Why and How: Developing a Photographic Mindset in 5 Steps
You may think that creating creative and artistic photographs only requires a camera with a lens, technical skills and a photographic culture.
It is a good start.
You must add an essential element: the photographic mindset.
In this article, I am going to explain in 5 steps why and how to develop it.
Photograph created in Yellowstone for the fine art collection 'Paths of Mind'.
Definition of the Term "Mindset"
As often in areas related to emotions and human nature, there are many definitions for "mindset".
I chose the one that seems to me the most suitable for this article.
The mindset is the mentality that a person has. The mindset is a psychic state, in particular an emotional state concerning mood, emotions.
A person's mindset is an inner attitude.
Application to Photography
I believe that photography is for you as for me, an artistic form allowing you to express your emotions, to show your feelings, to express messages or even how you perceive aesthetics.
In order to express yourself with photography, you will use a photographic language that you must develop. With this language, you will translate what you feel, what you are, your moods, your personality. In other words, you will transmit your mindset through your photographic creations.
This is for this reason that you must develop and maintain your photographic mindset.
When you are in the field during photo sessions, you can translate your moods without getting lost.
If, just as me, you feel this need and this desire to express yourself without using speech, you must adopt an interior attitude which uses photography as a means of expression.
Developing a photographic mindset, is to place yourself in a model and a thought system in which you will use the photographic medium to express yourself.
In the rest of this article, I will explain how to do it. This method is only mine. It has proven itself in my professional activity and during my photo workshops. This is one of the goals of my ACANP method.
The quality of your photographs depends entirely on the quality of your photographic mindset. The better you define it and the more it will be structured, the more your photographs will make sense and the more they will be interesting to create an audience of people who appreciate your photographic approach.
Step 1: Knowing Why you Are Practicing Photography
To develop a solid, lasting, coherent and consistent photographic mindset, I advise you to answer this essential question : why do you practice photography?
Likewise, if you use photography as an art form, why do you practice this photographic art?
If you answer these essential questions, you will take an essential first step. The answer that you are going to state will allow you to limit all your photographic activity.
By setting limits, you are not going to get lost in the twists and turns of creativity. You will be consistent in the creation of your photographs.
If you know why you are taking photos, you will always know how to react in the field. You will also know how to develop your photographs. Finally, you will know how to present and show them.
Clearly defining your goals and objectives is the basis of the process of creating a photographic mindset.
I also recommend that you take photographs by passion and not by envy.
Today with the intensive development of digital and social networks, it has become fashionable for many photographers to show off. I do not mean to show selfies, but to show that they go to such country, that they participate in such event and that they meet such personality. All these photographs have no interest because they have no meaning. They just serve to flatter the ego of the photographers who took them. Publishing these photos is just to show that these photographers exist. They take photos by envy and not by passion.
If you decide to create photographs by passion and not to show others what you do in your daily life or during your vacation, you are going to take a second very important step in the development of your photographic mindset.
Step 3: Learning How to Create Photographs That Look Like You
Even if you apply the step 2 and you have decided to create photos by passion, it is not enough to create a true photographic mindset.
For me, an essential point is that you manage to create photos that look like you. Why ? Are you going to ask me.
The answer is simple : because you are unique.
If you take photographs that look like you, you will create unique images that will interest a certain number of people. They will begin to appreciate your photographic activity. They will encourage you. You will be motivated. You will continue to be creative and take interesting photos. It is this virtuous circle which is at the base of the creation of interesting photos.
You will thus strengthen your photographic mindset.
Step 4: Defining your Photographic Consciousness
I had already addressed this subject of photographic consciousness in another article. Knowing how to situate yourself in relation to other photographers not on a scale of values but in terms of artistic positioning is essential.
You can take inspiration from the photographic approach of other photographers but never copy. You are unique. You are an exception. Be yourself.
The development of a photographic consciousness allows you to remove doubts about the creative axes that you choose. It allows you to follow the objectives and achieve the goals you have set.
Step 5: Using Photography as a Means of Expression
As far as I am concerned, photography is an art form that creates a meditative state. When I start a photographic project or when I am in the field to create new images, I always answer the question : why am I going to photograph?
Photography reveals a quest. Mine is to understand the role I have. It allows me to define my place in what is called humanity. What is my role ? Why am I here?
It may sound a little strange and have nothing to do with photography. But I think it is just the opposite. It is precisely the fact of having answered these questions that I found a meaning to give to my life.
I chose nature as the photographic theme. It is an intimate echo of my revealed unconscious. It says my questions, my doubts, my expectations.
Photography forced me to look differently. The photographic works that I create are like the mirror of the world around me.
If you want to develop a strong photographic mindset with a deep sense, you have to make images that reveal your deepest moods. These are the ones that are buried in your subconscious.
I really believe that one way to use photography is to take it as a catalyst that brings together your deepest and most secret thoughts. I am talking about the thoughts that we cannot formulate.
The silence of the photographs is like invisible words.
It is for all these reasons that photography finally reveals a quest for the meaning of life.
Antelope Canyon in black and white. A timeless fine art collection of landscapes in black and white.
Key 4: Having a Real Photographic Consciousness
Photographic consciousness is your ability to know where you stand in relation to other photographers. I am not talking about a relationship level here, but an artistic and creative relationship. Saying that you are better or worse than another photographer makes no sense. The scale of values represents nothing in art. Indeed, you can create photographs that are interesting and exciting for a certain audience and not at all for other people. You just have to find it.
You must know how to locate yourself on the photographic chessboard. When you have defined a circle of people who define your audience, you will gain self-confidence. You know that you represent something for certain people.
Key 5: Knowing How to Build and Solidify Your Photographic Structure
The photographic building is an expression that I created to develop my ACANP method.
ACANP is a methodology that I use to animate my nature photography courses.
I teach the participants in my workshops to build, develop and consolidate their own photographic structure. It is made up of a set of elements which are linked together.
Without revealing all the elements that constitute it because it would be too long and irrelevant to this article, I consider that a photographer must master his compositions, his framing to write well with the photographic language. Likewise, he must master the theory of photographic elements. It is essential.
As I often say, a life is not enough to learn and master photography. Each new technique, each new theme is a new learning during it must start from the beginning.
If one day, you participate in one of my courses, you will see in more depth the construction of your photographic building.
Key 6: Having General Culture
Si vous voulez créer des photographie de nature intéressantes, vous devez avoir de la culture générale.
If you want to create interesting photographs of nature, you must have general culture. You have to be interested in the world around you. Indeed, to express emotions, translate messages, transmit feelings or even achieve aesthetic works, you must be empathetic with the world around you.
General culture will give you elements to develop your own photographic language. By knowing how to express yourself photographically, you will be more direct and more understandable. Having general culture will allow you to listen to your environment and better translate what you see.
For example, if your passion is to photograph deer in the wild, by cultivating yourself on the subject, you can create different photos that will have more impact.
By staying locked in your skills without trying to learn other general knowledge you close your creativity. You condemn yourself not to last over time.
You may think that you are an excellent photographer. You may think that you have nothing to learn from others. You may think that the ease of use of digital technologies allows you to take photos that the ancients could not take. You may think that these same elders because it took them a long time to create a photo have nothing to say to you.
You may be right. You are certainly a good photographer. You may have nothing left to learn. I cannot judge you. You are the only one who can say it.
But where I don't agree is that the other photographers, old or recent, have a lot to bring to you.
The technique is not very important in creating a good photograph. It represents 10% of the recipe to be applied.
Personally, I have dozens of books written by photographers. I also have many photographic biographies. I read and reread these works without stopping.
