How to Create the Perfect Photo

August 31, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | Comment |

How many times have you looked at a picture and thought, "I could do that, I've got this snazzy, all singing all tap dancing digital camera"?

In today's society, obtaining hi-tech digital equipment is as easy as buying a Mars Bar. If you have a reasonable budget, you can get some very advanced kit. However, I've got a set of TaylorMade golf clubs but I can't hit the ball like Tiger Woods.

Most people never stop to look and appreciate the level of detail that goes into a shot when they make that statement. We are obsessed with how many megapixels a camera has got, not really understanding that this plays only a very small part in the finished image.

Composition of the image is something that is heavily scrutinized when on a professional photo-shoot, but rarely thought about when we are at home pointing and clicking. For example, when taking a photo of a person, are they dressed correctly? Have you used a stylist to dress them appropriately, or are you using an ordinary Joe, who really (judging by their smile) doesn't want to be there? Have they turned up dressed in a tracksuit and t-shirt when you are trying to advertise an accountancy firm? Attention to detail is key.

Photography can have such a huge impact on our lives, yet I don't think it receives the level of credit it deserves. When designing a brochure, the addition of high quality, creative imagery can make the difference between the dust-gathering brochure, turned upside down in the back of the cupboard and a D&AD award-winning piece.

When it comes down to it, there are basically two types of photography and this can be best illustrated with a test subject - a mug.

The first type conveys the premise that we have our mug and we have to record that this mug existed (let's say there's a huge comet coming and we won't all survive). We need to make a permanent recording that this mug existed on this day, at this time, frozen almost in time, so if in the future when the world has rebuilt itself and they open a capsule a 1000 years from now, they'll know we all used mugs! This first approach requires nothing more than what we discussed at the beginning of this article; a digital camera. You don't need to have had any training (other than how you turn the camera on and set it to 'auto'), there's no special lighting required, no props, no models, the image is never going to do anything more than exist as a recording that it was there. We just need the camera and the mug!

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