Since my background is not in photography but in painting and design, I still consider myself an artist; specifically a painter of sorts.
I tell my fellow photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP, and also those that are in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet that a camera on a tripod is just like a blank canvas on an easel.
Ok, having said this, there are so many out there that don’t know when to stop painting…or in other words, stop adding things to a photograph. Either by arranging existing elements in your composition or by adding elements. I’m about “making not taking pictures”, photographing not what is but what could be., and this is what I suggest others try…but you gotta know when to stop!!
I use my artist palette when I’m looking for and taking photos, the same artist palette I show my students how to use. The palette that no longer has pigment on it but all the elements of visual design and composition. The key is knowing when to quit, and sometimes that’s the hard part. A lot has to do with security, and being insecure is a tough way to take your imagery forward, and it’s one of the main causes for overdoing it. This especially becomes evident when I see people’s photographs that have been over processed and saturated…to the point of being downright silly!!!
Let’s take painting for example. Adding more pigment won’t necessarily make your painting better, unless you were an impressionist. What it’s sure to do is make the pigments thicker and your canvas heavier. The last time I checked, paintings are not sold by the pound. The same holds true for photography. If you keep adding more and more light, and more props, it’s not going to create a stronger photo.
Remember that photography is the art of subtraction. Painting starts out with a blank canvas on an easel and you begin to fill it in until you have a finished work of art. When you have a camera on a tripod you start out with everything and start taking things out…or taking things out that you put in until you have a finished work of art. Therein lies the problem, knowing when to stop…when in doubt, cut it out!!!
I’ll leave you with this: It’s not what you put into a photo that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.
Don’t forget to keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.