The Power of Composition
A good photographer can take a good photo even with a phone camera. Sure, you need to know the basics of photography and most importantly the functions of your phone camera to do so, but to Ben what makes him see things different is the process of forming a story in his shot. “You need to ask yourself, ‘What am I taking this shot for?’. When you find out what is the subject in the shot that you want to show, that’s when you become enabled to see and tell a story instead of just snapping a shot of something random.”
Mr. Ben Lau, better known by his Instagram handle @LKKBen, is one of the three judges for #FacesOfTampines - Tampines Town Council’s 2018 Photo Contest. He is not a full-time photographer, and his passion for photography is kept solely as a hobby. About five years ago, Ben jumped onto the Instagram bandwagon to keep record of what he had seen through the years. Curated with a cohesive lifestyle magazine-esque aesthetic, his stunning Instagram feed shows Singapore from a uniquely fresh perspective that many of us often fail to notice or appreciate. Now, his exhaustive stash of aesthetically pleasing shots can be enjoyed by all 35k of his followers.
One look at Ben’s work tells you he is one to constantly rotate the type of photography he practises, and he strongly encourages fellow photographers to do so too. “I believe that we should try and dabble in all forms of photography rather than just sticking to the style you’re good at,” he says. It is imperative, however, to develop your own unique style that you can replicate and inject into all your photos regardless of whichever type of photography you are practising. “For example, I love shadows and lights so I would apply these into food photography, portraits or even street photography.”
We wanted to see Tampines through Ben’s camera lens, so we challenged him to take breathtaking, Instagram-worthy shots at the most ordinary-looking and unassuming places in Tampines. He accepted it and completed the challenge, very well may we add, in less than two hours. Below are some of the shots that he had captured during that short photography session around Tampines.
Although working with people should be something photographers are comfortable with, shooting people in public spaces can be considered challenging by some photographers. The background could be overwhelming, potentially drowning your subject in a cacophony of chaotic activity, movement, and colour. How then, could you help your subject stand out in a sea of distracting visuals?
This has all to do with composition planning. “Besides understanding the ‘rule of thirds’, which is a basic photography composition skill you can pick up quite easily, invest in a good lens,” he says. “Usually I would use a camera with at least a decent low aperture lens that can get the subject to stand out from the background.”
A mobile phone, too, can work wonders when the background is cleaner, for example a plain wall. “Know the functions that your phone camera has. Auto mode can’t get you far,” Ben advises.
“I tend to play around with the manual settings on my phone more often, in order to get the shots that I want on the go.”
While technical skills play a part in capturing that perfect shot, one must not lose faith in his or her own eye for what has great photographic potential. After all, a great photographer’s strings never go out of tune.
Tampines Town Council’s 2018 Photo Contest
Inspired? Wanna take part in celebrating the unsung heroes of Tampines that has made a difference in your life, or the community – through photography?
Whether they’re a family member, a friend, your neighbour’s acquaintance or a group of enthusiasts, send in their photos along with their stories that had moved you (in less than 100 words); and stand a chance to win $1,000 worth of prizes!
*Person(s) in the photo has to live or work in Tampines, and location of photo taken has to also be in Tampines.The Photographer can be from anywhere, open to all. Singapore citizens, PRs and foreigners.
Email your submission (photo + brief write-up) to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit ttc.sg/photocontest
Closing date: 30 September 2018
Click here to read about last year’s winners and click on the articles below, to view stories of the other two judges.