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Why and How photographing the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White

You may have just finished a photo project dedicated to the deer slab. This is the photographic event of autumn for many European wildlife photographers.

Why do not you try to create a series of black and white deer photographs?

In this article, I will give you reasons to try this artistic creative technique.

A photograph in black and white of a red deer stag during the bugle in France..
A photograph in black and white of a red deer stag during the bugle in France.

Black and White is Well Adapted to the Bugle of the Deer

Like many wildlife photographers, you certainly think that the bugle of the deer must be photographed in a naturalistic way. Indeed, it is an animal behavior that takes place when the foliage is colored with warm tones.

You want to show stag deer in colorful decorations that serve as a showcase. It is quite commendable. I can perfectly understand this reasoning.

It is tempting to want to create behavioral illustrative photographs to account for this extraordinary event.

But hundreds of thousands of color photographs have already been made. Why try to redo what has been done?

Why would you not try black and white? Why would you not have a different photographic approach? Why would you not try to go out one more time from your comfort zone?

Indeed, the advantages of black and white photography are numerous:

  • It allows you to immediately show the interest of a scene.
  • Black and white allows you to deliver messages by going straight to the point. The viewer of your photos is not distracted by the color effects. Black and white is a creative directive technique.
  • Black and white allows you to return to the essential values of photography. You must manage your contrast, shapes, textures. You must pay close attention to details.
  • - Black and white is timeless. Color photographs are more subject to trends, up-to-date. When we look at color photos, we are always able to locate them in time. This is not the case with the black and white photo.

From this list of advantages, you can see that the bugle of the stag deer be shown in black and white.

Why Photographing the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White?

Besides the pure and creative technique of black and white, I think this time the bugle can show stage deer in attitudes and behaviors that put them well worth.

  • Stage deer have their winter coat. It is darker, thicker.

    In the black and white photographs, the textures are silkier.
  • The antlers are dry unlike the period of birth fawns where the woods are velvet. In black and white, the antlers are textured and detailed.

    On some antlers, the white tips add contrast to the photo. In black and white, stage deer are better showed.
  • During the rut of the deer, you can watch deer fights to gain power on a herd of deer. These fights always take place in meadow. The scenery is lighter than in the forest or the woods.

    It is possible to make more refined photographs highlighting well the combatants. These are scenes well adapted to black and white.
  • You can photograph deer bugling. The screams are complaints that have many connotations. If you have chosen your blind or if you have made a good approach, you can take close-up shots.

    You may have the chance to see the drip. It is a small hole containing a gland under the eyes of a stag deer that allow him to mark his territory during the rut.

    Likewise, hair on the throat is more developed at this time of the year. It is darker and very provided. It is a part of the body that accentuates the power effect of the deer.

    In black and white, all the parts of the body of the stag deer can be better highlighted.
  • You can photograph stag deer surrounded by does. Usually, stags and doe do not mix. During the bugle, herds of animals are formed. Each stag tries to gather some hinds that he will cover. A group of stags and does are called a herd.

    In black and white, these scenes are interesting because you can well show the beauties of the coats. You can also accentuate the size of the deer that is larger than the deer.

The Photo Gallery

Advantages to Photograph Stag Deer During the Bugle

Photographing stag deer during the bugle has several advantages:

  • You can easily guide yourself in the nature whether it is in the meadows or the woods, while directing you to the slab places. Just listen to where the animals are. The slab is a very hoarse, very tonic and powerful scream. You can hear it hundreds of feet away.

    Usually, it is difficult to locate stag deer by ear. They are silent and calm animals. To find them, you have to know the flows and their habits.
  • If you do not hear stag bugling, you just need to spot fruit trees such as oaks, wild apple trees... The food is abundant, easy to find on the ground and above all it is better than the grass of the meadows. By locating these trees and setting up a suitable blind, you will have every chance to make beautiful pictures.
  • During the bugle of deer, you will be spotted less easily than during the other months of the year. Indeed, the master of the place is very busy keeping his rivals at a good distance from the herd. He constantly chases potential suitors who would like to steal a doe. If you make an approach and you are in your blind, even if you make the mistake of making noise, the herd will remain in the same place. The deer will not worry about you.

How Photographing the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White?

As I described in this article, you have three methods to photograph the bugle of the deer:

  • Using a blind.
  • Approaching by crawling on the ground.
  • Waliking.

Pour réaliser des photos en noir et blanc intéressantes et créatives pendant le brame, je vous conseille des zones plutôt dégagées pour mettre l’accent sur la beauté et la majesté des animaux.

To make interesting and creative black-and-white photos during the bugle, I recommend some rather unobstructed areas to emphasize the beauty and majesty of animals.

Avoid photography in the undergrowth or forests because these places are rarely good. Tree trunks or branches can become disruptive elements that may attract the attention of viewers. Instead, choose simple, uncluttered scenes like meadows or clearings. Try to isolate the animals. Your black and white photos will have more impact.

If you have never tried the morning blind, I recommend this experience. The previous days find a path with tracks or a clearing with excrement. Prepare your blind with a tent. The D-Day be present one hour before sunrise. As you have spotted your corner before, you will have no problem to move in the dark. The stags or a herd if they are present will detect you but they will not be able to see that you are a human.

Once you are installed in your blind you just have to wait. It is a moment you will never forget. When the day begins to rise you may see a herd or a stag. Wait a bit before making your first pictures. Take the time to immerse yourself in the scene. I guarantee you an extraordinary experience.

Finally

Get out of your comfort zone. Dare black and white to photograph the bugle of the deer. You will be surprised by the rendering of your creations. Remember to choose your scenes to respect the spirit of black and white. Leave your imagination in power. Get off the beaten track.

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Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 5

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Photograph in black and white of a serval in Kenya.
Photograph in black and white of a serval in Kenya.

Quality 28: "Listening to the World Around You"

If you think you are a good photographer, you have certainly realized that you were listening to the world around you on a scene to photograph.

You are able to analyze each photographic element to create balanced, harmonious and different compositions of what has already been done.

This quality of empathy with the outside world is, in my opinion, an essential quality. This is often called "taking the temperature" of the world around you.

Quality 29: "Knowing How to Judge Your Own Photos"

A good photographer knows first of all how to analyze and judge his own images.

I often meet photographers who strive to give opinions on the photos of others. When I ask them about their own photographs, they are unable to do this analysis.

Yet it is an essential quality. You must be able to analyze an image just after it was taken. You should be able to analyze the composition, the framing, the impact of the photo either on the screen of your camera or on a computer.

By performing a deep, objective and uncompromising analysis, you will be able to improve your vision and your signature in the next photo session. You can also make a tighter sort to keep only images that have impact and meaning.

By developing this quality, you will save a lot of time in the field. Indeed, you will be able to quickly choose and put in place the photographic elements that will compose your scene to transmit your messages, express your emotions or your messages.

