3 Fundamental Ingredients To A Beautiful Image - Viewbug Interview

“ViewBug community member Alastair Dixon is a Visual Effects Lighting Artist & Photographer based in the UK. His passion is capturing beautiful moments and sharing his adventures through images.”

“ViewBug community member Alastair Dixon is a Visual Effects Lighting Artist & Photographer based in the UK. His passion is capturing beautiful moments and sharing his adventures through images.”

Link to the original post on Viewbug HERE

What are you trying to capture/say with your photography?

I’m nearly always trying to capture the emotion that I feel prior to taking the picture. Whether it be spectacular lighting, atmospherics, or unusual colours. The next challenge is how to translate that “feeling” to an image that others can relate to.

Roque Bentayga & Roque Nublo, Gran Canaria by alastairdixon

How do you know if your images are visually interesting?

I believe there are 3 fundamental ingredients to a beautiful image.

● Composition

● Lighting

● Having a subject / interesting focal point

Sometimes it’s hard to get all of these. But, remember there are many ways to make an image work that may not be visible to the naked eye. Think focal lengths, filters and post editing.

Oh and don’t forget to get a second or third opinion on your photo, mine usually comes from my wife.

The true test of how visually interesting my image is can be seen clearly after sharing on my social media channels in the form of “likes”. My big following happens to be on Instagram.

Sunset in Key Largo by alastairdixon

Do you think about perspective when you shoot?

Perspective is an interesting one. You can change it in so many ways in this modern age. Changing a lens, moving your feet, even sending a drone up in the sky! I think the willingness to go one step further in finding a new perspective is very important and it’s what gives a great photographer that edge over an average one.

Do you use tripod or flash?

I use a tripod for long exposures or when I’m not traveling on foot for too long. I don’t have a super lightweight travel tripod yet, if I did then it would probably always be on me. I sometime like to get creative by compositing various shots taken from the same point, you can’t do this without a tripod.

Atmospheric Sunrise from Mount Batur, Bali by alastairdixon

What time of the day do you prefer to shoot?

The golden hours, every time. But if I had to choose between sunrise and sunset, it would have to be sunrise. You get extra drama and depth through morning mist a lot of the time.

Sunrise from Mount Batur, Bali by alastairdixon

Are you looking for a unique subject?

I’m usually after a person in a huge landscape. That’s not particularly unique, but it’s the perspective in which it’s taken that makes it unique for me. Having the human element in shot gives a sense of scale and also the viewer has something to relate to.

How are you choosing to stay close or far from the subject?

By changing the lens, but if I don’t have the perfect focal length for the shot then I’ll move myself into the correct position. If it’s just me, then I’ll often put the camera on a tripod, set the timer and let it shoot a timed burst.

Coby & Champers by alastairdixon

Do you think of the rule of thirds/how?

This all depends on the shot. If you want to stand out nowadays, you really need to stop thinking about rules too much. Except for my three key ingredients for a visually interesting shot of course.

Do you think of symmetry or reflections?

If they are there then yes. I decide what’s making a particular view interesting, and then work with it to make it the subject or even complement the subject of the shot.

Beautiful Chamonix, France by alastairdixon

Do you pay attention to the subject only or also background and why?

Please see my the three key ingredients above.

What do you prefer; B&W vs color?

Colour, always. It’s much harder to balance tones in colour than B&W. And I like to challenge myself. I think you can get way more emotion with colours in a shot too.

Dragon statues at Lake Bratan, Bali by alastairdixon

What mistake do you see photographers doing often?

The biggest mistake is lack of composition and interesting subject. Without these, the image will end up looking like a complicated mess. Keep it simple for better results, every time. I can forgive lack of beautiful lighting as it’s much harder to seek out.

What is your most important lesson you’ve learned that has improved your photography?

Make the effort to get in the right place at the right time, (yes, sometimes that means very early mornings or late nights!) and follow the progress of other photographers that you love the style of. Do this and over time you will evolve into a better photographer.

Love by alastairdixon

Check out Alastair Dixon‘s profile to see more inspiring shots!

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