Our experience is everything.
As we learn and gain experience we should also grow beyond just the technical. We might start out with just a technical skill. To please ourselves and our viewers our sense of beauty in photography should also grow.
Is beauty in photography in the eye of the beholder
If you find your pictures beautiful then that’s great. It is all about what you enjoy. However, I know many photogs who are disappointed when they show their photos off. I have heard many people ask, “Why do my friends not like my images?” The answer is simple. It is about what we as a species find beautiful.
Aesthetics are not just limited to what you like. There are broad, but shared conventions about what we all call beautiful. Of course we don’t agree on all points. But, there are some things that excite a response from most people. Lovely sunsets and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci are perhaps examples.
Art research shows that for many beautiful things there are common elements. These are guiding rules for a good picture. They are not like laws. You will not be arrested if you get them wrong. They are about making the best of your photo. Beauty in your images comes out better if you use some of these rules.
Ansel Adams was right
Mr. Adams was a wise man. When he began his career as a photographer his life experience was already backed up by professional music and art. His training and experience taught him a keen vision for beautiful things. For him, beauty in photography could be seen from his training through all aspects of his background. He recognised his own roots in his work. Hence the quote above.
He was right in his quote. We are nothing without our experience to guide us. However, if that experience lacks any training about beauty in photography we need to learn some basics. If your pictures do not excite “oohs” and “aahs” from your viewers then look at some of the links below.
The basics of composition
What is composition? It is all about finding the best way to capture the viewers eye. When you make a photo you want to make your viewer take time and look. You can find out more about composition and beauty in photography read this: definition of “composition”.
One rule all photographers should learn is the Rule of Thirds. It’s natural to stick your subject in the middle of the picture. We all like to see balance. However, it can be boring. The rule of thirds gives us a reason to keep looking at a picture. It begs the question, “why am I not in the centre”? An off-balance image gives a sense of something dynamic. Read about it, the rule of thirds is fun.
Another fundamental idea is to capture your subject in a simple way. If all around the subject is uncluttered the eye is easily focussed. Your subject will be the most interesting part of the picture. Introduce lots of distractions all around and you will lose the viewers eye. The rule is simplify, simplify, simplify.
Try making your subject big and bold. If you fill the frame with it you will give the eye plenty of detail. And, it will be all about your subject. Get in close and fill the frame. It is a good compositional guide.
There is lots of other composition guidance on the site. Beauty in photography is about these ideas. Check out our “Composition in photography” resource pages to get you started.
Beauty in photography can be learned
Ansel Adams was right about experience. But if you lack experience with aesthetics you can learn. There are lots of ways to increase your knowledge. Learning about beauty in photography is a commitment. And, your views will grow and change. However, it will be fun. There are many interesting ideas in composition.
Develop your skills. Follow up with some reading on composition. Your ideas about beauty in photography will soon complement your technical skills.
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