Photography is the “art of subtraction”. Unlike painting where you start out with a blank canvas on an easel and fill it in until you have a finished work of art, the camera on a tripod starts out with everything the lens can see, and you take things out until you have a finished photo.
The key to finishing up with a finished photograph, worthy of being on a wall is, in knowing what to take out and what to leave in. To me, this is one of the most difficult parts of the process; from the first idea/composition to the final act of clicking the shutter.
I’ve been teaching an online class with the BPSOP for five years, and conducting my personal “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops for over thirty years, and one thing that hasn’t changes is that my fellow photographers don’t know when to quit. When to say ok I’m comfortable with what I have so it’s time to let go and click the shutter.
I’ve found that people have a tendency to not trust their judgment and with that comes an insecurity in what they’re doing, and while they’re doing it..therefore their thought process centers around more is better.
Years ago, perhaps a million of them, I was represented by The Stock Market”, one of the first, largest, and most popular stock photography agency in the world. The co-owner and photo editor told me that what she liked about my pictures was that I knew what not to to put into a photograph.
For the most part, I’ve always tried to “keep it clean”. If something in your composition isn’t helping it then more than likely it’s probably hurting it…or at the least taking up unnecessary space. Sometimes you don’t even realize it until you’re sitting in front of a computer, and maybe you can fix it then; which doesn’t make you a good photographer.
I do suggest three ways to help you out on that: My fifteen point protection plan, the border patrol, and the four corner checkoff. At least it might get you to see those pesky UFO’s…those parts of things that invade the edges of your frame – i.e., a part of someone’s hand or foot, the last three letters of a sign, half a light post, etc.
Sometimes you don’t need the entire horse running through the field, maybe it’s just the neck and head. What if it’s just the grill of a 57′ Chevy? Try it sometime, and let the viewer work at filling in the missing pieces to the puzzle you left him.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out the workshops I offer at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.