How to Take Extraordinary Photos by Thinking Creatively - Digital Photography School
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How to Take Extraordinary Photos by Thinking Creatively

The creativity in your photographs is what will make your imagery stand out. Most of us, if we commit the time, can technically master the craft of photography. Capturing a compelling image can be much more difficult especially when you are excited, experiencing something for the first time, and are visually overloaded.

You begin pointing and shooting at everything you see. You arrive home, look at your photographs, and see that you have captured extraordinary subjects or a beautiful location, but the images are somewhat mediocre. Taking an extraordinary photograph of and extraordinary subject is what you want to strive for.

I want to share with you a few tips that can quickly help elevate the creativity in your photography and help you to focus on the artistic side of photography; without the creative process, you are really only turning dials and pushing buttons.

Portraits

Thinking creativelyThe eyes are the windows to the soul. If you are going to place your subject in the center, get close, fill the frame and deeply connect with your subject.
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Thinking creatively 1

A more interesting portrait composition is to place your subject off center, looking into the frame at a slight angle, with a blurred out or clean background.

Thinking creatively 2

Now up your game and add layers of impact by adding a simple, but beautiful background.

Thinking creatively 3

Take it one step further by adding a second person to draw the viewer more deeply into the frame.

Drawing the Eye

Thinking creatively 4

One of the basic rules of composition is leading lines, but if there is more than one, it can be more effective in keeping the viewer in the photograph longer. In this image there is a leading line from the bottom right to the top left and another one that leads the viewer back across the photograph.

Thinking creatively 5

Using layers of impact makes for a very powerful image. When photographing people I love to use a wide-angle lens, getting up close to my main subject with something interesting in the background to draw the view into the photograph. Here my main subjects are interesting, positioned in front of a beautiful background along the Omo River that curves and leads to the women in the distance, creating layers of impact and depth in the image.

Thinking creatively 6

I love using selective focus to draw the viewer’s eye exactly were I want it. This usually works best with repeating patterns and groups of items such as: spices or vegetables, crafts at a local market, flowers in a field or a herd of animals, as a few examples.

Change your Perspective

Thinking creatively 7

Being at eye level with your subject makes for a more dynamic image. So, if your subject is down on the ground, hit the dirt and get dirty. Picture in your mind how this photograph would look if you stood and shot down on these subjects. This angle makes the viewer feel as though they are there.

Thinking creatively 8

Most people would have just taken this photograph from the shore with a zoom lens but I wanted something more powerful. I planned to be in this area during the dry season, suffering in 110+ heat when the river would be at its lowest. I got into the river with my wide-angle lens and photographed this at eye level with the canoe. There were a lot of challenges, watching out for crocs was one of them, and although I did not get the photograph I had envisioned, I knew I and a unique perspective.

Thinking creatively 9

Shoot from a different angle. Getting lower than your subject adds drama and power. The opposite can work as well—get above your subject and shoot down on them.

Most importantly, it does not have to be new; it has to be you. We all see things differently and express them differently. This is the reason many of us picked up the camera, to seek out places for ourselves that we have already viewed through someone else’s eyes. We want to experience it for ourselves, capturing our own vision. The way you express your unique view through the lens is what makes it new and interesting.

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Piper Mackay is a full time wildlife and cultural documentary photographer whose work is based in Africa. She speaks at events throughout the US, teaches workshops in the US, and leads photo safaris and tours throughout Africa.

  • http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/ Mridula

    All I can say is lovely photographs and why do I think it can’t be repeated by following your guidelines?

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/

  • Barry E. Warren

    Nice Photo’s and some good tips

  • Lorene Lavora

    Have been a fan of your work since I first saw it on G+. Great column with the added bonus of your images!

  • Kim

    Uh, if I weren’t stuck in cow country I could get creative again. I’m over rolling hills and cows.. Im kinda stuck here.. You’re so blessed to be able to leave the country. I am painfully aware its not easy for any one who makes a living with their ability to be creative. Just ads to the pressure of always being on. What I want to know is how to gratefully say no to repeat bad clients and how to get people to pay up when they don’t. All due respect, but this article his the same article just different pictures. Alot of folks know HOW to take a compelling foto,my problem is coming up with creative projects. I don’t have a lot of photographic resources and it’s maddening. I literally lose sleep over it. Photography is my life. And I feel like I’m losing it. Or, lost it. *Meh*

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Thank you Lorene Lavora :)

  • Kim

    I meant *gracefully* say no.
    *meh*x2!

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Mridula, I am not sure what you mean, but my biggest tip is to shoot what you love, what you are most passionate about. Don’t listen to any nay sayers….. Remember it does not have to be new, it has to be you!! Your vision of the world. Take some of these tips and try them when shooting what you love to shoot and see what happens.

  • Kim

    Edit *#2
    And new awesome fotos at that. :)

  • http://fotoblog-reiseberichte.de Jens

    Good article with usefull hints and ideas. Thinking creatively is the key to better photos. Another factor is time – don’t rush if you want to take good pictures.

  • Scottc

    Great photos and much appreciated tips!

    I’ve tried a few of these along the way….

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5283278934/

  • http://www.lourceyphoto.com Larry Lourcey

    Great tips. Of course, it looks like you had some great subjects to work with – which always helps too!

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Thank you everyone. Yes I did have great subjects but many times great subjects can create ordinary photographs of extraordinary subjects. So many times I see photographs of area’s like this and the photo’s are ok – because people get so excited about traveling to a place like this they just snap away with out giving much thought to the composition. These were some easy tips that can make a big difference.

  • http://www.omarmaulana.com/ Omar

    Nice tips, I just wish that someday, I have the opportunity to do projects like these. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jay

    Thanks, this a timely article for me – upcoming trip to Peru :).
    However , I have seen extraordinary photographs of everyday, close-to-home subjects. My main obstacle (to overcome) is getting out of the mental and physical comfort zones!

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Good Luck Jay!! Have a fantastic trip!

  • KSW

    Thank you for your wise tips with us. One key aspect you draw out — is that you are very active: In the water, on the ground, apparently kneeling down, above the subjects. I think this is an important point you make — creativity is very active. I love that part of this art.

  • Naz

    [[All I can say is lovely photographs and why do I think it can’t be repeated by following your guidelines?]]

    Because htere was no advice on how to use flash, what angle to use the flash at, whether or not flash was softened soemhow, whether or not to use reflectors i nthe situation, how to pose the subject, what elements to look for in a background for a great scene, what composition to use, how to use color or how to dodge and burn to direct the eye, etc etc etc- there was soem advice abotu gettign to different angles.

