Photographer cooks up recipe for visual appeal

Photo by Don Fleming.


It’s 5 o’clock and your work-day has come to an end and you are feeling good!

Over the weekend you found a great subject to photograph and today you proudly displayed it on your iPhone screen and your co-workers really liked it. You have been socially accepted and its only Monday!

OK, how many times has this happened to you, really? When you just grab a shot because it looks so good, you may get lucky, but it is rarely a guarantee for success!

So let’s just say the applause meter has not lit up very often at work for your photography.

You have accumulated many photographs on your iPhone, but how many would you really share with your friends?

So go ahead and begin freeing up some space by deleting many of those marginal grab shots and make room for some photographs that will really look good.

As you prepare for the next photo journey ask yourself, what imagery would my friends like to see? Remember this is a different thinking process from what you like to see and show.

Creative thinking to making your digital photographs look better is not complicated, it’s just another way of thinking about taking your photographs.

Remember, beauty is always appreciated in photography and scenes that contain a richness of color, tone, and texture like a sunrise or sunset will most always get good approval ratings.

Since we generally like sunshine, pick a good day and watch where the sun is shining, (in Walla Walla over the summer a sunny day was not hard to find), and look for blue skies to incorporate into the background behind your subject.

Have you ever photographed one of your friends and had them say, “Make me look good?”

If you can make them look good with your camera, then you will elevate to the next level of imagery in their eyes, and as the photographer you will feel good about making that happen!

Making imagery look good requires the photographer to think about the visual appeal of the photo to be taken before pressing the shutter.

Take a good look through the lens. Is the composition right? Does the lighting highlight the features of the subject? Does the picture have any rich colors? Is there a coexistence of everything in the picture? Will you be able to reach out and touch the subject in the picture?

Today there is a movement to finding imagery where beauty is completely natural.

Some local examples are: well-groomed parks; rolling rows of summer vineyards; farmers markets with local, colorful nutritional products; textured lavender farms; blossoming flower and vegetable gardens; golden wheat fields, and meandering natural streams.

It is now 5 o’clock and the end of the day on Friday and you reminisce with your co-workers with your new iPhone photos.

You will know when you are doing well when your friends say, “Wow — I wish I were there.”

Don Fleming will teach two classes fall quarter at Walla Walla Community College: basic digital photography, and creative thinking for better digital photos. He can be reached at:


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