Photography, as an art, is all about engaging your viewer. Two main ways to do this are with composition and subject matter.
Since even the most interesting subjects will fall flat without good composition, this article will focus on how our minds process images, and how you can use that knowledge to beautifully compose your own photographs and practice lake photography.
Keeping strong lines in your photographs will help lead your viewer’s eye across your image.
Examples of strong lines would be a treeline that carries the eye horizontally across the image, an extending dock that leads the line diagonally into the water, or a tall tree photographed from below that engages the eye vertically.
The brain will process the lightest/brightest thing in the image first. Because of this, you should make sure your image contains a good balance of light and dark tones- too much of either and your photograph becomes more confusing than stimulating.
However, if you are interested in abstract photography, these would be two interesting extremes to experiment with. For now, focus on catching the light in water ripples, or low hanging clouds on a misty day.
Rule of Thirds
Having your subject off center can create a dramatic, artistic effect. Divide the view from your lens (your “canvas”) into a grid with three lines running vertically, and three running horizontally.
Many cameras come with this feature as a preset option. Wherever those six grid lines intersect, is a great place to put your subject.
- Always have a subject.
- An image is stronger if you include the feet of the person/animal you are photographing. This helps ground the image and put it in context.
- If you have/want to photograph only part of a person, a good rule of thumb is to cut them off at, or slightly off of a joint (hips, knees, elbows, etc.)
- Always shoot something from a variety of angles, when you go back through the pictures, you may find the stranger angles more visually interesting!
Not all of your images are going to be worthy of printing or posting, but photography is as much about creating memories as it is about art. Your friends and family will always be your most eager models, and you can always find unfathomable beauty in lake life.