Mundane Surroundings? No Problem!
All too often we get enamored with photographing the spectacular - the Yosemites of the world, for example - and shun the everyday locations with which we are familiar.
However, this is a mistake because gorgeous photos can be created in even the “ugliest” locations. It’s just a matter of getting creative.
Consider these quick and easy tips for making the mundane magnificent.
Focus on the Details
When striving to find beauty in the mundane, it’s important to focus on the little details. Doing so opens up new avenues for portraying the subject because you can focus on fundamental elements like shape, color, texture, patterns, light and shadows, to name but a few.
The image above benefits from this approach. The detail of the wall, with areas of peeling paint and cracks, along with the shadows cast by elements unseen in the frame, gives this image all sorts of visual appeal. What’s more, including typography in the frame - the signs on the door - adds another layer of punch, both in terms of the visual interest of the lettering and in terms of the pops of color that are added to the scene.
Look for details like these in your everyday scenes, and use them to create a more compelling image.
Go For Broke With Your Composition
Often, the manner in which you frame your shot, the way you utilize depth of field, or the perspective from which you shoot will have a tremendous impact on how your image is received. For example, shooting from eye level, from a standing position, with your subject centered perfectly in the frame might not be the most compelling composition. In fact, that sort of composition might make the most spectacular scene seem a bit boring.
Just like with any photo, an image of a “boring” subject needs to benefit from how you compose the shot. As a result, do what you can to shake things up. Try shooting downward to get a top-down perspective, as was done in the image above. Play with your aperture to see how a blurry background might change the impact of your photo. Shift your subject to the extreme edges of the frame, giving viewers something totally unexpected in terms of subject placement. You might very well find that doing so makes the shot.
Don’t Be Shy
A large part of your success in making great photos of less-than-stellar subjects is in your willingness to experiment and see what you can create. It’s a difficult process to learn how to take high-quality photos. But when you combine that with subjects that maybe aren’t as grand or gorgeous as you’d like, the process becomes a little tougher to master.
Nonetheless, don’t let an increased level of difficulty dissuade you. There will be many bad photos, no doubt, and many moments of great frustration as well. But being willing to try new things and stretching your comfort zone will not only result in an expanded set of technical skills, but it will also help you grow creatively. So, don’t be shy - grab your camera and a couple of friends, and see what “boring,” everyday subjects you can find in your house, your yard, or your neighborhood to highlight in a gorgeous photo.