- Tips for Creating Dynamic, High-Impact Photographs (Video)
- Interesting Photo of the Day: Majestic Rock Eagle-Owl in Flight
- How to Keep Sight of Why You Love Photography (Video)
Posted: 28 Jun 2014 05:08 PM PDT
As photographers, we are always looking for ways to stretch our creative limits. We want to create the most amazing photos possible, but sometimes we lack the motivation. In her lecture “From Static to Dynamic: Creating Photographs with Impact,” This video teaches us how to tap into our creativity, develop a creative vision, and implement a variety of tools and techniques to test drive on the next shoot:
Can You Learn to Be Creative?
Tharp says this is one of the most common questions asked in her workshops, and her answer is this:
How to Develop Your Creativity
Brenda Tharp best describes this technique as “practicing daily seeing,” meaning you should always have your eyes open and be present in the moment. Here are a few of Tharp’s suggestions to help develop your creativity:
How to Photograph Fleeting Moments
You should have your camera ready to capture these potentially fleeting moments. To practice this style of photography, give these tips a try:
Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge
Tharp suggests asking “what if…” questions to capture a more unusual photograph. Consider panning your camera horizontally while snapping a shot of a sunset with a slow shutter to get a velvety, painted look, or use a slow shutter with a vertical pan in a forest to create an abstract, blended shot of the trees. She says it is still important to pay attention to the composition of the photo and aim to create depth when making an abstract.
This abstract style can give a more “art-like” appearance to an otherwise straightforward shot.
In addition to moving your camera, you can change the texture of your photograph by shooting through fabric, mesh, or wet glass, or by layering multiple exposures of the same location. Let your imagination run wild and play around with any concepts that cross your mind.
Master the Craft
Once you develop a creative eye, you must be able to execute your vision in your pictures. In order to create your best photos, Tharp says you need to understand these concepts:
Light Makes Photography
Tharp says “light creates the opportunity,” but you must be able to use it appropriately. As photographers, we often seek angles that put a spot light on our subject. However, alternate lighting (such as back or side light) can give your image an entirely different mood.
Lighting can give an ordinary object life. The way light casts shadows on your subject or captures a certain feature can make an otherwise ordinary picture into something extraordinary.
Pay attention to how the light illuminates your subject or scene. You may need to reposition yourself or your subject to get the light and shadows you desire. Try shooting with a variety of back, side, and front lighting to obtain the look you imagine.
Use light to create a mood. The color of the light can impact the mood of the photograph.
Wait for the “quiet light.” If you do shoot during full sun, wait for a cloud to pass over the sun to diffuse the light. Tharp calls this “quiet light” and says it’s great for photographing people and capture details in an object.
Even if you have all the perfect elements to create an amazing picture, Tharp says you must compose them in a way that conveys a specific meaning. The three main points you need to consider when dynamically composing a piece include:
Subject Position. Tharp suggests starting with the infamous rule of thirds–a technique that draws imaginary lines through your viewfinder, breaking your image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This results in four intersecting places where you can place your subject to make your composition more dynamic. To figure out which of the points to use, decide what story you want your image to convey and consider people in this country most often read (and view photos) from left to right.
Here are a few other tips to compose more interesting pictures:
Proportion and Scale. In a photo with several potential subjects, you should draw the viewer’s eye to the intended subject by making it larger. Tharp says this can be done through the use of perspective, by putting your subject closer to the camera.
Counterpoint. Sometimes you need additional information in the scene to convey the full context. By adding small counterpoints to your photograph, you can better tell a story without drawing the focus away from the subject.
Angles. “Setting up a tripod at shoulder height is static,” says Tharp. To create a more dynamic image, you need to change the angle from which you shoot. Most commonly, this means you either need to get down on the ground and shoot upward, or find a way to elevate yourself (or at least your camera) to aim downward and capture the image using an elevated approach.
Leading the Eye. As a photographer, you are a storyteller. Therefore, you need to create a complete story within the confines of a single image. Ideally, you want to compose your picture so you lead the viewer’s eye through the entire photograph, telling the story along the way.
“Where humans are looking, you tend to look as well.” Tharp says this is also true for animals in photographs because wherever the subjects glance is going, the viewer will naturally follow their line of sight to another point in the picture.
Elements of Design
Several design elements can be used in photography to make an otherwise ordinary photo into something special. Such elements include:
Lines. Repetitive lines in a photograph make an image more interesting. Lines can be created through shadows (light coming through blinds), or natural (water falling over the edge of a rock ledge).