Quality 30: "Develop the Sense of Observation"

A good photographer must have a keen sense of observation. Having empathy with the outside world on a stage is certainly a necessity but it is not enough.

You must be able to observe everything that is happening around you to seize this decisive moment so dear to Cartier-Bresson.

This is commonly known as the photographer's eye.

This is the ability to quickly analyze a scene to identify important photographic elements to choose the point of view, compose well and frame well.

You may have this innate ability like other photographers. But I am convinced that constant work can develop this essential faculty.

This is how some photographers even with a medium-range camera are able to make exceptional photographs

Quality 31: "Sometimes Creating Collections That Do Not Meet an Audience"

A good photographer succeeds in creating collections of photographs that have impact, meaning, consistency.

But like all human beings, he is not infallible. Sometime he creates collections of photos that do not meet their audiences.

These are failures that are desirable because you always learn a lot from your own failures. To get up, you should analyze the reasons then to rebound starting on the creation of new collections.

To create a collection of photos, it is sometimes interesting to approach a new photographic style. It is certainly avant-garde. Nobody understands what has been created. But the collection may simply lack interest.

A good photographer never feels sorry for himself. He has to keep moving to find new ideas and go further to look for ways to express himself with photography.

Quality 32: "Being Unconventional"

If you want to be a good photographer, you must be unconventional.

Getting out of your comfort zone is not enough. To seek inspiration in directions that are not yours is not enough.

New sources of inspiration do not mean copying and creating what is fashionable.

To be unconventional, you must have solid photographic foundations and master the technique perfectly. Then you can make digressions to change the rules and impose others on the condition of creating aesthetic images that have a deep meaning.

You must always think differently than what you saw in photography. You must upset your habits. You must escape the conventions.

You must never have afraid to fall. The key is to try new concepts.

Quality 33: "Having a Rigorous Methodology"

If you want to become a good photographer, you must adopt a rigorous methodology whether in the field or during the development of your images.

The methodology allows you to not waste time and do not ask yourself questions at critical moments.

The methodology allows you to limit your photographic approach and to be well focused on your creativity goals.

For example, in wildlife photography having a list of all the accessories you need to take on the field is essential. In landscape photography, if you take long-exposure photographs, you need an application or a chart to calculate the correct exposure speed based on the filter you use.

During the photo workshops that I organize, I usually repeat that the more methodical we are, the more creative we are.

Indeed, if your time is optimized, you do not lose it. All the time earned will be used for your creativity.

Quality 34: "Enriching You with Experiences"

To become a good photographer, you must enrich yourself with experiences. You will be able to easily adapt to new situations.

It is by accepting these new experiences, that you will enroll in a photographic and artistic creative process.

The acquisition of new experiences will allow you to anticipate events that may occur during the sessions of your photo projects. By anticipating them, you can stay focused on the essentials without having to deal with unnecessary details.

Quality 35: "Understanding the Main Photographic Element"

A good photographer is able to identify the main photographic element of a scene. He must also understand that this element is not necessarily the subject of an artistic photograph.

Never forget that when you create an artistic photograph, it is the main focus that is important but the emotions or the message you want to convey.

Quality 36: "Having a Real Photographic Identity"

A good photographer always has a photographic identity.

Defining your photographic identity will allow you to say who you are, what you want to be, who you want to be taken by others, whether photographers or not.

Your photographic identity will define how you will be perceived by the world around you.

Define your photographic identity allows you to list all the artistic data that will individualize your artistic approach.

It is a bit like your administrative identity with your physical characteristics, your date and your place of birth.

A photographic identity allows you to individualize yourself, to get out of the mass of photographers, to ensure your singularity and your artistic individuality.

Finally

This exhaustive grid of qualities that a good photographer must possess may seem long and difficult to respect. Yet it works. You just need a little time to assimilate all the qualities.

If I had to summarize in a few words what seems to me the most important, I would say this.

A good photographer has a photographic (and artistic) approach perfectly defined and clear. He has a real photographic consciousness. He knows how to last in time by creating coherent, consistent collections of photographs that make sense with the photographic language. He knows how to tell the stories that everyone will remember.

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Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 4

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Photograph in black and white of Caddo Lake in Texas.
Photograph in black and white of Caddo Lake in Texas.

Quality 22: "Understanding the Words Patience and Perseverance"

If you really want to become a good photographer, you must learn to be patient and persevering.

If you want to create interesting photographs, it is very rare that you realize them during a first session. In landscape photography, lights are sometimes waiting a long time.

In wildlife photography, animal attitudes require wait times that can sometimes last for days, especially in Europe.

Both qualities are closely related. I believe that perseverance is the most difficult to acquire. I often come back to a scene 7 or 8 times to make the picture I wanted and dreamed about. Even if I try to build, very often the light is still missing.

But patience and perseverance are also important to understand and capture the soul of a scene. To create a good photo, you have to be in communion with all the elements around you. You must immerse yourself in the atmosphere. If you stay neutral, you will never achieve the photos you want.

Quality 23: "Having Seen the Light"

Light is one of the three essential points I use to build photos using the ACAPN method. It is necessary to create interesting photos. It is not enough.

Even if all the photographers talk about the light, few can boast of having seen "The Light" with a big L, one day.

If that happened to you one day, you understand what I mean.

If this has not happened to you yet, you will see that everything will be different in your photographs when you have experienced this unique moment.

When we have seen "the Light" we know exactly how to photograph. We know when the photos will be perfect.

"The Light" is an important moment in the life of a good photographer.

From this day, nothing is the same again. It is as if we had reached the nirvana of photographers.

During my workshops, this is a subject that I do not mention because it is not imaginable or understandable for all those who have not experienced this moment of grace.

But I was lucky to see trainees come back with ecstatic looks. Seeing them, I understood what had happened. I did not ask them anything. I knew.

It is a few hours after we talk about it. They took a giant step.

All the good photographers I met, had this intense moment. They saw "The Light". They know what it looks like.

Seeing “The Light" requires perseverance and a great deal of self-sacrifice.

Quality 24: "Do not create photos by accident"

You are a good photographer when you are not building, and you are not creating your photos by accident.

They must be thoughtful, mentally prepared before shooting and after development.

It is certain that some of your photos were taken with luck. But luck is a necessary factor to create interesting photos. You must provoke it, search for it.

You must always know exactly what you want to create for your photograph. If you do not know, once you are on the field, it will be too late. The beautiful light will pass quickly. The beautiful animal attitudes will have disappeared.

In the field, you will always face imponderable situations. Nothing ever happens as you planned. You will have to react as quickly as possible. By preparing correctly, you will avoid wasting time trying to find time for problems you might have thought of before.

