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Tips from photographers that work well for painters too
Four well known photographers offered their advice at a day of seminars I attended at Welney Wildlife Trust recently. Some of what they had to say works for painters too. Simple, but good
- Danny Green - great photos of animals and birds
- Phil Malpas - wildlife, landscape, seascape
- Charlie Hamilton James - underwater wildlife photography and various film projects for BBC TV
- David Ward - small scale almost abstract landscape photography.
In summary this is what I got from these guys. Simple principles and primarily directed towards photographers, but good for us painters (I won't say "artists" because several of these photographers were much more than tecnicians; they are artists too) nonetheless:
- Photographer's "block" is good - it's a healthy sign we want to break out of our usual way of seeing.
- Simplify - if something in your view doesn't add to the overall picture - leave it out.
- If the sky doesn't add something to the photograph, lower the camera and omit it.
- Pose questions, don't provide answers. (see 5,6,7,8, below)
- Get in close to the subject and pick out the abstract - "abstract from the general"
- Make room for some things to be unexplained so the viewer has to contribute something from their own perception and understanding of what they are viewing.
- Omit some visual clues to - adds a bit of confusion! Make the viewer work!
- Don't do the obvious view of a subject. Get quirky. Be original.
- Square format is easier to compose with than with landscape format (I found this particularly interesting since I often paint in square or nearly square format.)