Reading an article today in the New York Times Magazine by English writer Geoff Dyer, an assertion stopped me in my tracks: "The task for photographers is always to make a picture more interesting than what it depicts." How true! How simply and accurately true! Dyer doesn't say that we must make the subject more beautiful or more shocking, simply that our mission is to portray it in the most "interesting" way. A girl on a swing, a stone wall, a boy holding a football ... nothing is relegated to the mundane in a photograph.
There are so many ways to make the subject in a photograph more "interesting":
- Light: The word "photography" originates from the greek words that mean "drawing with light," so it logically follows that the creative use of light in photos can be transforming. Consider the angle, quality, color and quantity of light (natural and manufactured) when composing every image.
- Composition: The composition of every image is critical to the final product. Think hard about what appears in the frame with your subject and where the subject is placed. Utilize strategies like framing, rule of thirds, and leading lines to draw attention to your subject.
- Interaction: Every photograph tells a story so pay special attention to how your subjects interact with each other, how they interact with their environment, and how you interact with them.
- Equipment: Manipulate the aperture, shutter speed and ISO in every image to create the most interesting effects. This might include a depth of field just millimeters wide, a subject frozen in motion, an artistically blurred subject, or a highly compressed image.
- Editing: The initial image captured may be just the "rough draft" of the final product. The vast options for post-production editing give photographers endless possibilities to layer images, alter key properties of the subject, and manipulate the final photograph in subtle or dramatic ways.
The possibilities are endless! I can't imagine a more creative and rewarding form of artwork!