On one hand they are important sources of inspiration. On the other hand, the experiences lived by these people allow me to avoid the same mistakes but above all to benefit from their experiences to become even better.
This photographic culture is a precious ally without which I would not have become what I am.
The photographic culture does not serve me to fuel worldly conversations around a table with photographic friends.
It is much more. The photographic culture feeds me, enriches me, allows me to grow every day.
All the stories, all the experiences of others are a source of inspiration for me as well as the new directions I choose to take.
Without this photographic culture, I would not have been able to define my photographic consciousness as precisely.
I think that to develop an interesting photographic culture, you have to study all photographers regardless of the theme. For example, even if I specialize in nature photography, I don't hesitate to take an interest in fashion, reportage, portrait, reportage photographers.
When it comes to cultivating myself, I have no limits. All experiences are good to take. I always draw from its positive elements which enrich me.
Key 9: Knowing How to Create Styles for your Collections
In one of the previous keys, I indicated that in order to last, you must have a recognizable signature.
It's not sufficient. You must know how to create styles according to your collections.
I hope these 9 keys have given you elements to help you to last over time. You have talent and you are unique. It would be a shame if you do not share your points of view and your photographic vision with the largest audience. Sometimes it takes time to get known. Be persistent, methodical and don't doubt yourself.
Why and How: Lasting in Photography In 9 keys - Part 1
You are a nature photographer. Taking photographs is your passion. You spend a lot of effort and energy to make interesting photos.
One of your wishes is to be able to last over time and that your passion remains intact.
But how do you get there?
This is what I will explain to you in this article.
Landscape in color of Red Rock Canyon in Nevada, United States.
The Little Story of this Article
I had an interesting experience that opened my eyes to what I should not do during my career as a professional photographer artist.
I am passionate about an American photographer specializing in black and white. I will not mention his name because that is not the purpose of this article. I had already bought three of his beautiful books because they are a real source of inspiration for me. During a weekend, having no more recent coffee books, I decide to go to a specialized bookstore with Isabelle, my wife. In the photo department, I discovered something new. A book by this photographer published two months before.
I throw myself on it and I decide to buy it without even leafing through it. It was then that Isabelle said to me "You already have three books of him. At least look if he has innovated in his shots".
I open the book and I discover that the photos and the texts are always in the same vein as the previous books.
Finally, I put the book down and I decide not to buy it.
It was this event, however insignificant, that made me realize that a photographer artist must know how to regenerate himself to last. It was on this day that I understood the difference between photographic styles and the photographic signature.
Many photographers, some of international renown, create collections of photographs only with the same signature. Over time, they become boring because they always create the same type of photographs.
Definition of Lasting Over Time
To last in time is to occupy a defined space of time. It is to continue to exist, to occur, to persist in a state, to maintain yourself.
It also means resisting the effects of time. It is a question of preserving all your qualities intact.
Application to a Photographer
For a photographer, lasting over time means continuing to take creative, meaningful and interesting photographs for a given audience.
As far as I am concerned, it is one of my obsessions. My photographic activity is partly motivated by this need. I have the desire to last over time.
This is for this reason that I often question myself by exploring new creative paths.
Why Do You Want to Last in Photography?
You may be like me. When you undertake an activity like photography, you are fully invested.
You put all the necessary means to succeed in making creative, interesting photographs. You may already have a loyal following. I want to say that you have managed to gather around you, a circle of people who follow you, encourage you and motivate you. This audience can be physical, but it can also be virtual. In that case, this is the purpose of social networks.
It is for this audience that you realize your projects.
You want to please them.
For me, lasting over time means continuing to please collectors and people who share my moral and ethical values and who trust me.
Wanting to last is to say that all the efforts I have made are not in vain. But one day they will help me to add a small brick to this gigantic building that is called "humanity".
I believe that this is an important and sufficient reason to justify this desire to please.
But how do you last over time? The answer cannot be summarized in one sentence. It is a little more complicated.
In the rest of this article, I will give you some keys on how to last.
Key 1: Specializing Yourself in One or Two Themes
I believe that one of the essential points to be able to last in photo, it is to specialize in one or two fields. This is true in all artistic fields.
In fact, the more you choose different areas, the more efforts you will make that you will not be able to capitalize on.
Photography is a very complex artistic field and very difficult to grasp. Each chosen theme requires different skills and know-how. It takes a long time to acquire them.
The more you disperse, the less you will go deep into these themes. You will fly over them. You will only glimpse the possibilities of each of them.
By specializing, you will learn to master the techniques of a theme. You will excel in your shots. You will certainly meet people who will appreciate what you are doing. You will still be encouraged, motivated. You will continue to progress and go even further.
If you choose to specialize in more than one area, try to choose them consistently. For example, choosing the portrait and the architecture seems inappropriate to me.
If you want to last, choose one or two consistent photographic themes to fully express yourself.
Key 2: Having a Well-Defined Photographic Approach
Your photographic approach, whether artistic or not, is the guarantee for you not to get lost in the photographic meanders.
When it is well defined, it serves as beacons and a beacon throughout your photographic life.
You will refer to it when you are going to doubt or when you are going to take a divergent path. Your photographic approach is the guarantee that you will follow the right path to reach your goals.
Without a clear and precise photographic approach, you risk taking paths on which you will get lost. You will lose your photographic soul. You will end up forgetting your creative goals. You will not be able to last because you will demotivate yourself.
I remind you that a photographic approach consists of two very distinct components:
Your photographic vision: it is the way you see the world around you and the scenes you photograph.
Your signature: this is how you show the scenes you are photographing.
When you know how you are going to show your universe, you will develop techniques allowing you to last because people will recognize your photographs.
Key 3: Knowing Why You Are Taking Photos
If you have not answered the question yet or if you have not yet found an answer to the question of why you are taking photos, it is time to get started.
If you do not know why you are taking photos, I guarantee that you will never manage to create interesting photos. It is exactly as if you have not yet found meaning in your life.
Knowing why you are taking photos will allow you to set precise, simple and clear objectives.
All your photographic activity will consist in defining and following paths to reach them.
During my photo workshops, when I meet new participants for the first time, I am always surprised by the lack of answer to this question. Sometimes the answers are elusive and general. Yet it is essential and fundamental.
If you want to last, try to find an answer to this question today. You will save a lot of time during your photo sessions. Your photographic activity will only be better limited. You will also avoid taking paths on which you may get lost.
photographique n’en sera que mieux bornée. Vous éviterez aussi d’emprunter des chemins sur lesquels vous risquez de vous perdre.
Have you ever had the curiosity to seek the definition of a photograph? If you have already done this research, you must have noticed that it does not really exist. The definition always refers to the process and not really to the result.
In this article, I suggest a way to clearly define what a photograph is. This will help you build more interesting and more creative photos.
This photograph of a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains is constructed with different elements. It evokes the time passing.
The Little Story of this Blog Post
From then a few months, I am interested in the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. I discovered his work through his collections "In Praise Shadows" and "Seascapes".
I am passionate about photography on the surface of the water. I was looking for inspiration to define an axis of research for a new collection when I was challenged and captivated by the photographic creations of Hiroshi Sugimoto.
His works are timeless, enigmatic, calm. They evoke serenity. When analyzing his artistic approach, I wondered why his photographs had such an evocative force when they were very minimalist.
It was during this introspective reflection that I asked myself the question of what is a photograph?
I immediately took my notebook, my pen. I started to write some ideas. For four days each morning I worked on a study. It has become this blog post that I share with you today.
Why is it Important to Define What is a Photograph?
When I ask other people, who are or are not photographers to tell me what a photograph is, few are able to answer me. Some people tell me that it is a representation of reality. Others say that it is writing with light. In short, it is the most total blur.
