I think one of the top priorities of any photographer at any skill level is to be able to make interesting photos. Now, how one defines “interesting” can vary greatly if we’re talking strictly in terms of subject matter — what is interesting to one individual isn’t guaranteed to be interesting to another.
But there are a few things we can all do to make our photos more interesting no matter what the subject is.
The next time you grab your camera, keep in mind these 5 ideas for how to make more interesting photos every time you shoot.
1. Be Intentional
Intentionality takes some thought — you should have some idea of what you would like to shoot, how you want certain shots to look. Of course, there will always be factors beyond your control but the point here is to do away with the habit of firing away at everything and hoping to get an interesting photo.
The so-called “spray-and-pray” technique not only handcuffs you to luck, it also increases the total number of images you capture which, in turn, makes editing that much more unpleasant and increases the likelihood of a good photo getting buried in a pile of mediocre/bad ones.
Rather, be selective and follow your instincts.
2. Be Prepared
The first step of photographic preparedness is always having a camera with you. Interesting photos are frequently made as a result of some unexpected occurrence. You can’t possibly capture everything, but if you’re not prepared you’ll miss out on just about everything.
You may not always be able to have your “main” camera with you — be it a DSLR, CSC, point-and-shoot or film camera. In this case, your mobile phone camera will serve admirably. These days there’s no reason to not have in your immediate possession a means of capturing a photo.
3. Break Composition Rules
You will get no argument from me that proven compositional guidelines tend to lead to satisfactory photos. The rule of thirds, for instance, just works.
But what if you want something more than satisfactory?
I guess you will have to break the rules — which is why you should know them well in the first place.
Sometimes a photo is far more interesting when it doesn’t conform to any of the prescribed composition rules that everyone plays by. Knowing exactly how and when to break the rules will come with time, experience and experimentation.
There’s no time like the present to get started.
4. Get Close And Change Perspective
It seems that so many of us start photographing things in much the same manner, shooting from a certain distance and certain perspective, imitating the tendencies we’ve observed in others.
But if you want to instantly up the ante on visual interest, all you’ve got to do is get close to your subject. Closer. Closer still.
Try to get close enough to fill the frame with your subject. Depending of what focal length you’re working with you may see some distortion the closer you get, which is typically unwanted for human subjects (faces in particular), but you might be okay with that. You’re going for interesting, after all.
Also, try changing your perspective. Shooting everything from your eye level can easily leave you with a bundle of shots that hold little interest for you and anyone else who would view them.
The remedy to this is fairly simple: shoot high, shoot low. A change in perspective can add plenty of interest to any photo.
5. Get The Candid Shots
The concept of capturing candid moments is something that street photographers know well. These unplanned, unscripted, unpredictable moments are what street photographers are always after, as they usually the epitome of interesting.
Street photographers, however, don’t own exclusive rights to candid shots. Any time you’re photographing people (models, children, couples, families), always be prepared to capture candid moments.
It is important for a portrait photographer to know how to pose and direct their subjects, but it’s also important to remember the power of unposed photos that happen organically.
Such photos may be the most interesting photos you make.
No doubt there are a lot more than 5 ways to make interesting photos. The ideas above are easy to apply to your own photography at any skill level; they give you room to expand and experiment and come up with more ways to create photos that will capture the interest of all who see them.