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How to Take Visually Interesting Photographs

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The thing I love most about photography is that it challenges me.  It is a hobby that is always evolving and always teaching me new ways of looking at every day things.  It’s been eleven months of my love affair with my Nikon and my photography is changing and growing every day.  The one thing that has evolved the most is the way I take photos, how I compose them, and how I edit them.

Today, I’m going to focus all my writing on how I compose my photos.  It is one of the most important parts of photography because without it your photos will have no visual interest what-so-ever.  But, there are a few simple things you can do to bump up the beauty on your photos and make the subjects more interesting to photograph.

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Tell a Story

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Some of my favorite photographs are ones that have a story to tell.  Each story is unique to the person viewing the photo and your interpretation won’t necessarily be what everyone else’s is.  In the top photograph I really wanted to focus on the blue fairy because her facial expression could mean so many different things.  Is she happy?  Sad?  Pensive?  It’s completely up to you!

In the bottom picture, I saw an opportunity to use the doors to my advantage.  Personally, I immediately thought of the secret garden (one of my favorite books as a child), and saw the doors as welcoming me into this peaceful and beautiful Chinese garden.

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Get Creative with Composition

Photography comes with rules on composition, but I have always looked at them as mere suggestions.  What works for one photo will not always work for another.  Play around with how you place your subject in your frame and do what you think looks the best.

This photo was a happy accident.  I didn’t realize how out of focus the flowers were in the front of the photo until I uploaded it onto my computer later that night.  Normally I would’ve done the opposite and had the bench be out of focus instead, but having done the opposite to this photo really works.

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Look Up

I love laying on the ground (as long as it’s not gross) and tilting the camera up to take a photo.  You can make large statues look like they’re looming over you if you lay on the ground in just the right place (I like the center so I can get all of them in the picture!).  It gives you a completely different perspective on what you’re photographing instead of standing directly in front of your subject.

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Focus on the Detail

I love drawing attention to certain parts of an object that you may otherwise walk past and not give a second thought to.  Like, how often do you look up when you’re in a gazebo to take a look at the woodwork?  I do all the time, because i love the colors and the distressed pieces.

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Implement the Rule of Thirds

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The rule of thirds is a general rule of photography, and while I truly believe some rules are made to be broken I do think that this one works well from time to time.  The rule of thirds breaks up an image into three equal sections, and says that photographs are most interesting when a subject takes up one to two thirds of the frame.  The rule works for both of these photos because it isolates the subject and (since both are such vibrant colors) draws your attention to them, which was the goal.

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Implementing each of these tips should result in better looking photos.  I shoot solely in manual mode and love that I can control all the settings when taking a photo.  I do realize though that not everyone is a control freak like me and you may prefer shooting in Auto instead.  That’s okay!  These rules will work no matter what mode you shoot in.

What do you think?  Do you implement any of these tips when you’re out taking photos? Which one is your favorite?

If you want to learn more about photography, check out my series on my how shoot in manual mode.

You can also find more tips, tricks, and other photography related posts written by my contributor Madison and I in the tips & tricks section of the blog.

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