I believe that to take interesting photos, it is important to define what a photograph is.
If you want to create interesting photos that reach an audience, you need to be able to define what you are going to create. I am not talking about technique or means here, but what a photograph represents.
Often to denote 'a photograph' many people use 'an image'.
By definition, an image is the visual reproduction of a real object.
An image can be natural (shadow, reflection) or artificial. In this case, it can be a sculpture, a painting or a photograph.
The definition is very broad. It does not necessarily apply to photography.
Photography is an artistic discipline in its own right which has its own language. It is for this reason that defining what a photograph is important to me. I now attach great importance to it.
How Defining a Photograph?
I think that a photograph can be summed up in two components:
Its appearance. This is the visible component. This is also what I call the container.
Its meaning. It is the invisible, immaterial component. This is also what I call content.
These two components are necessary and sufficient to define a photograph.
If the meaning is missing, you just have a picture. That is to say, a representation of the real.
After answering the question of why and how to define a photograph, I suggest that you detail each of the components.
The Appearance of a Photograph
The appearance of a photograph is what the viewer sees first. This is what will catch the eye. This is the first contact. It will condition the rest.
If this first contact is interesting, the viewer will take his time and go to the analysis stage.
If the viewer does not hang, he will go its way. He will not go through the analysis stage.
It is for this reason that a photograph must be correctly composed, framed and that the point of view must be well chosen.
Creating an interesting visual aspect that has an impact is a matter of technique and photographic know-how.
To give a visual aspect to your photographs create impact you have at your disposal:
When composing, you need to harmonize all of these elements. I will develop this notion of harmony in a future article.
An interesting photograph is constructed from visual elements organized in a harmonious way. Light connects all of these elements.
To create a strong impact, you need to add meaning to it. It is the content.
You can show an emotion, express a message or it can be aesthetic.
In my opinion, this is the most difficult thing to achieve and create. You have to think, have something to say. Never forget that photography is an art form in its own right. It is a medium for expressing yourself.
I have already had the opportunity to write it in other articles. I do not know how to draw. I do not know how to paint. I can write. I was looking for a means of visual expression. Photography was a real way for me to express myself, to share my deepest thoughts.
I have developed a real photographic language which uses visual elements in order to communicate with the greatest number of people.
If you want to create interesting photos, always think about the meaning you will give them. It is a necessary condition for finding an audience.
To allow easy reading of your photos, never forget that the eyes of a viewer always go towards:
High contrast areas.
Photographic language aims to organize the photographic elements well to express your thoughts. It is this particular technique that I teach with my ACANP method during my photo workshops.
I hope this article will allow you to better define a photograph.
I think the most important thing to remember is that an image is a meaningless photograph. It is just a representation of the real.
To create a photograph, you must set up a container made up of visual elements linked together by light. The photographic language and grammar will allow you to express yourself: this is the content of your photos.
Hiroshi Sugimoto has allowed me after all these years of research to conceptualize what a photograph is. We should all start photography with this concept. It is the basis of the construction of the photographic building.
Why and How Controlling the Natural Light in Nature Photography
You are a photographer. You know that you must use light to take your photographs.
But have you ever wondered why you should use it and how.
In this article, I will give you some food for thought.
This photograph taken during the rut season shows on time I saw the "Light".
The Little Story of this Blog Post
It is always interesting to tell a short-lived story to properly lay the foundations of an article to situate the context.
This story that I lived takes place in Dombes in June 2019. Patricia A. is a faithful participant of my nature photo workshops. She became a real friend. We often understand each other in half-words because we have shared many extraordinary moments on the ground.
It is 11:00 a.m. I will start a presentation on photography as is the custom during the workshops. Patricia left since 5 a.m. She should have returned around 10:30 am. I have no news. I will start my presentation for the 5 other photographers when she arrives silently in the common room.
She is silent. She walks lightly. She is elsewhere. Her gaze is strange. Nobody says anything. Usually, she always arrives in a rush and always heads for her computer. This time, she does nothing usual. It's strange.
I'm afraid she'll tell me bad news.
I ask her how she is and if she had a good morning on the pond where she went to make photos with a floating blind.
She is looking at me. Her eyes shine. I expect the worst because I have the impression that she will cry.
She almost whispered, “I saw the light!”. Then "I understood what you wanted to tell me all these years”. She concludes "I have made more than 2,000 photos".
I understand immediately. I smile. I am happy for her. I just let her rest and take her time. I will give him a summary of the presentation and give him my personal notes. She is in a moment of grace. I cannot steal from him that magic moment that so few photographers have experienced.
Patricia is one of a small number of photographers who one day saw this magic light. They lived an extraordinary moment. After this experience, nothing will ever be the same again.
I have been fortunate enough to experience this emotion many times in my career. It is always a highlight that I never forget. It's totally indescribable. Only people who have experienced this moment can understand.
I believe that it is from this moment that we understand what “photographing” means.
Why Controlling Light in Nature Photography
In photography, light is your medium. It is for this reason that it must be understood.
Light highlights the different elements that can be used in a photograph.
Light defines shapes.
Light defines lines.
Light creates textures.
Light determines colors.
When I created a nature photograph, I strive always to control these 3 elements in order:
The natural light.
The photographic elements.
Light comes second. Controlling it is essential to write correctly photographically. Its goal is to highlight the centers of interest by creating contrasts and models. They will create the famous 3D effect that I sought after permanently
The etymology of the word photography comes from two roots of Greek origin. The prefix photo means "who uses light". The suffix spelling means "which results in an image".
Natural Light is Necessary but not Sufficient
Following this etymological analysis, you would think that photography comes down to good management of light natural.
I thought that in nature photography, light is not sufficient.
I place this always the decor in my scale of the components of an image.
Light is a necessary condition for creating a beautiful nature photograph, but it is not sufficient. Without a well-chosen decor with a strong impact, a nature photo remains poor, without much interest.
This is certainly not true in other photographic fields. But as I do not master them as the photography of nature, I will avoid giving my opinion.
The Purpose of Natural Light in Nature Photography
Natural light sculpts and colors the various elements of a nature photograph.
It is different according to the hours, the seasons. In addition, the choice of the point of view can completely change its rendering on the scene.
I advise you to always favor the light at the beginning and end of the day because the sun is low. It is at these moments that the best contrasts are obtained. The low-angle lighting creates plays of light and shadow. These shadows create relief around the photographic element centers. This is what gives depth to the photo.
In photo language, it is said that a zenith sun crushes the scene. The absence of contrast and modeling makes the centers of interest seem flat.
You must know how to harness the heat of the lights. The morning lights are cold. The evening lights are warmer.
Playing with lights can completely change the nature of a scene.
The presence of natural light on a nature scene is not sufficient. You have to consider its direction.
If the sun is behind you, then the stage will be flat in terms of volumes.
If the sun is facing (it is the backlight technique) then the centers of interest will be in silhouettes which are also called shadow puppets. The scene becomes suggestive.
If the sun is on the side then the textures, the details and the volumes will be better restored. The shadows give relief. You should not hesitate when it is possible to change your point of view to get the best result.
In my photographs of nature and in particular animal scenes, it is this last method that I privilege.
If the sun is cloudy then it will give more softness with less marked highlights and low lights.
Cameras have 3 main modes for measuring natural light. Other modes are starting to appear, but they are only variations of the 3 basic modes.
In some camera manufacturers, this measure is also called evaluative.
This measurement considers almost the entire scene to be photographed. This is an average of all the lights photographed. It is the most standard, efficient and common mode to use.
It is not suitable for very contrasted scenes. The photographed scene must be very evenly lit.
