Is there an experienced, modern-day photographer you look up to?
Have you ever watched them critique photos?
Have you ever watched them critique your photos?
I’ve never had Frans Lanting critique any of my photos, but I did have the opportunity to watch him critique others’ photos during a live webinar a while back.
It was an awesome experience!
I learned so much. He saw things differently than I did and had this amazing ability to explain photography concepts, especially in the area of composition, in such a clear and understandable way.
In fact, here’s a blog post that summarized what I learned: What I Learned from Frans.
It showed me just how important photo critique really was.
I have nowhere near the amount of experience and photographic understanding that Frans has, but I figured if I could learn a lot from a photographer who knew more than me through critique, surely there could be a way for budding photographers to learn through critique at Lenspiration too.
So, I started up the “Photo Critique with Lenspiration” webinars.
Sometimes I have no clue if the folks watching the webinar are learning anything! But then, sometimes, I hear encouraging stories from folks like Hannah.
Hannah has been a PRO member for a while, and when I asked her what she had been learning from the webinars, this was her response:
For the past year and a half, I [Hannah] have enjoyed learning as a Lenspiration PRO member and taking part in the Lenspiration community of photographers. I love photography and enjoy taking pictures for the glory of the Lord.
One of the many things I appreciate about Lenspiration is the webinars that are provided on a monthly basis. The suggestions and tips that are shared during these times are always helpful and challenging to me as a photographer, and I encourage others to listen in on them as well. You will be inspired, not only in photography, but also in your walk with Christ!
Here are some things I learned from a recent webinar–a few tips that I am trying to incorporate into my own photography:
1. Increasing Depth in Photos
I have always struggled with increasing the depth in my pictures. When I see a picturesque piece of landscape, I like to look for a leading line that would help to direct the eye to either the subject of the shot, or even just off to the distance on what lies beyond.
A few winters ago, I was helping my sister with a shot she had taken out in our back field one morning after a recent snowfall. The scene she chose was overlooking the snowy field and a pond that lay at the bottom of the field. The way she framed the shot was in such a way that someone looking at the shot could easily follow the line of trees to where the subject (the hill and the pond below) lay. In composing my own shots, I have often thought of that leading line she was able to portray in her picture. It reminds me to find leading lines in the shots I take.
But another thing I have learned to take into consideration when trying to increase the depth in my shots is to focus not only on the foreground (to catch the eye), but also on the middle ground, and the background in your shots. Hence, you will have a maze for the eye to follow. Ask yourself, “Is it easy for the eye to follow this ‘maze’ I have created in composing this shot?” If you are able to do this with your photos, you will be able to greatly increase the depth of the photo. The photo will then look interesting and will draw the viewer into the scene. They may even start to wonder what may lie beyond the scene that you photographed. Applying this simple tip can really change the way your photos look!
2. Incorporating Foreground Elements
Last fall, my father and I had the fun opportunity to go up to the White Mountains of N.H. for a day trip. I had wanted to go take some pictures of the beautiful New England fall foliage. Knowing that it would probably be the last opportunity I would have in a long time, since in a few short months our family would be moving to the south, I was very grateful when my dad said that he would take me.
I got a lot of neat photos that day, but I specifically remember one that I was trying to take. We were standing on the side of a scenic highway (with a lot of other photographers and tourists by the way ). I clearly remember trying to take a picture of a beautiful mountain covered in fall foliage. And all of this brush and overgrown grasses was in the way! I tried to move around a bit, and I took some shots at various angles. I tried zooming in. I tried standing up on a rock wall and shooting from a higher level. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the shot I really wanted. Looking back, and after learning some helpful tips, I could have tried to creatively incorporate the foliage that was in the foreground of the shot. Stepping down a little bit, I may have been able to find some interesting piece of green in the foliage that I could have focused on, yet still have been able to capture the mountaintop. Stepping down may also have helped to cut out some extra sky that otherwise would have distracted from the subject or have been blown out because of the bright daytime lighting.
Having said that, I encourage other photographers to not give up on a shot just because there may be some distracting elements. Try framing the shot differently or incorporate more than you may have originally planned. There is potential in even the less-than-average shot!
3. Capturing Beauty in Creation
I personally love to take pictures of flowers. The uniqueness in each flower seems to attract my eye! Yet, taking pictures of flowers can be challenging. Sometimes the vibrant colors don’t seem
to come out in the picture, and the flower looks uninteresting on the camera screen. Or other times all of the colors just kind of blend together, forming a blurry looking flower.
Nevertheless, I have experimented a lot with flowers: trying to compose different shots, shooting at different angles, and just trying to simply capture the beauty in a flower. I remember a vase of roses we had on our kitchen counter one day. They were such a pretty vibrant pink color, that I decided to grab my camera and see what shots I could get. I focused my camera in on one of the roses that I like in particular. Zooming in, I was able to capture the sharp edges of the rose, and the small intricate details as well as blurring out the background and surrounding flowers. The result was a good shot. But something seems to be missing in the photo. Maybe the picture was a little too dark. I recently tried adding a light vignette around the rose, and that seemed to help a little.
But, last fall, I was taking pictures of some leaves and flowers at my grandmother’s house, and I came across these two pretty Lazy Susan’s in the yard. Comparing this picture with the one of the rose, I see more color, more diversity, more vibrancy in the shot of the Lazy Susan’s. Both pictures are different, yet both hold potential. If you learn how to incorporate more photography skills in your shots, you will have as a result, beautiful pictures in most any situation. Each picture is different. Each flower is different. Each person is different. Each photographer will look at pictures a little differently. That is the beauty of life, because that is the way that God created us to be.
God is a God of variety, and His creation reflects that. He is also a God of love, mercy, righteousness, justice, truth, and holiness. And His fullness of character should inspire us to be of good character as well. Are our lives exhibiting Christ-like character? Are our pictures glorifying to the Lord? What is God like to you? Your answer to that question will be displayed in your pictures, in your convictions, in your life. I encourage you to continue to seek out the Lord in your photography. To seek Him in your daily life. He is the One whom we will all be accountable to someday. Do you bring Him glory?
Want to listen in on the next webinar? Here are the details.
I’ve heard it said, “while praise my make you feel better….critique makes you better”! Hope you can make it to the next webinar!