How to shoot stunning pictures for your awards application
It's never been easier to become an amateur photographer — just pick up your phone, and go. Most smartphones have a pretty decent camera as well — certainly good enough to, say, shoot pics for your upcoming Inspired Awards application — so that's what we recommend. It's a free, accessible and high quality way to capture your hard work.
If you're new to this sort of thing, then here are a few pointers for taking an Award-Winning photo.
Most smartphones let you turn on 'gridlines' in the camera settings. They're one of the easiest ways to improve your photos. The lines are based on the ‘rule of thirds’ (a photographic composition principle) which breaks the photo down into 9 parts. According to the theory, if you place key elements of your photo into one of the thirds, your picture will be more balanced, natural and engaging.
Embrace Negative Space
To quote one photographer, 'Negative space defines and emphasises the main subject of a photo, drawing your eye to it. It provides "breathing room", giving your eyes somewhere to rest and preventing your image from appearing too cluttered with "stuff". All of this adds up to a more engaging composition.'
Using the rule of thirds as explained above can help you to include more negative space in your image. You can also try focusing your attention (not the camera!) on the space around your subject in order to take a more considered, balanced and well-composed shot.
Perspectives and Angles
Try looking at your subject from different places and views. Often looking up or down at something can really change the story of your photo.
The colour, intensity and position of your light source can have a dramatic effect on the scene you're trying to capture. It can brighten highlights and darken shadows; it can add drama and affect the perceived temperature. It's also a primary method for accenting certain features and colours, whilst downplaying others.
Here are a few good rules of thumb when it comes to getting the most from your light:
Light that comes from the front de-emphasises texture; light from the sides or the back emphasises it. So, if you're capturing images of people, you may want front-facing light to soften any blemishes. Or, if you're taking a shot of your store and want the texture of clothes to be nice and crisp, you'll probably pick light from the side or back.
Even if you think your light is neutral, it has colour. If you're wondering why your photo looks too 'cold' for instance, it's probably a lighting issue. If you're looking for warmth, try shooting in the early morning or late afternoon for the best natural light.
Shadows create depth and volume. If you want an image that looks like it'll jump off the page, try to use light at a variety of angles to elongate and generally manipulate the way your shadows are falling.