What does it make you feel?’ sarah October 5, 2022

What does it make you feel?’

How to Take Better Pictures

By Amy Hayden

Asa Featherstone IV had a lot of fun with his latest project, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. His book documents the people, art and community of Walnut Hills and was commissioned by the Cincinnati Art Museum as part of its Black Future Series. “The book is a way for me to uplift the everyday person,” he said.

Featherstone grew up around a lot of artists, including his grandfather. He remembers playing with his cousins in their grandfather’s studio, and it’s where he first picked up a camera. “As I got older, I stepped away from the art scene. It wasn’t until my grandfather passed that I picked up my camera again,” he said. Featherstone also worked on a photo exhibition celebrating the neighborhoods around Findlay Market and his pictures were among TIME magazine’s Best Portraits of 2020. Below he shares tips to improve your photography skills.

1. Pay attention to light 

“Natural light is the best light,” he says. “It’s really good for almost every single subject, whether it’s people or plants or even buildings.” If you’re outdoors, Featherstone suggests keeping your back to the sun for the best lighting. If you’re taking pictures indoors, keep your back to the window or light source.

2. Placing your subject

Using the rule-of-thirds can guide where to place your subject. It’s like a big tic-tac-toe board that uses invisible lines to create depth and lead the eye around the photo.

  • You can turn this on in your phone’s settings. On iPhone, go to settings > camera > grid. On Android, open camera > click on the gear icon at the top to open settings > scroll to gridlines.
3. Choosing your angle 

Pick an angle that is flattering to your subject, Featherstone says. Taking a picture from a low angle, makes a person take up more space in the frame and conveys power. This is often used for business executives. Taking pictures from a higher angle shows
more background to create a sense of place.

4. Keep practicing

To get better at photography, keep practicing! Take a lot of pictures and experiment to find your style and voice. “The best image isn’t always the best-lit photo or the best composed,” Featherstone says. “I think what makes a good photo is its ability to make you feel
something when you look at it.”

See more of Asa’s work at asafeatherstone.com or follow him on Instagram @savvyoso_

Young man seated at a green picnic table outdoors, looking into camera. He is wearing a dark graphic t-shirt with a cream colored unbuttoned shirt over it and light washed jeans as he looks into camera with elbows slightly behind him resting on the top of the picnic table.
Clockwise from top left: Photo separated in the rule of thirds with a 3 x 3 grid overlay. Asa and Amy photograph yellow flowers. A finished image of the flowers. Amy photographed from a low angle. Photographs provided by Asa Featherstone IV, Amy Hayden and Lisa Danford.