Friday, 11 December 2009

Things that improve your photography (other than taking photos) - pt 1

A few thoughts about improving your (and my) photography. The obvious one is to take more photos and try new approaches, but as the title says, that is not what this is about. It is also NOT about an excuse to buy more kit (sorry).

The point is to improve the way we see. To make us more visually aware. In this case, to make us more aware of shapes and lines within an image and therefore strengthen composition. And the secret, very simple. Draw. Yes, you read it right. Draw. Sketch. Scribble and doodle. Actually, it's a bit more directed than most doodling, but the process if very simple and very quick.

Do 20 second sketches of things or people that you observe in your day-to-day life. Give yourself only 20 seconds for each one (precision is not too important here) in order to sketch a scene that in in front of you. Think of it as a sort of cartoon if you like. The point is to try to express a lot in very few lines and in 20 seconds you don't have time to get caught up in the detail. Why do this? Simply to improve your awareness of lines within what you see in front of you. To translate complexity into simplicity. You don't have to be great at drawing, although after a short period you will almost certainly become better at that too.

Do it during the commute to and from work (not if you are driving, silly), during lunch breaks on a paper napkin or even while you are at work - just don't blame me if you get into trouble with your boss. And do it regularly.

Image: Mist on the lake, Harefield