The scene conveys some type of teen boyfriend drama. Truth be told, my daughter left her sneakers in the middle of the floor, and the dog somehow got the rose off of the table and attacked it. I like the boyfriend drama story better, it make for a more emotional photo.
The railings form leading line to the subject of this photo, me!
Here are some more examples of photos with leading lines. I love using open doors to invite the viewer to want to look on the other side of it. Your eyes move to it. The sunlight spilling in between the hinged part of the door, also creates lines that draw the eye.
Again, an open door causing a leading line that invites the viewer in. Kind of like you're peeking in somewhere you shouldn't. The stream of toilet paper also leads you in. I did a closer crop of the same picture below, to show the difference the impact of including the door and long stream of paper, makes.
It just doesn't have the same story telling effect. By the way, this carnage was actually done by the cat, not the dog this time.
I like this photo but..........
This one tells a much different story. The table, the water bottles, and the people all form the lines leading to the subject and you get more of a feel for what was going on.
Here are some more examples of photos with leading lines.
Bye for now, until the next lesson. Writing on leading lines lead me to think about my next topic. So check back on a later date for session 4 of Ford's photography Classroom.
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.