KVN Photography: Blog https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) KVN Photography [email protected] (KVN Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u755721749-o1070552064-50.jpg KVN Photography: Blog https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog 120 120 What Makes a Great Photograph Part Two - Composition https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/2/what-makes-a-great-photograph-part-two---composition What Makes a Great Photograph

Part 2 - Composition



As I've spoken about before, I believe there a 3 key reasons that any particular photograph looks great, they are Light/Composition and Emotion. Last week I covered the importance of Light, this week I am going to speak about composition.

What it boils down to is, if I gave a photography novice the best camera in the world and handed my iPhone to a photography Pro, because of the Pro's understanding of composition, harmony and balance, I'm pretty sure he would achieve the better shot by far. So when talking about composition the first thing to do is to learn a number of basic rules and once you have a good understanding of those go out, experiment with them, bend them and break them!

So, here are some rules to mastering the art of composition:


The Rule of Thirds

Devised by the Ancient Greeks 2500 years ago, the Rule of Thirds still works today. To use it, simply divide your frame into a noughts and crosses grid and ensure the subjects of greatest importance to the composition are positioned in the frame at the point where the lines intersect and you'll get a balanced frame. On most digital camera's today and even your mobile phone you will have the option to overlay a grid on the screen when taking your photographs, use it to improve your positioning and balance.

In the photo above of the Liverpool Wheel you can see that the main point of focus (The Wheel) sits on the top left intersecting point and the horizon sits along the lower third line and to finish it off the waterway runs up the right hand third, this has produced a balanced composition.

Lead In Lines

Strong linear features draw the viewers eye to a key component within a frame. I's important though to always ensure lead in lines go somewhere though and always avoid those that take your eyes out of the frame.

In the shot, the purpose of the railway tracks is to draw the viewers eye to the sunset on the horizon.

Natural Framing

Look out for a natural object near the scene you are looking to photograph that can be used as a natural frame. Common objects that can be used to frame an image are trees and branches, windows, doorways, tunnels and cave openings. The frame doesn't need to cover every side of the image either. Most successful framed images only have one or two sides framed, on the other hand a fully framed image through a window or door can also be very effective.

In this shot of the O2 Arena, I've used the branches of a nearby tree to frame the arena and give the image extra depth. They also serve to block out the distraction of the neighbouring building.

Active Space

Any subject with a 'face' or 'front' requires more space on the side it's looking into or travelling towards. This could be a person, animal or object. Unless the subject is 'face on' you should allow more 'active' space (the room that the subject is moving/looking into) than 'passive' space (the dead area behind the subject).

In this shot of a fast moving Ferrari, I have left more "Active" space to the right of the subject for it to move into creating a more dynamic image.

Symmetrical Framing

Symmetry in photography makes a powerful statement, particularly in architectural shots and direct 'front-on' portraits, symmetry gives perfect balance. When using symmetrical framing look for strong converging lines to lead the viewers eye into the centre.

Foreground Interest

When shooting landscapes add texture and detail to the bottom of your frame, without it you'll have a 'weak' shot with no 'anchor' to attract the eye. When framing up, moving to the left or right or even lowering your camera angle to seek out foreground interest will result in a much stronger shot.

So, consider these 'rules' as guidelines to success and by using them you will increase your chances of a successful composition.

Next time I'll be talking about how you can inject emotion into your photographs. 

[email protected] (KVN Photography) Blog Framing Great Photograph KVN Photography Landscape Photography SLR Photography Thirds Rule composition https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/2/what-makes-a-great-photograph-part-two---composition Fri, 26 Feb 2016 19:00:13 GMT
What Makes a Great Photograph Part One - Light https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/2/what-makes-a-great-photograph-part-one---light THE IMPORTANCE OF LIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHY

In my last blog I spoke about the 3 things that I felt were the making of a great photograph, light/composition/emotion. Today I'm going to focus on LIGHT.

Light is everything. The job of a photographer is to capture light and record it, whether on paper or in a digital format. As the photographer, you have the power to control the amount, intensity and duration of light required to make a picture. Light comes in different forms, Natural Light and Artificial Light. Each of these will have a different effect on your photograph, not only that, the direction in which the lighting is coming from also has a huge influence on the end result. 

Lets have a closer look at the different forms of light and some of the things you may want to consider when taking your next shot.


