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
Sorry for my one week absence my blogger peers. I had to attend to some important family and business matters. And as the saying goes that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I did missed all of you. Like everyone else, this act of blogging has become so ingrained in my system that a day seems incomplete without posting something. Imagine going “blog-less” for a week or so. Well I hope all of you are safe and sound. I’ll go around in your blogs and see what’s the latest on your end. Keep on clicking! Thanks!
I believe in the resonance and staying power of quiet photographs.~William Albert Allard
Happy weekend to all my blogger peers! Keep on clicking!
The picture below was taken at Baluarte, a seaside park in the tourist island province of Bohol in central Philippines. When I reviewed the picture in my computer, it was far from what I saw on that day. My picture was bland and boring. It had to undergo post-processing to highlight the colors and details to more or less approximate the actual scene. How do we go about capturing the realism of a scene when we first saw it?
Kimball Larsen shares some pointers in his article 10 Photography Tips To Better Capture What You See. They are the following:
1. Decide on a clear center of attention
2. Remember that your eye has a better dynamic range than your camera
3. Aperture control for DOF
4. Careful composition to either expand upon or contract the feel of the photo
5. Be ready – moments come and go quickly
6. Understand the exposure triangle
7. P is not for “Professional”
8. Pay attention to your light sources
9. Always check your camera settings
Again I suggest you go over the article and read Larsen’s descriptions on each tip. Giving thoughtful consideration to the above items will greatly improve our picture-taking. It helps elevate us to the level of a thinking photographer, deliberate and confident that our every shot will result in a faithful capture of what we saw. Happy shooting this weekend!
Sometimes we work so fast that we don’t really understand what’s going on in front of the camera. We just kind of sense that, ‘Oh my God, it’s significant!’ and photograph impulsively while trying to get the exposure right. Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the images.~Minor White
Here are very interesting photography tips all relating to time exposure. This is just a partial list, head over to the online site to view the articles and photo samples.
Photo Tip: Every photograph is actually a time exposure. Images may be recorded in a fraction of a second or over hours of time. Yet many people never realize that they can use time as a creative tool in photography. Remember that the shutter speed can be adjusted to do either very long or instantaneous exposures.
Photo Tip: The method of choosing a long shutter speed and following the action as it takes place is called “panning.” Part of the fun of panning is that the photographer is never really certain how the resulting image will turn out. Photographing in this way can sometimes reveal things that our eyes cannot see.
Photo Tip: By understanding how the shutter speed and the aperture settings of a camera work together in any exposure, the photographer can make deliberate choices about what he or she would like to capture. Automatic settings are great for many things, but a basic knowledge of how the camera works will lead to far more creative photography.
Photo Tip: It doesn’t take a long exposure time to blur rushing water. Sometimes the camera can be handheld while achieving this effect. But take a tripod along so that you can try exposures of various length and see which results you like best.
Photo Tip: Although we are tempted to use a very fast shutter speed when photographing wildlife behavior, slowing things down may lead to a more compelling image. The goal is not always a perfectly sharp image.
Photo Tip: Remember, the photographer can move too! You can twirl or run or pan with your camera to create new views. And by varying your shutter speed as you move, a whole series of surprise images can be created.
~National Geographic photography tips feature Simply Beautiful Photos: Time
Ok, but there’s more to picking the right spot than just the location. As important as location is, your sunset will almost always be lacking the one essential ingredient that will make it special – a dominant point of interest. And just what might that be? It’s that extra element that gives your sunset an anchor, a sense of scale, a point which will draw the viewer inevitably into the picture.
A photograph of a sunset by itself just doesn’t work. After all, one setting sun is much like any other. Even if you manage to capture the gorgeous color, without a dominant point of interest the image will still end up looking rather boring. Now, having said that I should tell you that, without some forward planning, a dominant point of interest is not an easy thing to include. It might be the silhouette of a sailboat on a glittering, backlit ocean, a barn, a horse, a cow, a tractor, or even a lone tree in the foreground. It could be the silhouette of two lovers walking hand-in-hand down a country lane, a little girl with a small dog on a leash – I’ve used both of those – and I’m sure you can come up with many more ideas of your own.
~Blair Howard fron his article How To Photograph Sunsets
It’s not when you press the shutter, but why you press the shutter.~Mary Ellen Mark
The advent of digital photography and today’s prevalence of affordable digital SLR cameras ensures more people have the capability to capture an inspiring photo. The only question is how to gain the creative skills, aptitude and dedication to make it happen. First we need to understand the basics of what makes a great travel or adventure photo.
East Africa-based adventure writer and photographer Nathan Ward reveals travel photography is about finding the image within its natural setting. “Find big scenery and local colour. Ideally something without a westerner in it! The world isn’t about a photo of some blonde person in their new Patagonia gear standing next to Tsaatan reindeer herders. The story is about the reindeer herders. Show the world and all its magic,” he says.
Finding the image within its natural setting is individual and we all differ in our visual perspective, however when it comes to releasing the shutter, the basic ingredients to attention-grabbing pictures has remained the same since the inception of photography; thoughtful composition, creative lighting and an interesting subject.
~Mark Watson from his article Sharp Shooters: Photography Tips
Here are a few places to consider when heading out to start your photography adventure.
Water: It doesn’t matter where you live or where you go, you are sure to find lakes, rivers and streams with beautiful landscapes surrounding them. On the coasts, you can get amazing shots of oceans as well. When looking at these locations, determine what makes them unique. Is it a fast moving river or a lazy, slow stream? Figure this out and then decide if you want it to be the focal point of your composition or just a device to use to focus on something beside or in it. You can also find amazing reflections in the water, which will enhance your photographs even more.
