Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pro-Tip #8: My First Rule of Creating Stunning Images (aka Composition)

Sunlight Ripples, Blue Lake -- © Greg Clure Photography

If you want stunning images you must go to stunning locations, if you are a landscape photographer. If you shoot portraits, a good location is great but you need good looking (stunning) people.  The same rule applies to any genre of photography, subject matter, matters!  Does the subject have impact? If the first thing someone says when they see your image for the first time is, "WOW, you took that?", you know you have captured something special.  That WOW factor or impact should be your number one objective to creating stunning images.  Many other compositional factors go into making stunning images but this one should always be at the top of your list. If I want to create stunning landscape images, I need to leave my backyard, not that I can't get some good stuff back there but it's no Yosemite Valley.  I do take images in my backyard, I call it practice. Just like any craft, sport or hobby, practice makes perfect and prepares you for the time you are in that stunning location or have a beautiful model to shoot.  I most likely will not be hanging any of my practice shots on my wall but I would rather experiment and hone my technique in my backyard so I know what to do without even thinking about it when the light is perfect in my stunning location.  The last thing you want to be doing is honing your technique when a spectacular event appears before you and quickly fades while you are still trying to figure out what the best settings are to capture the scene you just missed. Case in point, my "Sunlight Ripples" image featured in my Images of the Month gallery was a phenomena that lasted less than 30 seconds with the light peaking for less than 10 seconds. Had I been honing my technique I would have missed it, but what wasn't missing was the stunning location.  Blue Lake in the Eastern Sierras with dramatic storm clouds building, I was set-up in a beautiful location when the sunlight ripples appeared making this already stunning location even more unique with an event not likely to be repeated or captured by the next would be photographer who wonders by this location. Some might say you were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and I would agree had I not been set-up and taking shots and working the location to find compositions I liked for the two hours prior to this event. With weather, luck will always be a factor, but luck will always favor the prepared. Keep this rule top of mind when you go looking for your stunning location.

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