The Central Weighted Measurement
To this extent, it is a surface close to the center of the image that is valued. It is finer than the matrix measurement. It is to be used when the light is not evenly distributed over the entire image. The calculation of the measurement also considers around the predominant central surface. In wildlife photography, this interesting measure when a large animal is photographed while it occupies the center of the image. The coat, plumage or skin will be perfectly exposed. It should be noted that most cases offer the possibility of modifying the size of the central surface. This size is given in millimeters.
This is the most difficult measure to manage because the area analyzed is very small. The slightest shake can cause the scene to be over or under exposed. This measure is particularly suitable for birds with white plumage. It is enough to measure the light on the plumage to have details. The rest of the scene will be dark, but the bird will be perfectly exposed.
Most cameras today perform spot metering at the point of focus. A few years ago, this measurement was made in the center of the image.
A good mastery of natural light and essential to create creative and interesting photographs. Good management creates volumes and reliefs that will give a 3D effect to a photograph. But it takes time and experience to tame it and know how to use it wisely.
I wish you one day to know the emotion of meeting " the Light". After that moment, nothing will ever be the same again when you shoot.
The perspective produced by a camera is identical to that one produced by the human eye. This means that all the photographic elements have the same appearance in the photo as in the real scene.
But as you know, a lens is curved. It therefore produces a distortion of the straight lines. This is even more true with fisheye lenses that have an angle of 180 degrees.
The wide angles produce a false perspective. The lines are curved around the edges of the image. But the parallel lines give the impression of converging towards a fixed point located at infinity. These are definable points of view. This is called rectilinear perspective.
L’allitération est un effet très créatif en photo. Elle a surtout un rôle esthétique.
The height also gives an important perspective in a landscape scene, there are two dominant zones: the ground and the horizon.
The closer a photographic element is to the horizon, the more distant and smaller it will appear.
The closer an element is to the lens, the further away from the horizon, the larger it appears.
It is a simple technique that you can use to modulate the size of a shape in a photograph.
The Decrease of the Size
You are like all human beings. You are able to live experiences and memorize them. All the accumulation of these experiences allows you to keep the references of the size of the shapes and objects observed.
Take the concrete example of a photograph of a roe deer. In reality, the size at the withers of this animal is between 60 and 70 centimeters. When a photograph is taken very closely, the viewer has the impression that the size can be double. But the human eye automatically performs the correction because the brain calls on lived experience.
The size of all the familiar shapes in a photo makes it possible to establish a scale and give dimension to the scene photographed.
For example, you can play with the viewer by placing a small point of interest in the foreground and a larger point of interest in the background. The viewer will feel that the size of the primary subject is larger than the size of the second center of interest, even if in reality it is false. But the viewer will not be shocked by this difference because he will make the correction himself through his experience.
This is how you can create very interesting visual effects to create different photos.
I recommend to you to know the nature of the different perspectives and their impact on reading a photograph.
You will be able to create more creative, more dynamic and different images. You should not hesitate to use it.
But beware because sometimes the results produced can be contrary to the desired effect: your photos can become not readable.
Photography is like life. You must be able to show creative intelligence and balance your photographs.
Why and How: Using the Figures of Style in Nature Photography
Have you ever tried using zeugma or synecdoche in your nature photographs? I am sure yes. But you did not put words on these techniques.
These two techniques are only part of a fascinating world that I use to build my photographs: the figures of style.
In this article, I will give you the keys to use them to create your own photos.
An example of Zeugma I used to create a photograph.
Definition of a Figure of Style
A figure of style is a process that acts on the language and creates an effect of meaning or sound.
You can see that the definition of a style figure refers to spoken or written language. But photography is only a means of expression as I have already explained in several articles.
I will therefore transcribe the figures of style from a or written spoken language in the visual language that photography is.
Why Using Figures of Style in Photography?
The figures of style make it possible to catch the attention of the viewer. They also reinforce the meaning you want to give to a photograph and its aestheticism. The figures of style in photography have their roots in spoken or written language which is also called rhetoric.
In spoken or written language, an alliteration is the repetition of one or more consonants. For example, for “whom are his snakes whistling over your heads?". The letter ‘s’s is an alliteration. It has a rhythmic effect. It is also used to make names easy to remember: for example, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck.
In photography, the word has been preserved but to evoke a particular effect. It's the repetition of a particular space in a photo. This is the most common method. He creates visual rhymes that lead the photographer's gaze.
For example, it can be the shape of a rock if it is repeated in a photo.
Alliteration is a very creative effect in photography. It especially has an aesthetic role.
In spoken and written language, the antithesis consists in bringing together in the same statement two thoughts, two expressions, two words to emphasize a strong contrast. For example, Voltaire wrote "Sad lover of the dead, she hates the living". Both expressions are antagonistic.
Antithesis is the opposition of elements in a photo. For example, black and white are two opposite colors.
Opposition can also come from tonalities. When in a photo of nature, we create strong contrasts to highlight certain forms, we play on effects of antithesis.
This technique should be used moderately and wisely. It is not because there is a strong tonal contrast in a photo that it necessarily makes it fit into a frame. Antithesis is a reinforcing element. That is, the process is not particularly aesthetic, but it improves the reading of a photograph.
In spoken or written language, the ellipse is a figure of style that consists of omitting one or more elements in principle necessary for understanding the text, to produce a shortening effect. It forces the receiver to mentally restore what the author ignores. For example, Eugene Delacroix wrote " I do not advance so much. The time does": the word advance is omitted in the second part of the sentence.
In photography the ellipse is also called out of scope. A photographic element is absent from a photograph. Yet the lines converge to this point that the viewer cannot see.
It is a technique that is used a lot in animal photography. An animal looks in one direction, but we do not see what it looks.
In spoken or written language, a metaphor is a process of giving a word a meaning that is given to another by playing on similarities or analogies.
For example, in underwater photography, a brain coral can be seen as the brain of a human being.
In spoken or written language, hyperbola is a figure of speech that exaggerates the expression of an idea or a reality in order to highlight it. Most often it has a negative or unpleasant connotation.
In photography, hyperbola is a process that exaggerates the size of forms or photographic elements. For this, just use a wide-angle lens and get close to an element. It becomes huge then. We increase its size.
In spoken or written language, synecdoche is a particular figure for which the relation between the given term and the term evoked constitutes an inclusion or a material or conceptual dependence. As examples we can quote " the bike has punctured «: in truth it is the inner tube of a wheel. " The train spits black smoke «: it is the chimney of the train which is evoked.
In photography, synecdoche is taking part of the scene, framing it to express a whole.
The best example is that of the eye of an animal. The viewer will immediately identify the eye and the animal to which it belongs. The eye is used to suggest the whole animal.
In spoken or written language an inversion is a deliberate change in the natural order of words.
In photography, inversion is changing the normal order of the photographic elements. For example, the sky becomes the earth.
This is a form of ellipse. The zeugma is a figure of speech to be linked by the syntax of two words or groups of words of which only one approaches logically to the verb. The two syntactically related words may be incompatible because one is abstract and the other concrete ("a book full of charm and drawings", "he asked a question and his hat") or because they appeal to different meanings of the verb: "Remember this date and a place on the train". The best-known example is given by Victor Hugo: "Dressed in candid probity and white linen."
In photography, the zeugma consists of superimposing multiple points of life. This is the technique of overprinting.
Just like lines or shapes, figures of speech are elements to know to create interesting photographs that convey messages or emotions. They make it possible to direct the gaze to reinforce the reading of an image.
Lines are essential elements in nature photography. They have multiple goals. In this article, I will give you keys to use the different types of line that are available to you.
Horizontal lines on the surface of the water with warm tones create a soft and soothing photograph.