    There was advice abotu beign at eye4 level which is good advice also for wildlife photography- some of the the most compellign wildlife shots are at eye level-

    There was a bit of advice about using selective FOV and recommendation for hwich subjects to use it on- There was advice about including other elements i nthe photos, but no advice on where to position those other subjects for best impact (Henri Cartier Bresson was a precision positioner- using very specific geometry to place his subjects for maximum impact-)

    OP- if you do another article, can you give more specific tips? Things that you’ve foudn that really add impact to photos? Your tip abotu hte DOF tip was good- some liek myself knew shallow DOF lloks great when doen right, but don’t know how to do the shallow DOF right- what are soem htigns that really look good- you named a few- Do you find photos look better at eye level, or just below eye level slightly? This article was pretty good (with soem great photos) but I think another article beignm ore specific woudl help tremendously if it include specific advice on what you look for when deciding on a scene, where you place your subjects i na scene etc- a lot of us liek myself, also forget to really check out backgrounds to make sure no distracting elements are thetre- many of your photographs look like you went to great pains to make sure all the elements i nthe scene woudl work before snapping the photo- I thin htat is what the commenter I quoted was tryign to get at

  • Sarah

    Compelling photography-that profile shot is amazingly powerful, ESP as his face is serene, which is another point if difference. I thoroughly enjoyed this article – I think some of the other comments about asking for ‘ more’ info should read the first article sent on creativity and get out there and ‘try it’. Making mistakes is how we learn. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images and yr knowledge.

  • patty

    I really like this article and all the beautifully created photographs. I can’t say I specifically learned anything new from it, but it is always good to be reminded of how important these things are.

    I saw a comment above where the commenter says “.. if I weren’t stuck in cow country.” I don’t think it is where a photograph is taken but how a photographer takes it. I don’t usually have any people in my photographs… or animals for that matter. My photographic world consists of a small area within walking distance of my home… most of which is wooded. I guess the point I am making with all this, is if you get bored with your surroundings try looking at it from a different perspective. Maybe leave the camera behind for a while why you regenerate new eyes even. You might be surprised by what you see and what you end up with the next time you take your camera!

  • ian cross

    Lovely pictures from the Omo Valley. I was there in 1980 shooting pictures using slide transparencies. I must get around to digitising them.

  • Naz

    [[I think some of the other comments about asking for ‘ more’ info should read the first article sent on creativity and get out there and ‘try it]]

    I have to dissagree- that’s almsotl iek tellign soemone who knows nothign abotu a trade liek electrician to just jump in and begin messign with sires- without givign htem any direction to get them goign in the right direction- Folks can always benifit from sound advice and tips from those hwo have learned before them- Many many artists over they ears became great artists learnign very specific ‘rules’ of art from masters hwo knew their craft insude and out-

    Apprentices learn by watchign or hearing from masters- they learn much much more quickly than just by tryign to ‘discover’ everyhtign on their own without any guidance- I just picked up a book on wedding photography of all things- as I’m a wildlife shooter- but the tips in that book are amazing- I’ve only read a few pages of the book and already I’ve picked up some very very valuable tips that I msotl ikely woudl have never learned on my own no matter how many shots I took in a lifetime- when you don’t know WHAT to look for- it’s kind of hard to know what how, when to shoot something- The book I just bought shows you WHAT (Not yelling, just stressing key point) to look for, and HOW to see it-

    As the book rightly points out- to an amature, nature is chaos, and hwile they may over time learn to tame a bit of the chaos by trial and error- it comes much quicker when you have soemoen show you the HOW and WHAT- at least show soem good tips to get you started i nthe right direction- Niot many new photographers know to check check check backgrounds for distrations, nor do they know to place subjects IN RELATION to the main subject for greater impact- nor do they know that there definately are geomtrical placements that make photos more powerful as compared to photos that lack thsoe specific and deliberate placements of subjects-

    [[Making mistakes is how we learn]]

    Again I have to mostly dissagree- we learn by imitation- even from a baby- we learn by mimicking others- yes, we will learn some things on our own along the way by accident- however, we learn fastest, and more thoroughly by havign htsoe who know thigns teach htem to us- whether we take their sound advice or not is then up to us, but the lessons taught by htose who learned from others save us much time and aggravation and trouble in some cases- Like I said, I’ve alre4ady learned a number of things from the book I bought from reading only just a couple of pages which I may have never discovered by trial and error, and which will save me tons of time of spinnign my wheels gettign nowhere-

    There’s a LOT to photography- and there’s really no way to learn the myriad of things that go ionto a great photograph simpyl by trial and error because of all the complex aspects that go into making great photographs=-

    Like hte OP of htis article stated, almsot everyone woudl have snapped their photos from the shore- not even realizing that a much more powerful photo awaited them with a little bit of effort- perhaps soem of the folks snapping away onshore woudl eventually discover that perhaps more difficult positions make for more compelling photos- but I guaruntee that telling the group of folks this simple tip woudl help many get on their way toward takign better photos almsot immediately- along with other advice like makign your shots look purposeful by careful positioning and use of appropriate photo tools liek flash, reflectors etc, isntead of looking liek simple not well thought out snapshots, woudl go a very logn way toward helping most i nthat crowd leanr much quicker, and freeing htem up to experiementing more once they’ve discovered a few helpful tips that help boost hteir confidence too-

    It’s just m,y opinion- I thin k there is a TON of great advice that can immediuately help photographers improve their photography (and hte book I bought is proving htis right off the bat already) . The author touched on a few i nthis article, but there’s even more which are more specific and direct which will help even more-

    A simple thing like studyign gestalt theory and goign out and specifically looking for gestalt situations (IE: a triangle within a circle or folks standing in a spot that frames the subjects in a circular or square or rectangle ‘frame’ helps to immediately improve photos beyond chaotically ‘arranged’ snapshots.

    Henri Cartier Bresson’s photos are famous for a reason- the thigns he knew as a geometry master I can guaruntee the average person woudl never learn no matter how frequently they went out and just shot-

    I don’t mean to pick on your sentiments abotu hte issue- I just fundamentally dissagree with hte advice to go out and shoot and hope to learn soemwhere along hte line-

  • Naz

    looking thriouhg Piper’s photos on her site, I am noticing soem themes- where one subject is direcly itneracting with another- like hte woman pouring water on the othe4r person';s head- and this connection via the stream of water gives an immediate connectability quality between the two people- this is a powerful image for htis very reason- This is also soemthign I doubt I woudl have learned on my own (and ifnact was soemthign I had learned a bit abotu from anothe4r tutorial) –

    I see a lot of her photos tell a story of soem kind which is also another powerful photography technique- like the fellas sitting on bank with guns while unarmed folks stand i nthe background- This story is pretty involvign for the viewer who can only imagien why they are sitting htere on guard- Are they infact guardign htose unarmed folks, or have these men armed themselvesbecause these other folsk came into the scene?-

    Tipsl iek balancing negative space agaisnt active space and objects is another great tip that can immediately help out an aspiring photographer-

