Rules are rules for a reason. In most cases, they promote aesthetics that we associate with artistic harmony and a pleasant viewing experience. We hear often that “you have to know the rules before you can break them.” I’d take that a step further, arguing it’s not just “what” and “how” but also “why.” You need to know the REASON for the rules of photography and design in order to break them effectively.(…)
Have you ever been tempted to shoot film? Why, in this age of rapidly advancing technology, increasingly “smart” cameras, and the cost and convenience of digital are we still so drawn to film photography?
There really is something extraordinary about the tonality and color rendition of various film stocks — qualities some might suggest simply can’t be replicated digitally. But is there also something about the process of shooting with film itself that positively influences the creative approach? Could it be that the cost, logistics, and timeline of film photography encourage a different mindset, even a different level of commitment, from the photographer behind the camera? Does the perception that every shot “counts” help us to produce better photos? Would we shoot more deliberately if the flexibility and instant gratification of digital photography were stripped away? (…)
“Less is more” is a phrase often attributed to German architect and designer Mies van der Rohe, and although it’s become associated with everything from brevity in writing to anti-consumerist philosophies, the roots come back to a particular visual aesthetic. With this in mind, we’ll draw our understanding of photographic minimalism from the traditional definition of minimalism as it relates to art, architecture, and design. In these contexts, minimalism traditionally refers to visual simplification, stripping all extraneous elements and details to the bare minimum necessary to present the subject. Allow “Less is More” to be your mantra as you shoot for this creativity exercise. (…)
The power of physical touch is well-documented, and within the frame, it is the obvious way to demonstrate a connection between two or more subjects — and for good reason: observing a touch tends to bring forth emotion and even convey a sensory experience for viewers. The embrace may be the first connection that comes to mind when we think about ways to capture a relationship between two subjects, but there are countless other ways(…)
This month, we’re turning our backs on critical thinking and technical precision. Please don’t think I am rejecting the merits of deliberate shooting generally; this month’s exercise is ultimately less about what you produce and more about opening yourself up to possibilities, actively experiencing the world differently, and letting intuition overtake intellect.[caption id="attachment_38673" align="aligncenter" width="840"] Meredith Abenaim[/caption]
As the average person matures, her mind learns to ignore the irrelevant information in her environment. Being able to tune out the irrelevant is,(…)
When you begin your photography journey, a common and effective piece of advice is to keep the light at your back when shooting.By keeping your camera between your subject and the light source, you are shooting in the same direction the light is shining, and if your subject is facing you, the light illuminates the subject from the front. If, however, you turn around and shoot a subject that is between you and the light source, now you are shooting(…)
(aka “The Unplanned Diptych”)
Rather than focusing on technique or compositional principles, this month’s assignment is an exercise in observation, conceptualization, and execution. We’re going to capture a pair of images, and the key to making the most of the exercise is that you not plan too much. Be patient, embrace the process, and permit yourself to be receptive to where your art leads you. You do not have to complete the whole exercise at once and can do each step(…)
We all know that a photograph captures a moment in time, yet so often we extol the merits of a photograph’s “timelessness.” What does it even mean to shoot a photograph that is “timeless”? We define it variously as enduring, abiding, or withstanding the test of time. In characterizing a photograph as timeless, we often look to some combination of artistic style, photographic technique, story, and subject matter, asking ourselves, “Could this have emerged from any era? Is it likely(…)
When we think of food photography, we often think of pristine plates and beautiful gourmet styling. Indeed, there is an entire visual art to culinary plating – something we will explore further in a creativity exercise later this year. Right now, however, we’re going to explore the inclusion of food in the frame a bit differently.
