Com­pose with your heart rather than your head

Chal­lenge your­self to ap­proach a new scene with­out pre­con­cep­tions on how it should be pho­tographed

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

Here’s a true story: a land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher was run­ning a work­shop and one of the at­ten­dees men­tioned that he didn’t like a cer­tain lo­ca­tion be­cause there wasn’t much fore­ground in­ter­est. Now, this was a spec­tac­u­lar spot (Dart­moor in Devon), but rather than at­tempt­ing to cap­ture the scene in all its unique rugged beauty, the learner con­cluded that a land­scape photo must fit cer­tain cri­te­ria to be any good, whether or not those cri­te­ria re­flect the land­scape in front of them.

There’s noth­ing wrong with fore­ground in­ter­est, but it shouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be the de­fault. The point is, it’s easy to fall into a rou­tine, to be­gin a shoot with a check­list: sun­set – check; fore­ground in­ter­est – check; tri­pod – check; f/16 and ISO100 – check; and so on. Of course, many of th­ese con­ven­tions will lead to great pho­tog­ra­phy (and yes, we hear you scream, pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zines are just as cul­pa­ble as any­thing else for push­ing them on us), but if we fol­low the same rou­tine ev­ery time, there’s a dan­ger that all our pho­tos will look very sim­i­lar, and ul­ti­mately not all that orig­i­nal.

So next time you’re out shoot­ing, what­ever the sub­ject may be, stop for a mo­ment and think of a way to cap­ture it that you haven’t tried be­fore. It might be some­thing as sim­ple as crop­ping out the sky like in this scene, or shoot­ing it with a dif­fer­ent lens, chang­ing your usual set­tings, or try­ing an un­usual an­gle. The re­sults may be great and they may be aw­ful, but at the very least, they’ll be un­ex­pected.

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