Thursday, 13 August 2015

Five Hot Tips for Creative-Edgy Photos

Macro in Kings Park WA ©Wayne Seow
I looked at the sea of faces in my Kings Park Wildflower macro workshop. They had spent a day and a half with me learning about lenses, depth of field and colour balance. Their results were ordinary at best. I felt short-changed as an educator

I switched off my politically correct button:
'Ok, outside on your next project. Do NOT come back inside with any bloody boring photographs'.
They looked shocked.
But it worked.
From the RSPCA 'Here Boy' Calendar  ©Dale Neill
They returned two hours later with the best crop of macro wildflower shots I'd seen in a long while. Several went on to win awards and prizes with those shots. We sometimes need a kick along and a reality check.

'Fall in love with yourself' ©Dale Neill
In professional photography I'm obliged to shoot a large percentage of portraits, weddings and commercial images that are all sharp, properly exposed and correct colour. They are predictable.

I aim for 80% acceptability (4 out 5 shots the client can buy). If you are an amateur or camera club photographer you also need to do a few shots like this for 'insurance'. They are little more than record photos. However many amateur and professional photographers never ever get beyond taking insurance shots. They are stuck in a rut. They are too scared to try being different or, heaven forbid,  failing.

Switching your brain to creative mode you will fail a lot more. Hopefully, you will fail 90% of the time. Achieving 1 out of 10 shots while shooting creatively is a great result. You're onto a winner.

Change up a gear and you're into what In call edgy mode, taking extreme risks with camera, subject and interpretation. In 'Edgy' mode don't expect more than 1 shot out of a hundred to work out. But, when it does, you will have something outstanding. Something that will catch the judges' eyes and get elevated into the winner's category.

Five CREATIVE and EDGY Tips:

  1. Using auto-bracket with a +/- bias shoot a rapidly moving subject with metered exposure, plus four, minus four
  2. Panning with a moving subject on 1/15 second.
  3. Ask your portrait subject to fall in love with themself every ten minutes or so.
  4. Create a narrative using juxtaposition. That means using two people in a portrait with one in a more powerful position to create a story.
  5. Capture interaction between a person and pet. Use emotion.

The narrative portrait ©Dale Neill 


Now its your turn!
Your chance to win $12000 if you have a creative or edgy portrait.
Your portrait could win AU$12000 in cash and prizes in the Fremantle International Portrait Prize.
Entries close on Fri 21 August 2015.
All proceeds to charity - the Arthritis Foundation of Western Australia.
For details and entry information click HERE.

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