Natural Light

The shot below was taken in the library of a beautiful manor house, the room itself was full of dark furniture and large dark oppressive, but impressive bookcases, so light was at a premium. It did however have some beautiful large windows directly behind my position and so I decided to rely solely on the light that they provided and by ensuring all the guys in the shot were positioned facing the windows I was able to produce an image that was evenly lit throughout.


Best Men


When using natural light from a window or other light source it may also be worth considering using a reflector to bounce the light onto the model/subject. A reflector can be made quite simply using a piece of white card and some tinfoil. Cut the card to a size suitable for your subject and then wrap the opposite side with tinfoil. This will give you a double sided reflector offering two different tones of light.

Reflectors are particularly useful when you don't wish to compromise your shooting position or the background and for reducing excessive shadows.

Another thing to consider with natural light is the time of day, especially when shooting landscapes. If you've read any photography books you'll have heard about the golden hours at sunrise and sunset when the sun is low in the sky and produces a nice warm light and shadows that provide depth and drama.

I took the shot below just after sunrise when the sun was casting long shadows and bathing everything in a beautiful golden glow.



Artificial Light

When using Flash or any other artificial light source, such as a desk lamp or studio lights, it's important to consider the direction in which you wish the light to come from as this will have a huge impact on the final image. The examples below show a simple pot of pencils shot from directly in front with the flash on top of the camera and then again with the flash off camera to the left side. By simply moving the direction of the light source we have created two very different images. The first is very evenly lit, bright and colourful but possibly lacking in depth, whilst the second has dramatic shadows and depth and all that's changed is the direction of the light source.

















I hope that gives you a slightly better understanding of the importance of light in your photography and some things that you can do to control it and it's effect on your photographs.

Next time I'll be covering Composition, what is composition, why is it so important and what tools are there to help?

[email protected] (KVN Photography) Flash Photography Great Photograph KVN Photography Light Photography Photography Blog SLR Photography https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/2/what-makes-a-great-photograph-part-one---light Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:52:20 GMT
What Makes a Great Photograph? https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/why-makes-a-great-photograph What makes a great photograph......?

It's a good question, and one that I asked myself many times when I started out. I would often look at a collection of recent photographs and wonder why certain shots were very pleasing to the eye and others were not!!

In the end I narrowed it down to three main points:

  1. Light
  2. Composition
  3. Emotion

Lullaby When all 3 of these components come together, it can create a sublime image that is balanced in its composition, lit beautifully and one that makes you FEEL something.


Lighting is a key factor in creating a successful image. Not only does light determine the brightness and darkness of an image, but also it's mood, tone and atmosphere. Therefore, it is necessary to control and manipulate light correctly in order to get the best texture, vibrancy of colour and luminosity of your subject.

When using natural light, understanding the position of your light source and how it changes throughout the day is key.


Ben Across The Thames

Composition describes the placement of key elements within an image that suits the core purpose or assists in the telling of the story. It can be used as a way of guiding a viewers eye towards the most important element of the photograph and relies on many different elements including, blur, light, other objects within the frame and colour and tone.


A photographs ability to convey emotion is what helps the viewer connect with the image. Emotion, or a feeling, is what can bring a snapshot out of obscurity and make it shine.

Your photograph should be your expression of what you see and feel through the viewfinder.

Over the coming weeks I'll cover each of these points in more detail and show you how to make the best of Light/Composition and how to inject Emotion into your shots.


[email protected] (KVN Photography) Composition Emotion Flash Photography Great Photograph KVN Photography Light Photograph SLR Photography Sharp shots https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/why-makes-a-great-photograph Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:53:53 GMT
Gosfield Hall Wedding Photography - A beautiful setting for a winter wedding https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/gosfield-hall-wedding-photography---a-beautiful-setting-for-a-winter-wedding I've just finished working on a gorgeous wedding from a couple of weeks ago. Just like many winter weddings the weather was not very pretty, however the location and building was beautiful allowing me to create some fantastic shots inside and away from the typically english wet winter weather.

The location was Gosfield Hall and this was my first visit and it didn't disappoint. Formerly a Royal residence, this gorgeous Georgian manor house in Essex with it's former ballroom, library and oak panelled gallery provided some beautiful opportunities inside for wedding photography.

