Photography skills like all other art skills get improved over time and continuous practice but there must be a factor other than time and practice to boost your photography skills. Being a photographer I always have tried to improve my photography skills as quick as I can as effective as I can as meaningful as I can. So in my search for improvement I have come across a variety of psychology laws that are not just helpful but somewhat necessary to boost up your photography skills.
Gestalt psychology is a psychological term that dictates human mind sees things as unified whole rather than the component items. This way photography is somewhat linked to gestalt theory as in viewfinder we see a whole frame we don’t just focus on individual items, even in macro photography. But in order to prove and show what I have said above, I have taken below mentioned 7 psychology laws that will boost your photography skills.
It must be mentioned here that I have been using these 7 principles of psychology for a long time now and have boosted my “photography skills” by leaps and bounds. It is sort of challenge put by me to everyone who wants to improve his or her photography skills to try these 7 laws of psychology for at least one the difference that comes out is going to be just amazing and tasty.
1 – Law of Proximity
This law says that human mind perceives things closer to each other in groups OR in other words things proximate to each other appear as a definite group to human mind.
But how knowing or mastering this law can improve photography skills let me explain. As discussed above human mind always try to see things as unified whole rather than individual components even if it was not end objective. We can use this default feature of human mind to make things look unified to people through photography hence creating illusions and forced perspective in images. How? Here is how.
In above image there is a lot of separation between man and woman called negative space. As both man and woman are not proximate (close) to each other they appear as they are having a bad relationship or what we can call a divorce setting. So you saw what human mind experienced on ground of proximity, this is it that is how you can use law of proximity to put detail in photo shoots hence boosting your photography skills.
But I have mentioned earlier this law can also be used to produce illusions and forced perspectives. But how?
In above picture forced perspective has been displayed which appears because of law of proximity. As two people or objects are close to each other human eye forces us to look the image as unified whole hence creating a forced perspective or visual illusion. So this is the way you play with law of proximity to boost your photography skills by leaps and bounds.
2 – Law of Closure
This psychology law is all about completing uncompleted things and making sense out of things which make no sense. Like in above picture there was not a completed circle but as our mind tends to complete things and objects own it’s own to make unified reality we can still see a circle in our mind.
But this beautiful psychological law is applicable in wide fields of art and in photography too but this is something really serious you need to be a great creative photographer to do that. But it is all about ideas right? So if they can do that then definitely you can also do it.
For instance look at the image above there was no real shape or object involved in photo but the creativity of photographer practicing law of closure made our mind make a shape or object on it’s own.
Seems amazing right? This is closure and as it seems very creative and tough to produce it is definitely achievable in photography you just need to keep practicing it until you master it. Good luck! And I hope this law of closure really helps you to improve your photography skills.
3 – Law of Symmetry
This law says that if two or multiple objects are symmetrical to each other then they appear as a group to human mind. What it means is that when two things or objects are somewhat identical or same (most precisely ratio or symmetry wise) they appear as a single unified object to human mind rather than individual objects. If there is no symmetry in objects there would be imbalance in picture which will make an image quiet distracting and would ultimately reflect weak photography skills.
But how this law of symmetry can be used to improve your photography skills? Let me show you with appropriate examples.
So in above picture I have shown you an imbalance or asymmetry you can see that as object is totally at the right lower corner of image it is creating a lot of negative space on left side which is unpleasing and creating asymmetry in image.
But if we take image again with object in middle or at some place where more symmetry gets established. Like shown in below image, it automatically gets a pleasing image for mind to process.
So, this is the way you can use law of symmetry to create nice symmetry in image by ruling out the negative unnecessary space hence improving your photography skills. A good way to do it is to use grid mode on your camera or phone and divide the object equally (in symmetry) in every grid shown on screen or viewfinder.
