Part 8 of 8…..The only thing that matters about a photograph is that it looks the way you want it to look. How you get to that point is less important.
Photography is simple, really simple.
If it looks right, then it is right. Don’t let a histogram or a compositional rule tell you any different!
We don’t use graphs or histograms or this statistic or that statistic to tell how good a picture is.
Part 8 of a series of 8 articles that are non technical, that describe my own attitude to photography. My aim is to reinforce the fact that photography in all its forms and formats is fun, highly creative, enjoyable and rewarding. From HDR to smartphones to instagram to large format black and white….Find a little corner that fits your personality and lifestyle…and allow your unique creativity to flourish
Eyes are really great, they can tell instantly if a picture is any good or not!
Histograms don’t really tell us visually how bright a picture is or how contrasty a picture is. You only know that by looking at the picture itself.
Use your eyes. If it looks right, it is right.
We can get so bogged down in the technical bits and pieces that sometimes we can forget that we are just looking at a picture.
It’s the same with composition, we can sometimes tie ourselves up in rules, when in reality we just need to relax and follow our instincts.
Practice, and making mistakes are as important and possibly more important than memorizing rules and blindly repeating them.
Find a subject that makes you think or say the words ‘I bet that will make a good photo!’….then frame it in your viewfinder. Does it look right? Yes, good! Take picture.
Then post-process the image on your computer so that you see what you saw at the original moment of inspiration. And if it looks right, then it is right, and you have got yourself a nice shot.
One way to learn and to accelerate learning is to look at other peoples images. Find photographers that you respect and have a look at what they are producing, not just in terms of composition and subject, but also their post processing. When you look at them on your computer screen, how do they differ in terms of processing to yours. Are they brighter, more contrast? How about the colour saturation.
Common mistakes are too much added colour. Other mistakes are too much contrast. The problem with the technical stuff such as looking at what the histogram is saying, is that they don’t flag up that there is too much contrast visually, or that the shadow area has no visible detail when it should have. With all these problems the histogram may still look ‘healthy’, which may lead you to thinking that the photo is as good as you can get it.
Looking at the photography of others that you like, will help to guide you about how much colour and contrast to add to your images.
So if you have a beach at dawn shot, compare yours to that of a photographer you admire….look at the contrast of their image, the shading and colour. Compare that visually with yours. Use your eyes, because eyes will give you the ‘personality’ of the image that a histogram or other such chart cannot measure. Only your eyes can do that.