Quality 25: "Know Your Equipment Perfectly"

You are a good photographer when you perfectly master all your photographic equipment.

Your camera should no longer have secrets for you. You must master all the settings and their impacts on your photographs. For example, you need to know the impact of aperture or speed on your photos. You must know how to use the level, how to check if the area of sharpness is sufficiently wide.

If you are wondering about your camera settings, once you are in the field, you will waste time. The lights or the animal attitudes will have disappeared by the time you find a solution.

But knowing your camera is not enough. In landscape photography, knowing how to use a tripod, remote trigger, graduated filters are essential. In wildlife photography, mastering a gimbal head and knowing how to adjust it, using a cloth photo blind is essential.

Each photographic discipline has its own equipment. You must learn to use them before making your photos in the field.

You must also always use equipment used for your needs. For example, if you practice underwater photography, you do not need to use a 70-200mm lens. If you practice European wildlife photography, a 400mm lens is a necessity.

You must be well informed about the photo equipment. Do not hesitate to contact other photographers who have expertise. You will save a lot of time.

Quality 26: "Technique is Only the Means to Express Yourself"

Knowing your equipment and knowing the photographic techniques are absolutely necessary to create interesting photos.

Knowledge of the techniques of composition, framing, mastery of the theory of photographic elements, theory of masses are not enough.

Technique is only a way for you to express yourself.

You must master the technique, but your creativity depends only on you. Your imagination, the definition of a clear artistic approach, your curiosity, your desire to express yourself with the photographic language are all elements that will allow you to create photos that make sense and are interesting.

For years that I animate nature photography workshops, I see that many photographers think that a very expensive and a very good quality camera are enough to create photos. They think that it is enough to put the eye face to the viewfinder and that the camera will do everything for them. It is a terrible mistake. It is only hardware. Without a brain to direct it, nothing will happen.

Quality 27: "Have a Photographic consciousness "

To become a good photographer, you must have a photographic consciousness. You must be able to relate to other photographers who have the same photographic activity as you or not.

You must be able to situate yourself in your time.

You must be able to analyze your own experiences to become even stronger and improve your artistic approach.

Experience allows you to give meaning and value to your technique. It is for this reason that you must acquire the qualities of patience and perseverance.

Quality 28: "Listening to the World Around You"

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Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 3

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Photograph in color of a goby on a colony of coral in the Red Sea.
Photograph in color of a goby on a colony of coral in the Red Sea.

Quality 14: "Mastering Perfectly Your Photo Equipment"

You are a good photographer when you completely master your photographic equipment and when you know its limits.

There is a big difference between a good photographer and a technically competent photographer.

A good photographer masters its equipment. A technically competent photographer is not necessarily a good photographer.

When you are in the field for a photo session, time is running out for you whether underwater or on land. The light changes quickly. In wildlife photography, animals change behavior very quickly.

If you ask yourself questions about the technical settings when shooting, you will lose time. You will miss the crucial moments that make the good photographs.

Quality 15: "Never Taking Care of the Technique"

You are a good photographer when the technique does not worry you anymore. Good technical reflexes become automatic.

The photo technique and the material must be at the service of creativity.

I often recommend to participants in my nature photography workshops to practice in their garden or in places close to home. They must be able to change a speed, an aperture, to evaluate a sharpness area, change a sensitivity without having to look for the buttons on the camera. Once on the field, everything must be automatic.

The equipment must become an extension of yourself as well as your arms or legs.

Quality 16: "Deleting Photos Only for Artistic Reasons"

Technically, you realize that you are a good photographer when you erase pictures from your camera not for technical reasons but because the pictures do not speak to you.

This quality is the consequence of the previous ones. As you master your equipment perfectly, your photographs are always good technically. I evoke here the management of the exposure, the contrast, the colors, the sharpness.

When you are good, you erase photos directly from your camera because the composition and the framing do not match what you wanted to show.

Quality 17: "Photographing is Not a Free Gesture "

You are a good photographer when you understand that photographing is not a simple and free gesture.

Everyone is able to "make" a photo but not everyone is able to build or create photographs or series of photographs. Everyone is not a photographer.

Photography is a true form of expression.

It gives you a chance to capture and preserve unique moments, experiences and emotions. Photography is a real creative field. It's an art form.

Art is such an important activity that you have to apply, think, understand how to use it. Photographic art is an extraordinary way to access freedom. It must be treated with respect.

Quality 18: “Watch the World with Attention "

You are a good photographer when you look at the world around you with care and respect.

In nature photography, when you come to be in phase with all the elements that will compose your scene, you will be able to express yourself.

You are a good photographer when you know how to use photographic elements to convey your emotions, to translate your feelings, to speak with the photographic language.

To create my photos, I developed a concept that I called "the theory of photographic elements". I share that idea during my nature photography courses.

You are a good artistic photographer when you know how to show an interpretation of the world around you.

Quality 19: "Knowing How to Tell Stories"

You are a good photographer when you know how to tell stories about your series of photos.

I think it is very important that you know how to show series or individual photos by telling a story.

Never forget that we are in a society where speech is very important. Oral transmission is important. Our knowledge is transmitted a lot in this way. Many people hold information because they have heard it.

Quality 20: "Creating the Pictures You Dream Of "

A good photographer always tries to create the pictures he dreams about.
Benoit Personnaz.

Benoit Personnaz is a participant in my wildlife photography workshops. I deeply respect his photographic approach. It was during a workshop dedicated to the rut of the red deer stag that he told me for him, it was one of the essential qualities to be a good photographer.

If you want to create interesting and meaningful photographs, I recommend you imagine them before you build and create them.

Most good photographers take this approach. When waking up in the morning, it is important to know what you are going to do in the field or even during the development phase.

Imagining your final photos will save you time because we will not lose time looking for your scene or your computer.

To stimulate your imagination, I recommend you to look at many books or photo magazines. You'll find inspiration and ideas by analyzing and judging the photographic approach of other photographers.

Personally, this is the method I adopt for most of my photo projects. When I do not know the territory I'm going to evolve, I do a lot of research on what has been done or what is closest to it.

When I know the area where I am going to build my photos, it is easier. I analyze the photos already taken by others. Then I build myself a little scenario by imagining what I could have done better.

I recognize that learning to visualize your next photographic creations is not easy. It is for this reason that you must train before each session. Gradually, this photographic visualization will become a habit.

Quality 21: “Being Humble"

Even the largest of the oaks has been a small acorn.
Yves Mazoyer.

Yves Mazoyer is also one of the faithful participants in my wildlife photography workshops. It was during a workshop devoted to the fawns that he explained to me how he behaved in the face of new photographic challenges.

Since then, I have adopted his philosophy. Every day, I repeat this phrase as a mantra. As soon as I enter a new technical or creative subject, I show humility.

If you want to become a good photographer, I strongly encourage you to be very humble. You must accept that you do not know everything.