By now we have gone through three very important laws of psychology which if used correctly are almost enough to improve your photography skills by leaps and bounds. So before moving ahead and having a look at other four laws I encourage you to master these three rules first, because if you use these rules correctly I bet you will come back to me saying you have boosted your photography skills 🙂
4 – Law of Continuity
Law of continuity tells us the way human mind finds continuous lines (or shapes) in elements of a thing (a photograph or artistic piece). What it means is that our mind is lazy and it wants to make sense without doing much work. This is the reason when we see an image our mind rushes to find a continuous pattern in it and if it finds that continuation it is like wow! It is a nice image and in opposite case it does not like the image (mostly).
Like in above pictures, I have shown pictures having a continuation in it which shows us great photography skills of photographer. It is not always easy to establish a good continuous pattern in photos but the hard work it takes is totally worth of because at the end it shows to your audience how great your photography skills are.
In my opinion if you cannot make a continuous display in your photograph you should try establishing different closed paths in photographs like ellipses and circles, definitely the ones which are hidden to a normal viewer but visible to advance photographers. For example down below I have shown an image which shows formations in it, quiet hidden though. But once you master law of continuation, trust me everyone around you will admit how much you have boosted your photography skills relative to past.
5 – Law of Similarity
This law says that we perceive things similar (in terms of shape, color or size etc.) to each other as a single (unified) whole. This law is simplest of all. We all want to see things in harmony considering an image having a sad and depressing background and object in front laughing. That would be complete nonsense and disturbing, Right? This is a challenge that mastering this law will broad your photography skills the way no other thing can does.
For example in above quoted picture I have tried to depict similarity (harmony) in image having background and object similar to each other. You can see as person is sad and depressed the background is black which also indicates sadness and depression. Hence creating a harmony in mind of viewer, which makes him believe the photographer has some good photography skills.
This law can also be used in a way that you can show two or three objects in image similar in terms of shape or color or size to create similarity in image. Like in image shown below. This law is easy to understand and apply but it is not that easy to master. If you have decided to boost your photography skills it definitely needs to be worked at. The fruits you are going to have in terms of photography skills is insane.
6 – Law of Pragnanz
This law says that human mind does not like complex things and tries to make simpler things out of complex ones. Like in above image there was not a single definite shape involved but your mind made you believe it was whereas image has two distinct shapes in it circles and a rectangle.
This is what this law is all about creating illusions without using Photoshop (see images down here). This law is toughest to practice and promises high level of photography skills if mastered. There cannot be much information showered on law of Pragnanz here (because it is about creativity not much directions can be provided on this one), but I would like to see readers of this article making beautiful illusions out of nowhere.
Did I mention that I would love to see illusions you produced, just come here and submit the link to your photo I would love to see it!
7 – Motivation in Psychology
In psychology motivation is seen as a driving force towards goals. Photography is not a thing you would master right away to brag like the photography skills you have are unique and nobody else has them. It is always tough to master all photography skills. But you need to stay motivated. You can try quotes from greatest photographers or you can stick to your firm motivation or a lot more.
For this purpose the best thing you can do to progress in photography skills is practice. Practice is always tough and often leads to frustration especially if something is tough but you got to be patient and motivated to do it. So what you are waiting for? Stop wasting time and try to master photography skills.
Hereby I have tried my best to show you people the ultimate Gestalt psychology laws you can apply in real time to improve your photography skills it should be acknowledged that these rules are not very easy to master they have their class and they require high class effort to master but it is worth the shot. Because at the end everyone wants to improve their photography skills. Right?
I would also like to write that photography is a continuous effort and requires patience, practice, time and motivation to master but no creator is a small creator what are you creating at a moment is best version of yourself and you should be proud of that. Because without acknowledging your abilities you are going to end at nowhere. If you want to improve your photography skills then look no more praise yourself master above stated principles and boom the results will surprise you the way nothing has ever surprised you.
A lot of effort has been put in researching, practicing and writing this article but I know there might be more things editable here. If you think this is the case, I encourage you to head over here and submit what you think should be added in this article.
Special thanks to ipoxstudios for helping in writing this piece of information.