    Tips like balancing warm and cool can lead to very pleasing photos. Making contrast between frozen and liquid, hard agaisnt soft, bold agaisnt subdued- antoher great tip I’ve picked up somewhere throuhg an article or book was to look more actively for constrasts- dark and light- avoid situations where there is little contrast and the subject blends into background too much- actively seek out high contrast situation when appropriate- however, low contrast can also work very well for thingsl iek fog shots, dust shots, slightly lit trees agaisnt a low contrast mountain look nice-

  • Naz

    just onem ore quick point I’ll make, many of the photos by Piper and other professionals have a very specific unique to the phtoographer look to them, and they achieve these looks in very specific and deliberate ways- either htrough photo tools like flash, reflectors, diffusers etc etc etc- or through PP or even through a combo of both ,and htis is a big issue that seperates them from the myriad of photographer wanna be’s like myself- My photos have no consitancy, nothign that pulls them al together- nothign that makes them a cohesive whole- the looks of my pghotos are all over the place- from wildly contrasy to too subtle- Their’s are all very consitant-

  • Rajan Advani

    A very good tutorial well explained with with lovely photographs– Thanks a ton.

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Naz I will be happy to write a more detailed article but the point of this article was the simplistic way in which to easily elevate your photography. Only two pictures use off camera flash and could be just as beautiful if you had natural light. I will see if I can do a post where I used off camera flash and then did the same effect using golden light. All but two of these shoots were on the fly.. meaning I was there at the moment something was happening. With that said, I spend a lot of time in the Omo Valley and in Eastern Africa. I go back to the same places over and over again. That is how you develop a style and understanding of your subjects which is a huge advantage. Thank you for all your suggestions on how I can write a more detailed article in the future and I will see what I can do to break it down into a few articles covering the various subjects you mention.
    But remember, you want to have your own vision. It does not need to be new, but it needs to be you.

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Patty

    What a wonderful out look and exactly what you need to succeed in your photography and your own vision.

    Piper

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Naz after reading all your comments, you really make me smile and I am glad you enjoyed the images on my site. I have taken thousands of bad photographs. I have never had any formal training an had never even held a professional camera until 7 years ago.. Aperture.. what’s that.. I took a trip to Africa, bought a camera to take with me.. and life was forever changed. I too was all over the place with my photographs… I listen to others to diversify but Africa was in my heart and even though I have been there a least twice a year for the past 7 years, I also traveled to other places. I was told by a top photographer, explore of lights, that there was no market for images of Africa. Once I made the decision to follow my heart completely and shoot what I really loved and was passionate about, my photography elevated to a whole new level. I only started working with off camera flash just over a year ago. Until then, it was all natural light, except and occasional fill flash to lift shadows.

    I say go out and shoot what you love. Keep it simple at first. Come back and see if you covered some of the compositions I suggest without really having to think out it. Once you do that, then study flash, filters and lights.

    And thanks again for you comments as I am looking forward to writing more articles on specific subjects like selective focus, motion, flash etc.
    Piper

  • Roselyn

    Thanks a ton for your wonderful tips. I love photographing people but I still have a long way to go in the field of photography. Your tips would really help me a lot in improving my skill.

  • Robinhj

    Piper I get what you were trying to do here ie show how a few simple and easily achieved changes to viewpoint and composition can raise your pictures from simple records of what was there to stunning photos. Ignore the people who demand that you give them a magic formula in 200 words that will make their pictures as good as yours. If you try then they will back a week later complaining that it didn’t work for their own photos and bitching that your pictures are only good because you are somewhere exotic ; Oh too late, they already are :-)

  • http://www.pipermackayphotography.com Piper

    Robin

    Thanks for making smile before I turn in for a good night sleep :)

    Piper

  • http://www.facebook.com/ArunsThadathilPhotography Aruns thadathil

    Very nice

  • Tyke Beard

    Piper,

    Love the article, the insight and the photographs. My favorite piece of information that you imparted, however, is the following from one of your responses to this thread . . . “Remember it does not have to be new, it has to be you!!”.

    Thanks for the article!

    Tyke

  • patty

    I love what you have said about shooting what you are passionate about without any regards to what others might say!!! I know my own photographs are met with mixed feelings by others. Some, including my husband, don’t always like the type of shots I take, but I love creating them in my camera. It’s the act of creating what I see (or imagine) that is so enjoyable for me. Like you, I’ve had no formal sort of training… just tips and things I have learned from others like yourself who write these great articles and from a group on flickr. I’m not necessarily trying to win awards or recognition, but I do want to be able to express myself as best as I can and am looking forward to more articles from you. :)

  • Naz

    Robin- I wasn’t demanding anything- I’m sorry you felt as though I was attackign the OP- I most certainyl was not- I don’t think there’s anythign wrogn with asking for soem specific tips- if OP doesn’t want to give them then no problem, if she does, that’s great too- I pointed out in my posts several times that the OP did give good advice aqnd tips on certain issues- If you had soemthi9gn to say abotu my posts then why not address me specifically instead of putting words in my mouth while talking to the OP? I wasn’t askign for swoem majic formula, now was I expecting my photos would majically turn out great- that’s unfair to even suggest that that is what I was askign for- Infact, the reason I was askign for more specific tips was because I felt Piper’s photography is ifnact a step above a lot of photographers I’ve run across, and was wodnerign IF she’d share what it is that she looks for when conducting,constructing a shot- I was not in anty way ungtrateful for what was shared and again, I don’t think it was fair of you to suggest that in offhanded remarks to soemone else-

    Thanks

  • Naz

    th first poster asked why they felt they could not treproduce the shots- I simpyl answered why not- There are infact a myriad of reasons why not- I saw peopel jumping on the first poster, and wanted to try to explain why they probably couldn’t reproduce the shots instead of insultign that person in the third person-

    As to Kim- who is stuck in cow coutnry, and not findign inspiration, and who was also jumped on for her comments, I’m not sure why you insulted her isntead of tryign to offer advice? Patty was kidn enough to give soem suggestions-

    Kim, I’d liek to add to Pattyy’s suggestions – that photography is sometimes a ‘process of elimination’ and a
    ‘Process of tighter and tighter cropping to find the photos within the overall scene’- Checkign scenes recheckign, making sure distracting elements are removed fro mthe backgrounds, arrangign hte subjects in compellign compositions by changing positions etc- and then cropping in and concentrating on smaller and smaller slices of the scene looking for key elements like line, form, repeating patterns, contrasts, etc etc etc- trainign you mind to look for htese will help give you a new perspective and encourage you to try different shots- For isntance, let’s say a cathedral grabs your attention- the church as a whole might look ok, but when you crop in on the elegantly carved doors and windows, you get a more compellign shot, and when you crop in even fuirther to say the ornate carvings i nthe woodwork, you have another group of photos to take- even cropping in tighter to the stained glass for closeup abstracts gives you even another group of photos- arrangign hte waving glass within the frame to lead the eye aroudn hte photo- shooting in different light through the stained glass etc- The little changes in how we shoot can make a big difference and help respark the crerativity- I’d love to ttravel too- but am unable- so I fidn I have to shoot what is familiar to me and find areas in the familiar scenes that are unfamiliar to me – thigns I’vve passed many time,s but never noticed before-