Definition of a Line
There are many definitions of the word line. The one that interests me the most is the following.
A line is a real or imaginary spell that separates two contiguous elements; intersection of two surfaces. For instance: the line of the horizon.
Why Using Lines in Nature Photography?
In nature photography, the lines are intended to direct the eye of the viewer towards the centers of interest.
The line and its management can have u no impact on the composition of your photographs.
It represents a path that allows the eyes to move in the image. It captivates the viewer's attention from your photos.
On the other hand, a line can influence mood and emotional perception. A line can divide, unify, accentuate certain parts of a composition. There are different types of lines. Each has a different impact.
The guideline is based on optical effects created in a photo.
It is also called the suggested line.
It is obtained by isolating a detail of the subject (coral for example). Graphic design becomes the subject. It is more cerebral. Abstraction needs the sensuality of texture to gain emotion. This is especially true in close-up photography.
It is not formalized on the photograph by a real line. It is suggested by photographic elements that give a direction that the eye will follow. It is the eye of the viewer that completes the missing elements. It is for this reason that we call it guide: it does not really exist but yet it directs towards a specific point of the photo.
For example, in a wildlife photography if animals are running in one direction, it is creating a guideline. The eye will automatically go in that direction. A row of trees oriented in a certain direction will create a guideline.
In nature photography, it is a technique that is widely used because we often find suggestive lines.
A guideline makes it possible to point out an interesting subject because it leads the look of a part towards another one of the image.
It can also go from the foreground to the background.
A guideline is most effective when it establishes a relationship between the line and the main focus of the scene.
Several guidelines can coexist in a photograph. The impact will be all the stronger.
The direction in which the red deer stag looks in this black and white photo is a strong guideline.
Anchor Points, Lines, Reading direction
A viewer often enters in an image through an anchor. This point was retained by the viewer according to his sensitivity.
Once the anchor is read, the viewer then walks along the indicators provided by the photographer: lines, shapes, masses. These indicators allow the overall understanding of the image.
Lines have a role in delaying playback of an image. As Westerners we read from left to right.
Lines and anchors allow you to delay this reading.
The Oblique Line
The oblique line is a line that can be material or not.
It can be oriented in any direction. It is used mainly to separate a photo into two equal parts or not.
It can also be used to direct the viewer's eye to a specific point. An oblique line is one that has the most value and impact.
The diagonal line is the one that occupies the most space in a photo because it goes from one corner to another.
It creates the right balance between the vertical and horizontal lines. In nature photography, it is often suggested by a movement or an animal attitude.
In underwater photography for example, it is a line that is very easy to create because you just have to switch the box to get it.
The space in the underwater world can be modified at will.
This is not true in terrestrial photography: the photographer must use natural lines while keeping his camera horizontal or vertical.
The diagonal is a powerful line. It suggests action, strength.
When two diagonals intersect, they give a very strong impact to a photograph because they are directed in different directions.
It gives energy to a picture. A diagonal that goes up makes you want to climb, to go higher. The diagonal bottom left up high right (main diagonal) is the most powerful for photographers.
The secondary diagonal that goes from the bottom to the top is weaker and encourages more meditation.
When in a photograph there is a horizontal line, a vertical line and a diagonal line, it is always the latter which prevails.
A diagonal can be used in a photograph to bring dynamism, movement.
The Horizontal Line
The horizontal line is the most natural to human vision.
It gives us a landmark.
It brings a notion of depth, calm and rest. It must be used in photographs that evoke calm, serenity.
A horizontal line in a photograph implies stability and tranquility. It can be used to convey the feeling of eternity or a stopped moment of time which is the essence of photography. It transmits a static atmosphere.
It can also be used to balance against the dynamism of a diagonal line.
It expresses the solidity, the anchoring. A horizon line placed low enough in the image makes it possible to create two distinct planes.
It allows to create plans in a photo. Each plan has its own color, its own tones.
A horizontal line can be real as a horizon or a natural form like the back of a vertical drop. In this case, its function is to separate two different natural environments. It allows to divide a photo into different parts.
She can also be like a guideline. I mean suggested by a natural phenomenon. But be careful because in this case, it has less impact than the actual line.
The vertical line is more powerful than the horizontal line. It brings a dimension of action and strength. It can also be real or director.
It encourages the eye to go from bottom to top and up and down to explore a photo. It is well suited to portrait format.
A vertical line transmits power, size, or height.
It can be perceived as rigid because it sets limits. It contributes to the two-dimensional sensation of the image. This is the opposite effect of the diagonal.
Curves and Spirals
A curve such as a spiral allows the viewer to travel in the picture while the rows divided into parts each with its own property. This allows highlighting hidden items.
Straight lines directly guide the eye and are more directive, stronger. The curves allow to be more evasive, more evocative.
Convergent lines convey depth, breadth and distance. They allow to show a world in three dimensions on a photo that is in two dimensions. Convergent lines well placed to direct the gaze towards a subject.
In nature photography, you can as example, two paths that converge towards a specific point of a photo. Clouds can also direct the gaze towards a point of convergence.
Framing and Lines
The vertical or horizontal framing will reinforce or oppose the direction of the lines. This phenomenon creates a tension in the image. A photographer must always think carefully about the types of lines that he introduces into a photo according to the framing, or it will give less impact to his construction.
I hope that this article will have convinced you that the lines have essential elements to invigorate your pictures to make them interesting.
They allow to divide, to separate but also to direct the gaze towards specific points of a photo.
Feel free to use them in your photographic creations.
Shapes can also be referred to as “optical surfaces”. They result from the combination of lines and angles. In nature photography, they can be real or implied.
In this article, I show you how to take advantage of using shapes to create interesting and creative photos.
The shape of the triangle between sailfish and sardines reinforces the reading of the image.
Definition of a Form
A shape exists as a being or object, both which possess lines, mass, contours, and often, a silhouette that we may struggle to recognize.
We can also define a shape by the way it materializes. We may talk about its appearance or the state in which it is presented.
Why Use Shapes in Nature Photography?
Geometric shapes are fundamental elements of a photograph. With the colors and tones, they are the elements which you really need.
As soon as we start to perceive a photograph as a set of geometric shapes, tones, and colors, we stop imagining it from our own detailed perspective and analyze its basic structure, or skeleton.
For example, a fish or an animal is no longer seen as a portrait but as a series of geometric shapes. You must add the emotional expressions, the texture of the fur, plumage, or scales, and play with the light to produce a quality picture.
The combination of different elements facilitates viewers’ reading and understanding of the image. You will add geometric shapes as elements to help guide the eyes of your audience.
Shapes structure your composition, guiding the gaze along the leading lines which channel towards the centers of interest.
Although you can elevate volume with shadows and lights, you still need the vitality of shapes.
You must learn to spot geometric shapes in a photograph, and frame them to convey your message.
Of course, geometric shapes can take on many forms, such as horizontal lines, vertical lines, squares, circles, and unspoken lines (as suggested off frame).
The triangle is a form that brings balance to a photograph. It is the strongest and most basic form.
The triangle is the shape that creates the most impact.
If the main focus of a photograph is a triangle, the viewer's attention will directly focus on it. It is a form that can be suggested through different points. One does not need to have a particular organization. Triangles do not need to be equilateral.
If none of the sides of a triangle is parallel to one of the edges of the photo, the photo evokes a sense of calmness.
If one of the sides of a triangle is parallel to one of the edges of the photo, it reinforces a feeling of direct solidity. It promotes movement from the base to the summit.
If the tip of a triangle is directed upwards, then this form suggests a rise in emotion.
