If you can keep it simple the power in the photography comes out. If you can cut out all the clutter the image comes alive with the main subject in it. If your subject is all you have to show, it is the meaning and the message in the photograph.
Here are some quick ideas about simplicity in photography… Enjoy!
The basic idea (1min 24secs)
National Geographic Photography Tip: Keep it Simple
David Bailey is a famous UK contemporary photographer who was pretty prominent in the 1960s and continued to create photo-masterpieces right up to the present day. Here is his page on Wikipedia: David Bailey
The improvement in a picture set to the rule of thirds is amazing. Suddenly the picture becomes dynamic and the proportions appear pleasingly laid out. The Golden Ratio is the Rule of Thirds on steroids and is the subject of the video today.
More after this…
The Golden Ratio
The Golden Ratio (GR) has been around for a long time. Modern artists and photographers use the GR as a simple principle for their composition. The particularly aesthetic proportions are universally recognised. Some of the worlds greatest artworks are composed using the principle. The Greeks also used GR proportions in their architecture. As we learn from the video there is also a natural history associated with the GR going back millions of years. Our very DNA is set in the same proportions. The GR appears throughout nature too. To our eyes, it represents a wonderfully aesthetic proportion that appears in so many things around us that we barely see it. You will be astonished where it appears. And, it is a great help when doing your photographic composition.
When you take a photograph do you always follow the rules?
No, sometimes we take a shot for a personal reason. We like to have something as a keepsake that helps us remember what we did that day. Is that right?
We have all taken photographs that have little to commend them in terms of aesthetics, composition, content, or photographic merit. The picture of the kids playing ball, the sun high, specular highlights blown out all over the place and the horizon crooked is almost a sort of cliché. I am convinced, after talking to lots of fellow photographers that every one of us has one, or many more, of these. It is perfectly OK, and nothing to be ashamed of. Our lives as photographers should not get in the way of our lives as ordinary people, lovers, family, friends, members of the human race.
We should not become so wrapped up in the photography that we miss the moment. Photography is a great hobby. I love it. If you are reading this you at least have more than a passing interest. So lets remember that the life of the photographer is about capturing meaningful images. The inner life of ourselves should be satisfied by meeting our inner needs. Our priorities are our safety, home, comfort, family and people we love. We sometimes forget those are our priorities. Having a little time for improving our photography is about giving ourselves something to realise a higher potential in ourselves. Our photography gives additional meaning to our lives, some creativity and fun.
When you have a chance to catch a scene with personal meaning – do it! Do it immediately. An awful picture, but with a lot of personal meaning, is still precious. It will live with you for life. It will endure far longer than the next moment, which you will never think of again, because you stopped for a moment to frame for the rule of thirds!
Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers. See also: Editors ‘Bio’.