The Secrets of taking Good Pictures: Imagination

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

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 5, 2011 15:32
3 minute read.
chickens

chickens 311. (photo credit: Rebecca Siegel)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Tom Langford is a commercial photographer, professional retoucher, and a website designer.

Years ago I was walking with a friend on Hampstead Heath in London. He was pushing his baby daughter in a buggy and we stopped for a break. Standing side by side we happened to take out our cameras at the same time. He lifted the camera to his eye and took a snap; instinctively I crouched low and took a dramatic photograph looking up with only the tiny hands poking out of the sides of the buggy.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


I remember being puzzled at the time how two people standing together could end up with such different results. Many years later I decided to teach photography and analysed how good photographers achieve their results. I realized that having an “eye” could be broken down into a few simple steps that creative photographers apply instinctively. This week we will look at how they use Imagination, and how it can make all the difference to your photography.

Exercising your imagination

Photographers use Imagination in a very particular and practical way. Let’s do an exercise and you’ll see what I mean: Suppose you are working for a magazine and have to take pictures to accompany an article on old age. You have the run of a retirement home for the elderly – how would you prepare for this assignment?

Take a sheet of A4 paper and draw four rectangles to represent different shots. Using your imagination draw a very simple sketch in each frame to show some aspect of old age. What situations might you encounter and how would you shoot them? Try to indicate this in your sketches and don’t worry about your drawing skills.

Of course photographers don’t usually draw possible scenarios, but they do imagine them. This type of mental preparation will definitely help to train your mind to think like a photographer. When you encounter a new photographic situation you will then be able to invent different possibilities on the spot. You will be ahead of the game and be taking photographs rather than snaps.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:





With this in mind let’s look at a picture by Rebecca Siegel who lives in Shanghai, China.

The rooster briefly catches my eye but there’s just not enough interest in the rest of the shot to keep my attention. By practicing imagination exercises you will spot possibilities that would have helped to turn this into a Photograph. For instance, dropping down low could have created a more dynamic composition as indicated below.














A combination of dropping down low and finding an
extra element could add even more interest – see below.














The truth is that you get out of a photograph what you put into it. Imagination costs nothing so you can afford to apply it liberally! Send me your picture If you are aspiring to develop your photography skills, send me a picture and I will publish one in my next article with some constructive feedback. Send one picture only, at a reduced size to jpost@langford.co.il.













Don’t know how to send a photo by email at a reduced size? See my Brief Guide to Picasa: www.langford.co.il/courses/PicasaGuide.html

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:
http://www.langford.co.il/courses

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

September 23, 2018
Hamas halts cease-fire talks, blames Abbas

By HAGAY HACOHEN