Chapter 2

Starting to See Like a Photographer


Exploring the basics of composition

Drawing the eye to your subject

Understanding depth of field

Deciding whether to blur motion

Looking for the light

Seeking out new and unusual subjects

When I started mingling with professional photographers, I noticed that they often used the term “making a photograph” instead of “taking a photograph.” At first, I assumed this was just a bit of artistic posturing — after all, isn't producing a photograph simply a matter of pressing a shutter button?

But as I learned more about photography, I realized that pressing the shutter button is actually the last in a series of steps a good photographer takes to create an image. Before that moment, you need to consider several creative issues, such as composition, depth of field (how much of the surrounding area should be as sharply focused as your subject), whether you want to blur or freeze action, and lighting. For the most part, you can control these aspects of your photograph even when shooting with basic cameras, although advanced models give you a few additional tools for varying depth of field, motion blur, and lighting.

This chapter helps you understand these creative choices so that you can start creating stronger images. Also check out Chapter 7 for additional tips specific to shooting better portraits, landscapes, close-ups, and action photos.

Exploring Composition Basics

Not everyone agrees on the best ways to compose an ...

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