    And just for the record Robin- there are idneed ‘majic formulas’ that can immediately move snapshots to another level- once you begin to learn them and utilize them in your photography- The book I just bought is givign soem very good advice that I would have never thought of when looking at scenes or subjects, and which will make an instant improvement and the author was kidn enough to share his experience with us by relating soem very practical tips and suggestiosn of what to look for, how to pose subjects within certain environments how to light them etc- and already I’m findign that my shots are improving- And again- I simpyl asked if the OP woudl share soem of hte things she looks for when composing a scene- simpel things, like where the light is in relation to subject, angle to shoot at to create tension- whatever- Tips liek htese can be a big help to many- Rick Sammon, wildlife photographer, has shared a lot of tips which have really helped. I wasn’t coming down o nthe OP for the tips she did give- she gave soem very practical advice- and I noted those tips- I was simply askign if she coudl be more specific- Not sure why that upset you so much?

  • http://www.pipermackayphotograph.com Piper

    Hi Everyone.

    Photography should be our passion first. If you are wanting to go pro and you are not so passionate about it that you would do it for free, you will have a tough time creating more compelling images than those that are. So with that said, everyone here is right in their own opinion, but remember this is to be fun and inspirational.

    All these comments have given me great idea’s for future articles that I think all of you will enjoy.

    My philosophy is that if one studies hard enough, any one can master the technical side of the craft, but without the creative side you are only pushing buttons and turning dials. The technical side will elevate your creative vision. If you simply copy what others are doing you will not be able to capture the compelling moments that they look for and connect to – unless of coarse you are doing non-life imagery- ie product, architecture, etc.

    There are so many resources on the technical side that I tend to discuss more on: the creative side, emotional side, connecting to your subject and connecting your audience to your subject. making the transition to pro – what that involves and the likes – branding, and the likes…..

    Rick Salmon is a great teacher!! I watch his video’s all the time as well as many others.
    Take the best that everyone has to offer and make it your own. That is what is so great about photography, everyone shares because they love it.

    Now go out and shoot and have a great time doing it.

    Piper

  • Naz

    hey- I didn’t mean to say rick was a better teacher, or that his videos were the end all be all- I just wanted to point out that I’m getting bits and pieces of tips from all over the place- his video was one where he gave a few tips- I didn’t mean to compare your article with his advice- as I learned thignsi n your article that I didn’t from ricks videos- I was simply tryign to make hte point that getting practical advice and askign for practical specific tips from others who arem ore experience photographers liek yourself shouldn’t have been an issue where other psoters felt that I was attackign the article- Robin seemed ot be quite offended by my posts for soem reason-

    [[All these comments have given me great idea’s for future articles that I think all of you will enjoy.]]

    I’m sure I speak for everyoen when I say that we look forward to future articles- your photography, as I said in a previous post- is what I concider to be very good- it’s very evident that you take your time and work a scene, and it shows- You have a great eye for gettign that ‘certain something’ that conveys the feel and atmosphere of a place and people-

    [[The technical side will elevate your creative vision]]

    That’s exactly the way I feel about it- I’ve always said that You have to know the rules first before you can break them adeptly and skillfully- knowing the technical side, and knowing it well frees you to be creative and skillful- knowing how to take hte photo technically allows experimentation to see how the technical can be improved upon- I’ve spun my wheels for 3 years just hoping that if I shot enough, I’d eventually ‘get there’ but the fact is, while my photos have improved soemwhat over htose three years- it was due to the fact that I’ve picked up tips here and htere that have helped my photos improve somewhat (I just have ot get away from PP’ing in photoshop- I come from a little bit of an art background, and the artist in me always wants to butcher the photo with post processing)

    Anyway- to those posters who took offense to what I said and who felt I was criticising the article, I was not- if it came across that way- I apologize- I didn’t mean to criticise a lack of specifics, I simpyl was pointing out to the first poster i nthe thread, Mridula, that the reason they probably couldn’t get their photos to look the same as thsoe above was that the author’s intent was not to explakin in detail how the photos were executed, but rather to give tips on how to get clsoe and personal with the subjects for am ore imemdiate feel isntead of theu sual distanced ffeel of typical photographs of peopel and places- and to give soem tips on what top look for, and how to vary viewpoints etc- all of which is good advice-

  • david

    Jeeeeeez Naz give it a rest will you you’re not going to learn the entire art of photography from a quick online tutorial, if that was possible everyone on earth would be a proffesional photographer!?! Ha ha I apologise if I got you wrong I gave up reading after your twelfth comment

    Anyway, some nice photos, thanks for sharing :)

  • Gail

    Great photos, wonderful article, tough audience.

  • http://dpsphotographyschool.com Donald Winters

    These are great shots,as i can not travel to other countries,but there are wonderful places here inthe US
    to shoot.it has gave me more depth on my shooting,it does not matter if it is same article but what one
    recieves from it.I shoot many things that grabs my attention and then I try to work with it to bring out its
    true beauty.I only year ago got back into Photography and cant put down my Nikon.

  • http://dpsphotographyschool.com Donald Winters

    Hey Piper whatever advice you give is great.Its the person behind the lense that makes the shot good or
    bad,So you can take them by the hand and show them but any two people will see that shot differently
    I listen to different interviews and advice from many Photographer and its all very good,yet when Im
    the one behind the lense I take the shot I see,many of my friends say my shots are really good so I
    believe that all the advice i recieve is great.So my advice to you is keep up the great work.

  • http://www.pipermackayphotograph.com Piper

    Thank you David, Gail, and Donald.

    Seeing other peoples work should inspire you and spark idea’s but I truly believe that it is how you are connecting to what you are photographing through your lens that will bring out compelling images.

    I am self taught and get lost in all the tech stuff. I generally focus on the creative end and then back into what I need to learn technically to create what I am envisioning. It was seeing another photographers work using off camera flash that inspired me to try it. Now I could not live without it. I took one class to make sure it was for me and before I made an investment in gear and then off I went creating and taking lots of photographs until I figured it out.

    Also look to other genre’s for inspiration- I photograph a lot of tribes and indigenous people so I constantly have a stack of Fashion magazines in front of me to see what is trending, what they are doing with lighting, etc….

