Reflections – Surface

So you want reflections, but under instead of on your object?

Mirrors – Shoot into or on mirrors is an amazing technique which not only gives reflection but adds more light to the scene.

Plexiglass – Being reflective yet it is not as strong a reflector as the silvering coat of a mirror. So while providing a great reflection, it will not add light to the scene as would a mirror.

Besides plexiglass comes in various colors. Take a minute to search the options manufacturers offer in plexiglass color.

Plexiglass can also add a density to shadow and reflection unlike other translucent materials. It is one of the most versatile materials I know of within the uses of photography.

Glass – A great reflector as the mirror and not as direct in adding light to the scene as plexiglass, glass itself in a great surface for reflections. One drawback to using glass is that it is fragile. That is only a drawback if you intend that your pane of glass remain intact throughout your photo shoot. Some photographers will use reflections in broken glass which brings up a whole new realm of ideas.

Water – Perhaps one of the most powerful, difficult and predictable substances on the earth, is also one of the cheapest and most accessible substances to capture reflections.

Considering the weather and time of year when planning a photo session is a good idea, even if only to verify that your annual day of rain is not schedule in the same day.

Possibilities are only as limited as my imagination! I love the study of light! Have fun as you learn and grow!

A parting thought: “We only have this moment once to enjoy, so I choose to enjoy it with this foundation; faith, on which to build the structure of physics as I soar into the realm of freedom, liberty and true creativity!”

Portraits – Candid

Candid shots can be hard to pick out from a few select pictures because posing does not have to show the subjects awareness of the photographer. However for our purposes we will call those posed shots candid anyway for simplicity’s sake.

What does “Candid” really mean? :

“Truthful and straightforward; frank.
(of a photograph of a person) Taken informally, especially without the subject’s knowledge.”

So we could even say that the most important quality of a candid photo is not, the lack of knowledge on the part of the subject but how truthful the image is to practical life versus our Utopian fantasy. This is not to say, a photo should include our frustration, irritation and messes, but rather kept simple and uncomplicated.

Is that easier said than practically applicable? Perhaps, although here are some suggestions to inspire your own creativity for simplicity.

  1. Focus on your subject and what has drawn their attention.
  2. Beware of your frame corners so as not to include distractions.
  3. Intentionally use backgrounds that support your shot and not stealing your viewer’s attention.

Focusing on your subject and the object holding their attention: Using a macro lens will crop a lot of the surrounding scenery bringing your focus to rest on your subject and their object of attention.

Being aware of what your frame corners catch which may distract a viewer is easy to forget. In fact I have found that if I am not paying attention I still catch minor undesirables. It can sound like photography is an art impossible to meet or only for the totally devoted  who do nothing else but study for the next super-image. I can nearly guarantee you this is not the case in most photographer’s cases.

Intentionally using backgrounds that are not flashy or precisely perfect have helped me draw out more of my subject’s presence versus a nice scenic shot with a presence.

Skin Tone

People can become upset when ethnicity is brought up, which is not my intention in this post. This post simply is to draw out the courtesy which photographers should extend to others whom may have preference to their appearance.

Skin tones vary from person to person and it is not so much the slight variations we will discuss here, but the contrasting tones.

Photography, as we have been discussing on recent posts, is in general terms the art of capturing the subject in the “perfect lighting”, or as I have put it “properly exposing” your focal point.

An interesting point of history quickly; the use of the word “expose” comes from the time when film was the standard medium product for transferring current events to two-dimensional record because of the chemical reaction begun as the film comes into contact with light and the heat created by it. Thus the film was “exposed” to light and heat.

Light sensors in our cameras can be tricky especially when in this case we want to be sure that we show-off the face of our subject. If that means taking a darker shot so that our subject is not “washed-out” or adding light so that our subject is not a silhouette, we know what should be added to make that great shot.

Family photos are always more appreciated too when mom can see the each face of her loved and ever irritating children. (Oops! Did I just type that?) It is important however to realize that art is not void of science and utilizing the foundation of science for artistic creativity in your family photos, is exactly the inspiration we desire for you. I may sound like an expert, but please remember an expert is only a drip, under pressure. So please, enjoy your leisure!

Construction Zone – Part 2

As I continued thinking about the post “Construction Zone“, I realized that some of it may not have made sense. Safety is also a rather obvious subject in regards to “photo ops” inside a Construction Zones, but a time wherein we each would be wise to heed these reminders.

It is not my desire to list shots for you. Creativity has its place in your work as it does mine. However, I want to play the salesman and in a friendly way “demonstrate” to you that such a style of photo are great for portraits. Ready?

Construction Zones provide you with a unique opportunity to see a physical transition from  a natural landscape to intentionally designed architecture which into it has had many hours of labor and planning invested. Does this sound like a graduate, or engagement, perhaps a wedding? These also are relationships which are being constructed in individual people. This is to set the subject of you photography within a pictorial statement of what is happening in their life.

To illustrate setting your subject in a pictorial setting of their life happenings, I will find in my archives of photos a picture I set-up and took while in college. My college time was a time of testing and maturing, so within this picture you see a few statements such as I suggested for Construction Zones.

Now there is more to this photo than just the setting, but let us first address the surrounding settings. Since I am the subject in the photo above, the photo setting I was in reminds me of being isolated from distraction. This isolation for me was beneficial so that I could focus on course work but also provided an aspect of quiet reflection.

This quiet reflection is part of the maturing process I mentioned earlier. I was able to consider my motivations and match them against the standard for living a quiet and peaceable life. This is the other part of this photo. My actions in each pose speak to my attitudes because of my choice motivation. As I questioned my motivations and looking to understand where attitudes came from, the very foundation of my beliefs were settled, suitable for building.

This is the same purpose that your stock images taken from Construction Zones can serve as portrait backgrounds.

