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Tag: Composition

Taking Awesome Group Photos

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Taking Awesome Group Photos

We can’t avoid taking pictures of groups. They are part of every company picnic, Sunday night family dinner, and school picture day. They are also the first pictures pulled out when everyone in hunched over the photo album, reminiscing about all the fond memories associated with family gatherings and nights out with friends. While they are a common part of our lives as people and artists, they can sometimes be stressful to pull off and difficult to do well. Here are seven tips to help you achieve the best possible results.
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16 Tips for Better Landscapes

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16 Tips for Better Landscapes

To the snap-shooter, nothing could be simpler than a landscape. Just find some pretty scenery, lift your camera and press the button. Viola! Landscape.

Now if you’re not a mere snap-shooter, you know the absolute folly of what I just said. While it’s true that it’s easy to shoot a landscape, it is also extremely difficult to capture one. What I mean of course is that anyone can lift a camera and press the button, and because landscapes don’t move it seems as if capturing one should be as easy as that. But you and I both know that recreating a beautiful, three-dimensional scene in a two dimensional medium is much more difficult than just hitting that shutter button. Let’s see how to do it…
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How to Win Photography Competitions

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How to Win Photography Competitions

I know you have some pretty awesome shots in your portfolio. Maybe even so awesome that your friends have encouraged you to enter them in photography competitions. You might have even won or placed in those competitions – but if you’re like the vast majority of your fellow entrants, you came away disappointed.

The sad truth is, awesome photos don’t always win photography competitions. That’s because judges are human beings, and human beings can have vastly different opinions and different tastes. Photography is subjective, and just because you think your photo is awesome, and your friends think your photo is awesome, and all those perfect strangers on Flickr think your photo is awesome, doesn’t mean that Bob T. McJudgester is going to agree with you.

So is there a way to improve your chances? Let’s find out…
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How to fix (or just avoid) Distracting Backgrounds

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How to fix (or just avoid) Distracting Backgrounds

Have you ever snapped what seemed like a great picture only to discover that there was something in the background that slaughtered your otherwise perfect shot? Maybe it was a person wearing bright colors doing something incredibly boring, like feeding a parking meter. Maybe it was a photobomb, and not the good kind, either. And then there’s those non-animate background distractions: tree branches that seem to grow right out of your subject’s head, or signs directing the whole neighborhood and everyone who sees your photo to the nearest laundromat.

Yes, backgrounds are important. And to the extent that they can actually turn a great shot into something terrible, they can sometimes be even more important than your subject.
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How to take a Perfect Panoramic Photograph

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How to take a Perfect Panoramic Photograph

Today’s point and shoot cameras have a ton of bells and whistles. If you own one of these little cameras, you may not even be aware of all of those fancy features. In fact you may be surprised to discover that your little point and shoot (or phone camera) is capable of some things that your DSLR isn’t. One of the most widely under-utilized bells (or maybe whistles) that point and shoot camera have is the panoramic mode. While you certainly can take panoramic images using a camera without this feature, it does make these shots infinitely simpler.

But what if you don’t have one of these cameras? Let’s see how to take images appropriate for panoramas, and how to stitch them together.
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18 Composition Rules For Photos That Shine

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18 Composition Rules For Photos That Shine

Rules. When you were a kid, you hated them. You probably still hate at least some of them. For all the good that rules do in our world, they have the ugly side-effect of stifling freedom and individual creativity. And what is photography but a way to express creativity and artistic freedom? There shouldn’t be any “rules”!

Actually, photography rules are kind of like pirate code. More what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules. They are there to provide guidance, but if you need to break them you should do so without regret. Let’s take a look at 18 of the more common composition rules (okay, guidelines) to improve your photography.
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31 Images with Outstanding Composition

31 Images with Outstanding Composition

Great composition is one of those things that you almost can’t define – it’s either there, or it isn’t. Almost anyone – even a non-photographer – can spot outstanding composition, though it’s not always obvious what specific qualities actually made that photo a great one. That’s why the so-called “rules” of composition are really just guidelines – once you’ve mastered them, you can feel free to ignore or use them where you see fit. Here are some examples of images with outstanding composition – see if you can pinpoint the reasons why.
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The Photograph as Art

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The Photograph as Art

What’s the difference between art and a snapshot? The answer is not usually very obvious. Art is subjective, and sometimes we recognize it subconsciously rather than consciously.
How does a photo make you feel? Does it make you think about a concept or an idea? Is it technically beautiful, and if not, does it break those technical rules beautifully? Taking fine art photos requires a lot of skill, experimentation and careful thought – but it is a pursuit that can be very rewarding. In this article, I want to explore the difference between a photograph as documentation, and a photograph as art.
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Finding Inspiration

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Finding Inspiration

It’s called “creative block”, and it’s an ugly beast. All artists complain of it at some point in their lives, even great ones. It can happen to you when you’re immersed in the doldrums of an uninteresting routine, or it can happen to you when you’re standing in the Mongolian grasslands during the Festival of Naadam. Creative block doesn’t discriminate, so you need to have an arsenal of tools at hand to fend it off when it decides to make you its next victim.

