Shooting tips > Turn Familiar Scenes into Works of Art

    Level: Beginner

    LESSON 10Turn Familiar Scenes into Works of Art


    Focal length: 16 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec / Creative Style: Sunset

    If you like to take photographs of scenes you find while working or in your daily life, you might feel that the scenes captured in the photographs look less interesting than expected, failing to convey the atmosphere of the actual scenes. In this chapter, you will learn some functions and tips to shoot impressive photographs of such familiar scenes.

    Considering the composition and how to crop

    If you are taking snapshots, it's fun to shoot casually without any particular intent. However, let's try considering the composition and how to crop the scene. First, let's see how to crop the scene. If you just take out the camera and shoot right away, the photograph often looks cluttered with unnecessary objects included in the frame.
    Instead of trying to include everything in the frame, focus attention only on the main subject, especially when shooting casual everyday scenes.
    Generally, an angle of view (focal length) close to the human visual field can be set by moving the zoom position slightly to the telephoto side. Use the zoom actively when taking snapshots.


    Focal length: 35 mm / F-number: 5.6 / Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec / Exposure compensation: +1 /
    White balance: Shade / Creative Style: Landscape (Contrast: +3, Saturation: -3)

    Shot with the normal zoom lens SEL1855 at the focal length of 35 mm, this photograph cropped the scene with the flag as the main subject. With the zoom position moved slightly to the telephoto side, it keeps a good balance between the size of the flag and the size and depth of surrounding buildings.


    Focal length: 23 mm

    This photograph was shot on the wide-angle side, trying to include many objects, such as the buildings and the street lamp. As a result, the largest area in the frame is occupied by the buildings and ground, and the important flag appears only in a small size in the back. Compared with this shot, the first photograph, which captured the flag in a large size on the telephoto side, looks more impressive.


    Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 1/250 sec.Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec.

    Both of the above examples were shot at the focal length of 50 mm. Such drastic cropping can also be interesting for some scenes.

    These are close-ups of scenes shot with a telephoto zoom lens while walking on the street. By capturing a small part of the scene tightly in the frame, it inspires the viewer to imagine an atmosphere that cannot be seen in the photograph.


    Focal length: 57 mm / F-number: 3.5 / Shutter speed: 1/60 sec.Focal length: 300 mm / F-number: 11 / Shutter speed: 2.5 sec.

    There are typical types of photographic composition, such as the "Rule of Thirds" composition and the diagonal composition. However, if you are overly conscious of those types composition, your photographs will lose personality and become uninteresting. Keep them only as a reference for when you are at a loss in regard to composition. Instead, find your own favorite composition or expression, especially when you are casually going out or walking around. Take photographs that you like; that's the essence of making your own works of art.

    If you can make full use of the zoom, you will be able to crop familiar scenes to create impressive works of art. Although you may not be able to achieve the expected results at first, try using the zoom intentionally, and acquire your own sense.


    Focal length: 11 mm / F-number: 5.6 / Shutter speed: 1/160 sec.

    Using Picture Effect

    If you want to add a unique finish to your photographs, try using the Picture Effect function.
    By using Picture Effect, you can easily shoot retro-style photographs or artistic photographs like paintings, without retouching on the computer. (*) The α cameras have various effects, and the following are some examples.

    (*) Types of effects available in Picture Effect vary depending on the model of your camera.

    High Contrast Monochrome lets you take a high-contrast monochrome photograph as if it were taken with black-and-white film. It is the most suitable for rendering streets powerfully. Also, in conditions in which color photographs do not look so impressive, such as on rainy or cloudy days, simply applying this effect will turn your photograph into a work of art.


    High Contrast Monochrome

    Soft High-key lets you shoot soft and pale photographs with a slight blue cast. Regardless of the subjects, it adds a pleasant or fantasy-like finish to the photograph.


    Soft High-key

    Partial Color creates an image that retains a specific color and converts other colors to black and white. By using this effect, even a photograph of the laundry will instantly become a stylish work of art. Using it for flowers and small items will also create interesting works of art.


    Partial Color (Blue)

    There are various other effects, such as "Toy Camera," "Miniature," "Retro Photo," and "Posterization (Color)." Try various effects for shooting casual scenes in your daily life.


    Toy Camera




    Retro Photo


    Posterization (Color)

    Trying fixed focal length lenses

    Because fixed focal length lenses can create great background defocus, they can turn your snapshots or familiar landscape shots into unique works of art. Also, because they allow a large amount of light to enter the camera, they are useful for shooting indoors or streets at night.


    Focal length: 35 mm / F-number: 1.8 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec.

    Offering outstanding image quality even at its maximum F1.8 aperture, this compact and lightweight 35-mm prime lens for full-frame cameras is a versatile choice for everything from tabletop photography to the great outdoors. Fast, precise, quiet AF operation and reliable AF tracking make it suitable for shooting videos and stills.


    Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 1.8 / Shutter speed: 1/3200 sec.

    A large-aperture 50 mm prime lens is a must-have for serious full-frame camera users, and this is an excellent, affordable choice. The optical design is state-of-the-art for high image quality, and the large F1.8 maximum aperture can produce gorgeous background bokeh. On APS-C format E-mount bodies it provides equally high quality with an equivalent focal length of about 75 mm.