In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, we work on ways to take my students photos what I refer to as “up a notch”. So many of my students try to put way tooooooooooo information into one photograph.For some reason they think that the more elements they can stuff into their composition, it stands to reason that the better the photograph will turn out.
They believe in the old adage that “if more’s better, then too much is just right”. While that’s one of my favorite (unspoken) personal pearls of wisdom and I’m a firm believer in it, I have to draw the line when it comes to photography.
In my younger days when my medium of choice was a paintbrush, I would start out with a blank canvas on an easel and proceed to fill it in until I had the desired painting. Now, I start out with a camera on a tripod and everything is in the viewfinder. I have to keep subtracting elements until I have what I think is a finished photo. That’s why they call photography “The art of Subtraction”.
You don’t want to clutter up your frame with elements that the viewer would have a hard time understanding; especially when they’re completely un-related. Just because you know what it is does not mean that everyone else will. You won’t be around to explain what you were thinking to people looking at your photos, so they need to stand on their own…unless it was meant to be an abstract and you wanted the viewer to decide for himself what exactly it is that he’s looking at.
Strive for balance and simplicity. Use the Negative Space along with the Positive Space. The Negative Space being anything that doesn’t have mass. The space around your subject that defines it can be as important as putting in another elements for the sake of adding just one more thing that (you think) will improve your photo.
What you don’t put into a photo can be a lot more revealing than what you do put in.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my new 2013 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com