Photo Bingo!

Taking interesting photos can be turned into a game. This Photo Bingo will while away the time whilst also training your eye to take in more of your surroundings.

While everybody is running around trying to find Pokémon, us photographers will be running around searching for images during a simple game of Photo Bingo! Gotta catch ‘em all!

Improvement in photography, like in all forms of art, is achieved through practice. Being trigger-happy is all well and good, but there are certain compositional aspects which we all must be aware of.

You might have heard of the formal elements and principles of design. Well, if you haven’t, they’re basically the building blocks of any image. These include elements such as shape, line, pattern and space. Artists utilise a number of these elements to create their compositions, and probably without even realising it, you do too. However, photographers must use these elements in a very different way to other artists. We cannot draw or sculpt these elements, instead, we must seek them out in the real world. This requires careful observation and compositional skills.

The photographer’s muscle is the eye, and like all muscles, the eye requires training. Here is a simple exercise, utilising various elements and principles of design, which will help improve your observation skills and your way of seeing.

  1. Begin with a sheet of paper. Draw a simple grid with as many boxes as you like.
  2. Begin filling the boxes with different shapes, patterns and lines. You could make this exercise as simple or as challenging as you like, adding more boxes and/or more complicated diagrams.
  3. This grid is your ‘bingo sheet’.
  4. Now you must get out there and start collecting images which correspond to your diagrams. This will help you think more carefully and purposefully before pressing the shutter.

This exercise will force you to pay close attention to the edges of your viewfinder and the angle at which you are shooting. Try and collect more than one image for each diagram, as an attempt to achieve the best possible image. After a while you will notice that you are observing your surroundings in more detail, you are seeing purposefully and framing carefully. This exercise will train your eye and help improve essential skills when shooting any subject.

Once you have completed your bingo sheet, upload your final images and place them into a grid using your desired software and voilà! That’s a completed Photo Bingo! Now admire your work and enjoy your improved observational skills.

This exercise could be done anywhere, at any time. You could do it at home on a rainy day, while walking the dog, or even while waiting for the bus (might require a larger grid). You could even turn this into a game with other photo-friends. Compete to see who’ll be the first to get ‘Bingo!’

© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Steph Scicluna