Shape. Since photography is a two-dimensional medium, every object is viewed as a shape. Combining contrasting shapes in a single image allows for an interesting juxtaposition that can create a more dynamic photo.
Pattern. Repeated patterns can be soothing, invigorating, or add interest to an otherwise static photo. Tharp says a key to capturing a pattern in a picture is to fill your frame so the pattern spills out the edges of your viewfinder to emphasize the ongoing nature of the pattern.
Texture. Crisp, sharp images of subjects with specific textures add an interesting and dynamic element to your photograph. Tharp suggests focusing on something with a texture that makes you want to reach out and touch it.
Creating Visual Depth
Ultimately, photography distills a 3D world into 2D. “Despite it being a flat photograph, we need to create an illusion of depth,” says Tharp. To do this, you need to use depth of field, perspective, and selective focus. Tharp reminds us that all these aspects will shift based on how and where you, as the photographer, move when taking the photo.
Near/Far Relationship. Often used in landscape, this relationship is all about perspective.
Selective Focus. This technique is used to make a single element stand out due to its sharpness compared to everything else in the picture. Tharp explains that “other elements may tell you the story of the picture, but only one single item is deemed ‘important’ using this technique.”
Gesture. The moment when there’s an expression in the body language or face of the subject is referred to as “gesture.” Often seen with animals and small children, gesture can be captured with nearly any subject in non-posed situations. One piece of advice Tharp shares is that “you must be ready to capture these moments because they are fleeting.” She goes on to say “if you are going to take a little while to photograph people, talk to them. This keeps them engaged. Otherwise, they will start to feel uncomfortable and their expression and body may freeze, resulting in an uncomfortable, unnatural photo.”
You can use a combination of the techniques listed to convey a certain mood or expression in your photographs.
Ultimately, you want to create photographs that convey your own personality, tone, humor, and vision.
Go to full article: Tips for Creating Dynamic, High-Impact Photographs (Video)
Posted: 28 Jun 2014 01:49 PM PDT
Nature photographer Stefano Ronchi often photographs owls and other birds of prey, but this shot of a rock eagle-owl is perhaps one of the best examples from Ronchi’s portfolio of owls’ powerful wings and gorgeous feather patterns:
Native to the Indian subcontinent, rock eagle-owls are also commonly referred to as Indian eagle-owls or Bengal eagle-owls. They’re part of the Bubo genus, which includes many types of horned and eagle-owls, including the very similar Great Horned Owl that is native to the Americas. Owls have no natural predators. They generally hunt small birds and mammals, but they have been known to bring down prey the size of turkeys and dogs.
Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Majestic Rock Eagle-Owl in Flight
Posted: 28 Jun 2014 10:13 AM PDT
At some point, every photographer has to decide between shooting what they love and shooting what will pay. Some photographers make more money than they know what to do with, but they never shoot what they love, and so they always feel a little dead inside. Meanwhile, those who shoot only what they love and wholly enjoy the craft often seem doomed to work at Starbucks for the rest of their days. That’s just the artist’s lot… isn’t it?
Photographer Nick Fancher knows what it means (and how it feels) to become distracted away from his passions in photography by the prospect of making more money shooting something else. He also believes that there’s a solution to the money vs. art condundrum: pioneering a way to make money shooting what and how you love to shoot. Watch as Fancher explains how he created a market for his style of shooting here:
Fancher graduated from Ohio State’s photography program with the mentality that he needed to make a living shooting weddings and families while working on year-long personal side projects and hosting gallery showings. However, while that paradigm may keep others motivated, it meant the death of creativity for Fancher.
He didn’t get paid for following his passions—at least not at first. He did work at Starbucks. But he put in the groundwork with a smile, treating every unpaid portrait shoot as an opportunity to create a body of work that would someday attract paying clients, to discover and hone his unique style, and to experiment and own new techniques without pressure to deliver, as well as to feed his soul.
One of Fancher’s secret weapons as he tried to create a market for his style of shooting was finding ways to stay inspired. He pored over movies, photography books, and magazine editorials, searching for images that moved him; when he found an image that stood out to him, he would spend a photo shoot or two trying to figure out how the photographer had accomplished the look, and more importantly, how to alter those techniques and incorporate them into his style.
Nick Fancher is a portrait photographer based in Columbus, Ohio. Though he is relatively early in his career, his unique lighting and editing techniques have already drawn international attention, as well as turned the heads of major publications such as ESPN Magazine, The New York Times, and Getty.
Go to full article: How to Keep Sight of Why You Love Photography (Video)
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