Today I spent the day viewing my friends portfolio and giving feedback on my favorite photographs. I saw many pictures that I really liked but a few were really captivating and here are some of the reasons why.
My emotions were drawn into the photograph.
Have you ever looked at a picture so moving that you were brought back to the first time you fell in love? That is a picture worth viewing. The artist captures the emotion of a scene so brilliantly that the viewer can't help but get pulled into the story and make it their own. When an artist can invoke an emotional response in the viewer then he has created a master piece.
The photograph made me laugh.
This is another emotional connection but if the photographer can simultaneously capture humor and composition then he has a photo worth looking at. This can usually be done with people, babies, animals or anything strange and out of the ordinary. It's nice to release a little dopamine by laughing at a funny photograph.
The photograph is inspirational.
Have you ever seen a picture that was so vibrant and full of life you just had the desire to duplicate it? Or have you ever seen a picture that motivated you to try something new? Personally, I have had both experiences when I have viewed amazing pictures of the Aurora Borealis. I am willing to take on the chilly weather in Fairbanks, Alaska in March to capture my own Aurora picture, the photographers before me have served as an inspiration!
The photograph is different.
Taking a picture of your child riding a bike can make a nice photograph, yes. However what if you tried lying on the side walk and taking a picture of your child riding a bike using a fisheye lens? That might create a different perspective and qualify as a more dynamic photograph. It's worth a shot to try different angles and to get a little dirty from time to time, most good photographers understand the perfect picture will require getting muddy on occasion. It's all part of the love.
I spent time viewing the photograph.
The photograph was intriguing, captivating, moving, inspiring, or confusing but for whatever reason I spent time starring at this picture. When was the last time you spent 20 seconds viewing a photograph? That isn't a lot of time but if somebody takes that kind of time to view your photograph, than start selling it right away because you are going to make money from that shot! Most of us don't have the attention span to give a lot of time to a photograph unless it is truly remarkable or it speaks to us emotionally.
The photograph surprised me.
The element of surprise can be a refreshing change in a photograph. We have all seen the contrived, standard portrait picture thousands of times. It's so intriguing to see an unexpected burst of laughter or the magic that comes from a real life experience. Sometimes great photographs come from taking a journalistic approach. However, be mindful of this technique when people are eating, nobody likes their picture taken with a mouth full of food.
Composition, lighting, perspective, lines, and technique are obviously very important too. Learning and practicing the basic photography rules will enhance a great photograph. Remember the basics and repeat it often before pressing the button. Compose, Expose, Focus and shoot. Repeat it and repeat it often! Ask yourself as the artist, “What am I trying to say or express in this picture?” Learn and understand the rule of thirds. Keep simplicity in mind with your photography, often times less is more. Use leading lines to create a captivating photo. Have a purpose for your photography instead of just taking thousands of shots in hopes that a good one will turn up. These basic tips will aid in bringing to life your subject material.
Photographers spend a great deal of time traveling to exotic locations to capture the perfect picture, I do too. However sometimes I can take a step back and see that the perfect photograph can be the smile on someones face, the twinkle in someone specials eyes, a backyard squirrel or the perfect rainbow after a monsoon storm. All readily available in the confines of my home.
I find when you open your heart and mind to the whole experience of life your photography reflects the emotions you are projecting. Be enthralled, present and alive and observe from the love of your own experiences the creation of magnificent photographs.
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