You will always face a photographer who has better skills in a given field. You must always agree to learn, to train, to consider new techniques of shooting or creative.

Your photographic foundations will always strengthen with time.

This is what I call creative photographic plasticity.

Digital photography is practiced by a growing number of people. Each of them brings their skills, their sensitivity, their know-how. You must be able to adapt by picking into this huge cognitive reservoir what you need to progress in the photographic areas you have chosen.

A good photographer is a humble person who knows his limits. A good photographer is always ready to take on new challenges by preparing carefully.

A good photographer is always ready to step out of his comfort zone.

Quality 22: "Understanding the Words Patience and Perseverance"

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Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 2

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Photograph in black and white of a red deer stag in a forest with ferns in France.
Photograph in black and white of a red deer stag in a forest with ferns in France.

Quality 4: “Having One or Several Photographic Styles"

You are a good photographer when you have one or more well-defined styles. I voluntarily use the plural. It is quite possible to develop several photographic styles in contrast to the vision and signature that must be unique.

Some photographers have only one style, but they are very rare. Their signature is confused with style. Personally, I find that eventually it becomes boring. Even if the subjects are different, we always find the same atmosphere.

I believe that if you do not create many photographs, one style is possible: a few dozen photographs a year.

If you create more than 150 or 200 photographs by, several styles are possible.

They must not be diametrically opposed. They are similar with variations.

Of course, these photographic styles must be a declination of your signature. It cannot be otherwise.

Quality 5: "Having the Precision of a Laser in your Artistry"

You are a good photographer if you are an average photographer able to create series of photos with the precision of a laser.

This means that you can make consistent photographs that fit exactly what you have defined.

Making specific artistic choices in a project is an essential quality. Boriding your photographic approach with precise, simple criteria that you will implement during the sessions will allow you to make photos that your audience will be able to recognize.

You will be able to emerge from the mass. You will exist. The precision of a photographic vision is essential.

Quality 6: "Coding Photography in your DNA"

You are a good photographer when your desire to create photos is in your blood. It became part of your DNA.

If so, when you get up in the morning, the first idea that comes to mind is to make a photo or a series.

The idea of creating images is like an obsession.

. This quality meets the quality number 1 but it is more blurred. It's more of an impression, a way of life.

I think that the creation of a photo or a series is not done only at the moment of the shooting or the development. It is a more complex process that takes time. Initially, you must have an idea even if it is fuzzy. Then, little by little, it develops until becoming concrete. If you arrive on the field without having this preparation time, your photographs will not have this brilliance and the difference that will make you a good photographer.

Quality 7: "Giving Meaning to Life with Photography"

In general, I think life does not really make sense. We did not ask anyone to be born. For years, we have been educated without really having or making choices.

It is only after a long period of maturation and learning that some of us are able to decide their destiny.

You may be one of those people who decided that the choices of their life belonged to them. I belong to this category too.

You have decided to make sense of your life by making choices.

If one of these lifestyle choices is photography, then you are a good photographer. You do not just take pictures just by the way. Your photographs have become a way to create, to testify, to express your emotions, to transmit messages.

This choice to give meaning to your life with photography is in my eyes a characteristic to define a good photographer.

Quality 8: "Never Be Afraid to Fall"

You are a good photographer if you are not afraid to fall. Do not be afraid of failures, refusals, criticisms. To be a photographer is to be alive. Chess will allow you to grow and develop your photographic approach.

This is one of the prizes to pay for creating interesting and meaningful photos.

Of course, I met photographers who managed to create good photos from the first projects. They were praised immediately. But as nothing lasts, they have very badly taken the negative criticism of a project less successful than the previous ones. They felt unloved, misunderstood. They are not questioned. They stopped the picture thinking they were good, but people did not understand what they were doing. This is a sorry attitude because they did not understand that they were average on some projects.

To become a good photographer, you have to be patient, perseverant. It is necessary without delay to return the work on the trade.

Quality 9: "Believing in yourself"

To become a good photographer, you must believe in yourself. At first you may be the only one but it's a good start.

If you do not believe in yourself, no one will do it for you.

Never devalue your creations or you will become demotivated.

The confidence in you, allows to try new technical or artistic experiences. You must understand that only your imagination is your limit.

Even if your photographs do not meet the success you hope for, keep moving forward, change. If you believe in yourself, you will eventually succeed in creating interesting photos.

Quality 10: "Seeking Excellence at All Times"

To become a good photographer, you must always strive for excellence.

Excellence is defined as the eminent degree of quality that a person achieves in his or her field.

You realize immediately that it is impossible to achieve excellence because you can always go further in the quest for quality.

Yet one thing is certain: you can always try to achieve excellence.

Never be afraid to look for the best setting, to invent new techniques, to look for new lines of development for your photographs.

You have to be constantly looking for different pictures. Never be satisfied with what you have accomplished. Always try to do better next time. It is at this price that you will become a good photographer.

Quality 11: "Never Give Up"

To become a good photographer, you must never give up your photographic choices whether they are artistic or not. You are free. The desire for freedom to create, to express oneself, to share your feelings, to express your emotions is a war in itself.

If you make the picture the meaning or one of the senses of your life, you must always remember it. You must assume this choice to the end. If you let go, all the efforts you have made will never be successful.

Always go to the end of your possibilities. If you ever think you have it, change direction. Take other paths to reach your goals.

Quality 12: "Affirm Your Photographer Status"

You live in a society of resigned people where most people are content to suffer.

To be a good photographer and affirm your status, you must fight against yourself and the rest of the world.

The freedom to create is a fight of every moment that you are not aware of.

You must always try to create new photographs, complete your photographic vision and enrich your photographic style.

It is at this price that you will be able to create interesting photos that will emerge from the mass of anonymous people.

Quality 13: "Get Out of Your Comfort Zone"

As I wrote in this article, you have to learn how to regularly get out of your comfort to create interesting photos. If you are still confined to what you can do, you will constantly repeat the photos that made your success and your recognition.

Do not hesitate to change, test new techniques, go to new horizons. You must have little of the unknown. But you must not be afraid to confront it.

By going exploring new creative paths you will find new sources of inspiration. They will allow you to enrich your photographic process and may be your artistic approach.

The world is vast, complex, sometimes incomprehensible. That's what makes her beautiful and interesting.

Quality 14: "Mastering Perfectly Your Photo Equipment"

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Why and How: Defining the Qualities of a Good Photographer – Part 1

You are certainly wondering if you are a good photographer. Your question is legitimate. The answer is not easy to give. You must answer objectively.

In addition, you certainly miss elements to define you.

In this article, I will give you a list of elements that constitute a completely objective analysis grid. I make an inventory of everything that seems important to me to define a good photographer.

These criteria will help you find an answer to your question.

