3 Questions to ask yourself every time you take a photograph
This week, I show you three questions to ask yourself after you’ve taken the shot
If you ask yourself these three questions, and the answer is yes to all of them, then you have a good image. If you get into the habit of doing this….it’s a way of identifying problems in your photography and solving those problems.
Is it clear?
Is it exposed right?
Do you like the composition?
If yes to all three, you’ve got a good image.
01. Is it clear?
Is it in focus and tack sharp?
There are two ways to have a blurry image.
01. – if it isn’t focussed correctly, it’ll be blurry.
02. – if the shutter speed isn’t high enough to cope with shooting handheld, then you’ll get motion blur. Motion blur tends to be sideways motion and focusing is a fuzzy issue.
If it is motion blur, get your shutter speed higher and then compensate with either raising your ISO or opening up your aperture…or shoot from a tripod, if the situation allows it.
Now focussing is subjective but just think, is the subject in focus where I want it to be? Just make sure you have your focussing box/crosshair on the subject.
If it is motion blur and your shooting handheld, get your shutter speed up. If it is out of focus, refocus and take the shot again.
If it is sharp…move on to the next question….
02. Is it exposed right?
Looking at the image if it is over exposed, it’ll look brighter than what you see with the naked eye. If under exposed, it’ll look darker. Again I’m talking about the subject more than the background… sometimes you can have an image with a completely white or black background but the subject is exposed perfectly…..the main thing is to get the subject exposed correctly.
Again this is subjective, but if the image looks pleasing to you and the colours look good….you’ve probably exposed it correctly.
The exposure meter is a good place to start, but sometimes if there is a lot of black in the shot, it’ll say you’re under exposed, and if there is a lot of white in the shot, it’ll say that the shot is over exposed. This is where live view on DSLR’s and simulated live view on mirrorless cameras will teach you a lot….you can see how your shot will come out before you’ve taken it.
Also, if your camera has zebras, turn them on as they will help you get good exposure….these are basically like blinkies but before you take the shot. I.e. a zebra pattern will appear on the over exposed bits.
The way I look at it is, if the image looks dim or grey or just a bit flat, I’ll increase the exposure. If I see zebras, I’ll drop the exposure. If you don’t have zebras, use the histogram and make sure its not all the way to the right.
03. Do you like the Composition?
I’ve already mentioned subjectivity, but this is where it gets really subjective. If the image looks good, it’s normally because you’ve got a good composition. There are many rules and guidelines to composition. If you don’t know about them, google it, you can learn so much about getting better images by learning about composition. I know photographers who don’t know much about their camera, but have an eye for composition and they have taken some amazing images in auto!
Basically, the rule of thirds, leading lines, shapes, complimenting colours, leading the eye through the shot…..these are all ways to make the image more pleasing.
B&H do some great videos on this…and I suggest Eileen Rafferty’s presentation as a great video to watch on composition and makeup of a photograph. Check out the link in the description:
And that’s about it, if you have any ideas, hints or tips on this, leave a comment below or drop me an email.