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, there are some composition tips that can help make this abstract topic a little more concrete. One of my favorites is to give your subjects their own personal, breathing space in your photos, so that they aren’t cut off or bunched up against anything else in the image.
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 to capture minimalist photos, along with some tips for using this style of photography as effectively as possible.
Five months ago, I bought my first ultra-wide lens — the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 — after holding out for years. I’ve always flirted with the idea of such a crazy perspective, but I kept finding reasons not to purchase one myself. A 24mm lens had worked well as my widest angle for years, and I rarely found myself wanting anything more. Now that I’ve seen the other side, though, have my attitudes changed? After going on two major trips with the 14-24mm f/2.8, the insane perspective has started to grow on me, but I still have plenty of reservations. Here’s how I’d sum things up, including my recommendations for anyone else considering making such a leap for themselves.
So I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write about shooting this location (especially since my last post was about finding local subjects) but I’ve shot a few waterfalls around the world, and plenty at home in the UK, so I thought I might offer some small, meagre insights into capturing their spectacle. Even if the insights aren’t useful to you it may stand alone as a fluff postcard piece. Niagara Falls, whose popularity is undoubtedly due in part to their easy accessibility, are not the most spectacular waterfalls I’ve ever seen. But I did spend a few hours here (on the Canadian side) looking for evermore interesting shots and, of course, in the changing light throughout the day.
The concept of personal style is a fundamental topic in all art, not just photography. Everyone has their own way of seeing the world, and everything that people create is based upon this underlying uniqueness. In terms of photography, though, even mentioning personal style can seem strange — since our work is inherently based upon the real world, is it even possible to have a unique style? This question is especially relevant for fields like landscape and wildlife photography, which often rely 100% on the scene that nature presents to you, rather than any elements you add yourself. How can you insert your own personality into an image that mirrors the way the world actually looked at one point in time? It’s a complex question. Things get even trickier if you look into all the features that must be copied perfectly in order to produce a convincing forgery (or a benign imitation) of another photographer’s personal style — and, even further, the implications of analyzing and imitating your own personal style. In this article, we will explore the topic of personal style and how you can find it in your photography.
Well, Postcards From The Woods just didn’t seem appropriate. It’s not all foreign travel for Alpha Whiskey, though (well, mostly it is). Sometimes I’m happy to amble through the forest on a bright and breezy weekend afternoon. And while it was more about the walk than the photography I thought I would try to demonstrate how even the most ordinary of environments can provide interesting photographic opportunities. We can all marvel at stunning vistas captured from a mountaintop at sunrise but that’s been done to death. Real creativity comes from challenging yourself to reveal something different from the places and subjects you see everyday. I’m not claiming to have that creativity myself but I’m willing to give it a try.
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 the photograph will convey. In particular, unidirectional light qualities (e.g., side lighting and backlighting) serve this purpose well in landscape photography.
If you want to take your photos to another level, camera equipment is a natural place to look. It’s a very tangible part of photography; we work with our gear constantly. In fact, new equipment often does help you capture certain photos more easily, or it improves the technical quality of the images you take. However, it’s easy to get swept away in this marketing message and forget that there are other, better ways to improve your photos — techniques that don’t require new equipment to put into practice, and tips that are applicable to every photographer.
Depth of field (DoF) is one of the most important concepts in photography. Understanding what DoF is, and knowing what factors affect it, are things all photographers should master. Many photographers know that you can control DoF by adjusting aperture. But did you know that DoF is influenced by other factors too? In this article, I want to explain in simple terms what depth of field is and talk about the ways you can control it.
In a follow-up to a previous article, “A Study in Vision, Light, and Shadows”, I decided to share my thoughts and experiences on my most inspiring topic in photography – light. For simplicity, I decided to write about light in a narrow context from the perspective and experience of a landscape photographer, since outdoors scenes are what I gravitate to. Much of the analysis and discussion that follows is equally applicable to other genres of photography, such as portraits, macro, still-life, and commercial photography. In this article, I will cover broadly what quality of light means for me in landscape photography as well as discuss a variety of scenarios where the scenic photographer can use different properties of light to create a given effect. Please note that this discussion is based on my own personal observations and experiences, which may differ from those of other photographers. My goal is to help beginning landscape photographers understand the different qualities of sunlight and how this instrumental tool can be harnessed to fulfill the visualization process.