(lowell, ma USA)
This is a picture of my iPhone headphones. I don't really know what I was hoping to capture, and I want you guys to give me advice on how I can make it better.
I know about the rule of thirds already, this was before I took it. lol! Thanks.
Kenny states here that he didn't really know what he was hoping to capture, and that he would like some advice on how to make it better.
The problem with this photo is in the first part of that sentence – not really knowing what he was hoping to capture. There are many times that we see something, whip out the camera and fire off a few shots. Sometimes we get some pure gold in those shots, mostly we end up wondering why we did it!
This is far more common in the digital age, and the most useful tip I can provide here is to think like a film photographer.
You see, with film, you knew that every time you took a shot it was going to cost you. It cost a frame of film, and it cost money to develop it. And your film was limited to the rolls you had with you at the time. When they ran out you had no choice but to stop taking photos. You couldn't delete the rotten shots and take a few more.
So you made sure you took some time to evaluate the scene, and question whether the photo was worth the expense. If it wasn't, you moved onto something else. That's what's missing in Kenny's photo – he didn't stop to evaluate the scene and ask himself "is this worth taking a photo?"
Had he done so, I think he would have come to the same conclusion as most of us – probably not!
To answer Kenny's second request – how could this photo be improved – well, on a technical level here's a suggestion - turn the flash off. It casts a horrible light on the scene.
If you really want to photograph your headphones, one way to get good light is to place them in the bath (empty bath, of course!) and photograph them in daylight. This will only work well if you have a white bath. The light reflects all around the subject and provides uniform illumination.
Of course, I stick to my earlier comments – why bother in the first place!
Thanks for the submission anyway Kenny,
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Return to Digital photography tutorials - submissions, March 2008.