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Use ‘The Two-Minute Rule’ To Create Extra Attention-grabbing Photographs


Click on. Press the playback button. Take a look at picture. “Mehhhh.” We’ve all had it occur — the picture on the again of our digicam doesn’t match the imaginative and prescient or intent we had after we clicked the shutter button. To assist myself in these conditions, I comply with “the two-minute rule” to create extra attention-grabbing pictures.

I’ll get to how I exploit these two minutes… in a minute. However first, what are attention-grabbing pictures?

“Attention-grabbing pictures” is a framework I exploit to judge and critique my pictures that revolves across the aim of making pictures that maintain the eye by being distinctive, uncommon, or totally different. The constructing blocks of attention-grabbing pictures are topic, mild, composition, and processing. Every of those constructing blocks will be evaluated individually and collectively to evaluate the extent of uniqueness, rarity, or distinction within the total picture. It’s common to have one component carry the burden of curiosity within the picture, comparable to with a tremendous sundown the place the sunshine does all of the work of making curiosity and nearly any composition or topic will look attention-grabbing in that mild.

My normal response to not liking the picture on the again of the digicam was to maneuver on to a unique picture. I’ve realized from expertise that’s normally a mistake. Right here’s why: after we take the time to create a photograph, it is actually because one thing has drawn our consideration. We’ve observed, consciously or unconsciously, one thing attention-grabbing. The problem now could be to create a photograph that displays that curiosity that initially bought our consideration.

Slightly than being overwhelmed with choices for the way to doubtlessly create an attention-grabbing picture, I give myself two minutes to see what I can uncover with my digicam and this scene. Working in two-minute increments is sufficient time to discover potentialities, and looks like a straightforward funding of time that isn’t overwhelming. In case you’re with different individuals, it’s additionally tons simpler to ask for 2 extra minutes than for a half hour. Simply don’t inform them you may be asking for 2 extra minutes ten instances.

Right here’s the psychological guidelines I run via when utilizing the two-minute rule:

Technical Stuff

  • Is the picture sharp and in focus?
  • Is the a part of the picture I need in focus?
  • Is the publicity the place I need it? When unsure, go a bit brighter, a bit darker and “good”

Composition Stuff

  • Are there any distracting parts within the body? If sure, can they be bodily moved? Sooner to take away in processing?
  • Is the topic the place I need within the body? Completely different framing choices? Vertical? Horizontal?
  • Can I create a extra attention-grabbing perspective on the topic? Nearer? Farther away? Above? Under? Mild behind? The place else may I transfer the digicam and my toes?
  • Depth of discipline examine: Do I need, and may I get, background blur? Change aperture to vary focus of picture.
  • Look of movement: Might I exploit movement of topic or digicam to inform a extra attention-grabbing story. Regulate shutter pace as wanted to realize desired look of movement.
  • Would a unique focal size (wider or extra telephoto) assist create curiosity?

Processing Stuff

  • Have I created an publicity that’s inside vary of correction in software program?
  • Can I crop out distractions/undesirable parts with out compromising composition?
  • Are distractions detachable in software program? Recompose to cover/keep away from?

Artistic Choices

  • Might HDR assist technically or aesthetically?
  • A number of publicity?
  • Tripod for lengthy publicity and potential movement blur?

Working via this psychological guidelines (be happy to print one out and add your personal objects!) goes shortly with a bit follow. When all of the questions are answered and choices have been tried — and the 2 minuter timer has concluded — it’s time to take a look at the photographs which were created. I recommend doing a sharpness examine by zooming in to 100% to examine give attention to the digicam display earlier than transferring on to a brand new composition. Keep in mind, we are able to repair and modify shade and publicity, however we are able to’t repair sharpness with software program. But…

What occurs when the 2 minutes are up and you continue to haven’t created the picture you need? I feel there are three fundamental choices. First, attempt one other two minutes. Within the picture sequence under, I created 73 pictures in 17 minutes, as I went via my two-minute guidelines a number of instances.

Second, notice that this picture simply might not be occurring proper now. Possibly you want extra attention-grabbing mild, or a unique lens, or one thing else is lacking proper now and a return go to may be wanted to create the picture you think about. And third, typically a scene is attention-grabbing to take a look at, however could not create an attention-grabbing picture within the conversion from real-world to the two-dimensional world of the {photograph}. If that’s the case, benefit from the second(s) and what was realized concerning the artistic photographic course of.

The following time you look in the back of the digicam to evaluate a photograph and suppose, “Mehhhhh,” keep in mind that one thing drew you to the scene within the first place, and you could simply want two minutes to find it.


In regards to the writer: Michael Sladek teaches digital images at Highline School close to Seattle, Washington. He enjoys dad jokes, doughnuts, and serving to others uncover the enjoyable of making pictures they love. Keep linked with Michael on his web site, YouTube channel, and Instagram.



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