How to put extra impact into your photos

  • There is a mysterious and seemingly indefinable quality which lifts some photographs out of the ordinary. Instead of just skimming past them, as we so often do, we pause to admire them. How do we put that extra "something", that extra dimension which we call "impact", into your photographs?

  • In reality, impact is easier to achieve than most people realize, provided we have the right techniques which top professionals and successful amateurs apply almost without thinking. Concepts such as the "rule of thirds" or "color harmony", and decisions about where to put the subject in the frame, or whether to use a vertical or horizontal format actually makes a difference in the end result of a photo.

  • The real key is using them systematically and reliably, instead of on a hit-or-miss basis.
    Learning to do so isn't a dull grind, though. You will need a lot of practice. Take as much pictures as you can. Instead of a single photograph, take two or three shots of the same subject. Change the viewpoint, stand on a wall or crouch down low, come closer or walk further away, shoot one picture horizontally and another vertically. Shoot "around" the subject, too: show details, people's reactions, and the same place at different times of day.

  • There is one professional secret that couldn't be taught. The way to become known as a really good photographer is to edit your pictures ruthlessly. Throw the failures out or (if the subject matter is too precious) put them safely away in a family album where no one else will see them. Show someone a few good pictures, and they will look forward to seeing your next shots; show them the whole album, the good mixed with the bad, and the bad will overwhelm the good.

  • In addition, don't show too many similar pictures. If you have (say) half a dozen shots of a child's first steps, select just one or two which really convey that first tottering, wavering journey. Thin the pictures out, put them in order, and let them tell their own story.

  • Professionals sometimes shoot a lot (really a lot!) in order to get just one or two good pictures. You need not go that far, but as a rule of thumb, at least one-third of the pictures you shoot should probably be edited out. Although you will need extra memory card, times and effort to filter out the bad, and some or most of your pictures will never be seen, the selection that you do show will build your reputation as a photographer.

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