Photograph in color of a landscape of Monument Valley.
Photograph in color of a landscape of Monument Valley.

You May Refuse the Obvious

When I ask a photographer if he thinks he is a good photographer, the answer is often no.

This may be the case for you. This is what I call " denying the obvious ". I knew that time when I lived in doubt. I refused to show my photos.

This response and attitude are often motivated by lack of self-confidence or by a misplaced ego.

I also think that many photographers have the qualities to become good photographers. They can create interesting photographs that make sense. But often they do not give themselves the means to become one.

The Story of This Article

A blog article is like a photograph. It is always interesting to know its story. It gives a light. It helps to better understand the why and the how.

This question of the good photographer tapped me for years. My scientific cursus always pushed me to ask questions and to look for answers.

I read dozens of books about photography. No author has ever taken the time to address this thorny issue.

Finally, over time, as an artist photographer, I have developed a list of points that seem interesting to me to define what is a good photographer.

It is the result of many years of reflection and work. It is only my opinion. It will certainly evolve over time. Photography is a world that changes often. But I thought it was interesting to share it in this article.

You Are Part of a Group of One Billion People

You are certainly one of the billion photographers in the world.

You may be practicing photography as an amateur or a professional. You use either a smartphone or a DSLR equipped with mirrors or a mirrorless camera.

But do you make interesting photographs that make sense? It is totally impossible to answer because everything depends on your tastes. Likewise, everything depends on the definition you give to the word “interesting”. It is a very subjective question that has no answer.

Still, I think it's possible to tell if a person is a good photographer. I think it's possible to define criteria that make it possible to be objective. It is possible to define if someone is a good photographer even if you do not appreciate his photographic approach and his works.

Before going into more detail of the grid, it seems very important to define what the words and concepts that I will detail.

Why Becoming a Good Photographer?

You are certainly wondering why the question is whether to be a good photographer.

The answer is simple. To make interesting and meaningful photographs, you must, as I explained in this article, define a photographic consciousness.

When you know where you stand in relation to others, you will understand the meaning of your photographic approach. You will be able to create different photos. You will be able to get out of the crowd. If you do not want to understand why you are doing photography, you will stay in the crowd. You will just copy the other photographers you like. You will not leave the mass. Finally, one day or the other by dint of not being recognized, you will stop practicing the photographer. It would be a shame!

Definition of a Photographer

The word photography was created by John Herschel in 1839. He was a British astronomer. He is considered a pioneer of photography.

The word is composed of two roots of Greek origin:

  • The prefix "photo": light, clarity.
  • The suffix "graphy": paint, draw, write.
Photography is a technical process that allows you to write with light.
In general, a photographer can be defined as a person who practices photography.

Definition of a Good Photographer

A good photographer is a person of his kind with above-average qualities.

But how to define the average? For me, being average in photography is when someone who knows at least the few theoretical bases of photography

  • Shutter speed.
  • Aperture.
  • Sensitivity.
  • Triangle of the exposition.
  • Rules of composition.
  • Framing rules.

I used the words "at least".

Indeed, these basics are necessary to be a photographer in the average. But I do not imply at all that because a person has more than this knowledge that she can be qualified as a good photographer. It is much more complex.

How to Become a Good Photographer

There is no magic recipe for becoming a good photographer. You can become one if you follow studies in art, photography or if you are self-taught.

I created an analysis grid with criteria that I called "quality". It is an objective grid, easy to understand.

I named each paragraph " Quality Number ". There is no chronology. Numbering is just a way for me to be clear and precise in my comments.

Quality 1: "Knowing How to Last"

To know if you are a good photographer, you must be able to judge you over time.

A photographer who has created some good photographs that have been recognized is not necessarily a good photographer.

Some good photographs do not make a good photographer.

Duration is an essential factor. When a photographer can create interesting series in the long term, it is because he has developed a real photographic approach. It can be called "good".

You can very well perform this test yourself. Look at how many photo series you have created. Analyze them. You will find the answer by yourself.

Quality 2: "Having a Clear Photographic Vision"

Your photographic vision reflects the way you see the world.

Photography with its language is a way to express yourself. Some people choose painting, others drawing, others writing.

Your vision is personal. It belongs only to you. It gives you the reason why you go on the ground to create photographs.

Your vision reflects what is often called the soul.

Your photographic vision allows you to find the balance you are looking for in your life. It gives a real meaning to your actions.

To be a good photographer, your vision must be clear and precise. If you are asked why you are creating photos, you must be able to respond by explaining your photographic vision.

Quality 3: "Having a Photographic Signature"

I believe that it is essential to have a clear and precise signature for all the series of photos that you will create.

The signature is certainly what will mark the most. When you look at your photographs, people will say, "It is one who created these photographs ". For me it is essential to be recognized.

The signature of a series is more precise than a style that remains general.

The signature reflects the way you shoot, but also the way you develop your photos.

Quality 4: « Having One or Several Photographic Styles »

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Why and How Photographing the Bugle of Deer using a Cloth Photo Blind

The bugle of the deer is the inevitable fall event for wildlife photographers. You have certainly heard deer bugling not far from home. But photographing deer during this period is a real challenge in the wildness.

I propose a technique using a cloth photo blind to hide you from the eyes of deer. This accessory allows you to make interesting pictures of deer stags and deer does without being seen.

A cloth camera blind is very suitable to photograph deer during the rut.
"A cloth camera blind is very suitable to photograph deer during the rut.

The Principle of the Cloth Photo Blind

Before going further, it is interesting to explain you what a cloth photo blind is.

A cloth photo blind is a piece of cloth that allows you to camouflage at the sight of animals without being spotted.

In general, the color is khaki. The color should be chosen according to the environments in which you will evolve.

I recommend you choose a waterproof cloth photo blind. They are never perfect for heavy rain, but if you set up your tree under a tree, you will be almost dry.

Why Using a Cloth Photo Blind for the Bugle of the Deer?

In previous articles, I explained to you that to photograph the deer's slab, it was interesting to practice the photo-walking, the approach or the static blind. These techniques depend on the terrain, weather conditions and your physical condition.

Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • The photo-walking allows you to move in search of deer but in this case, you are visible from far enough. The advantage is that you can play on the surprise effect. With the camera handheld, you can take pictures without being prepared.

  • The approach allows you to get closer to the deer. The disadvantage is that it requires a good physical condition because it is often necessary to crawl on the soil.

  • The static blind has the advantage of not getting tired. The disadvantage is that even if you know the field well, you are never certain that a stag or a doe will appear in front of your photo lens.

The cloth photo blind is a hybrid solution. It allows you to move and stop to make a blind for a few hours. If no animal shows up, you can change places again.

The cloth photo blind allows to be mobile in all discretion.

To use it, you must follow these steps.

