Photography rules

I have been reading on general rules for good photography.  I learned today that the most important parts of a good photograph include composition, lighting, and lack of clutter.  It is easy to always put the subject of the picture in the dead center, but this can create a dull picture.

Roan Mountain Hike, TN

 I love to shoot people at the side of a frame, with some great nature view taking up the majority of the image.  My family is so used to this that when I point the camera at them they say, "Am I in the way of that tree, or waterfall, or view?"  They know they are only the interest in the picture, not the main idea.  I like pictures that tell stories, so the person in the shot needs to be enjoying the location, reflecting on the waterfall or thinking about climbing the mountain.  In my reading the author of the blog talked about dividing the image into thirds, and laying the main subject along those lines.  Once I really think about that I get better shots.  Even so, there are times I look through the camera lens and I know, this shot is right.  My worst shots are when I get so excited that something is good and interesting that I forget to actually "see" what I am seeing.

Sunset on trail, SC

Lighting can be troublesome in every way.  Bright sun can make images harsh, highlight lines in faces, and make everything flat.  Low light can create moody images but also can make the picture less clear and interesting.  Back light darkens the subject, front light makes people squint.  With nature shots lighting can create interest, changing the image during the day.  Lighting problems require a little bit of moving around the subject, perhaps using a flash, or changing the exposure a little bit.

Clutter in a scene is my biggest problem right now.  I want to show what is really in the picture, what my eyes are seeing.  When I take that kind of picture I am not happy with it.  First I take the whole shot picture, then I follow up with close ups of some important feature of the whole, something that tells the story without all the parts.  I am almost always happier with the close up.  

With Real Estate Photography the rules are a little different.  My least favorite picture to see on the multiple listing service is a close up of a light, or of a shower head.  In this case, the wide, all included picture is better.  The home shopper gets a chance to see the flow of the home, and all the interesting parts as well.  A close up of the lights found about the bathroom sink don't really tell the viewer anything about the house.