The ascending triangle is a harmonious form that provides a sense of calm and balance. It is a form that evokes spirituality because the summit points to the sky.
Triangle shapes are numerous in nature. We may think of mountains when we see triangles in nature.
If the tip of a triangle is pointing downwards then this shape suggests an imbalance.
The descending triangle accelerates the movement of the eyes and gives an impression of insecurity.
This form strengthens balance and rigidity. It is hard to concretely find it in nature. It is easier to suggest it with several different elements.
The square is a very symmetrical form. It leaves a great amount of space around it.
It must always be combined with other forms.
Curves and Ovals
These shapes are special because they easily accept the centering of the main photographic elements and their radiation. They evoke softness and serenity. Like the square, a round form leaves much space around it.
The circle symbolizes infinity, sweetness, harmony. It gives the impression of a perfect balance.
A circle in a photograph is easy to notice. It needs to be visibly marked. It has a relaxing and pleasant effect.
A circle in a photograph is easy to notice. It needs to be well marked and visible. It has a relaxing and pleasant effect.
The rectangle is a rare form in nature, but it is very useful for subdividing a photo.
The horizontal corner recalls a peaceful atmosphere of rest. But it can also provide a feeling of heaviness and coldness.
The vertical rectangle expresses power, strength, and solidarity. It can be used to dramatize a composition.
The silhouette is a very powerful and aesthetic form. The silhouette of an unknown form is interesting and provocative. Its impact is much stronger than known forms. Silhouettes are very emotional.
My advice to you is to learn the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms available in nature. These forms will allow you to compose impactful and interesting scenes.
Why and How: Mastering Tonality in Nature Photography
You have certainly realized that you must master the concept of tonality in nature photography.
Skillfully managing tonality with a creative purpose can totally change the emotional interpretation of your photographs.
However, you should know that there is no standard tonality for an excellent nature photograph. Tonality depends on what you transmit or translate to your viewers. Thus, it changes often.
This photograph of a gelada sitting on a rock is an example of photography with a well-managed tonality.
Definitions of Different Tones
Before defining the tonality of a photograph in the next paragraph, I suggest you list the tones you want to know by heart. Indeed, tonality involves many tones for different effects.
In photography there are many tones. The following is a list of different non-exhaustive tones which I use most frequently.
The general tone. This is the dominant color of a photo.
The local tone. This is the proper color of a focus of a photo. You assign a tone to a particular part of the picture.
The clear tone and the dark tone. They are characterized by the brightness they emit.
The warm tone and the cold tone.The hotter the tone, the closer it resembles orange on the color wheel. The color wheel is an ordered representation of colors in graphic arts. The colors follow one another in the order of the rainbow, but in a circle. The “last” color on the wheel is thus affected by the first, in a transition from red to purple, through all the colors until it reaches red once again.
The neutral tone. The neutral tone. It is a tone like gray.
The gradient tone. Its brightness is increased while the liveliness decreases with the addition of white.
The folded tone. It is toned down by adding black.
The off tone. Its brightness contrasts with the neighboring diminished tones.
The pastel tone. Its vivacity is attenuated by white.
The deep tone. It is dark and saturated.
The tone on tone. It is an assembly of tones differing only in a small shade like a camaieu.
The flat tone. It is a colored surface in which the tone does not vary. It opposes the degraded tone or modeling. Modeling is a process that recreates volumes. In photography, we mainly use the obscure light technique.
Definition of Tonality
The tonality of a photograph is its visual appearance in terms of the distribution of tones and levels of gradation between them.
In this distribution we use the tones that I listed in the previous paragraph.
It is up to you to select the tones you want to apply to your photographs to express your emotions or convey your messages.
The different tones at your disposal are a creative palette that allow you to create interesting photographs.
Tones apply to specific parts of a photograph. The tonality is the general rendering of the photograph.
There are three main types of tone:
The dark tone: the photography is rather dark with low lights or dark colors. Low key black and white photos are dark toned photos.
The clear tone: the photography is rather clear with high lights or bright colors. High key photos are clear tone photos.
The neutral tone: the photography is neither dark nor clear. It is also called balanced tone.
There is no universal tone for an image, as it depends on what you want to convey. With one image, it is possible to present different meanings depending on which tone you select.
Digital photography exposure is the amount of light that enters the sensor.
A properly exposed photograph must accurately reflect the brightness levels of the scene.
A photograph is underexposed when the sensor does not receive enough light. The picture is too dark. The details in the low light are insufficient. In photography, it is said that the dark areas are clogged because they contain only pure black.
A photograph is overexposed when the sensor receives too much light. The picture is too bright Details in the highlights are lost. In photography, it is said that the light areas are burned because they contain only pure white.
A photograph must always be correctly exposed to the shot.
Sometimes it is not possible to have a correct exposure while shooting because the scene’s variations in brightness are great.
I advise you to manage the low lights to overexpose the highlights a little bit. Indeed, in RAW format, it will be easier for you to recover the details in the high-lights than in the low-lights. If you try to go back to the low light details, the software tends to generate noise in the image, and you will lose details.
I strongly advise to always have a correct exposure when the shooting. Do not worry about the tone. Exposure control is always done using the histogram available on all cameras.
Do not confuse exposure and tone.
The Impact of a Neutral Tonality on Shooting a Photograph
When a photo is exposed correctly, most often it has a neutral tone. It appears flat, lacking relief and character. The creative management of the tone will occur at the time of post processing on the computer. The development can darken areas to give a heavier tone or accentuate light areas to give a clearer tone.
Properly exposing a photograph for the shot allows for the widest possible tone range. This place is the special spot, for here it is possible to set up the ideal development.
It should be kept in mind that the tone reflects the visual aspect of a photograph.
Give Priority to RAW Format When Shooting
In nature photography, I advise you to always use the RAW format. This is the one that will allow you to develop the tones with the broadest spectrum.
The JPEG format is not recommended because it has fewer shades in blacks and whites than the RAW format.
The Interest of Tones in Photography
In nature photography and above all in the artistic field, portraits play an important role in the translation of the photographer's emotions as well as in the transmitted messages.
If you consider photography seriously, it is not a simple transfer of reality. It can evoke invisible elements like emotions. Colors and tones greatly help these transfers.
Dark photos bring contemplative, sad, and depressing feelings. Dark tones are used to convey heavy concepts.
Bright photos evoke feelings of carelessness, gaiety, and joy.
For example, many commercials use bright tones. Here’s a tip: watch some commercials on a product you wish to purchase. Notice how it is implied that by buying it, you will experience joy.
In practice, a scene with many shadows needs more light. Exposure times are longer than with a bright picture.
Very bright scenes require clouds to soften and diffuse light by reducing shadows. For example, I like shooting when it rains or when there is a mist to create clear tonal photographs.
Why and How: Mastering the Rhythm in Nature Photography
Is your passion for nature photography? Underwater, terrestrial, animal or landscape?
Have you ever thought about incorporating rhythm into your photographs? Rhythm is a creative technique I use to create my art prints. I use it to express emotions or convey messages in my collections.
In this article, I suggest that you focus on better understanding the rhythm to strengthen your images and create interesting photos.
This photograph of sand dunes in California's Death Valley is an example of rhythm in a photograph.
Why: Mastering the Photographic Rhythm?
In a nature photograph, the rhythm is an essential element.
By combining repetitions and pauses in the construction of image and composition, you will create a rhythm that attracts viewers.
I have learned that rhythm is an amazing way to build photos that have long-lasting impact.
It is not easy to create rhythmic photographs. You must be very resourceful and efficient to produce interesting results.
Definition of Rhythm
In photography, the rate can be defined by the order and the balance of work in proportion to the arrangement of components.
