7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

If you're a shy, introverted self conscious person these attributes can get in the way of what you want to achieve as a photographer. Photographing in public places and the feeling every one's looking at you can be terribly uncomfortable for many.

I remember when I was learning at night school a guy telling us how uncomfortable he was photographing a Ferrari parked in a street. Not because the owner didn't want him to photograph his car, but because passers by asked him if he was a professional.

You've probably noticed I'm lucky enough not to be shy or worried by what passers by think. I have different demons and fears you may not share, but I completely understand those who are uncomfortable in similar situations.

The issue here is not confidence in your abilities as a photographer, it's confidence in general. Suppose someone did come up to you when you're taking a photo in a public place and ask if you're a pro. What do you think would be their response if you told them the truth? That you're learning and are out practising? It's the underlying fear of speaking to a stranger and feeling you need to explain yourself and justify what you're doing in some way.

The truth is - you dont' have to justify or explain anything. You are someone who's learning photography and are practising taking photos, doing your homework and trying to get some nice pics you're proud of. And that's a great response to any inquiry by the way.

Having a camera, lenses and tripod makes you stand out from the crowd and it's the standing out some of us don't like. But I promise you that unless you are doing something obviously suspicious like photographing strangers kids in the playground, some 'heavy dude' leaving a bar or fighting, sneaking photos of girls on the beach - you are completely safe.

This video is my advice to ask yourself some questions to help you get back to what's real and what is imagined when you feel uncomfortable photographing in public places.

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3 Landscape Tips

vietnam-txt-streamLandscape photography is one of those areas where patience, thinking it through and taking your time pays dividends.  We have all seen a scene we want to capture but sadly we’re in a hurry, so we leap out the car and just grab a shot without giving it too much thought.

This may or may not result in a great shot. But have you thought to ask yourself if there’s more to be had from a location than the obvious? You have to build upon an initial idea. Explore possibilities.

I was in Vietnam driving through the mountains when we came upon this amazing view of rice terraces. We stopped so the film crew could shoot some aerial shots with their drone so Simon and I took the opportunity to look around and shoot this video.

As we drove up the hill I’d noticed one of the little paths that wind their way through the paddies so we went for a walk to see what it would yield.

Almost straight away we came upon some greenery we could use as foreground, which can frame a scene and give it more depth. In some cases just finding a bit of foreground can make or break an image.

But don’t forget to look around you. It’s all to easy to miss a beautiful detail of the landscape that’s right next to you because you’re absorbed by what’s in front.

You have to concentrate and really look at a scene. In the first shot of the last scenario there’s a stick poking up on the left. I didn’t really notice it to begin with. It wasn’t until I checked the shot in the LCD it became apparent.

So how do we remove it? Well obviously there’s Photoshop but I’m lazy. A few steps to the side will change the geometry of the image. It makes things align differently so you can lose unwanted clutter from the composition.

So besides making sure the light is appropriate for the scene, here are 3 landscape photography tips to consider.

  1. Take time – think of other possibilities for the location
  2. Find some foreground. It could make a world of difference
  3. Look to the side as well as in front. You might have missed something

These things are not functions of your camera. They are functions of you thinking like a photographer.


3 Landscape Tips

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