Step 1: You Must Choose Your Background to Camouflage You

The goal of the cloth photo blind is to make not visible to deer stags or deer does.

You must choose a background that must be adapted to your cloth blind. In fact, the shape you are creating with your body under the cloth must not be detectable. For example, there is no point in using a cloth photo blind in the middle of the meadow.

Wild animals such as deer have an excellent photographic memory. As they move a lot, they have learned to memorize all the places through which they pass. If they realize that something has changed in their immediate environment, they will become suspicious. I have already tested this way of proceeding. A stag remained motionless for several minutes watching me hiding in my cloth blind. After 2 or 3 minutes, he went back by the way he had come.

I advise you to choose as a background a large tree, a thicket, or undergrowth. The more you blend yourself with your immediate environment the better.

A cloth photo blind is a camouflage. It must allow you to blend in with the background.

You must not cut yourself in the environment.
A cloth camera blind should not be used in a meadow because it is to visible.
A cloth camera blind should not be used in a meadow because it is to visible.

Step 2: Choose Your Foldable Seat

Once you have carefully selected your background, you must install your foldable seat.

As you are going to make a blind that can last several hours, I advise you to choose a comfortable seat. Personally, I opted for a rectangular camping seat to support my size and my weight. When I started, I had a tripod seat. But I found over time that it was not comfortable at all because the seating surface is insufficient.

Step 3: Properly Install Your Tripod and Your Camera

This step is crucial. You must use a tripod to place your camera. You could very well make photos handheld, but the movement caused by your arms when you lift the camera will be immediately detected by the stag or doe.

Once your tripod is placed in front of you, you put your camera on the gimbal tripod head.

To adjust the height of your tripod, I recommend having the chin at the height of the hot shoe.

Thus, you will avoid generating a movement when you pass from the direct vision through the mesh to the viewfinder. The transition from one to the other will be discreet. You are not likely to attract the attention of the animal that came in front of you.

Step 4: Wear a hat or cap

Before wearing your cloth photo blind, I recommend you to put on a hat with edges or a cap. If you stay naked, the fabric will slip on your head.

When you go from direct vision through the mesh to the viewfinder, you may have the fabric that bothers you. You may also create a slight movement that will make you noticed by the animal.

Step 5: Put on the Cloth Blind

All you must do is put on the cloth blind. You must first place the photo lens through the slot provided for this purpose.

Then you must put your eyes face to the small window provided for this purpose. Initially, it is not very easy. But after minutes, you get done very quickly.

You will quickly find that the viewing angle is limited to 120 degrees. This is the equivalent of a 14mm lens. You will find that it is not enough when you are in the field. You must absolutely avoid moving while turning your head.

The cloth blind amplifies the movements. Deer can easily detect them.

Be as motionless as possible.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the image.

Do Not Move with a Cloth Photo Blind

The function of the cloth blind is to allow you to make a discreet blind. It saves you from having to break branches and ferns to prepare a natural lookout.

Do not try to move with even on the edge of a wood. Deer have a piercing view. The slightest abnormal movement will cause them to flee at once.

The cloth blind is made with a piece of cloth that is wide. If you try to walk, you will get your feet in it. You may fall and damage your camera.

When you move, simply fold your cloth blind. Store it in a bag. Then move to another place to wait. It is an easy accessory to store and transport.

The Use of a Cloth Blind Obeys to Certain Rules

The ghost of the woods is an accessory makes the carts easier.

You must respect certain essential rules to take good pictures:

  • Know the habits of wild animals..
  • Identify the flows of passage.
  • Choose the right wind.
  • Choose the light well.
  • Respect the environment and nature to where to wait.
  • Never choose a boar passage area.

Finally

I hope this article about using a cloth camera blind to photograph deer during the rut will help you make the right choice.

Personally, I use this accessory every year to take pictures. The results are always up to my expectations.

I am a fervent practitioner of the approach. But doing two approaches per photo session is a maximum because it is exhausting physically and mentally. I do not hesitate to choose an undergrowth to stop and to hide under my cloth camera blind. I can rest for an hour or two.

To create interesting animal photos in an environment that you do not yet know very well, the cloth camera blind is the most suitable tool.

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Why and How: Developing a Photographic Consciousness – Part 2

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The magic of dawn when the blue hour fades away.
The magic of dawn when the blue hour fades away.

A Definition of Photographic Consciousness

Above all, it is necessary to define the word “consciousness”.

By definition, “consciousness” is the ability to perceive oneself, to identify oneself, to think and to behave appropriately. It is what we feel, what we know about others and the world.

The goal of consciousness is to know how to define oneself in relation to others.

If we extrapolate this to photography, we can say that

the photographic consciousness is to be able to situate oneself in relation to other photographers.

Why: Developing a Photographic Consciousness

If you want to create interesting photos, you need to create different pictures than other photographers. This is an essential condition.

Take the case of all photographers who simply copy or reproduce a style that another photographer has created or developed. Their photos are destined to be pale copies of original works.

When they are going to show or exhibit their photographs, they will hear that it is déjà vu. They will not even be watched or analyzed by critics. Copies will have been seen before, thus they lack the spark of interest.

Emotionally, these photographers will be affected. They will quickly become discouraged. Finally, they may stop photographing altogether. I think it is a shame because some of these photographers have great talent. However, they did not take the time to develop it. They wanted to proceed quickly in their work by creating fashionable photos, which unfortunately, did not last.

If they took photographic time into consideration by analyzing the photographic approach of other photographers, they could have better defined themselves and asserted their own style.

Developing a photographic awareness allows you to define your own photographic personality, your signature and your artistic approach.

The Consequences on Your Artistic Creativity

If you take the time to develop a photographic awareness, the following consequences will become visible to you:

  • You will see that your nature photographs are becoming more and more interesting.
  • You will focus more on your own personal photo projects.
  • You will not waste time making photos that sit on your computer without ever being shown to an audience.
  • You will create photographic works with an authentic meaning that is consistent throughout the series.
  • You will create interesting photographs.
  • Some people will praise you on your artistic approach.
  • Your motivation will increase.
  • You will want to please you audience.
  • You will continue to create interesting photos.
  • You will have a solid role to play.
  • You will use your creativity to set your own little brick in the building of humanity, which will be useful to others.

It is this virtuous circle that I apply in my photographic process. It is a true pleasure.

How to Develop a Photographic Consciousness

Once you understand why you need to develop photographic awareness, it is necessary to give yourself the means to define it.

