Iconic Advice {the key to taking a great photo}

Iconic Advice: the key to taking a great photo

Last week, a friend asked me, “What is the key to taking a great photo?” Although many important things are needed for a good photo such as: an interesting subject, composition, exposure and depth of field; a great photo is often due to great timing.

For example, have a look at the two photos below. The one on the left was taken only a few seconds before the one on the right. So many of the elements of the photos are similar including the contrast and composition. The only real difference is timing.

1L3A6193 1L3A6195

Another example is from the famous photographer Andre Kertesz in Meudon (1928). Again – many elements of the photo are the same. Some would say the main difference is the subject matter; which is true, however, the subject matter wasn’t achieved by Kertesz positioning the elements, it was achieved by perfect timing. Notice how he has captured not only the train midway across the bridge, but also the instant the man carrying the package makes eye contact with him. The reason “Meudon” is one of the most famous photographs of all time is due to the impeccable timing.

andre-kertesz-meudon-1-1928 Meudon-01-e1334262204479

Many people could take a picture like that on the left, but very few can take the picture on the right. You need to have everything ready; a stable camera, the correct exposure and the right composition. Then, you need to wait. Kertesz not only had skill, he also had patience.

Next time you are taking photos of your kids in the backyard or playing sport, think about timing. Compose the photo and wait. Think about Kertesz waiting for the train to arrive and the man to look at him. Wait for the moment that ‘makes’ the photo. Whether it is kicking the ball or that little smile; wait for it. You’ll be glad you did.

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Thanks for visiting Iconic Photography. My name is Nicholas Brown and I am a Canberra wedding and family photographer. I am also a husband, a father and a bit of a nerd. What I love about wedding and family photography is getting to know people, listening to their stories and then helping them tell their story. Oh … and I also love coffee. So, if you’d like to sit down over a cup and tell me your story, I would love to hear it and help you share it.

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