    Happy Holidays everyone
    Piper

  • Naz

    [[Jeeeeeez Naz give it a rest will you you’re not going to learn the entire art of photography from a quick online tutorial,]]

    Never said I was- Not sure where you got the impression that thaty’s what I was askin for

    [[I apologise if I got you wrong]]

    If You’ll read my previous 2 posts- or even just the begining of them- You’ll understand that I wasn’t criticisng the OP but rather answerign hte quesitons of the first poster i nthis thread- You’ll also see I simply asked that in another thread if the OP could go into some specifics of the htoguht process behind the hsots, then htat would be great- if not- that’s fien too- It seems unfortunately that People got seriously bent out of shape over thigns I never said nor meant, or even intimated- I asked if the OP coudl give soem specifics because I fidn her photography top notch quality- and was askign if she’d mind sharing her experience with us- that’s all- I didn';t see anythign wrong with asking, but apprently soem folsk did- I even felt that askign was compl;imentary-

    [[I gave up reading after your twelfth comment]]

    Well that’s a shame, because in my 13’th post I revealed every last secret to photography ever known to man and woman- it’s the only photography advice anyoen wil lever need- Plus I gave isntructions on how to collect a free cool 2 million dollars- but if you don’t want ot read it, I udnerstand-

Some older comments

  • Naz

    December 12, 2012 08:57 am

    [[Jeeeeeez Naz give it a rest will you you’re not going to learn the entire art of photography from a quick online tutorial,]]

    Never said I was- Not sure where you got the impression that thaty's what I was askin for

    [[I apologise if I got you wrong]]

    If You'll read my previous 2 posts- or even just the begining of them- You'll understand that I wasn't criticisng the OP but rather answerign hte quesitons of the first poster i nthis thread- You'll also see I simply asked that in another thread if the OP could go into some specifics of the htoguht process behind the hsots, then htat would be great- if not- that's fien too- It seems unfortunately that People got seriously bent out of shape over thigns I never said nor meant, or even intimated- I asked if the OP coudl give soem specifics because I fidn her photography top notch quality- and was askign if she'd mind sharing her experience with us- that's all- I didn';t see anythign wrong with asking, but apprently soem folsk did- I even felt that askign was compl;imentary-

    [[I gave up reading after your twelfth comment]]

    Well that's a shame, because in my 13'th post I revealed every last secret to photography ever known to man and woman- it's the only photography advice anyoen wil lever need- Plus I gave isntructions on how to collect a free cool 2 million dollars- but if you don't want ot read it, I udnerstand-

  • Piper

    December 12, 2012 08:19 am

    Thank you David, Gail, and Donald.

    Seeing other peoples work should inspire you and spark idea's but I truly believe that it is how you are connecting to what you are photographing through your lens that will bring out compelling images.

    I am self taught and get lost in all the tech stuff. I generally focus on the creative end and then back into what I need to learn technically to create what I am envisioning. It was seeing another photographers work using off camera flash that inspired me to try it. Now I could not live without it. I took one class to make sure it was for me and before I made an investment in gear and then off I went creating and taking lots of photographs until I figured it out.

    Also look to other genre's for inspiration- I photograph a lot of tribes and indigenous people so I constantly have a stack of Fashion magazines in front of me to see what is trending, what they are doing with lighting, etc....

    Happy Holidays everyone
    Piper

  • Donald Winters

    December 10, 2012 11:41 pm

    Hey Piper whatever advice you give is great.Its the person behind the lense that makes the shot good or
    bad,So you can take them by the hand and show them but any two people will see that shot differently
    I listen to different interviews and advice from many Photographer and its all very good,yet when Im
    the one behind the lense I take the shot I see,many of my friends say my shots are really good so I
    believe that all the advice i recieve is great.So my advice to you is keep up the great work.

  • Donald Winters

    December 10, 2012 11:26 pm

    These are great shots,as i can not travel to other countries,but there are wonderful places here inthe US
    to shoot.it has gave me more depth on my shooting,it does not matter if it is same article but what one
    recieves from it.I shoot many things that grabs my attention and then I try to work with it to bring out its
    true beauty.I only year ago got back into Photography and cant put down my Nikon.

  • Gail

    December 10, 2012 01:25 pm

    Great photos, wonderful article, tough audience.

  • david

    December 10, 2012 05:18 am

    Jeeeeeez Naz give it a rest will you you're not going to learn the entire art of photography from a quick online tutorial, if that was possible everyone on earth would be a proffesional photographer!?! Ha ha I apologise if I got you wrong I gave up reading after your twelfth comment

    Anyway, some nice photos, thanks for sharing :)

  • Naz

    December 9, 2012 04:10 am

    hey- I didn't mean to say rick was a better teacher, or that his videos were the end all be all- I just wanted to point out that I'm getting bits and pieces of tips from all over the place- his video was one where he gave a few tips- I didn't mean to compare your article with his advice- as I learned thignsi n your article that I didn't from ricks videos- I was simply tryign to make hte point that getting practical advice and askign for practical specific tips from others who arem ore experience photographers liek yourself shouldn't have been an issue where other psoters felt that I was attackign the article- Robin seemed ot be quite offended by my posts for soem reason-

    [[All these comments have given me great idea’s for future articles that I think all of you will enjoy.]]

    I'm sure I speak for everyoen when I say that we look forward to future articles- your photography, as I said in a previous post- is what I concider to be very good- it's very evident that you take your time and work a scene, and it shows- You have a great eye for gettign that 'certain something' that conveys the feel and atmosphere of a place and people-

    [[The technical side will elevate your creative vision]]

    That's exactly the way I feel about it- I've always said that You have to know the rules first before you can break them adeptly and skillfully- knowing the technical side, and knowing it well frees you to be creative and skillful- knowing how to take hte photo technically allows experimentation to see how the technical can be improved upon- I've spun my wheels for 3 years just hoping that if I shot enough, I'd eventually 'get there' but the fact is, while my photos have improved soemwhat over htose three years- it was due to the fact that I've picked up tips here and htere that have helped my photos improve somewhat (I just have ot get away from PP'ing in photoshop- I come from a little bit of an art background, and the artist in me always wants to butcher the photo with post processing)

    Anyway- to those posters who took offense to what I said and who felt I was criticising the article, I was not- if it came across that way- I apologize- I didn't mean to criticise a lack of specifics, I simpyl was pointing out to the first poster i nthe thread, Mridula, that the reason they probably couldn't get their photos to look the same as thsoe above was that the author's intent was not to explakin in detail how the photos were executed, but rather to give tips on how to get clsoe and personal with the subjects for am ore imemdiate feel isntead of theu sual distanced ffeel of typical photographs of peopel and places- and to give soem tips on what top look for, and how to vary viewpoints etc- all of which is good advice-

  • Piper

    December 8, 2012 10:16 am

    Hi Everyone.

