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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Be A Photography Rebel

10 tips to create unique and powerful images

Seek Conflict
8 Rebels revel in conflict, and their photos show it. When composing images, make a powerful statement by using contrasting elements. For example, a starkly lit subject set against a dark background (or vice versa) can be eye-popping, such as ominous storm clouds towering over a sunlit landscape. Color really comes alive when placed next to a contrasting shade—yellows and reds seem to be much more vibrant when opposite blue, and when purples and greens collide, watch out!

Juxtapose elements of your scene in a way that creates visual interest, using contrasting shapes or divergent lines to build compositional tension. Even subtle scenes can benefit from a dose of contrast, such as mixed shade and sunlight on a mountain stream or mingled stationary and motion-blurred objects. If people can’t tear their eyes away from your images, you know you’re doing something right.

Learn To Love Adversity
9 When the going gets tough, many photographers get going—home, that is! It’s often too tempting to pack up and leave when weather, biting flies or other adverse conditions make shooting uncomfortable. Not rebels, though—when things get tough, they get tougher, often out of pure spite. And for good reason—rebels know that suffering is the foundation of all great art.

Even though bad weather may bring rain and cold, it also can bring storm clouds that add drama to the sky, as well as lightning, mist and rainbows. Some special wildlife events only occur when biting insects are at their most ravenous. And for some shots, you might have to wait in the field for days before conditions are right. The best thing you can bring is a good attitude, however—knowing that you’re suffering for a reason can be the morale boost you need, and never forget that while other people are loafing, you’re out making great images.

Go Your Own Way!

10 Of course, by now you’ve figured out the irony of this article—rebels aren’t exactly the kind of people who follow 10-step programs. So find your own path to rebellion! There are plenty of photography “rules” out there just waiting for you to break them. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not advocating becoming a rebel without a cause. Your goal is to produce great photographs, so it’s important to learn when to break the rules to your advantage. Experimentation and not being afraid to take risks are the keys to developing a cutting-edge style that’s both unique and effective. Your images may be controversial and sometimes will incite negative responses from those with a more “traditional” perspective, but rebels aren’t afraid of a little controversy—in fact, they thrive on it!

To see more of Ian Plant’s work, visit www.ipphotography.com or the Mountain Trail Photo website, www.mountaintrailphoto.com. The Mountain Trail Photo team’s mission is to educate and inspire others in the art of nature photography.


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