It all begins by either actively making the photo, changing an existing scene or capturing a moment, taking a picture only of what you see.
When I see something that catches my eye. I try to decide exactly what it is I like and concentrate on bringing out those qualities in the best way possible. This is the creative photographic process in action.
The subject of the photograph helps determine the lens, and composition. Landscape and scenery usually lend well to wide-angle lenses. Portraiture is best in the 100mm range. Wildlife is difficult to do without a telephoto.
Metering the light will allow you to refine the mood and look you want. Beyond just getting the light right we have to think how those aperture and shutter speed settings will affect our photos in other ways.
To find the right composition, a photographer will often shoot, recompose and reshoot many times. Effective composition takes concentration and continuous scanning of the right, left, top, and bottom of the viewfinder. The end goal is to make sure nothing needs cropping, or to be removed, or added later. Wherever possible a photographer should always try to get the composition precisely right in the camera. Photoshop should really be used to make good photos great not repair poorly shot images.
We are usually trying to steer the “viewer’s eye” with our composition and focus. Remember that the eye goes to the brightest and sharpest part of an image first. Our job as photographers is to get the brightest, sharpest part of the photo to fall where we want it.
I feel my most basic, yet, challenging task as a photographer is to try to get perfection between the four walls of the frame.
Considering all the things that can make you dislike a photo, this is no easy task. One good tip is, the more distractions there are, the more telephoto you should shoot. Wider angle lenses are great for beautiful scenery but they include so much of what’s around that it is easy to catch signs, garbage, or other things that take the focus away from your subject. Also telephoto lenses naturally tend to blur the background more, therefore softening an otherwise busy background.
When exploring a subject photographically I feel the main simple question that keeps coming up is “what do I like, what don’t I like?” Through angle of view, depth of field, lighting and blocking you can often find a way to keep what you like and loose what you don’t.
Regardless of what type of photographer you are, you usually have the ability to add something or to make the photograph a little better. It may be just a quick swivel to avoid a distracting background, or searching for an unusual angle. Just by asking yourself, “what can I do to make this better?”, you will definitely improve your photograph.