These are the final Armadillo photos that we’ll post for the year 2010. These beautiful images were captured by my good friend Jason Wang. Enjoy!
This week I started writing a blog about a fun location for engagement portraits in Austin but I got distracted while reading some Aldous Huxley. During my read Huxley made lots of references to paintings and art, areas that I’m not very educated in, and which precipitated some research on my part. During my search it occurred to me that it would be fun to bring some attention to paintings this week in my blog. I did some searching online and found what I think are some fun and interesting works of art, painted on canvas, related to brides.
I often wonder how people did things differently in the past. Even 50 years ago customs and habits and styles were very different than today. Yet we derive much of what we do today from our ancestral past. Chances are something we think of as new (even a thought) was probably considered and conceived before we were born. Our styles and customs are constantly evolving, and some might say devolving (consider the recent obsession with 1980s culture).
Without further ado, here are canvas paintings of brides from the past…
I recently read the following on the photo.net online discussion forum:
Question: “What makes a photo a fine art work (that is, special or good)?”
Answer: “When you say it is. The better answer is when others say it is.”1
While speaking in simple terms this is correct, surely we can explore the topic a little more deeply to find more significant answers to what makes a photograph great. According to iconic landscape photographer Ansel Adams, “A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”2
Let’s refine our search a little and ask ourselves some questions. The first question we should be asking is what is the subject of the photograph or image? The most common problem encountered when attempting to create a great image is not establishing an obvious subject. Try to imagine what subject another person might see (if any) while viewing your photograph.
Is the photograph composed in an appealing way? Composition is probably the most elusive concept in photography because it is subjective (what one person likes another person may not) and because the rules of composition are concrete. Here are some important composition concepts to keep in mind:
Framing. Try to fill the image frame and make sure there are no voids within your image. There are exceptions to the rule, but there shouldn’t be open space that distracts from the subject.
Law of thirds. If you imagine your camera viewfinder as a tic-tac-toe-like grid where space is divided into thirds, it is considered more pleasing to the eye to place your subject where third lines intersect (instead of splitting your
image in half).
Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Corporation
Perspective. How your subject appears to the viewer determines perspective. Many times your subject can determine perspective as well. Here are some beautiful Examples of Different Perspectives3 which might better illustrate the concept.
Focus and exposure. Make sure your subject is in focus and exposed correctly. If everything else mentioned here is correct, but focus or exposure is not correct, your photograph’s message will likely be lost.4
There are more compositional ideas that were not discussed, but hopefully these give you some foundation to build upon. Now comes the overarching questions. Does the photo tell a story? Does it elicit emotion? Is there an inherent creativity about the image? Is it appealing to people from all walks of life?
If you’ve followed the compositional rules for photography laid out above, and you can answer the aforementioned questions with a resounding “yes”, then you’ve probably created a great photo. If taking good photographs were easy then you wouldn’t be reading an article about it. Every good photographer takes bad photos; what separates the good from the bad is continuous practice and always maintaining the personal resolve to capture a better photograph. Perhaps that is what defines a passion for photography.
To provide you with some photographic perspective and a starting point I’ll leave you with a quote. As legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once stated, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”5
So how many photographs have you taken today?
Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. See regular updates on Martin’s work additional wedding photographs, bio and more at http://www.austinamericanastudio.com/
1. Photo.net Forums. http://photo.net/philosophy-of-photography-forum/007Nad
2. PhotoQuotes.com. Ansel Adams. http://www.photoquotes.com/printableshowquotes.aspx?id=10
3. What makes a photo good? A Basic Checklist for Evaluating Photo Quality by Charlotte K. Lowrie. http://wordsandphotos.org/Commentary/WhatMakesAPhotoGood.htm
5. Digital Photography School. 10 Photography Quotes that You Should Know. http://digital-photography-school.com/photography-quotes
Recently I had a bride ask to see some “artistic” wedding photos. This is definitely something that we do, albeit not as much as I’d like to. There are two parts to an artistic photo: framing and editing. When you frame the image you make it appealing to the eye. In the editing process afterward you can add cool effects. Here are some examples. There’s almost no limit to the possibilities when getting creative with photos…