A simplified definition of rhythm consists in defining it as a regular and dynamic succession of photographic elements in nature.
The rhythm in photography strongly structures an image. It gives the image dynamic strength. Often the rhythm of a photo generates a movement towards an area that is not in the frame.
The rhythm may step a bit beyond the frame towards the viewer, who creates the non-visible components of the photo by piecing them together in his mind.
How to Use Photographic Rhythm
You may think like many photographers that architectural photography is the most creative path to incorporate rhythm. Indeed, human constructions such as buildings and walls lend tempo to a photo. Human constructions are often well organized, straight, and repetitive, creating a natural rhythm.
You have certainly noticed that in nature, it is more difficult to find rhythms because nothing is precisely right. The organic shapes are more random and elusive.
I believe that it takes great ingenuity to find rhythms in nature. Desert sand dunes are perfect examples of rhythmic photographs. If you choose a good point of view, you can capture order with beautiful proportions.
The surface of water waves also provides rhythms. Waves or wavelets are well-ordered repetitions. They harmoniously subdivide a composition.
The trees of a forest or a wood also constitute a very strong rhythm if they are of the same height or the same size. When the trunks are photographed, they strongly pull attention towards the center.
Some Examples of Photographs With Rhythm
This photograph of the Grand Canyon in Arizona is an example of a photograph with rhythm.
Black and white photograph of Zabriskie Point in the Valley of Death to illustrate the photographic rhythm.
Do Not Confuse Rhythm and Repetition
Many photographers confuse rhythm with graphic compositions based on pattern repetition. Although the use of the photographic pattern technique is a form of rhythm, it is only a subset of a more general concept.
Repetition is a graphic technique. Photographic rhythm is a visual approach that allows viewers to see a photograph differently.
The Qualities of Rhythm
If you want to create photographs with rhythms, remember to always order them. This makes the reading much easier because it is predictable.
Rhythm with a regular interval is pleasant to read, as its decryption is very easy.
Rhythm creates a pleasant sensation in the eyes of a viewer.
Photographic rhythm is viewed as a musical tempo. It is a repetition of objects within a scene.
Colors transmit rhythm. The eyes rest on one color after another. While some viewers may focus on one spot in the image, others may study the entire image.
Horizontal and vertical lines can produce rhythm by suggesting movement.
Shapes, textures, and graphics can create rhythm.
Remember that rhythm represents movement in the viewers’ eyes. The viewer analyzes the arrangement of the photographic elements in the scene. The predictability of the rhythm is achieved when the elements are well arranged in the composition.
Curves are the geometric shapes that have the greatest impact on rhythm. They often evoke a feeling of grace, beauty, and flexibility.
Rhythms flow in progressive stages with a gradual increase in size. The best example is the concentric circles around an object when it strikes the surface of the water.
Progressive rhythm corresponds to a constant change in the repeating pattern. The size may expand or decrease.
Rhythm alternation is created by the repetition of two or more elements that are used interchangeably.
Why and How: Photographing the Bugle of Deer in Black and White
You may have just finished a photo project dedicated to deer slab. This is a highly photographed autumn event for many European wildlife photographers.
Have you tried to create a series of black and white deer photographs?
In this article, I will give you reasons for exploring this artistic creative technique.
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 Deer
Like many wildlife photographers, you may think that the bugle of deer must be photographed in a naturalistic way. Indeed, it is an animal behavior that takes place when the foliage is colored in 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 illuminate this extraordinary event.
However, hundreds of thousands of color photographs have already been made. Why try to redo what has already been done?
Why not try black and white? Why not step out of your comfort zone and try a new photographic approach?
Indeed, the advantages of black and white photography are numerous:
It allows you to immediately focus viewers’ interests to the subject of the scene.
Black and white allows you to deliver messages in a direct manner. Your viewer is not distracted by the mesmerizing effects of color, rather he is immediately drawn to your creative technique of black and white.
Black and white allows you to return to the essential values of photography. You must manage your contrast, shapes, and textures. You must pay close attention to details.
Black and white is timeless. Color photographs are more subject to modern trends. When we look at color photos, we are always able to locate the subject and grasp the purpose after spending time studying details. This is not always the case with the black and white photo.
From this list of advantages, you can see that the bugle of the stag deer is shown in black and white.
The Advantages of Photographing the Bugle of Deer in Black and White
Besides its pure and creative technique, photographing in black and white can reveal attitudes and behaviors of the stag deer that might be overlooked if the same image was shot in color. When black and white is used, details and expressions are more noticeable.
A stag deer has its winter coat, which is darker and thicker. In the black and white photographs, the textures are silkier.
The antlers are dry unlike the 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. The form of the stag deer is best suited for black and white.
During the rut of the deer, you can watch the deer fight for power over a herd. These fights always take place in meadows, where the scenery is lighter than in the forest or the woods.
It is possible to create more refined photographs by strongly highlighting the combatants. The fights are perfect for black and white.
You can also photograph deer bugling. The image of the deer bellowing with tremendous force are images that have many connotations. If you have chosen your blind or if you have made a near approach, you can take close-up shots of this majestic scene.
You may even have the chance to see the drip, which is a small hole under the eyes containing a gland that allows him to mark his territory during the rut.
Likewise, hair on the throat is more developed at this time of the year. It is thickly distributed with a darker color. It is the part of the body that accentuates a powerful effect on the deer.
In black and white, the body of the stag deer can be well 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 is called a herd.
In black and white, these scenes are interesting because you can intricately display the beauties of the coats. You can also accentuate the size of the stags compared to the does.
Advantages to Photographing Stag Deer During the Bugle
Photographing stag deer during the bugle has several advantages:
You can easily guide yourself through the nature whether it is in the meadows or the woods, listening for the sounds of the slab. Just listen to where the animals are. The slab is a very hoarse and powerful scream. You can hear it from hundreds of feet away.
Usually, it is difficult to locate stag deer by ear. They are silent and calm animals. To find them, you must know the flow of their habits.
If you do not hear stag bugling, you just need to spot fruit trees such as oaks and wild apple trees. The food is abundant, easy to find on the ground, and is more appetizing than the grass of the meadows. By locating these trees and setting up a suitable blind, you will soon have many chances to capture 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 preoccupied with 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 to Photograph the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White?
As I described in this article, there are three methods to photograph the bugle of the deer:
Using a blind.
Approaching by crawling on the ground.
To make interesting and creative black-and-white photos during the bugle, I recommend that you explore some rather unobstructed areas where there is less bushy foliage so that your images will emphasize the beauty and majesty of animals.
Avoid photographing in the undergrowth of forests because these places rarely produce clean images. Tree trunks or branches can become disruptive elements that may attract the attention of viewers away from the subject. Instead, choose simple and uncluttered scenes such as meadows or clearings. Try to isolate your animals. Your black and white photos will have more impact.
If you have never tried photographing with a morning blind, I recommend that you step out of your comfort zone and try using it. Before the day of shooting, explore your region and search for a path or clearing that is free from unwanted animal messes or uneven terrain. Prepare your blind with a tent. On the day of shooting, be prepared one hour before sunrise. Since you have spotted your corner before, you will have no problem moving in the dark. A group of stags or a herd may detect you, but they will not be able to see that you are human in the darkness.
Once you are positioned in your blind you must wait for the perfect moment, one which you will never forget. When the sun begins to rise, you may spot a herd or a stag. Wait a bit before shooting your first pictures. Take time to immerse yourself in the scene. I guarantee that it will be an extraordinary experience.
Step out of your comfort zone. Dare to paint with black and white in your canvas of photographing the bugle of the deer. You will be surprised by its effect on your creations. Remember to choose scenes that respect the spirit of black and white. Allow the power of your imagination to spark new ideas. Get off the beaten track. Embrace the technique of black and white.
