Here’s what we all do when we get our first DSLR:
Step 1: Shoot pretty much everything we can lay our eyes on—flowers in the backyard, showpieces in the living room, lizards crawling all over the ceiling…even an empty road that doesn’t say much.
Step 2: Be more adventurous and look for pretty sights, incredible landscapes, beautiful sunsets.
Step 3: Find none. Move back indoors, pack the camera up and leave it rotting.
Yeah, the cycle pretty much ends there, for your DSLR and your photography dreams as well.
Agreed, India may not be as scenic as your average European city road, but there is perhaps beauty that you’ve overlooked. How hard do you think it is to make interesting pictures every day? If you think about it, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create opportunities for good pictures. Not the rare occasional one, but good pictures every day. Using elements you see but never notice.
I have always taken a very “personal” approach to photography. Which means, when you start seeing things from your heart, you’ll find pictures forming in your head. Trust me, it works. Having said that, art has no limitations. While I have adopted several other techniques to make interesting pictures, some of them find their way into my style more often than not.
Here’s my top 5.
#1. Using color to make your subject pop
How hard is it to find color in India? Look around and it’ll take no more than a minute for you to think of your next picture.
#2. Making patterns speak
We pay little attention to commonplace objects. Spend some time looking around and observing, and you’ll see patterns everywhere.
#3. Using counterpoint to create importance
Used in landscapes, counterpoint is often ignored as a compositional rule. For the simple reason that you’re thinking of the object in front of you, but not about the environment around it. Step back and you’ll see it isn’t rare to find a “counterpoint” to your subject.
#4. The element of intrigue
Look up images of the Taj Mahal, and you’ll find a hundred images that you can’t tell apart.
As part of my personal approach to photography, I often look for ways to make a “different” picture and tell a new story without restructuring the foundational entity (in most cases, a historic location or monument). Sometimes, it just takes an everyday object to add that little element of intrigue.
#5. Add stories to your experiments
We all love doing photo experiments at home. With smoke, with water drops, with light…but it’s what you add to the story that can make a sea of difference.