    Photography should be our passion first. If you are wanting to go pro and you are not so passionate about it that you would do it for free, you will have a tough time creating more compelling images than those that are. So with that said, everyone here is right in their own opinion, but remember this is to be fun and inspirational.

    All these comments have given me great idea's for future articles that I think all of you will enjoy.

    My philosophy is that if one studies hard enough, any one can master the technical side of the craft, but without the creative side you are only pushing buttons and turning dials. The technical side will elevate your creative vision. If you simply copy what others are doing you will not be able to capture the compelling moments that they look for and connect to - unless of coarse you are doing non-life imagery- ie product, architecture, etc.

    There are so many resources on the technical side that I tend to discuss more on: the creative side, emotional side, connecting to your subject and connecting your audience to your subject. making the transition to pro - what that involves and the likes - branding, and the likes.....

    Rick Salmon is a great teacher!! I watch his video's all the time as well as many others.
    Take the best that everyone has to offer and make it your own. That is what is so great about photography, everyone shares because they love it.

    Now go out and shoot and have a great time doing it.

    Piper

  • Naz

    December 8, 2012 09:16 am

    th first poster asked why they felt they could not treproduce the shots- I simpyl answered why not- There are infact a myriad of reasons why not- I saw peopel jumping on the first poster, and wanted to try to explain why they probably couldn't reproduce the shots instead of insultign that person in the third person-

    As to Kim- who is stuck in cow coutnry, and not findign inspiration, and who was also jumped on for her comments, I'm not sure why you insulted her isntead of tryign to offer advice? Patty was kidn enough to give soem suggestions-

    Kim, I'd liek to add to Pattyy's suggestions - that photography is sometimes a 'process of elimination' and a
    'Process of tighter and tighter cropping to find the photos within the overall scene'- Checkign scenes recheckign, making sure distracting elements are removed fro mthe backgrounds, arrangign hte subjects in compellign compositions by changing positions etc- and then cropping in and concentrating on smaller and smaller slices of the scene looking for key elements like line, form, repeating patterns, contrasts, etc etc etc- trainign you mind to look for htese will help give you a new perspective and encourage you to try different shots- For isntance, let's say a cathedral grabs your attention- the church as a whole might look ok, but when you crop in on the elegantly carved doors and windows, you get a more compellign shot, and when you crop in even fuirther to say the ornate carvings i nthe woodwork, you have another group of photos to take- even cropping in tighter to the stained glass for closeup abstracts gives you even another group of photos- arrangign hte waving glass within the frame to lead the eye aroudn hte photo- shooting in different light through the stained glass etc- The little changes in how we shoot can make a big difference and help respark the crerativity- I'd love to ttravel too- but am unable- so I fidn I have to shoot what is familiar to me and find areas in the familiar scenes that are unfamiliar to me - thigns I'vve passed many time,s but never noticed before-

    And just for the record Robin- there are idneed 'majic formulas' that can immediately move snapshots to another level- once you begin to learn them and utilize them in your photography- The book I just bought is givign soem very good advice that I would have never thought of when looking at scenes or subjects, and which will make an instant improvement and the author was kidn enough to share his experience with us by relating soem very practical tips and suggestiosn of what to look for, how to pose subjects within certain environments how to light them etc- and already I'm findign that my shots are improving- And again- I simpyl asked if the OP woudl share soem of hte things she looks for when composing a scene- simpel things, like where the light is in relation to subject, angle to shoot at to create tension- whatever- Tips liek htese can be a big help to many- Rick Sammon, wildlife photographer, has shared a lot of tips which have really helped. I wasn't coming down o nthe OP for the tips she did give- she gave soem very practical advice- and I noted those tips- I was simply askign if she coudl be more specific- Not sure why that upset you so much?

  • Naz

    December 8, 2012 08:52 am

    Robin- I wasn't demanding anything- I'm sorry you felt as though I was attackign the OP- I most certainyl was not- I don't think there's anythign wrogn with asking for soem specific tips- if OP doesn't want to give them then no problem, if she does, that's great too- I pointed out in my posts several times that the OP did give good advice aqnd tips on certain issues- If you had soemthi9gn to say abotu my posts then why not address me specifically instead of putting words in my mouth while talking to the OP? I wasn't askign for swoem majic formula, now was I expecting my photos would majically turn out great- that's unfair to even suggest that that is what I was askign for- Infact, the reason I was askign for more specific tips was because I felt Piper's photography is ifnact a step above a lot of photographers I've run across, and was wodnerign IF she'd share what it is that she looks for when conducting,constructing a shot- I was not in anty way ungtrateful for what was shared and again, I don't think it was fair of you to suggest that in offhanded remarks to soemone else-

    Thanks

  • patty

    December 8, 2012 03:24 am

    I love what you have said about shooting what you are passionate about without any regards to what others might say!!! I know my own photographs are met with mixed feelings by others. Some, including my husband, don't always like the type of shots I take, but I love creating them in my camera. It's the act of creating what I see (or imagine) that is so enjoyable for me. Like you, I've had no formal sort of training… just tips and things I have learned from others like yourself who write these great articles and from a group on flickr. I'm not necessarily trying to win awards or recognition, but I do want to be able to express myself as best as I can and am looking forward to more articles from you. :)

  • Tyke Beard

    December 8, 2012 12:31 am

    Piper,

    Love the article, the insight and the photographs. My favorite piece of information that you imparted, however, is the following from one of your responses to this thread . . . "Remember it does not have to be new, it has to be you!!".

    Thanks for the article!

    Tyke

  • Aruns thadathil

    December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

    Very nice

  • Piper

    December 7, 2012 06:22 pm

    Robin

    Thanks for making smile before I turn in for a good night sleep :)

    Piper

  • Robinhj

    December 7, 2012 06:20 pm

    Piper I get what you were trying to do here ie show how a few simple and easily achieved changes to viewpoint and composition can raise your pictures from simple records of what was there to stunning photos. Ignore the people who demand that you give them a magic formula in 200 words that will make their pictures as good as yours. If you try then they will back a week later complaining that it didn't work for their own photos and bitching that your pictures are only good because you are somewhere exotic ; Oh too late, they already are :-)

  • Roselyn

    December 7, 2012 04:47 pm

    Thanks a ton for your wonderful tips. I love photographing people but I still have a long way to go in the field of photography. Your tips would really help me a lot in improving my skill.

  • Piper

    December 7, 2012 04:45 pm

    Naz after reading all your comments, you really make me smile and I am glad you enjoyed the images on my site. I have taken thousands of bad photographs. I have never had any formal training an had never even held a professional camera until 7 years ago.. Aperture.. what's that.. I took a trip to Africa, bought a camera to take with me.. and life was forever changed. I too was all over the place with my photographs... I listen to others to diversify but Africa was in my heart and even though I have been there a least twice a year for the past 7 years, I also traveled to other places. I was told by a top photographer, explore of lights, that there was no market for images of Africa. Once I made the decision to follow my heart completely and shoot what I really loved and was passionate about, my photography elevated to a whole new level. I only started working with off camera flash just over a year ago. Until then, it was all natural light, except and occasional fill flash to lift shadows.