If you’ve ever stood in one place with your camera hanging around your neck and just could not for the life of you find a photo anywhere in your environment, you’re probably suffering from creative block on at least some level. The key to beating it is to start fighting it as soon as you recognize it, because otherwise it can keep you in empty memory cards for weeks. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do. If you use these tips and exercises, you’ll not only banish creative block, you may also come up with some really great photos that you probably would never have thought of if you hadn’t had a bout of creative block. Take that, ugly beast.
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Improve Your Photography with Unusual Photographs

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Improve Your Photography with Unusual Photographs

If I had to guess, I would say that 99 out of 100 hobby photographers never bend their legs. It’s not so hard to see why – human beings view the world mostly from one or two perspectives: standing up and sitting down. Occasionally we will also lie down in a place other than our beds or the sofa, but for the most part everything we see comes to us at a perspective of somewhere between five and six feet off the ground.

So most photographers don’t think about finding other angles, because the angle from which we view the world most of the time is so familiar and comfortable. But the sad truth is, it’s also boring. When you walk past that favorite city landmark and snap a photo of it, the chances are really good that your photo will look exactly like the last thousand photos that the last thousand photographers took of that same landmark–unless you spent some time thinking about your subject and how you could capture it in a unique way.
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17 Examples of Natural Frames

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17 Examples of Natural Frames

Natural frames are everywhere, and not just in natural places. In photography, a natural frame is anything that forms a border or part of a border around your subject. It can be literally natural, such as a tree branch, the mouth of a cave or a rock arch; or it can be man-made, such as a doorway, a bridge or the slats in a fence.

Finding natural arches is a fun and rewarding challenge, and using them in your photos can help draw your viewer’s eye into your image and create a sense of depth and importance. Just in case you need a creative jump-start in your search for natural frames, here are 17 examples of frames–the type you can’t buy at your local craft store.
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Boost Your Landscape Photography With These Tricks

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Boost Your Landscape Photography With These Tricks

Scenic photos are a part of almost every photographer’s repertoire. After all, almost no one with a camera can resist snapping a photo of crashing surf, sweeping fields of wildflowers or a towering, snow-covered mountain.

Landscape photos seem like they should be easy, yet the final images are often disappointing. How many times have you taken a photo of a stunningly beautiful place only to discover that the image you end up with is nothing short of underwhelming? Let’s fix that!
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Visual Design: Using Line in Photography

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Visual Design: Using Line in Photography

Here’s an assignment for you: Take your camera out into the field, and photograph only those scenes that contain lines. It’s easier than you might think. Lines can be found almost everywhere in our world. And line is one of the most important design elements in photography. That is not to say, of course, that you can’t take a great photo without them, but if you learn to seek them out and incorporate them into your work you will find that they add great visual impact to your photographs.
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Why Does the Rule of Thirds Work?

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Why Does the Rule of Thirds Work?

Rules. They started in school and seem to follow us through life. They’re made to give guidance. They’re made to keep peace in the valley. And, some would say they’re made to be broken.

If there’s one place rules are meant to be broken, it’s in anything creative. The catch is, if you’re going to break them, you have to know them in the first place. Photography’s Rule of Thirds is the perfect example of this. A lot of beginning photographers break this rule because they simply and innocently don’t know it exists. But, a seasoned photographer, one who knows better, not only abides by the rule, but knows best how to bend or break it.
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Street Photography: How-to Photograph Strangers

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Street Photography: How-to Photograph Strangers

The grandfather of street photography was Henri Cartier-Bresson. His image here of the young boy carrying bottles of wine under his arms, and looking quite proud in doing so, is one of his most popular. It’s street photography at its finest because it’s spontaneous, fun, and it tells a story. Cartier-Bresson’s photographs of children were some of his best. Perhaps that’s because kids are spontaneous by nature, too.
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