Forests: Forests present a photographer with numerous opportunities. Look around and decide if the forest is open and welcome or enclosed and gloomy. When you find the “personality” of the forest, decide what objects in the forest will allow that attitude to come to life in your photographs. It can be a tree, a winding path or a colorful break in the greenery. Find what makes the forest come to life and capture it in your photographs.
Plains: The wide open spaces, especially in the Midwest, can seem dreary and boring but, with the right eye, this can also become the scenic photographers dream. The most important thing to find here is something to focus on. Find an old road sign, a barbed wire fence or an old gravel road and then use these items to show the vastness of the open space beyond it. The plains are also a great place to get amazing shots of the sky as it morphs and changes colors throughout the year.
Mountains: Remember, you are not just shooting mountains, you are shooting something with the mountains in the background. Sure, there can be some amazing pictures displaying the curves of the mountains but those photographs can get boring after awhile. Instead, find something close to the camera, such as a tree or a person admiring the mountain. Using this subject, the mountains will look vast and immense in comparison.
~Shawn Lealos from his article Scenic Photography: Getting the Most out of Your Outdoor Shoot
There’s something about a serene, romantic setting. It sets you in the mood. It puts you at ease. It is a feeling of rest and relaxation, of slowing down from a hectic, fast-paced life. Al you want to do in a scene such as the picture below, is to get a table, order the best meal for you and your date, and enjoy the quiet, relaxing seaside view.
We have known that images can create mood and character. Now mood is triggered by how we feel about a particular image. If your intention is to shock and startle, then you take shocking pictures. Which is not my forte. I go for the pleasant, feel good and inspiring images. It is beautiful, appealing and interesting images that reach out and relate to majority of viewers. This is the mood that is produced with subtle combinations of subject, composition, setting and lighting. They should all work out to make the viewer comfortable, calm, homey and breezy. In a day, people have had enough of unpleasantness and burdens in their work and daily dealings with life. Don’t add to their heavy heart with pictures that create emotional overload. You do great service with images that lighten feelings and energize the soul. You can be powerful in your art, but always be considerate in how you present your image and its message.
When I use the camera, I often feel like I know part of the people or places I come in contact with.~Christophe Agou
Besides artistic portraits and street photography, there is another area that captures humans and its called documentary-style people photography. It is about photographing people in relation to issues, situations, places and the environment they are in. It involves documenting their stories as they go about their everyday lives, such as the girl and her little brother in the photo.
They live in a small coastal community in Guimaras Island in central Philippines. The main livelihood of families in the community are fishing but they get a bigger income by ferrying tourists to nearby small islands that boast of pristine beaches, undeveloped and undisturbed patches of nature. The primary means of transportation from one island to another is the banca, a local outrigger canoe that can carry two to three passengers. It is propelled by the sheer effort of paddling, by the girl in this case, with her little brother playing the role of lookout and assistant. The girl has just ferried me and my photo buddy to this small island and I took this picture as they were about to set off to transport more of my fellow photographers waiting in the main island some 300 meters away. I guess we are all chroniclers when we have our cameras and arrive at a new country, city or place. Knowingly or unknowingly, we capture images of people as they go through the daily grind and struggles in life. In the picture above, it is a poignant story of siblings helping their family to make ends meet; their parents are out at sea fishing. The camera is there not only to capture beautiful sceneries but also slices of life, no matter how humbling, as we encounter them.
Think about the non-color visual design elements of your image. Without color the components of visual design become that much more important. Look at the lines in the image. Are they horizontal? Vertical? Diagonal? Do they form a pattern? Rhythm or repeating elements in a photo are interesting, with a break in the repetition being even more interesting. Also look at the texture, shapes, and forms in the image. Concentrating on these will take your mind off the color and enhance your ability to “see” and think in monochrome.
Train your brain for black and white by comparing the same images in both black and white and color. Most photo software lets you go back and forth between images or look at them side-by-side. A good way to teach yourself how to visualize in black and white is to look at the same image both ways. Do this with as many images as you can. I would include images that you initially intended to be black and white as well as those that were not intended that way. Sometimes you will discover great black and white images that weren’t shot with that purpose. More importantly it will ultimately help you be able to look at a color scene in the world and visualize it as a black and white image.
~Ashley Robinson from her article Digital Black and White Photography Tips and Techniques
Prolific writer of photography tips Jim Harmer shares some guides in his article 15 Tips for Stunning Black and White Photography. I will just list some of them and urge you to go over his very enlightening write-up.
Here is a partial listing:
- Shoot in RAW.
- To visualize in black and white, only pay attention to lines, shadows, and shapes.
- Pay special attention to noise.
- Look for contrast.
- Find a wide range of grays.
- Watch for texture.
- Look for patterns.
- Long exposures love black and white.
- B&W isn’t a replacement for bad lighting, but it can soften the blow.
With today’s digital cameras and powerful image editing programs, it is very easy to experiment in black and white. Some photographers find their “voice”, vision and style through this classic medium. It forces photographers to “see” more and look deeper for fine nuances and interesting characteristics in subjects, as opposed to shooting haphazardly in color, and letting the color element speak for the whole image. You have the tools of discernment and insight in black and white photography. Use them skillfully.
We all start in this medium because of the magic and the challenge is to keep it going.~John Sexton
Wishing everyone a lovely and inspiring weekend! Keep on clicking my friends!