We always talk on how to make better photos– but never why make photos.
For whom do we shoot for? For what do we make photos?
I. Why make photos?
The first question you gotta ask yourself:
Why make photos?
For me, I make photos to uplift my soul, and to take a little dread and boredom out of everyday life.
Why do you make photos?
Do you make photos as a form of escapism from your boring job? Do you make photos to get lots of likes and followers on social media, to find more meaning and purpose in life.
To be honest I don’t think there is any good or bad reason to make photos. You just gotta be honest with yourself, to find the true reason why you make photos.
II. Why I like making photos.
I love photography, because I can chisel away reality and make my own art in my mind’s eye. What I mean is that photography is the easiest way for me to make art.
With drawing and painting you start off with a blank slate. It takes a long time to make a piece of art.
But with photography your camera can make “instant sketches” as Henri Cartier-Bresson said.
I’m impatient. I don’t like waiting. This is why I prefer espresso coffee: instant coffee. Photography: instant art.
III. How to make good photos:
Okay, so everyone can make photos. Everyone is already a photographer. But it don’t mean everyone makes good photos.
To me, a good photo is simple. Meaning, a good photo doesn’t have superfluous distractions in the background. A good photo has emotion, hand gestures soul, simplicity, minimalism, yet is fun and dynamic.
Emotion: if your photos lack it, your photos will fall on visually deaf ears, and will bore your viewer.
1. Avoid making boring photos.
Another way to think about things: not everybody knows what makes a good photo. But almost everyone knows what makes a boring photo.
So to make good photos, avoid making boring photos.
Boring photos: lack a central subject, or a “happening.” You want something interesting to be happening in a photo. Without an interesting hand gesture, “decisive moment”, or look– your photos will not hold the attention of the viewer.
To bore your viewer is the only cardinal sin in photography.
2. Make dynamic photos
To make less boring photos, make more dynamic photos.
A dynamic photo means, capture movement. Capture cars, people, or animals moving. Anything in motion has more vigor, energy, and interest. As humans are interested in fast cars, fast animals, and fast love interests– we are addicted to speed.
Also, integrate more diagonals into your photos. If you see diagonal lines in a scene, integrate it. Connect the diagonal lines from the corners of your frame. If you don’t see a diagonal, tilt your camera, and capture a “Dutch angle” — a cinema technique to make your images seem more dynamic and “edgy”.
3. Make curvaceous photos
To make better photos, add more curves. Curves are even more dynamic than diagonals.
A curve — imagine the waist line of a woman. The curves of a Stradivarius Violin. The curves of a race track. The curves of a rattlesnake about to strike. The sensual curves of an Aston Martin car.
You can capture curves in your photos through the human body curves, the curving movement of hands, or just a curved line in a scene. Or a leading curved line, in form of a street.
Conclusion: Make photos to please yourself
The last piece of advice; make photos to please yourself.
Make photos to fight the tyranny of reality. Create your own photographic masterpieces, by walking more, taking more, and shooting more photos.
And when in doubt
Take your street photography to the next level:
- August 27 (Friday): SEATTLE MASTER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP - [NOW LIVE!]
- September 11 (Saturday): DOWNTOWN LA ADVANCED STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP - [NEW!]
Be notified of when new workshops are live here.