    I say go out and shoot what you love. Keep it simple at first. Come back and see if you covered some of the compositions I suggest without really having to think out it. Once you do that, then study flash, filters and lights.

    And thanks again for you comments as I am looking forward to writing more articles on specific subjects like selective focus, motion, flash etc.
    Piper

  • Piper

    December 7, 2012 04:28 pm

    Patty

    What a wonderful out look and exactly what you need to succeed in your photography and your own vision.

    Piper

  • Piper

    December 7, 2012 04:26 pm

    Naz I will be happy to write a more detailed article but the point of this article was the simplistic way in which to easily elevate your photography. Only two pictures use off camera flash and could be just as beautiful if you had natural light. I will see if I can do a post where I used off camera flash and then did the same effect using golden light. All but two of these shoots were on the fly.. meaning I was there at the moment something was happening. With that said, I spend a lot of time in the Omo Valley and in Eastern Africa. I go back to the same places over and over again. That is how you develop a style and understanding of your subjects which is a huge advantage. Thank you for all your suggestions on how I can write a more detailed article in the future and I will see what I can do to break it down into a few articles covering the various subjects you mention.
    But remember, you want to have your own vision. It does not need to be new, but it needs to be you.

  • Rajan Advani

    December 7, 2012 12:35 pm

    A very good tutorial well explained with with lovely photographs-- Thanks a ton.

  • Naz

    December 7, 2012 09:40 am

    just onem ore quick point I'll make, many of the photos by Piper and other professionals have a very specific unique to the phtoographer look to them, and they achieve these looks in very specific and deliberate ways- either htrough photo tools like flash, reflectors, diffusers etc etc etc- or through PP or even through a combo of both ,and htis is a big issue that seperates them from the myriad of photographer wanna be's like myself- My photos have no consitancy, nothign that pulls them al together- nothign that makes them a cohesive whole- the looks of my pghotos are all over the place- from wildly contrasy to too subtle- Their's are all very consitant-

  • Naz

    December 7, 2012 09:35 am

    looking thriouhg Piper's photos on her site, I am noticing soem themes- where one subject is direcly itneracting with another- like hte woman pouring water on the othe4r person';s head- and this connection via the stream of water gives an immediate connectability quality between the two people- this is a powerful image for htis very reason- This is also soemthign I doubt I woudl have learned on my own (and ifnact was soemthign I had learned a bit abotu from anothe4r tutorial) -

    I see a lot of her photos tell a story of soem kind which is also another powerful photography technique- like the fellas sitting on bank with guns while unarmed folks stand i nthe background- This story is pretty involvign for the viewer who can only imagien why they are sitting htere on guard- Are they infact guardign htose unarmed folks, or have these men armed themselvesbecause these other folsk came into the scene?-

    Tipsl iek balancing negative space agaisnt active space and objects is another great tip that can immediately help out an aspiring photographer-

    Tips like balancing warm and cool can lead to very pleasing photos. Making contrast between frozen and liquid, hard agaisnt soft, bold agaisnt subdued- antoher great tip I've picked up somewhere throuhg an article or book was to look more actively for constrasts- dark and light- avoid situations where there is little contrast and the subject blends into background too much- actively seek out high contrast situation when appropriate- however, low contrast can also work very well for thingsl iek fog shots, dust shots, slightly lit trees agaisnt a low contrast mountain look nice-

  • Naz

    December 7, 2012 09:20 am

    [[I think some of the other comments about asking for ‘ more’ info should read the first article sent on creativity and get out there and ‘try it]]

    I have to dissagree- that's almsotl iek tellign soemone who knows nothign abotu a trade liek electrician to just jump in and begin messign with sires- without givign htem any direction to get them goign in the right direction- Folks can always benifit from sound advice and tips from those hwo have learned before them- Many many artists over they ears became great artists learnign very specific 'rules' of art from masters hwo knew their craft insude and out-

    Apprentices learn by watchign or hearing from masters- they learn much much more quickly than just by tryign to 'discover' everyhtign on their own without any guidance- I just picked up a book on wedding photography of all things- as I'm a wildlife shooter- but the tips in that book are amazing- I've only read a few pages of the book and already I've picked up some very very valuable tips that I msotl ikely woudl have never learned on my own no matter how many shots I took in a lifetime- when you don't know WHAT to look for- it's kind of hard to know what how, when to shoot something- The book I just bought shows you WHAT (Not yelling, just stressing key point) to look for, and HOW to see it-

    As the book rightly points out- to an amature, nature is chaos, and hwile they may over time learn to tame a bit of the chaos by trial and error- it comes much quicker when you have soemoen show you the HOW and WHAT- at least show soem good tips to get you started i nthe right direction- Niot many new photographers know to check check check backgrounds for distrations, nor do they know to place subjects IN RELATION to the main subject for greater impact- nor do they know that there definately are geomtrical placements that make photos more powerful as compared to photos that lack thsoe specific and deliberate placements of subjects-

    [[Making mistakes is how we learn]]

    Again I have to mostly dissagree- we learn by imitation- even from a baby- we learn by mimicking others- yes, we will learn some things on our own along the way by accident- however, we learn fastest, and more thoroughly by havign htsoe who know thigns teach htem to us- whether we take their sound advice or not is then up to us, but the lessons taught by htose who learned from others save us much time and aggravation and trouble in some cases- Like I said, I've alre4ady learned a number of things from the book I bought from reading only just a couple of pages which I may have never discovered by trial and error, and which will save me tons of time of spinnign my wheels gettign nowhere-

    There's a LOT to photography- and there's really no way to learn the myriad of things that go ionto a great photograph simpyl by trial and error because of all the complex aspects that go into making great photographs=-

    Like hte OP of htis article stated, almsot everyone woudl have snapped their photos from the shore- not even realizing that a much more powerful photo awaited them with a little bit of effort- perhaps soem of the folks snapping away onshore woudl eventually discover that perhaps more difficult positions make for more compelling photos- but I guaruntee that telling the group of folks this simple tip woudl help many get on their way toward takign better photos almsot immediately- along with other advice like makign your shots look purposeful by careful positioning and use of appropriate photo tools liek flash, reflectors etc, isntead of looking liek simple not well thought out snapshots, woudl go a very logn way toward helping most i nthat crowd leanr much quicker, and freeing htem up to experiementing more once they've discovered a few helpful tips that help boost hteir confidence too-

    It's just m,y opinion- I thin k there is a TON of great advice that can immediuately help photographers improve their photography (and hte book I bought is proving htis right off the bat already) . The author touched on a few i nthis article, but there's even more which are more specific and direct which will help even more-

    A simple thing like studyign gestalt theory and goign out and specifically looking for gestalt situations (IE: a triangle within a circle or folks standing in a spot that frames the subjects in a circular or square or rectangle 'frame' helps to immediately improve photos beyond chaotically 'arranged' snapshots.