One of the biggest challenges to winter weddings and shooting inside is light, so be prepared to use off camera flash and/or higher ISO's on those occasions when flash is just not appropriate.

Here's one of the many beautiful final edits from Danny and Vanessa's wedding that day.

[email protected] (KVN Photography) Bride Flash Photography Gosfield Hall Groom KVN Photography Library Wedding Photography https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/gosfield-hall-wedding-photography---a-beautiful-setting-for-a-winter-wedding Tue, 12 Jan 2016 14:23:52 GMT
A Guide to Sharper Shots - Part 3 https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/6/a-guide-to-sharper-shots---part-3 In the 3rd and final part of my A Guide to Sharper Shots Blog we will focus on how to freeze subject movement.

Whether it's children playing or motor racing there's one simple fix that will avoid the blur caused by subject movement and that's a faster shutter speed. A camera's shutter speed controls how much time the sensor is exposed to light, if it's not quick enough, anything moving will end up blurry. 

So, how do you choose the correct shutter speed? Firstly you need to determine how quickly the subject is moving, for instance a subject moving at walking pace will not need a shutter speed that is too fast to freeze their movement. 1/125sec is generally quick enough, whereas something like a racing car would need a shutter speed more rapid such as 1/500sec to 1/1000sec. This should capture most fast action shots with pin sharp detail.

Next you need to determine whether you have enough light as you will need lots of it to capture shots using fast shutter speeds, this may mean choosing the largest aperture your camera will allow to let more light in or increasing your ISO therefore increasing the light sensitivity of the camera's sensor. Both of these settings will be determined automatically by the camera if you are using the Shutter Priority mode (Tv on Canon) and ISO is set to auto. However if you are in Manual mode you will be in full control over these settings too.



Shutter speed is measured in seconds and fractions of a second. How fast you need it to be depends on how fast the subject is moving across the frame.

So, 1/1000sec is a hundred times faster than 1/10sec and would do a much better job of freezing fast moving action. Unfortunately there isn't an easy formula to remember when your out shooting and you will need to rely on your own judgement and trial and error when selecting your shutter speed. It's always a good idea, once you have selected your shutter speed, to take a test shot and then zoom in really tight on the image to closely inspect the fine details if there is any blur evident then increase your shutter speed (the bigger the latter part of the fraction the faster the shutter speed).

Well, I hope you've found my 'A Guide to Sharper Shots' blog useful, feel free to comment and offer feedback.

[email protected] (KVN Photography) Blur SLR Photography Sharp shots https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/6/a-guide-to-sharper-shots---part-3 Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:29:41 GMT
A Guide to Sharper Shots - Part 2 https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/6/a-guide-to-sharper-shots---part-2 If you read my last blog 2 weeks ago, you will know that the 3 most common causes of blur in your photo's are:

  • Camera Shake
  • Incorrect Focussing
  • Subject Movement 

Last time out we talked about Camera Shake, so this time let's take a look at how to fix Focussing Errors.



Focussing incorrectly is a sure fire way of ruining the shot, we've all done it and all of us have ended up with a photograph that has a soft subject and sharp background, not a good look!! Whilst all modern digital SLR lenses have AF (Autofocus), the photographer is still required to let the camera know which part of the frame he/she would like to be sharp, so brushing up on your auto focussing skills is required to fix this problem.

Focussing Modes

Most camera's have 3 focussing modes to choose from; One Shot, Continuous and Manual, which one you choose depends upon the subject you are shooting. One Shot, is generally used for shooting static subjects, the camera will focus when you half press the shutter button and lock the focal point until the button is fully pressed. Continuous is used for moving subjects, the focal point will track the subjects movement when the shutter button is half pressed and will not lock until the button is fully pressed and the shot is taken. Manual, gives you full control over the focal point and is adjusted by twisting the focus ring.


AF (Autofocus) Points

AF Points are visible through the viewfinder and are the small square/rectangles that light up when you half press your shutter button. Autofocus Points are locations in your camera's field of vision where the camera will focus. This means that the camera will select one of the squares in your view finder to be the sharpest part of the photo, this may not necessarily be the part of the picture that you would like to be sharpest therefore gaining control of the camera's AF points is a must.



Focusing on a Static Subject

Camera's have a focus selector switch on the body that allows you to gain control of the active AF Point, this is called the Focus Point button, check your camera's manual for instruction on how to change it, then make sure that the active AF Point is covering the area that you want to be sharpest. 