Different solutions are available to you:

  • The first solution is to document about other photographers who are in your field of artistic and photographic activity. To accomplish this, browse websites and purchase books that they have published. Read all the writings related to these photographers.
  • The second solution is to visit all museums dedicated to photography or all photo exhibitions. I think that this is an amazing way to progress in the development of photographic consciousness. For my part, I often extend this field of investigation to national museums which exhibit painters, draftsmen, and sculptors. It is a very important and rich source of inspiration.
  • The third solution is to participate in photo workshops. Personally, I participate in one or two classes a year. This allows me to confront photographers who have better skills than mine in certain areas. Workshops are unique moments to meet and exchange points of view. I always look for workshops with a good atmosphere in which the tutor is primarily a facilitator who shares his own knowledge, but also promotes the exchange of ideas between participants. Classes, in my opinion, are a great way to develop a photographic awareness in relation to others.
  • The fourth solution is contests. You must search for contests where you will receive feedback on your photos. Contests for which you receive a letter telling you that your photos have been selected or not selected are useless fo the development of a photographic consciousness. You must look for contests or competitions which will give you an in-depth critical review of your work(s). Personally, I participate in four competitions a year. I present four photographs each time. Fees are required, but I gain a video from the jury commenting on my photos. These fees are nothing compared to the interests of those remarks. This is a real plus for me.

Tools for Developing a Photographic Consciousness

You are certainly wondering what sort of tools should be used to develop a photographic consciousness.

They are very simple to find. You have them all at your disposal.

  • Mind.
  • Topic.
  • Time.

My Method

Personally, I use a notebook and a pen. Every morning I wake up at 6 o'clock. I take my book, and I prop myself against two pillows to be as comfortable as possible in my bed. Then I write. All the columns you read on the blog are written this way.

At first, I write the idea that I wish to develop into the form of a title. Later, I will write several sentences and ideas that I have dwelled on for some time. Finally, I write the body of the text itself. I refrain from implementing a word limit.

Although I do not abide by a word limit, I do adhere to a time limit when writing. Every morning, I give myself 45 minutes to develop my photographic consciousness. Then I take 45 minutes to develop my marketing actions.

For some mornings, I have found that a pause in brainstorming is the best way to rephrase specific ideas, formalize them, and develop them.

I also sometimes revise texts already written. I correct them. I modify them. I update texts according to any new information that I have encountered.

My photographic consciousness evolves with time. Nothing is fixed. When I meet new photographers or new people, I question myself, and new ideas constantly arise.

This is what I call the plasticity of photographic consciousness.

Photographic plasticity is the ability to adapt and to change according to encounters and events while maintaining your own photographic approach.

My Advice for You

If I had any advice to give you, it would be to define a fixed time slot every day or every other day, where you can isolate yourself and take time to develop your photographic consciousness.

Think, think, think. Disregard the outside world. Develop your ideas.

Define your photographic artistic approach. Decide what you like in photography. For example, specify exactly what you most enjoy composing and what methods work for you. In short, everything that sparks your artistic creativity is worth continuing.

Write a text for each point. Do not try to make a long text that summarizes information that has already been stated. This would be a waste of time and a mistake. Be fragmented in your approach, and you will experience greater productivity.

Finally

I hope this article has opened your mind to a new way of approaching photography. If you feel that you have reached your limits in artistic creativity, I guarantee you that this way of looking at photography will allow you to expand your horizons. Your imagination alone is your limit. This is one of the ways to create photographs that make sense and are interesting.

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Why and How: Developing a Photographic Consciousness – Part 1

Your passion may lie in terrestrial or underwater photography. Or perhaps photography is your hobby, a way to relax and escape the stress of your daily activities.

You may have reached the limits of your creativity, and yet, desire to expand your level of expertise in techniques and creativity.

However, you cannot define what it is that you need to embark into greater unknown photographic territory. Perhaps one path you have not explored is the development of your photographic consciousness. This path may enable you to accomplish your goal of expansion.

In this article, I will give you some tips to help you better define your photographic consciousness, thus allowing you to venture to heights in your artistic creativity.

The magic of conceptual photography. A photo from the 'Illusions' art prints collection.
The magic of conceptual photography. A photo from the 'Illusions' art prints collection.

Photography Can Become a Real-Life Project

Nature photography, like many photographic domains, can be considered an ongoing, realistic project of life.

It can give meaning, profoundly directing your existence.

This occurrence happened to me many years ago before I became a professional photographer.

I worked for twelve years as a computer engineer. I worked as a design and development engineer, project manager, and then project leader of an IT department. Nevertheless, I continued to question my purpose. Why should I create temporary applications that I knew would only last a few years? These applications would surely disappear with the emergence of new technology. At each technological transition, everything had to be restarted: the analysis, development, and production. What was my purpose in this process of cycles aside from correctly creating meaning in my life? I do not regret working in those positions, because I learned a lot about organization and methodology. However, I discovered that I was constantly racing against the clock to meet deadlines.

In my free time, I practiced photography. During these hours spent in the field, I found peace, rest, and the serenity to truly question myself.

Naturally, I decided to connect my professional activity and my passion for photography. My goal was to create something that would last in time. I desired to create something that I would not have to question the validity and relevance of every two or three years.

I envisioned my long-term future with the possibility of leaving a trace or a brick in this huge building that we call “humanity”.

I found my real-life project.

Understand Photographic Time

I started working for magazines or photo stock agencies. Quickly, I fell back into the trap of my previous professional activity: I finished productions more and more quickly while adapting to the demand and evolution of the market.

After five years of intense work and despite the impressive income being earned, I decided not to continue. Instead, I turned to artistic photography.

Today, when I log in to my Instagram account or my Facebook account, I notice that 95% of the photographs are completed with mobile phones.

I have the impression that photographs are snapped, uploaded, and consumed like a quick meal in the fast food industry. Nothing is crafted to last. Nothing is completed that will greatly enrich humanity. Most of the photographs posted are made by individuals who disregard the concept of creating a brick in the building of humanity.

In these moments of scrolling through images, I feel as if I am reliving my years as a computer engineer or stock-photo photographer for magazines.

All social media photos are taken in a hurry so that they are the first to be seen by the general public. It is a real race against time for those posting on social networks.

Why do all these people fail to realize that it is time for them to rethink their photographic process? Why do they not consider the product value that could increase if they used their photographic time?

For me, this expression of “photographic time” means “to think about real photo projects and real creations”. Authenticity is crucial. It is important to take the time to pause and consider options when publishing a book, creating an exhibition, or giving a photographic presentation. This applies on the field as well.

Photographic Time: The Key to Creating Interesting Photos

Have you ever tried to blend into a landscape, to be one with it just before taking the picture? That is what I try to do in every shot, even when I photograph terrestrial or underwater animals.

When you are on the field trying to capture a photograph, I recommend that you forget your technique for a few moments and try to harmonize with all the natural elements surrounding you.

This perception impacts the way you perceive the light, the photographic elements, and the enveloping atmosphere.

It is a bit like a meditation technique. It is this way of understanding photography that allows me to create nature photos. If you apply photographic time to your own process, you will quickly realize that you are creating interesting photos, because you better understand the setting in which each photo is captured.

