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  • Writer's pictureSaurik Shah

Why understanding these 5 basics of photography is an absolute must!

Imagine you have spent the night observing every moment of the captivating and transient hues of the northern lights. Now, imagine you have to explain each moment and each hue that you have witnessed to your friend. Can you possibly do that?

Maybe you’ll say it was marvelous, it was breathtaking, it was extra-ordinary and it was beyond this world. Well, words take you up to a point. After that, what?

That’s when photography takes over.

Getting into the technical part of what photography is, is deep and comes at a more evolved stage, but let’s get to the essence of the art first!

Louise Daguerre from France who invented the first photographic material says about photography, “I have seized the light. I have arrested the flight.” Photography is all about capturing a moment with light sewn into it, into something that lasts beyond that moment.

And it takes a whole lot to understand how to capture transience into eternity. In this blog, let me start off with these 5 absolute basics.

1. The art of ‘Seeing’:

Before photographing a sight, it is important to be aware of the things around you. Trying to observe and see, flexing your eyes to the details – subtle and obvious is so important. In Tibet, they call it Miksang or the ‘art of seeing’.

Just like a rigorous work out begins by a warm up, some serious photography begins by having a good eye. Once you have trained your eyes, your mind instantly, in a flash learns to recognize whether or not frames and objects have the potential for shooting.

2. Understanding light:

Since all photography begins with light, it’s the next big step to learn to observe the movement of light across the day. With an understanding of the sun path or the daily and the seasonal variation of natural light, one can be adept at taking some of most stunningly beautiful shots.

3. Equipment to capture:

Since photography is all about documenting the sight, the emotion and the story in its entirety, you need an instrument to document that. A phone camera, a DSLR or whatever camera you chose to work with, you’ll have to play with angle and inclination. Angles are really powerful, in the sense that the same shot taken from a different angle can bring so much of sharpness, passion and soul to the photo.

Normally, the human eye can see an object at 35 degrees, but with the camera you can chose to zoom in, pick a perfect range, widen the angle and pick a view that brings the most out of your photo!

4. Composition:

You have trained your eye, held the camera, played with the angles but have you decided what and why you want to capture something? Composition is essentially, the object and the element of that object and the surrounding you want to capture. It’s the story of your picture.

Are you trying to capture a smile on the wrinkled face of aged tribal women in the Naga? Are you trying to take a shot of the first few steps by your baby? Using the laws of the light and knowing the art of arranging things in your composition, you’ll realize how the photo naturally comes out to be so appealing. It’s called the fibbonacci arrangement but more on that later.

For now, know that you’ll have to keep in mind the rationale behind the photo and shoot accordingly.

5. Critique:

Yes, beauty is in the beholder’s eye! You have seen beauty and therefore captured it. But, see what others have to say as a feedback to your work. It will work better if someone can give you an honest insight with a non-judgmental attitude. Taking a stock of their interpretation will make you realize if other people are actually taking from the picture what you as a photographer are trying to convey.

Obviously, photography is an art and your success as a photographer doesn’t completely depend on whether the other people can understand your point of view. But, as a learner, the more open you are and the more mentored you become by the right people, the more efficient you’ll get.

Well, we take a wrap here! I hope these experiences and tips helped you. Do let me know if you’ve worked on them and found them useful. Also share with me the hitches and the stumbling blocks on your journey as you begin photography. There’s a lot fellow mates can share! Lets grow together!

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