I remember when I first picked up my DSLR, the first stop I made was to the book store. As usual, I walked out the door with a giant stack of books and significantly less money in my bank account. I would sit on my couch and look through endless photography books of some of the most iconic images ever taken, and think to myself, "Wow, I wonder what was going through the photographers mind before they took that image." I watched numerous documentaries and interviews with these same photographers and images. What I found was that each and every one of these photographers had a simple yet effective mental checklist that they would go through before raising their camera to their eye. What makes a great image can be subjective. There are so many individual elements in creating an inspiring image. While each photographer has their own style, I believe that to some degree they all share the same basic guiding principles when creating their imagery. These aren't necessarily ground-breaking or even new for that matter. What they are is time tested and incredibly reliable. These guiding principles are: Light, Exposure, Composition and Emotion.
1. Light - Find quality light that matches the mood for your desired image.
2. Exposure - Get your settings locked in so you can move on to the compositional aspect of your shot.
3. Composition - Framing, leading lines, color theory, rule of thirds etc.
4. Emotion - The transferring of emotion from the subject to the viewer.
In photography and in life, it is important to have guiding principles that help lead you along your way. A simple and thoughtful plan is usually the most effective and it is important to think about what you are trying to accomplish before you begin. You have to slow down to go fast. That said, thinking about these specific elements alone won't make you an excellent photographer. In fact, each and every one of these elements will take a tremendous amount of practice to master. But having a simple and effective plan is essential to achieving your goals in photography and in life. My hope is that these four guiding principles can become your guiding light in your photographic journey. As we move forward together, I will dive deeper into each one of these individual elements. Let the journey begin!