Photographic time occurs thinking before, during and after taking a photo.

Viewing the World Through the Lens of Photography

I think practicing artistic photography is a way of looking on my life and seeing the world as it truly exists.

Artistic photography is an art. The photographer always provides his own interpretation of the world he is photographing. However, with time, I realized that the photo itself is not limited by the author’s perspective.

Artistic photography is an extraordinary way to transcend everyday life.

Everyone needs to find solutions to everyday problems. Everyone must understand how to compromise. We must check our accounts, manage collaborators, and respond to customers. Work can be quite stressful.

The artistic photography of nature allowed me to take a step back from my professional activities and my existential questioning. When I'm in the field as part of a photo project, I am at peace. I soak in the serenity of the scene.

I become aware of myself and the world around me. As the years passed by, I developed a photographic consciousness.

“But what is this photographic consciousness?” you may ask.

A Definition of Photographic Consciousness

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Why and How to Read, Appreciate a Nature Photograph

You certainly look at hundreds of photographs daily. Whether for your personal projects, professional or in the articles you link, your attention is constantly captured by images.

But do you really read a photograph? Do you know how to appreciate certain photographic creations?

In this article, I propose a method of photographic reading to better decrypt the content of photos.

This method will help you to develop your creativity and improve your artistic process.

Black and white landscape photograph of Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, United States.
Black and white landscape photograph of Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, United States.

Trois articles essentiels avant de continuer la lecture

In order for you to fully understand the reading grid of a nature photograph, I recommend you reread the article explaining why and how to analyze a photograph and the article about the method to judge a photograph.

These two articles are essential because they give you all the keys to well dissect the contents of an image. The ideal before addressing the rest of this article would be to re-read the article " why and how story telling makes an interesting image".

The Story of this Series of Articles

The four articles including the one you are reading is a progression.

You may be wondering why I wrote them by revealing personal techniques that I use in my professional photographic activities.

The idea of writing them came to me after the last workshops of nature photography that I organized. Many trainees regularly come to participate in the courses. Their level had become so high that I devoted a whole progression to the photographic consciousness.

I realized that very few of them had developed a true creative photographic consciousness. They had all become excellent technicians. They were all able to create photos for international competitions, exhibitions or publications for prestigious magazines.

But most of them remained blocked when I asked them to analyze other photos or to understand a photographic approach.

The blockage was even more obvious when they had to read a picture.

I thought it would be interesting to share my point of view with a larger number of people to exchange and have feedback on my methods.

These are all the reasons that led me to write this series of four articles.

Definition of the Words "Read" and "Appreciate"

Before revealing the method to read and appreciate a photograph, I think it is interesting to define the words "to read" and "to appreciate" to better place them then in the photographic context.

By definition, to read is to follow the eyes of graphic signs by identifying a writing.

One of the definitions of to appreciate is:

"to appreciate " is to judge the intellectual, moral, artistic value of something. It is also to estimate something.

Application to Photography

If I refer to the definition of reading, I can say that a photograph can be read. Artistic photography has its own photographic language. It is therefore perfectly legitimate to talk about reading a photograph.

Likewise, the verb to appreciate can be perfectly used in a photographic context because you can judge a photograph and give an appreciation.

Why Read a Photograph is Important to You

If you learn to read and appreciate the photographs of other photographers, you will gradually develop a real photographic consciousness.

It will allow you to build and to improve your artistic approach.

I remind you that the definition of a true personal artistic approach is the founding act of your photographic creativity. It is the foundation of your photographic activity whether for leisure or professional.

Knowing how to read a photograph in an objective, systematic and consistent way will help you to create different but above all interesting photographs.

This is certainly what you want to do by choosing artistic photography as a means of expression.

The consequence of a good photographic reading is the development of an extraordinary quality for you who are a photographer: to appreciate the creations of other photographers. In addition, you will be able to more easily locate you compared to the others. You will define your place.

How to Read a Photograph

My method for reading a nature photograph is always in three distinct steps:

  • Define the field of photography to which it belongs..
  • Analyze the content.
  • Judge and evaluate.

Step 1: Define the Photographic Domain

For this first step, you must be able to clearly say whether it is an illustrative, artistic or conceptual photograph.

Is it intended to promote a product or brand? Is the photo a translation of an emotion felt by the photographer who took it? Does it convey a message, an idea? Is this photo intended to shock, to question, to create a questioning of the viewer? Is it an aesthetic picture? Was it created to testify, to show a scene of life? Is it just a detail of a scene?

This step number one must allow you to define the purpose of the photograph.

Step 2: The Analysis of the Photo

During this second step, you must analyze all the photographic elements.

You simply make an inventory. I advise you to analyze the composition, the framing, the positive space and the negative space.

Try to study the construction desired by the photographer. Look for the elements of reading reinforcement. Try to understand why and how all the elements have been put in place.

During this step, you try to understand the technical reasons for creating the image. You must remain objective. You look at how the depth of field was managed, if the bokeh technique was used, what speed was chosen, etc.

If it's an animal, what does it do? What is his attitude? Where does he look?

If the scene represents a landscape, do you recognize the place? What do you see in the foreground? What are the details that you see in a second time?

Step 3: Judging and Evaluating

During this third step, you must try to clear the general atmosphere of the photo you are watching.

It is at this precise moment that I recommend you to read the title and the legend which accompanies the photograph. You will be able to discover its context. The proposed text will guide the understanding of the image.

Do you have to understand what photography wants to show? How do you react? What emotions and feelings do you feel?

The idea behind this third step is that you carry a value judgment. You have to make sense of the picture.

This step is subjective. It appeals to your ethical, moral values, your experience and your experience.

You do not make a criticism. You just have to formalize what you feel and what inspires you the picture you are looking at.

It is you who speak. Be honest, straightforward and direct.

Some Photos are not Readable

If you apply this method of photographic reading in a systematic way, you will quickly realize that many photographs are not readable.

Do not imagine that the method is ineffective or inadequate. Do not believe that you do not have all the keys to read them well.

It is just that the photographers who propose them have taken photos but have not created them. They just took snapshots.

As I wrote in this article, there are many reasons why people take pictures.

If you cannot read photos, it's because they were not taken in order to make them interesting. Do not waste time looking at them.

Spend your energy reading and enjoying photos that are worth it. Life is too short to waste time. It is this principle that I adopt in all that I do.

Finally

Reading and enjoying photos allows you to progress in photographic art by further developing your photographic awareness.

I proposed to you a reading guide in three steps. It is simple to remember and very effective.

If it does not satisfy you, do not hesitate to define yours. I recommend you always apply a systematic and consistent method to have the best results possible.

Knowing how to read and appreciate photos is a real lever for creating even more interesting and very different photos.

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