Taking Your Own Photos


Hi Folks,

Now that  the summer is here and you are either traveling or gardening you  may find that you want to take photos of those amazing places you are visiting or your lush gardens.  This is a good thing,  so I am going to repeat some information I sent out over a year ago along with some new information that should help you take better photos.

When using a photo I have a stock saying  “what may be a good photo may not make a good painting”.   A good photo needs to have all the same components as the ones needed in a great painting.   It needs to have:  a balanced composition,  3 focal points, good colour and tone.

Most of you now use digital cameras so you can review your last shot to either delete it and/ or see how you can change or improve it. Here are some suggestions on taking better photographs:

  1. Pick a theme
  2. Decide on a specific day and time, so you have nothing else to think about or do
  3. Always be on the look out for new places or things of interest
  4. When taking your photo find the focal point or point of interest and zoom in to it
  5. Preview you photo to see if your eye moves around to points of interest naturally. There should a flow between to the points of interest – no more than 3
  6. Never centre your main object
  7. Once you have decided on your main focal point move your camera a little to the right or left or up or down to see other possibilities /ideas
  8. Bracket your shots – taking 3 – 4 in slightly different angles
  9. Think outside the box i.e.  kneel or go to higher ground
  10. Take your time – so it may be best to go out alone
  11. Keep it simple
  12. Take your time and for still life set the stage, eliminate unwanted objects and consider the light you want to use i.e. natural, evening , morning, back lit etc.

If you find a developed image contains too much  detail or ‘information’,  you can simply crop into the image by placing some white paper over the areas you want to block out  and you will be delighted by what you see.

Editing is different in that it is not cropping but simply eliminating some of the detail. i.e. you don’t need to paint all the trees or branches or people that are in the photo.

Then when you are almost finished your painting and you find yourself nit picking over details this is probably the time when you should stop painting and stop comparing your painting to the photo.  Stand back, put your photo away and look at your painting only and see if you like it. You probably will!

Remember if doing a commission NEVER let the client compare the photo to your rendering as they will only start to see how it differs and even if they love your work they will want you to change it.

Happy Painting



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