My Photography "Tip" Thursdays Series...Week One

Welcome to the first of my 15 posts on photography tips. As you may remember I am taking a 15 week intro to digital photography class at my local community college and the first class was last night! Here I will be sharing with you each week a little tidbit of information which may help you to produce prettier and more interesting photos. Whether it is for your blog or just for you own family pictures, my sincere hope is that you learn a little something about taking beautiful photographs! And I promise not to get too wordy or technical (ha ha) in my posts.

Last night we looked at photos and learned a little bit about critiquing them using the 7 C's of creative image making. Let me give you a brief overview of what they are and how they are used in photography.

The first "C" stands for the choices or controls we make as the photographer. We can choose the perspective of which we shoot a photo like snapping the picture from above or below the subject, tilting our camera angle, shooting in a horizontal frame or in a vertical one, these are all examples of the choices we make when shooting our pictures. I personally like it when a photo I am looking at is taken from a perspective I didn't expect. Right there it creates interest for me because I need to figure out from where I need to be to see the photograph's perspective.

The second "C" 1s for communication. This is basically what story you want your picture to tell. For example...look at the photo below...

...what comes to your mind? Is this couple at a fancy hotel on a tropical island, or are they in their own backyard celebrating an anniversary? What ever story you create in your mind about this photo, it will surely be centered on a happy occasion because of the smiles on the couple's faces, their relaxed position, and the obvious toast.

The next "C" is for composition. This has to do with the placement of the main subject. Again look at the picture of our happy couple. Are they centered to the picture? No they are slightly skewed off to the right. Using the creative rule of thirds, we can draw two imaginary lines vertically and  two horizontally thus breaking our photo into thirds each way.

Then we can go ahead and number the 4 points where the lines intersect and call them power points. These power points are the optimum areas to place the focus of your photograph. It is purely your choice as to where you place the focus. If you notice in this photo the couple's raised glasses are approximately at power point 4.

Note: some cameras allow you to super-impose such a grid pattern on the view finder to aide in composition. Check your manual.

Another component of composition is that of leading lines. Look at this next image...

...ahhhhh don't you wish you were there? If you take a look at the horizon you will see how it leads your eye directly to the palm trees jutting out from the right side of the image. Another leading line is the sand you see between the rocks and the water, again leading your eye to the section of the photo with the palm trees.

The 4th "C" is for center of interest. This simply means giving the subject of your picture prominence and making secondary subjects subordinate or complimentary.

As you can see our main subject is the darling baby closest to us, the other two sweet babies are in the background and slightly out of focus. The two background babies tend to make this photo a bit more interesting yet they do not distract the eye from the main subject.

The fifth and sixth "C"s to creative image making are color and contrast.  In color we think of reds and yellows as warm and they will tend to come towards us when viewing a picture. Conversely, the cooler colors like blues and greens will tend to recede from us. This opposing relationship to the eye creates what is called contrast. Contrast can also exist as light verses dark and soft versus sharp when looking at photographs.

Contrast in photography is an effective way of directing our attention to the center of interest. In the picture below notice how the warm red color on the boat directs our attention as it is set against the surrounding cooler blues and greens.

And the seventh "C" of creative imagery is cropping. Cropping is seeing a picture inside a picture. I do this a lot when I publish my posts. I think of it as "taking a closer look" but it is actually the idea of cropping and creating a second independent picture.

This is my living room this past Christmas...

And now here is the second picture with everything else cropped out leaving just the coffee tablescape. 

Here I cropped the same image again...now it is just the hurricane lamp and the items inside.

Cropping is also used to improve image composition by removing unwanted areas of the photograph. 
 I hope this has been of some help to you...I know it helps me to go back and review what I've learned.  So the next time you pick up your camera to shoot a photo, try to think about these 7 "C''s and maybe implement one or two of them.
Have a great week and make sure you stayed tuned next Thursday when I hopefully can shed some light on basic camera operation.

Linking to the following parties...


  1. How fun to take a photography class! Thanks for passing along the tips!

  2. I love photography! But I can use all the tips I can get!! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up today!!

  3. Your photographs are wonderful. Thank you for sharing this information. I have a food blog and I'm trying to improve my photos! Thanks again. Sarah

  4. Hey Barbara - thanks so much for this series. I know have to take a photography class as well. I'll check my community colleges here on LI. I know that there's several DSL Photography Meetups in NYC - perhaps that would be good too.

    Great ideas and you really explained everything so well...thanks for posting!



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