My name is Rob, and I fart without shame. Ken Rockwell is a pretty polarizing figure in the world of photography. Some folks think he's a no-talent hack. Some think he's the best photographer since Ansel Adams. Whatever your opinion, he came up with an acronym that I'm going to expound upon to make your pictures suck less.
What's the acronym, you ask?
The F is for feeling - when you get the feeling to take a picture. Whether you're at a backyard barbeque, or on a photo-walk, or you're a paid professional on a shoot, the feeling is the same. Something catches your eye that you think is photo worthy. The subject could be a dog throwing his toy up in the air, or a glint of light off of a lake, or a sunset. Sometimes it's so overwhelmingly obvious that you ventured to that spot solely to take a picture, like the grand canyon.
The next step is to Assess. What, exactly, made you want to take a picture? Was it the way a shadow laid on the ground? Was it some action that you want to capture, or the colors of sundown? This portion can be quite tough. You can think it's totally obvious what caught your eye, and end up with an extraordinarily boring snap shot, because you didn't narrow down what it was that you saw to begin with.
This is where bad photographers reside. They see something interesting, hold the camera to their face and press the shutter release. They might end up with something wonderful, but more often than not they end up with something boring because the camera doesn't see the same things we do. They end up with branches growing out of people's ears, or sunsets with power poles distracting you from the brilliant colors, or a busy street filled with people taking your attention away from the Lamborghini parked on the side of the road.
That brings us to the most important and most difficult part - Refining. This is where you actually compose and frame your shot. The object here is to remove or minimize anything and everything that distracts the viewer from what it is you want them to see. It often requires moving back and forth, getting up in the air or laying on the ground. It can require whether or not to use a flash to fix the lighting or if you want the background to be out of focus or not. Anything you can think of should be taken into account of how to accentuate your subject, and mitigate any distractions. Sometimes it takes quite a while, and other times it's instantly apparent how you should compose the shot.
But, you should always study your composition because, again, the camera sees things differently than we do. The camera is not discerning - capturing everything that is there - while your eyes will filter out things that aren't important, like your camera bag sitting in the corner of the frame or the power lines running across the architecture.
Once you've managed to get everything you want out of the frame, you've reached the easiest and final step in the farting process.
Take the picture. After you've thought about what grabbed your attention, decided what it was that did, and organized your shot to bring as much attention as possible to it, all you have to do is press a button.
Voila! you now have a spectacular picture to bring back memories or to share with friends and family. If you can think about farting when you're out with your camera you will become a better photographer. You'll receive more fulfillment when you fart, and other people will enjoy your work more if you farted first.
Now, go forth, out into the world around you, and fart with every opportunity!