I will leave the rest to your fertile imagination!

“All aboard!” Part 1

There are so many things that can be used  as a fresh “vein” in cultivating creativity, but I do not want to ware you out with all of the possibilities. There are literally a million and more options waiting for you!  So this will be the final post in the series of “Cultivating Creativity”.

Could it be possible that we give ourselves too many options in a photo shoot and therefore hinder our ability because we are not focused on the best two or three shots with any variation requested?

Shooting by location can be one of these “open ended” opportunities. On the other hand, there could be some “creative” ways of narrowing the probabilities to make the possible become reality.

Take a train station for an illustration: A train station contains so many possibilities that to use it as a portrait location would require some organization in order to come away with a profitable portrait set. In the same way it can be too much for one imagination to work in for stock photography.

Let me first define some terms: (Or at-least this is how I define these terms.)

  • Portraiture – photography which centers on a person and generally includes a recognizable portion of the face.
  • Stock – photography designed as art for any range of uses which may include the human figure for interest.

The basic issue comes down to this; portraiture is photography designed to sell because of emotional attachments, whereas stock sells because of the artistic value. I would sound rather cold if anyone were to hear me say it this way without this explanatory context. This by no means is a put down to portraiture! Portrait photography is one of the most recognized markets in the art world and a very good job done by all of my photography peers, professional and hobbyist alike!

Now let us consider some more ways to narrow our options of shots by location. Shooting some of the basics of composition, such as; leading lines, focal direction, rule of thirds and time lapse.

How about photographing components of an object, or vehicles that come and go from the location? Buildings on the grounds or doorways? You can even make it complicated if you wish; regarding physics, shoot the components of an object which create or absorb friction. …

 

Part 2 will come out this Friday. Stay tuned!

Color Obsession

I take so many things for granted. Then when is lost something I frequently use, I pretend to myself that everything has ended!

I believe that creativity comes from looking at our surroundings with a different view while still maintaining those tangible means to define the different perspective.

Take for instance, vision or sight; “the ability to see.” What would change had I not the ability to distinguish color because of monochrome sight? Photographers call this a style of art, formed in “Black and White”.

Perhaps you have previously seen “Black and White” images, never noticing before that they were “colorless”. I continue to be amazed how our brains will add color to something with which we are familiar when there is not any such information being given by our eyes!

This actually is another option in our discussion of “creativity rejuvenation”.

There are a great number of things that are typically one color. For instance in the United Kingdom police cars are, in majority, colored with blue and yellow squares. Fire engines in the United States of America are almost always red. Quite often universally, taxi cabs are yellow.

Shoot your favorite color until your creativity is once again filled and be amazed at what you find in the process!

Objective Photography

Objective photography is my term for how I explore the crater bottom of “sans creativity” and climb back out again.

Choosing an object and looking for all variations possible to find whether they are only observable or tangible:

  • By observable, I mean seeing the shape or design made by shadows or form. Sometimes shapes are formed when we look at things in two dimensions and when viewed from the perspective of the third dimension it appears nothing like how we first observed the shape.
  • Tangible – an object that can be handled and does not depend on a certain perspective to remain the observed form.

Example: The famous painter “Thomas Kinkade” always creates the letter “N” in every painting. I understand that “N” is the starting letter of his wife’s name and so to honor and amuse her, he hides it in every work for her to find. Sometimes he paints it in plain sight such as on a house (thus my use of “tangible”) or by shadow, object movement and the like (again my use of “observable”).

So, what is “objective photography”? A slide show of motor vehicles is a small illustration of how you can take an object or subject and explore the possibilities.

It does not even have to be a narrow topic, such as “motor vehicles”. Vehicles in general is just fine and leaves a greater opportunity for all types of vehicles. For example some types of vehicles can be:

  • Bicycles (recumbent, mountain bike, road bike, hybrids and scooters)
  • Shoes (sandals, dress, casual, sports, roller skates/blades, ski boots, etc.)
  • Airplanes (paper, balsa wood, project flyer, Cessna and Passenger airliners)
  • Motor vehicles (street legal, mass production, go-carts, gold carts, etc)

Have some fun and play around with the topic by using common phrases like “That cracker is only a vehicle to eat more peanut butter.”

You do no have to keep using the same technique for each photo. The photos of the vehicles above, were taken in time-lapse and the only added light is from other vehicles driving by and a flash light (mentioned in the article “Insider tips”). In fact, there are many different techniques that photographers have used and discovered which can change the feel and message of a photo in an instant.

Remember, this is designed to give you some rest from your normal style of photography. So kick back and enjoy a photographic “stay-cation”!

Photographer’s block

You have heard of writers getting “Writer’s block”; well, have you ever experienced “Photographer’s block”? It is the most uninspiring feeling and demoralizing experience for a photographer to perceive no new ideas or creative takes on classic genius. Take heart! You are not that first to come to this dilemma, so there are people with experience to help you nor will you be the last to experience this seeming lull of creativity!

Photographing your children often prolongs the creativity because you are not required to supply all of the creativity, but simply play off of the child’s cute antics. Posed shots require more creativity in finding the right surroundings and the most flattering positions. There are times when you feel creativity waning that even pointing the camera in the right direction with the children in view and opening the shutter does not produce the desired end.

This is where I have a suggestion that has helped me through some awful “slumps”.

Take one item, an object, color, letter, number or brand and shoot it for a period of time. Choose something far from the style you have been shooting. I have found focusing on this new style for a period of time helps to rejuvenate my creativity.

It helps to think of creativity as a renewable substance. It is not completely used once you see nothing more, but simply a call for you to step away and begin to take awe in a new interest of creation.

This post is short and sweet, but I hope it provides you with some ways to renew your God-given creativity! Enjoy and God bless!