How Color Impacts Photographs

At a technical level, color can be complicated; just see our recent article on sRGB vs Adobe RGB vs ProPhoto RGB. But at an artistic level, it is one of the most important parts of an image, impacting emotions and interest unlike almost any other element of photography. This article introduces the concepts of color and color relationships, including how to use them to take the best possible photographs.

Read This Article

The 10 Elements of Composition in Photography

Sometimes, it helps to take a step back from broader discussions on creativity to look at the truly fundamental elements of composition. Although there are countless elements of composition in art as a whole, this article covers the ten most important that are specific to photography – critical parts of nearly every photo you take. They’re divided into two main categories: objects, and their relationships. These are nothing less than the building blocks of creativity.

Read This Article

The Three Elements of a Good Photo

Every successful photo has three things in common, and they’re not particularly surprising. The proper aperture, exposure, and focusing distance? The right camera, lens, and tripod? Successful use of hyperfocal distance, ISO invariance, and ETTR? No! The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition. 

Read This Article

Photographing Scale Model Cars

“It’s not photography; you’re just playing with toys. And Photoshop.”  Well, it sure does look that way. This will either invite complete ridicule or slightly less than complete ridicule but it has been such a ton of fun to do that I could in fact not care less. And now I’m getting asked (and paid) to produce bespoke posters and prints so maybe I’m having the last laugh; who knows. Plenty will argue that unless you’re photographing a long exposure…

Read This Article

The Refining Process: How Bad Photos Get Better

I suspect that many photographers have realized their best photos frequently come after several “getting there” images – scenes where something interesting stands out, and you gradually improve upon your early attempts, creating a composition that looks more and more refined by the end. The trend has been so clear in my personal photography that I thought it would be useful to show some examples, including how to apply this concept to your own work.

Read This Article

Of Light and Landscapes

In the fourth of a series of follow-up articles to The Quality of Light, I will describe my interpretation of the intersection of light and aesthetics in landscape photography as well as the thought process behind the construction of a singular landscape photo. My goal with this essay is to encourage my fellow landscape photographers to be inspired by light in the visualization process.

Read This Article

A Study in Light, Shadows, and Landscapes

In the third of a series of follow-up articles to The Quality of Light, I will delve into my revered interests in photography: light and landscapes. In this article, I will extend the discussion of the quality of light by examining how landscape photographers of all levels can use light and shadows to create more compelling landscape images. I will also examine briefly the challenges in balancing light and composition in landscape photography.

Read This Article

The Importance of Visual Storytelling in Photography

Everybody loves a well-told story because stories are the best way to evoke emotions. They can make us excited, laugh, cry or feel empathy for someone else. But perhaps the best thing about stories is relatively simple: stories about other people help us to better understand ourselves. And this is the reason why visual storytelling has such an important role in photography. Below are the three tips to add a sense of story to your photography.

Read This Article

Five Tips for Improving Your Landscape Photography Compositions

Whether you are exclusively a landscape photographer or simply someone who likes to capture awesome shots of just about anything, landscape photography can be an excellent way to hone your ability to put together a composition. Lots of subjects that result in excellent shots require a photographer to react quickly in order to capture a moment that will be gone in mere seconds. A landscape, on the other hand, comes with a stillness that allows that same photographer to stop,…

Read This Article

What is the Rule of Thirds? A Guide for Beginners

One of the most popular ways to compose your photographs is to use the “Rule of Thirds”. Although this compositional rule is frequently used by photographers, not everyone understands exactly what it is or when it works. This article introduces the rule of thirds and explains when to use it for composition (or not). Keep in mind that this rule is a suggestion for beginners and those who struggle with properly composing their pictures, and it is far from the…

Read This Article

What Makes a Good Photo?

The simplest question in photography is also the most complex: What makes a good photo? It isn’t enough to say that a good photo comes from its lighting, composition, subject, and so on; this question has a deeper answer. Good images – as different as they may be from one another – all stem from the same roots: The photographer has a strong goal for the photo, then expresses that goal in the most effective possible way.

Read This Article

How Light Creates Emotion in Photography

At the end of the day, there’s only one reason why people like good photos. It’s a simple concept, really, but it also forms the foundation for all of photography. Emotion. For a photo to succeed, it has to resonate with your viewer. That could happen for a number of reasons, ranging from your subject to your composition. But the strongest tool to capture emotion is far more fundamental than that — it is, quite simply, your light.

Read This Article

Composition Tips for Beginners

Composition is critical. If you want to take powerful photos, it’s one of the most important parts of photography. Still, a lot of photographers start out only hearing about the rule of thirds, and they never go more in depth on how to compose better photos. The good news is that you can learn more about composition — and you should. It’s a deep topic, and there’s no way to cover everything in just one article, but I’ll do my…

Read This Article

Landscape Photography Composition Tips

How is it that two photographers can visit the same landscape at the same time, but one of them manages to take a better photo? It’s not about equipment, or camera settings, or sharpness. Instead, it’s all about composition. Composition is how you arrange the elements of your photograph to guide a viewer’s eye. How do you pick a good composition for your landscape photos? There are two elements that matter more than anything else: simplicity and visual weight. In…

Read This Article

The Importance of Simplicity, Patterns and Details

When my wife and I are out and about on a photography tour I like to let my mind wander and keep my eyes ‘fresh’ so I don’t get too locked in on one particular type of image composition. We recently spent a couple of weeks in Nova Scotia doing some field work for an eBook project. Since the emphasis of that endeavour is landscape, seascape and shoreline photography we did focus the majority of our time on those subjects.…

Read This Article

Composition Tip: Give Your Subjects Breathing Space

Composition, in general, can seem like a fuzzy concept to many photographers. Trying to frame an image in a way that “works” is not something that is intuitive, even for people who have been taking pictures for years. And, unlike other aspects of photography — focusing, selecting a sharp aperture, exposing properly — composition has no correct answer. The best you can do is to create something that looks good to you, or looks good to your intended audience. Still,…

Read This Article

Minimalism in Photography: The Good and Bad

As people look at photos on smaller and smaller screens, there has been a growing trend towards taking photos that are more and more minimalist. Especially on platforms like Instagram, minimalism is exploding; it’s everywhere, and it has been for a while now. There are some pros and cons of minimalism, and I have mixed feelings about how common this trend has become, but there’s no denying its popularity. In this article, I’ll cover some of the main reasons you’d want…

Read This Article

The Simple Act of Walking

A path to the discovery of self. We’ve all seen it. Photographs pour fourth like a never-ending stream as wave after wave of photographers visit the same tired spots trying to put down their mark. Every photo seems to literally vibrate with dramatic lines, amped color, and skies ablaze with crimson light. Enough already!

Read This Article

A Study in Light, Directionality and Mood

In the first of a series of follow-up articles to The Quality of Light, I have posted this article to share a series of photographs (along with the thought processes behind them) that I hope will accentuate the interplay of light, directionality, shadows, and mood in landscape photography. As previously discussed, the directionality of light is a powerful factor in defining the quality of shadows, the contrast, textures, and three-dimensionality of a scene, as well as the mood and emotion that…

Read This Article

What is Fine Art Photography?

People frequently ask me what exactly is fine art photography? Before I answer, I usually take a big breath and brace myself to answer the question in the time it takes to ride a few floors in an elevator as they usually expect a quick answer. And, despite my apprehension to answering their question, I have come to realize that most good answers are the ones that are simple and direct. Hence, I begin by clarifying that fine art photography…

Read This Article