*image by JennyKDiaz
Food is an an enormous part of our lives. It’s not just a physical necessity but an integral part of both our daily(…)
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the direct incorporation of words within the frame itself can powerfully alter, influence, or enhance the viewer’s experience. Generally speaking, highly recognizable or otherwise familiar elements in an image carry the most visual weight for a viewer. For that reason, two of the most visually compelling elements you can include within a photograph are the human form (especially the face) and human language. Words in the viewer’s native tongue have the(…)
The reflection of light can be characterized in one of two ways. Put simply, when light hits a rough or heterogeneous surface, the light scatters back in many directions as a diffused reflection. When, on the other hand, light strikes a smooth, homogenous surface, it is reflected back in a single direction as an image; this is called a specular reflection, and it’s the mirroring effect we see against glass, water, metal, and other highly polished or glossy surfaces. Early mirrors, in fact, were manufactured from polished obsidian, copper, bronze, copper, and tin.(…)
Rhythm, a critical component of music, dance, and poetry, is also a quality of great significance in the visual arts. Rhythm may affect the quality of the viewing experience for your audience and help to draw and keep the eye within the frame. Pattern can be thought of a subset of rhythm in that patterns always have rhythm, but rhythms don’t always have pattern.
*image by MeredithA
Let’s take a look at a variety of rhythms in the visual arts and the(…)
This month, we’re going to experiment with exposures that are significantly deeper than you’d normally select. Be adventurous and bold. Go beyond your comfort zone. Take what you know of “proper” exposure, and go deeper … not a third of a stop or even a full stop — but a couple of stops. See what happens! Shift your “Zones” or push your histogram towards the left. How does it affect the mood? Do you notice any new details in the(…)
This month, try shooting from the hip. It will alter your perspective as an artist, requiring you to see the scene beyond the viewfinder; while you won’t be able to compose as deliberately, you may discover this shift in perspective and artistic freedom bring some wonderful new qualities to your images. It will also change the dynamic with your subjects in that you can connect face-to-face during shooting — or go completely the opposite way and shoot totally inconspicuously. With(…)
This month, let’s focus on creating depth in photographs by shooting images that incorporate a minimum of three distinct planes: foreground, midground, and background. Does it seem simple? It can be, but there are a number of ways you can approach this for particularly captivating results. Consider the following tips (and combinations thereof!):
*image courtesy Jennifer Nobriga ‘jennifer123′
1. Shoot Wide Open
Set your aperture to a low f/stop. As most photographers know, this very shallow depth of field powerfully separates the subject(…)
Beach photography: Splashing children laughing in the waves. Couples kissing surrounded by nothing but white sand, deep blue sky and turquoise sea. It should be the perfect recipe for dreamy photos, except for one thing. Most often, beach photography equals full, unforgiving, unfiltered sunlight. For many photographers, this can be a scary proposition. Most natural light photographers prefer a session of softly lit fields or open shade, for good reason. But though tricky, full sun comes with its own rewards.(…)
In January 2012, Clickin Moms posted our first “Day in the Life” photo essay featuring CMpro Sara Seeton. The response was so wonderful that we turned the concept into a regular blog series and Click magazine feature and have since enjoyed over two dozen glimpses into the days of our favorite photographers. Now we are challenging you to join in!
*images by Alana Rasbach
This month, let’s see a day in YOUR life!
In addition to yielding a meaningful collection of memories, the(…)
This month, I’d like to challenge you to include your significant other in the frame. I understand that many spouses (mine included!) may resist your efforts a bit. However, you don’t necessarily need him to pose for you, and perhaps he just doesn’t realize how important it is to you (and will one day be to your children) to have a visual record of his presence, the way he looks, and the way he loves his family… so talk to(…)
This month, we’re going to shoot images at ISO 3200 or higher. If your camera doesn’t go up to ISO 3200, then shoot at the highest ISO available. If your camera happens to handle high ISO remarkably well (I’m talking to you, fellow D4 owners), embrace the spirit of the exercise and push yourself outside of the comfort zone with ISO 6400, 12800, and beyond. And remember – high ISO doesn’t have to be confined to low light work; set(…)
This month, we’ll focus on photographing the immensity of the world around us. Think about emphasizing the height, breadth, or depth of the environment and the elements therein. In many cases, this means shooting landscapes, cityscapes, or other wide angle approaches to nature or architecture.
*image by Megan Dill
Let’s take big world shooting a step further. Once you identify the scope of the environment you’ll be shooting, find a way to enhance the enormity of that environment by incorporating a person(…)