Secrets of taking good pictures: Feeling puzzled

Photography expert Tom Langford gives his advice on how to turn an average shot into the perfect photograph.

April 10, 2012 18:48
3 minute read.

Sunset 370. (photo credit: David Kahn)

The silhouetted foreground is well differentiated from and complimented by the background of the sky; top marks for step one, "effective backgrounds."

It's certainly a dramatic shot and is centered around a strong focal point. The horizon, sweep of the clouds and slope of the ground give a sense of movement. So high marks for David's use of step two, "visual awareness. "

The stone construction has the feeling of a sentry guarding some high, sacred ground. By using a slightly lower closer viewpoint this could be emphasized. The sun is to the right of the picture, but I would love to see it behind the aperture to give a sense of grandeur. So lower marks for step three: "telling a story." Below is the sort of effect I mean.

Step four is "imagination." Mine is somewhat vivid and I would love to get the full effect I have indicated below. This may or may not be physically possible but that doesn't stop me from visualizing it. Imagining an ideal shot helps you to get the most out of what is possible at the time.

David used three out of the five steps of taking good pictures, which is quite an achievement. Step three could do with a bit of polishing, and I hope these comments are helpful.

Send me your picture

If you are aspiring to develop your photography skills, send me a picture and I will publish one at the end of my next article with some constructive feedback. 

Send one picture only, at a reduced size to 

Tom Langford is a commercial photographer, website designer, and professional retoucher. He teaches photography courses for beginners and advanced. Details of his courses and field trips at:

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