No “graphic photographs” do not have anything to do with adult themed images. Graphical photography is an image style that utilizes shape, geometry and color to resemble something that might be drawn or designed. Photographs that are considered graphic in nature have distinct curves & lines, color contrast and highlight geometry within a particular scene. It may sound more complex than it really is, as I’m sure you’ve seen photos everywhere that fit this description.
Finding and taking photographs with a strong graphic element takes an observant eye. Man-made objects such as machinery, architecture, roads, etc. are inherently great graphic photography subjects because they’re designed with geometry in mind by engineers, architects and civic planners. Nature subjects also have a strong geometric shape rooted in the molecular geometry of organic compounds like cellulose and inorganic compounds with crystalline structures like quartz. Whether your subject is made by man or nature if you add light, shadow and color plus follow the 5 tips below you have all the ingredients needed for a great graphic photos.
~Jim Goldstein from his article 5 Tips to Create Graphic Photographs
The basic material of photographs is not intrinsically beautiful. It’s not like ivory or tapestry or bronze or oil on canvas. You’re not supposed to look at the thing, you’re supposed to look through it. It’s a window.~John Szarkowski
The advantage for us – amateurs, hobbyists and enthusiasts – over those who engage in photography as a means of income is that we can afford to take random pictures which do not need to be professional-looking. Okay, though we strive to capture and create pictures worthy to be printed in top quality photographic paper, framed and displayed on a wall for all the world to see, that is not a primary consideration. For most of us, sharing a picture online for the viewing pleasure of our friends and peers is enough. We need not produce visual masterpieces all the time; we are not compelled to.
The above picture is of the atrium of the Mall of Asia in Metro Manila. As the name suggests, it is said to be the biggest commercial complex this side of the world and yesterday was the first time for me to go inside this cavernous structure. As it was a Sunday, the place was filled with people enjoying their weekend time. It was around early afternoon when I went down an escalator and looked up to see this massive ceiling of glass and steel. In the rush of people and the 10 seconds it took to ride the escalator I pulled out my point and shoot cam and took a couple of random shots, no time for thinking and composing and how the shot will come out. At that moment I was dependent on Auto Mode which, if you have read many of my previous posts, is an option I do not totally count on. But Auto Mode is an ally you can turn to in certain situations where you can not properly set up gear or go around to find certain angles or perspectives. I have done many random shots and some of them are keepers, such as the above. Most, however, go straight to the trash bin. The photo may not be the most satisfying of my captures but I can live with that, rather than leave the place with no capture at all. Have a great week ahead my friends!
Those few minutes before the sun finally dips into the horizon will give you some deep contrast. It’s where the darkness of ensuing night conquers the last remaining light of day. And depending on the weather, cloud formation and where the rays fall, it can give you an exquisite canvas of colors, light, silhouettes and shadows.
I have said before that I’m not a morning guy, hence I have just a few sunrise shots. But I have a whole collection of sunset scenes – reminders of the cyclical nature of life, of the eternal passing of time divided into a 24-hour day. I remember this quote from American photographer Galen Rowell:
“There are only a fixed number of sunrises and sunsets to be enjoyed in a lifetime. The wise photographer will do the math and not waste any of them.”
I would like to think that the wise photographer is the thinking photographer that we should all strive to be. Whether we have reached that level or not yet, it would add to our experience, satisfaction and skill to capture one of the most spectacular displays of nature afforded us on a daily basis. When the opportunity to photograph a great sunset is there, yes, we should not pass it up. We should “do the math.”
It’s the subject matter that counts. I’m interested in revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. A photo is able to capture a moment that people can’t always see.~Harry Callahan
One of the easiest ways to change your perspective is to shoot from a higher vantage point. In other words, be prepared to get physical and do a little exercise climbing a mountain, ladder, tree, or just some steps When shooting above and looking down it’s almost as if you have a bird’s eye perspective of what is going on below. From a higher vantage point you can take great shots of parades, crowds, traffic or scenic valley views. The rewards of doing this are that ‘many’ other photographers are simply too lazy to ‘climb’ something. This is a travel photography tip that can’t be underestimated: putting in a bit of grunt work.
~Samuel Jeffery from his article Change Your Vantage Point