In order to create a stunning image a professional photographer needs to incorporate at least four main properties into any shot that they are building. Keeping these properties in mind will help you to build a better image. Here are some of the top four properties that every image needs to be successful:
People: focusing in on people or at least a human quality to an image is very important. In order for an image to be successful it needs to resonate with people and this means that whether you are taking a photo of wildlife, a macro shot of a plant, a landscape or a traditional portrait, it needs to be something that reflects emotion. When an image instantly connects with people it can have staying power and get recognized. Look for common connections in your frames and consider the impact that capturing a specific emotion could have with someone. When you look through the camera lens and feel an overall sense of calm and serenity, it’s very likely that someone else viewing the photo that comes out of that scene will feel the same way.
Place: The setting of a photograph needs to tell a story as well. Iconic places and scenes that look otherworldly often do well at photography competitions because there places that seem full of wonderment. Work it carefully crafting a scene with lighting, with familiarity and more. It’s incredible the difference that a place can make on the look of a photograph. A great example could be taking a portrait of someone on a cliff overlooking the ocean versus taking that same photo in a studio in editing the background in. The place can help to convey more emotion and although it can be challenging to work on different locations, it leads to better photographs. When you are telling a story you need to make sure that you are getting the scene right and this means taking a special emphasis with every place you are taking photos.
Prop: A prop can tell a story whether it is a favorite teddy bear, a plant, a special sweater or even a sign. Introducing props for an image can help to elevate the story and really improve the quality of the photo with some clever placement. You could consider bringing in props to a landscape shot or even introducing props to a portrait to showcase more of the personality that a portrait subject may have. Letting people pick out their own props is a fantastic way to expand on the story of a photograph and to improve the quality of an image. A simple portrait can very quickly turn into something completely unique and much livelier with a prop or a few props.
Production value: The production value as a photographer ultimately is a tool that will help you to tell your story. Picking up a camera where you can adjust focus and aperture settings can be important. Being able to frame the area of the shot that you want to capture, getting the soft lighting and even focusing in on elements of the background can give you more control on the type of story you want to tell. Production value is often something that takes an investment but through the help of editing software and by improving some of your gear, you can work at telling a story with better production value. Even a few small considerations like checking lighting level and using the rule of thirds on your smart phone camera will help you to build a better quality image in terms of production value.
Keep these top four properties in mind when you are trying to tell a story with your images as a photographer.