Last week I spent an awesome afternoon with my wedding photographer Matt Elliott discussing all things photography. What I enjoyed most about chatting with him was the fact that he has ignored or flat out rejected many of the accepted rules of photography - and his work is still AMAZING!
I often find myself getting so caught up in the rules of photography and forget that my work is meant to be a reflection of my own creative self.
Creativity and how you express it shouldn't be about rules!
I guess I haven't found my own particular "style" of photography yet, but that comes with time and practice, and for now I am happy to meet myself where I'm at, and be happy with the leaps and bounds I have made since I first picked up my camera.
My inspiration comes in fits and bursts, and I'm OK with that.
My desire to learn about photography comes and goes. That's OK too.
What I do know is, when the mood strikes me and I do go out and practice photography I completely lose track of time, I become impervious to the weather and I feel pretty damn happy.
That's pretty awesome. Don't you think?
Here's some of what I learnt from Matt.
There is no right or wrong way to take landscape shots.
Last year I took part in a great one day Landscape photography course which I did learn a lot from, but I was told at the start of the day to set my camera to Manual, ISO 100 and F-stop 16 and leave it there.
I have used these settings for my landscape shots ever since. No questions asked, no messing with the rules.
I have never considered that there is a better or worse way. I just took this on as gospel and never took the time to experiment with my own creativity.
After speaking with Matt my opinion on landscape photography has changed quite dramatically. While I'm not saying the settings above won't get you an amazing shot, I am saying there ARE other ways to go about it and it's always a good thing to try out different techniques to find your own way.
All of my shots in this post were taken with Matt's suggestion of trying out Aperture Priority mode, low f-stop, and auto ISO. With these settings, the camera takes care of shutter speed.
I was really surprised when he told me that most of his landscape shots were taken with a wide open aperture (aka shallow depth of field), but he did a great job at explaining that how and where you focus is more important. You can use low aperture and still get a large depth of field.
So for the shot above, I focused on the larger tree to the right, so everything in front of that tree is in focus, and the tree is far enough away from me to have everything behind it in focus too. If I had focused on the grass right in front of me everything after that would be out of focus though.
When it comes to composition, the best thing you can do is keep practicing!
There's no quick way to learn better composition techniques, you just have to keep trying out different shots until you see what you like.
I find composition is often the hardest part, and I have been known to actually google popular photography spots to see how other photographers have shot the same scene. While there's nothing wrong with that, it is still good to go out on your own and try to find the shot you love.
There's so much to Lightroom I didn't know about.
Like this super handy little tool, which you can use to straighten your horizon without the guesswork! Just use it between two points along your wonky horizon and it automatically straightens the image for you. How did I not know about this before!
OK, that's all for today. So now I just gotta go and do some practice!
I will update again soon with some new shots.
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