Step 1

Set your focusing mode to it's single shot setting. This is called 'One Shot' on Canon and 'AF-S' on Nikon, check your manual for instructions on your specific model.

Step 2

Half press then release the shutter button, you will see the active AF point highlighted in red. Use the D-pad to position it over the part of the scene that you want to be sharp.

Step 3

With your AF point in place, half press the shutter button to set the focus (most camera's emit a short beep at this point), then fully depress the shutter button to take a sharp shot.


Focusing on a Moving Subject

When your shooting something that is moving across the frame you will need to select the 'Continuous' focusing mode. This tells the camera to keep tracking your subject the entire time your shutter button is half pressed, up until you take the shot. It is also a good idea to use your high speed drive mode to take a burst of shots, this will increase your chances of getting the shot that you want.

Step 1

Change your camera's focusing mode to its Continuous setting (this is AI-Servo on Canon and AF-C on a Nikon camera).

Step 2

For fast moving subjects it's generally a good idea to use the central AF Point. This helps to ensure you get all of the subject in the frame.

Step 3

Frame up with your active AF Point over the subject and half press the shutter button to engage the AF. Keep you finger half pressed on the shutter button and follow the action for a second or two then shoot a burst of shots.

Good luck!! I hope you are enjoying my blog and find these tips useful. Share your success stories with me too, it would be great to hear about them. 

Check back in a fortnight for A Guide to Sharper Shots - Part 3 How to Freeze Subject Movement.

[email protected] (KVN Photography) Blur SLR Photography Sharp shots https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/6/a-guide-to-sharper-shots---part-2 Thu, 05 Jun 2014 15:26:58 GMT
A Guide to Sharper Shots - part 1 https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/5/a-guide-to-sharper-shots---part-1 Have you ever returned from a days photography only to find that some of your shots are blurry or soft around the edges?

You've spent all that money on a good camera so that you can record those special moments, or fabulous sights and when you get home and upload your pictures to your computer screen you get that sinking feeling and you know you won't get to record that moment again.

It happens to us all!!! The key to success is understanding why it happens. Thankfully, most of the time it can be narrowed down to one of 3 reasons:

  1. Camera Shake
  2. Incorrect Focussing
  3. Subject Movement

In part 1 of my Guide to Sharper Shots we will focus on Camera shake, it's causes and how to eliminate them.


Camera Shake


If your photo's are consistently blurry throughout the entire image then it is probably due to camera shake.

Blurry LensThe blur in this image is as a result of camera shake. In this instance the shutter speed of the camera was too slow, this could have been fixed with the use of a tripod.


This is caused by camera movement at the moment of exposure (when you fire the shot). When shooting in low light with slower shutter speeds this can happen a lot.

There are a number of ways to combat this and they will all work, so if your shots suffer from camera shake try these tips to put it right:

  • Use a tripod - One way to guarantee that your photo's will be free from camera shake is to use a tripod, although it is advisable to use the self timer to prevent jolting the camera when pressing the shutter button.
  • Hold the camera correctly - There really is a right way to hold a camera! Keep your left elbow tucked into your ribs to stabilise your supporting hand. your left hand should be supporting the camera's lens, whilst your right hand goes on the grip to operate the shooting controls. To further stabilise your body, your feet should be shoulder width apart with your left foot forward and your right foot outwards.

Hand Holding A CameraLeft hand supports the lens. Right hand holds the grip. Left elbow tucked in for stability. Feet shoulder width apart.

  • Speed up your shutter - The slower your shutter speed is, the greater the chance of the camera moving during the exposure. So, make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to make any camera movement insignificant. How to do this varies from camera to camera, therefore you will need to consult your camera's manual, but generally speaking a shutter speed of 1/200sec is enough to eliminate camera shake on static or slow moving subjects.

Shutter Speed1/200sec Shutter Speed

So, if your shots suffer from camera shake then try these methods to overcome it and you'll be getting pin sharp photo's all the time.

Look out for Part 2 of this Blog when we will be looking at Focussing Errors and how to fix them. 

[email protected] (KVN Photography) Blur SLR Photography Sharp shots https://www.kvnphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/5/a-guide-to-sharper-shots---part-1 Wed, 21 May 2014 13:29:27 GMT