Lazy Christmas Composition

7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

How about practising some composition this Christmas without even leaving your sofa? Christmas is a great time to practise the techniques of photography because there's usually loads of sparkly Christmassy stuff going on which makes for some great photos.

So here's a little exercise for you to try. Sit yourself down near the Christmas tree and see how many photos you can compose without moving. You don't need majestic scenery or exotic locations to practise. You can do it anywhere. And by practising you'll learn what you need to do when you are somewhere exciting!

Back to photographing the Christmas tree. Don't forget to think about what you're doing before you do it. How much light have you got to play with? How far away is the tree? What focal length will you need? Do you need a tripod to avoid camera shake - or can you get away with increasing the ISO and shooting hand held?

This is all about Thinking Like  a Photographer, because images begin as thoughts which you have to give birth to. You have to bring them to life and make them reality which is why I made the 7 Building Blocks of Photography to help you do it. (If you're just starting out go for the Beginners Course first)

So you thought about how much light you have - now what about the quality of light? Does it look flat and dull? Should you sit the other side? I don't recommend using flash (unless you're experienced with it) because it'll wham into the tree and kill the mood. Don't be scared to increase your ISO. If you're not familiar with this technique, try shooting flash, then available light to see what the difference is.

Keep asking questions and finding answers to them.

It'd be really cool to see some of your Lazy Christmas Compositions on our Facebook page so please drop by and show us some...

Finally I want to say a massive thank you to everyone and to wish you all a tremendous Christmas and Happy 2016. If you don't do Christmas just have a great few days and keep clicking those cameras.

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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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