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 discovered that you listen to the world around you as if you were an actor in a movie scene, or a figure captured in a photograph.
You may analyze each photographic element to decide if it is balanced with harmonious and unique compositions or if it repeats the works of others.
This quality of symphony with the outside world is, in my opinion, an essential quality of a professional photographer. It is often called "measuring the temperature" of the world around you.
Quality 29: "Knowing How to Judge Your Own Photos"
A good photographer understands the importance of analyzing and judging images.
I often meet photographers who strive to share their opinions on the photos of others. When I ask them about their own photographs, they are unable to complete a similar analysis.
Nevertheless, this is an essential quality. You must be able to analyze an image immediately after it was taken. You should be able to analyze the composition, the framing, and the impact of the photo on the camera screen and on the computer.
In performing a deep, objective, and uncompromising analysis, you will be able to improve your vision and signature in your next photo session. You will have a more structured perspective when deciding which images to keep and which images to remove when formulating a series with a focused meaning.
By developing this quality, you will save a lot of time in the field. Indeed, you will be able to quickly choose and set up each photographic element in your scene so that it perfectly transmits your messages and emotions.
Quality 30: "Developing Your Sense of Observation"
A good photographer must have a keen sense of observation. Living in with empathy is certainly a necessity for any individual, but it is not enough for a photographer.
You must be able to observe everything that is happening around you so that you can truly seize the decisive moment that is so dearly mentioned by Cartier-Bresson.
This is commonly known as the “photographer's eye”.
The “photographer’s eye” is the ability to quickly analyze a scene and identify key photographic elements which intricately support the point of view, composition, and framing.
You may already have this innate ability, just like many other photographers. However, I am convinced that this photographer’s eye can be developed by anyone who has a desire for it, so long as they adhere to consistent work.
This is how some photographers can still create exceptional photos even if they use a medium-range camera.
Quality 31: "When Your Collections Do Not Meet the Desired Audience"
A good photographer succeeds in creating collections of photographs that have impact, meaning, and consistency.
However, like all human beings, the photographer is fallible. Sometimes you may create collections of photos that do not meet your desired audience.
These are constructive failures that are wonderful opportunities for growth. The best way to learn may be from examining a failure. To rise again, you should analyze the reasons, correct any mistakes, and rebound by beginning new collections.
To create a collection of photos, it might be interesting to approach a new photographic style. As this approach is certainly avant-garde, it might be difficult for a viewer to understand what has been created. Nevertheless, the collection may simply lack interest.
A good photographer never feels sorry for himself. He must keep moving to explore new ideas and venture further into new ways of expression through photography.
Quality 32: "Striving to Be Unconventional"
If you want to be a good photographer, you must be unconventional.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is not enough. Seeking inspiration in new directions is not enough.
New sources of inspiration do not equate with copying and creating what is fashionable.
To be unconventional, you must have solid photographic foundations and master your technique perfectly. Then you can create digressions, thus changing the rules and creating aesthetic images with a deeper meaning.
You must always think differently. You must escape conventions and habitual routine. You must not fall back onto what has already been done in photography.
Never be afraid to fall. Failure naturally follows when one initially explores new concepts.
Quality 33: "Relying on a Rigorous Methodology"
If you want to become a good photographer, you must adopt a rigorous methodology that can be used in the field or during the development of your images.
The methodology allows you to limit wasted time and unnecessary questions, allowing you to focus during critical moments.
The methodology allows you to define your photographic approach and to be guided by your creativity goals.
For example, in wildlife photography, it is essential to have a list of all your accessories for shooting on the field. In landscape photography, if you take long-exposure photographs, you may need an application or a chart to calculate the correct exposure speed based on your filter.
During our organized photo workshops, I usually repeat that the more methodical one is, the more creative one is.
Indeed, if your time is optimized, you are less likely to lose it. All your time spent will benefit your creativity.
To become a good photographer, you must enrich yourself with experiences. Experience allows you to easily adapt to new situations.
It is in 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 photographic projects. By anticipating events, you can stay focused on the essentials without having to deal with unnecessary details.
Quality 35: "Grasping the Main Photographic Element"
A good photographer can 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, your main subject is important, but you should focus on the emotions or messages you want to convey through it.
This exhaustive list of qualities that a good photographer must possess may seem long and difficult to grasp. Nevertheless, it works. You must simply devote some time to assimilating each of these qualities.
If I had to summarize in a few words what is most important, I would say this:
A good photographer has a photographic (and artistic) approach that is clearly and perfectly defined. He has a true photographic consciousness. He knows how to create a coherent and consistent collections of photographs that timelessly speaks the photographic language. He knows how to tell stories that will be remembered by his viewers.
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 to persevere.
If you want to create interesting photographs, you must know that it is very rare to capture them in your first session. In landscape photography, the lighting may cause you to wait a long time.
In wildlife photography, animal attitudes can create delays in production that may 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 create the picture I dreamed. Even if I try to build it, it is likely that the light is missing.
Patience and perseverance are also important to understand, as they enable the photographer to capture the soul of a scene. To create a good photo, you must be in communion with all the elements surrounding you. You must immerse yourself in the atmosphere. If you stay neutral, you will never achieve the photos you want.
You are a good photographer when you do not wait until you are on the field to create your photos.
You must be mentally prepared before shooting and after development.
It is certain that some of your photos are taken with luck, in fact, luck is a necessary factor to create interesting photos. You must search for it.
Although luck is necessary, it should not control your photographic process. You must always know exactly what you are looking for when you wish create photos. If you do not know, once you are on the field, it will be too late. The beautiful lights will pass quickly. The extraordinary animal attitudes will disappear before you have realized how you wish to portray them.
On the field, you will face unforeseen difficult 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 solutions to problems that have recently arisen. Preparation allows you to maintain efficiency.
Quality 25: "Understanding Your Equipment Perfectly"
You are a good photographer if you have perfectly mastered your photographic equipment.
Your camera should not be a secret to you. You must master all the settings and understand their impacts on your photographs. For example, you need to know the impact of aperture or speed on specific photos. You must know how to use the level and how to check if the area of sharpness has enough width.
If you are struggling with choosing your camera settings, you will waste time when you are finally in the field. The lights or the animal attitudes will have disappeared by the time you find a solution.
Simply knowing how your camera works is not enough to be successful. In landscape photography, knowing how to use a tripod, a remote trigger, and graduated filters is essential. In wildlife photography, mastering a gimbal head and using a cloth photo blind is essential.
Each photographic discipline has its own equipment. You must master the equipment before capturing your photos in the field.
You must always use equipment adjusted for your specific needs. For example, if you practice underwater photography, you should not need to use a 70-200mm lens. If you practice European wildlife photography, a 400mm lens is a necessity.
In conclusion, 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 in learning from their mistakes.
Quality 26: "Technique Is Only the Means of Expression"
Knowing how to use your equipment and photographic techniques is necessary to create interesting photos.
Knowing and mastering the techniques of composition, framing, the theory of photographic elements, and the theory of masses is not enough.
Technique is only a way for you to express yourself.
You must master technique, but your creativity depends on yourself. Your imagination, definition of a clear artistic approach, curiosity, and desire to express yourself with photographic language are elements that will allow you to create interesting photos.
For years, while I animated nature photography workshops, I noticed that many photographers believed that an expensive and good quality camera was the only essential item needed to create photos. They thought that it was enough to look through the viewfinder, and that the camera would do the work for them. This was a terrible mistake. A camera is only hardware. Without a brain to direct it, nothing extraordinary will happen.
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