Key question before you start
- What do we want to say with your image?
Looking for new forms of expression
- Always look for new ways of expressing yourself; using new objects, different textures and materials.
New order of things
- The object is more than a simple object. It has to be transformed. We have to change its daily functionality and assign it a new meaning. We have to be the creators that create a new order of things within and throughout our image. We are like poets who create new relationships between the words and their verses. We do the same thing but with everyday objects.
Importance of the photographed object
- Try to show the importance of the object you are photographing and how much you admire it. If during the session you remain indifferent to what you are doing, the viewer will have the same reaction to your photos. One of the tools to demonstrate the importance of what you are photographing is to show the size of the object, to get closer, to change the position of the camera in relation to the object. Maybe put it at the same height or a little lower than the object to try and transmit the greatness of it.
- Create the feeling of life within an image. Objects are not mere objects, but are living, fantastic beings that have their own history and relationships. For an instant (or during a three-hour session) we must become children and play, inventing our new worlds.
Harmony between objects
- Look for relationships between the objects in your image. They have to combine well together because of their colour, shape and contour lines. The objects do not have to exist separately. They have to be connected between themselves and they have to form a harmonious combination.
- Don’t tell the whole story, leave a little room for the spectator’s fantasy and for his/her interpretation. There must be a mystery. If everything is clear in the picture, the viewer quickly loses interest.
- Create movement and dynamism of lines, colours and shapes in the image. The diagonal is one of the very useful elements with which it is very easy to create movement.
Beware of vertical lines
- Cutting without fear. Avoid totally vertical lines as they are static and lifeless.
- Remember that every millimetre of the image matters. Pay attention to small and seemingly insignificant details.
- After each modification of the composition you have to take a step back, half close your eyes and abstract yourself from the concrete image, try to imagine an abstract image of what you are doing.
- Do not forget the rhythm within the composition. Rhythm is what organises the whole image. We perceive rhythm as a vibration. Within each of us lives the rhythm of our heart, it is the rhythm of our lives. When we see rhythmic structures in our surroundings, everything is familiar, pleasant and close to us.
- Lighting is the key element that connects everything within the image. First we organise the composition. Then we can start to make magic with the light by moving the focus or focuses, looking for that one position of focus that will bring everything together.
- Create the rhythm between lights, shadows and semitones. It’s important to alternate them always. That’s how depth is created.
- Be careful with very dark and black shadows. Lighten them with a reflector or even a small mirror.
- Sometimes the main light reflected from a reflector or some other material works much better than direct lighting (even with a soft box). This scheme works very well especially for photographing flowers, fruit and vegetables.
- The secret of a good image is in its simplicity. Let’s put aside the confusion!
- If the composition is complicated, we can use the simplest light scheme. And on the contrary, if the composition is simple, you can create intrigue by producing a trick with the lighting.
Figure – Background
- Remember the figure-background relationship. The background is not less important than the photographed object.
Colours begin to live and function only when they are interacting with each other.
- Yellow sometimes is too flat. It’s better to use it in bits and pieces.
- The green colouring of plants can be bland. So it’s easier to bring out their colour using a neutral background or a colour that contrasts with the green (look at the contrasts of Itten’s colour).
- Blue is a very powerful and expressive colour.
- A red element in the image will almost certainly be the first thing to catch the viewer’s eye.
- Play with the highlights, they are mega important, they organise the image rhythmically. Highlights create contrast and depth within an image.
- Black adds drama to the image.
- In the grey you always have to add some element of another colour, so the grey will look more expressive and “noble”.
- If some element is too clear or even burnt (too white) and has no importance within the composition it must be removed or darkened.
- If the object does not have a certain vivid colour, put a background of a striking colour in your composition. And in many instances for a brightly coloured object it is recommended to put a neutral background.
- Until you are amazed and impressed with what you have created, do not pull the trigger.
- Never think your composition is correct or nice! The right things are boring. Take risks!
- Collect multi-coloured fabrics, different coloured papers, coloured filters and soft reflective materials.
- The use of a tripod and a macro lens is essential and necessary.