This month, read about photographing children, eBooks on closeup
photography, getting it right in camera, liquid sculpture, and
creating tension in your images.
Garbage In, Garbage Out: Get It Right In-Camera
All too often, I hear the phrase Ill just fix it in Photoshop from
a photographer. I must admit, it drives me a little crazy! As they
say in the IT industry, garbage in, garbage out. In other words,
the quality of the output depends on the quality of the input.
There are some things even Photoshop cant fix, and it pays to
capture the best raw material possible in camera.
I think people sometimes resist spending the extra effort up front
because they feel that it takes away from having fun with their
photography. If they are concentrating on f-stops and leading
lines, they lose their sense of being in the moment.
Certainly, there will be a learning curve when you start paying
conscious attention to your composition and exposure. However, its
a lot like riding a bike. When you first begin to learn, you have
to think about steering, and balance, and watching for traffic.
Its difficult! If you persist, though, eventually all of these
because automatic processes that no longer require conscious
awareness, and you can start enjoying the feeling of the wind in
your hair! Its the same thing with photography. Once you master
the technicalities of exposure, choosing a shutter speed and
aperture will become second nature. Next to become internalized
will be your composition skills. Youll automatically scan the
frame for distractions, and place your subject so as to achieve a
visual balance. Then you can get back to concentrating on your
subject matter, and having fun!
Its well worth the investment of time to learn your craft well.
This allows you to enjoy the creative side of photography, not to
mention making better pictures. Remember: a few seconds invested
up front can save you hours in Photoshop.
Check out some tips on composition to get you started:
The Artist's Way
The Artists Way is a well-known book by Julia Cameron. It was
first published in 1992, but is just as relevant today. The book
helps artists (including photographers!) to maximize their
creativity and productivity. It describes two main tools for you
to use throughout a 12-week process. The first is Morning Pages.
This is essentially a journal where you write three pages first
thing each morning. The idea is that you end up purging the junk
that collects in your mind, and causes creative blocks. Theres no
right or wrong way to write the pages. They dont need to be
literature! You just write whatever comes to mind in a
The second tool is the weekly Artist Date. This is where you take
yourself off to some fun and energizing pursuit, by yourself. It
could be a shopping trip to the dollar store, a walk in the woods,
or coloring Easter eggs. It should be something that appeals to
your inner child. The idea here is to fill up your creative well.
I went through the Artists Way process once on my own about two
years ago. I found it to be very enlightening and helpful. I am
now embarking on my second Artists Way journey as part of a group
(or Circle, as its known in Artists Way terms). So far, the
process has been emotional, as I dig deep to uncover my creative
blocks. Its also energizing and exciting, and Im looking forward
to the transformation that I believe it will bring.
If youre interested in unlocking your own inner creativity, I
recommend you give this book a look!
Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the Month
Subject Placement To Create Tension
I've written about the rule of thirds here before, and how placing
your subject off-center can produce a pleasing image. Now, Id like
you to consider taking this rule a little further. If you place
your subject even more off-center, and close to the edge of the
frame, you will create more tension in the image. This is a
technique that should not be used in every image, but can add
interest if used carefully.
Note that the tension caused by an object close to the edge can
work against you. If you inadvertently place an object of strong
visual weight, other than your subject, close to the edge, it will
become a distraction, drawing your viewers attention.
Keep in mind that many subjects have an implied direction.
Anything that is moving, or is capable of moving, implies a
direction of motion by its orientation. Even inanimate objects,
like a tree branch, can appear to be pointing in one direction.
Take this implied direction into account when placing your
subject. For instance, placing a person close to the edge of the
frame creates tension, but that tension is significantly higher if
the person is about to walk out of the frame, rather than if they
have just walked into it. There is no right or wrong; you must
simply be aware of your choices, and use them to tell the story
that you want to tell.
Too Cool Not to Share!
Photographer Martin Waugh has created some spectacular images of
liquids in motion, captured with high speed flash photography.
What's New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips
Closeup Photography E-Books
I'm excited to announce the arrival of two brand new, downloadable
PDF e-Books on Creative Close-up Photography. In these books, I
share my passion for, and extensive experience with, macro
photography. Each book is approximately 60 pages, and is filled
with spectacular, full color images to stimulate your creativity.
The books are written to be clear and easy to understand, and are
full of helpful tips and useful information to inspire you to
create better close up photographs.
Find out more:
Barbara Bender is back this month with another inspiring article
about photographing children -- not in stiff, formal portraits,
but as they really are. In Barbaras words, This article is not
about making formal portraits of well behaved, dressed up little
children who are smiling nicely for the camera. It's about
shooting kids as they really are... messy, adorable, active,
silly-acting little people who can laugh with joy one minute and
have a tantrum the next.
The topic of March's photo challenge was Patterns and Repetition.
There were some terrific and creative entries! Check out the
wonderful winning image of blue and orange bars by Maija V from
Toronto, Ontario, Canada:
The topic for April's challenge is "Travel." It can be an exotic
location, or it can be your friend's cottage; good pictures are
everywere. Show us where you've been!
Submit your travel images here:
Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!