“Pretty hurts …” – Beyonce. But it does not mean you have to torture yourself for good photos. Here’s another PR DIY Guide on how to take instagrammable pictures.
You have donned on your meticulously curated ensemble, ensured your make up is on point and your stray hair tamed. You tirelessly take more than 20 test shots on your phone to get the perfect #OOTD shot, relentlessly trying to edit the most ideal shot until your mind and fingers just give up and settled with the “best”. Wonder how do the pros or social media influencers do it so quickly and flawlessly? Be it for a social media campaign or simply a healthy dose of self-love and vanity, there are some points to consider before hitting the post button.
Part 1: Composition Techniques
When it comes to photography, your centrepiece or subject does not necessarily have to be in the exact center nor should you merely zoom in to fill up the whole photo with the subject. The art of attraction in photography is to use different composition techniques to allow certain elements in the photo to stand out.
Take the above example, there is a confusion of priority or focus. What do you see first? The couple or the or the stone window?
While there are no hard and fast rules, photography courses exist for very good reasons. For those who cannot justify investing such time and financial resources on a formal education, there are always online guides made available by the grace of photography aficionados.
Here are a few easy to apply techniques:
Rule of Thirds
The most common techniques include the Rule of Thirds where the frame is divided into two one-third grids: horizontal and vertical.
According to the rule, important elements of the scene should be placed at the intersections or along one or more of the lines to help them stand out.
With some editing, we have removed the lovely yet distracting couple from the photo and inserted the lines to prove our point. As observed, the arch falls on the lines and naturally dominates the frame. It would have been a great landscape shot just as it is but what if you are working on a fashion editorial and you need to place the product or model somewhere in the frame?
PRoTIP: Turn on your phone camera’s grid function to easily apply the “rule of thirds”.
Ironically, the easiest solution is to smack them right in the middle of the picture. Divide the picture by half and place your subject right on the line. It may seem like a rather obvious approach and one that is overly used but the explanation behind this composition technique is worth the time to remember. This is because the human brain has an inclination towards symmetry and a sense of balance. This also explains why we find those images of reflection in water so eye-catching and therapeutic.
Golden Ratio / Fibonacci Rule
However, one does not always have to be in the center to be in the center of attention. Sounds confusing? Don’t worry. The Golden Ratio or the Fibonacci Spiral is a great way to draw attention to your subject subtly, especially when it seems too gaudy to have it in the center.
The technique has been widely used since the time of Ancient Greece and there’s also a mathematical formula behind it. With the help of the image above, here’s the TLDR version of explanation: The invisible spiral line above serves as a leading line to show how the scene would flow in the eyes of the audience. Place your subject at the heart of the spiral and watch magic happen.
This is clearly not an exhaustive list but should be enough to keep some busy experimenting till our next DIY guide. Remember, photography is an art but if you can’t have fun doing it, why bother?