Before I take a photo, there are several things that go through my mind. In addition to the lighting and time of day I am working with, I like to go deeper and think through exactly what my image is going to portray to my audience. It’s taken me many years to pinpoint my personal style of photography. When I narrowed down my intentions and expressed myself through storytelling and color, I finally found myself in my art.
I have always been a fan of using color in my images. I remember when I first started photography and being so exuberant with including as much color into my images as I could. I dressed my girls in clothing with big, bold, mismatching patterns and throwing as much color as I could fit into my image. Unfortunately, this made for a huge mess and distracted from the message of the image. Once I learned and studied color theory, I found how I could use colors to my advantage. Something I love doing now is using complimentary colors and deep jewel tones in my images. Complimentary colors are simply two colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. When placed next to each other, they create a color contrast that is pleasing to the eye and it creates a sense of balance within your images.
Using dominant color in photography is another passion I’ve picked up recently. In doing this, you create a visibly strong image that pulls the viewer in using one dominant color. I find that using primary colors can make the impact even stronger. When I brainstorm ideas using this theory, I find my main color first, and then add in elements that are of neutral color around it so as not to distract from the main idea. My favorite way of incorporating this color theory is using food. Fruits and veggies come in so many strong, vibrant colors and I love showcasing that beauty.
In addition to color, I like to set up my shot to tell a story of what’s happening. I love showcasing details, but more often than not, I like to step back and showcase the entire scene. Giving viewers a look into the room you’re in, or the location, brings more information to the image and enhances their interest. The best piece of advice I ever received in my photography journey was “step back.” Take a look at the bigger picture. I almost always focus my images on the entire scene before me, and later on, if I feel I should, I crop in. In my personal view, it’s always better to have too much of the scene than too little. You can always crop information out, but you can’t add more information in. Giving your viewers a look into your surroundings and the elements within that space draws them into your story and your message.
In using these two simple strategies, you can really pull in your audience and get more engagement in your photos! Have fun and use your imagination! Trying new things can bring in new perspectives and growth in your work. Enjoy!