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Knowing how to Create a Photo and Not just Take One

A Guest post by Judd Green

You either are a portrait photographer or landscape photographer and you come across the perfect moment, everything falls into place, every aspect and variable in the equation right at this moment equals awesomeness! Now what? Fire at will captain! Take no prisoners! I once fell into this temptation in a situation where I thought it was too good to be true, and then loaded all the files later to find a heap of average shots. I fell into temptation of letting my subject/scenery take over and I just took the photo, I didn’t create it, I stopped thinking, never stop thinking.

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Planning, what is the end result you are after? What steps are required in getting to that end result? If you’re doing coastal landscapes, do you want long exposures giving the photo a mystical feel to it? Or maybe a 2 or 3 second exposure to give real motion to the water and waves? With portraits, do you want a tight shot? Do you want great bokeh? Planning helps you stay relaxed therefore your subject stays relaxed.

I recently packed up and drove for 3 days in search of good country landscapes. I knew what I wanted, simple uncluttered photos that would look great blown up. I knew whatever I came across wasn’t going to deter me again, I needed simplicity yet depth, I needed to think about my composition, depth of field and ISO. So when the right moment came and all the components in the shot came together, I was ready.

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Knowing details of weather to knowing details of your subject. When I went out west for my country landscape shots, I really wanted some night time landscapes involving stars and star trails. I didn’t check the weather and found it to be cloudy most the night, when there was a break in the clouds I found it to be a full moon which over powered the stars. The white fluffy clouds were great during the day but still, homework is always key.

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With portraits, knowing your subject, knowing their story and getting it to come through the end result. If you don’t know them already, talk with them for a minute, find out what makes them tick. When I did a portrait of a bronze sculpture artist, I met him at his work. Glad to say I got in and got out as quickly as possible, it was stinking hot in the foundry. So planning and knowledge was definitely needed! But I wanted the heat and sweat to come through in the end result as it’s all apart of what he does, it’s apart of his story. The heat, the low light, it all worked together to allow me to create the portrait of who his is.

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Always be the one in control of your photos, there will be times when you come across the most scenic places in the world, but never let it dictate the end result you’re after. Never stop thinking.

Judd Green is a Photographer from Brisbane Australia. See more of his work at www.juddricphotography.com

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