    Henri Cartier Bresson's photos are famous for a reason- the thigns he knew as a geometry master I can guaruntee the average person woudl never learn no matter how frequently they went out and just shot-

    I don't mean to pick on your sentiments abotu hte issue- I just fundamentally dissagree with hte advice to go out and shoot and hope to learn soemwhere along hte line-

  • ian cross

    December 7, 2012 08:24 am

    Lovely pictures from the Omo Valley. I was there in 1980 shooting pictures using slide transparencies. I must get around to digitising them.

  • patty

    December 7, 2012 06:19 am

    I really like this article and all the beautifully created photographs. I can't say I specifically learned anything new from it, but it is always good to be reminded of how important these things are.

    I saw a comment above where the commenter says ".. if I weren't stuck in cow country." I don't think it is where a photograph is taken but how a photographer takes it. I don't usually have any people in my photographs… or animals for that matter. My photographic world consists of a small area within walking distance of my home… most of which is wooded. I guess the point I am making with all this, is if you get bored with your surroundings try looking at it from a different perspective. Maybe leave the camera behind for a while why you regenerate new eyes even. You might be surprised by what you see and what you end up with the next time you take your camera!

  • Sarah

    December 7, 2012 05:17 am

    Compelling photography-that profile shot is amazingly powerful, ESP as his face is serene, which is another point if difference. I thoroughly enjoyed this article - I think some of the other comments about asking for ' more' info should read the first article sent on creativity and get out there and 'try it'. Making mistakes is how we learn. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images and yr knowledge.

  • Naz

    December 7, 2012 04:25 am

    [[All I can say is lovely photographs and why do I think it can’t be repeated by following your guidelines?]]

    Because htere was no advice on how to use flash, what angle to use the flash at, whether or not flash was softened soemhow, whether or not to use reflectors i nthe situation, how to pose the subject, what elements to look for in a background for a great scene, what composition to use, how to use color or how to dodge and burn to direct the eye, etc etc etc- there was soem advice abotu gettign to different angles.

    There was advice abotu beign at eye4 level which is good advice also for wildlife photography- some of the the most compellign wildlife shots are at eye level-

    There was a bit of advice about using selective FOV and recommendation for hwich subjects to use it on- There was advice about including other elements i nthe photos, but no advice on where to position those other subjects for best impact (Henri Cartier Bresson was a precision positioner- using very specific geometry to place his subjects for maximum impact-)

    OP- if you do another article, can you give more specific tips? Things that you've foudn that really add impact to photos? Your tip abotu hte DOF tip was good- some liek myself knew shallow DOF lloks great when doen right, but don't know how to do the shallow DOF right- what are soem htigns that really look good- you named a few- Do you find photos look better at eye level, or just below eye level slightly? This article was pretty good (with soem great photos) but I think another article beignm ore specific woudl help tremendously if it include specific advice on what you look for when deciding on a scene, where you place your subjects i na scene etc- a lot of us liek myself, also forget to really check out backgrounds to make sure no distracting elements are thetre- many of your photographs look like you went to great pains to make sure all the elements i nthe scene woudl work before snapping the photo- I thin htat is what the commenter I quoted was tryign to get at

  • KSW

    December 7, 2012 03:44 am

    Thank you for your wise tips with us. One key aspect you draw out -- is that you are very active: In the water, on the ground, apparently kneeling down, above the subjects. I think this is an important point you make -- creativity is very active. I love that part of this art.

  • Piper

    December 6, 2012 02:52 pm

    Good Luck Jay!! Have a fantastic trip!

  • Jay

    December 6, 2012 05:56 am

    Thanks, this a timely article for me - upcoming trip to Peru :).
    However , I have seen extraordinary photographs of everyday, close-to-home subjects. My main obstacle (to overcome) is getting out of the mental and physical comfort zones!

  • Omar

    December 6, 2012 05:50 am

    Nice tips, I just wish that someday, I have the opportunity to do projects like these. Thanks for sharing!

  • Piper

    December 6, 2012 01:02 am

    Thank you everyone. Yes I did have great subjects but many times great subjects can create ordinary photographs of extraordinary subjects. So many times I see photographs of area's like this and the photo's are ok - because people get so excited about traveling to a place like this they just snap away with out giving much thought to the composition. These were some easy tips that can make a big difference.

  • Larry Lourcey

    December 5, 2012 11:45 am

    Great tips. Of course, it looks like you had some great subjects to work with - which always helps too!

  • Scottc

    December 5, 2012 09:31 am

    Great photos and much appreciated tips!

    I've tried a few of these along the way....

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5283278934/

  • Jens

    December 5, 2012 03:25 am

    Good article with usefull hints and ideas. Thinking creatively is the key to better photos. Another factor is time - don't rush if you want to take good pictures.

  • Kim

    December 5, 2012 02:59 am

    Edit *#2
    And new awesome fotos at that. :)

  • Piper

    December 5, 2012 02:58 am

    Mridula, I am not sure what you mean, but my biggest tip is to shoot what you love, what you are most passionate about. Don't listen to any nay sayers..... Remember it does not have to be new, it has to be you!! Your vision of the world. Take some of these tips and try them when shooting what you love to shoot and see what happens.

  • Kim

    December 5, 2012 02:58 am

    I meant *gracefully* say no.
    *meh*x2!

  • Piper

    December 5, 2012 02:56 am

    Thank you Lorene Lavora :)

  • Kim

    December 5, 2012 02:56 am

    Uh, if I weren't stuck in cow country I could get creative again. I'm over rolling hills and cows.. Im kinda stuck here.. You're so blessed to be able to leave the country. I am painfully aware its not easy for any one who makes a living with their ability to be creative. Just ads to the pressure of always being on. What I want to know is how to gratefully say no to repeat bad clients and how to get people to pay up when they don't. All due respect, but this article his the same article just different pictures. Alot of folks know HOW to take a compelling foto,my problem is coming up with creative projects. I don't have a lot of photographic resources and it's maddening. I literally lose sleep over it. Photography is my life. And I feel like I'm losing it. Or, lost it. *Meh*

  • Lorene Lavora

    December 5, 2012 02:36 am

    Have been a fan of your work since I first saw it on G+. Great column with the added bonus of your images!

  • Barry E. Warren

    December 5, 2012 02:30 am

    Nice Photo's and some good tips

  • Mridula

    December 5, 2012 01:51 am

    All I can say is lovely photographs and why do I think it can't be repeated by following your guidelines?

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/

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