As artists we are often in need of photo references. Good photos can definitely be the foundation for good paintings. But many of us who want to paint, are not necessarily schooled in photography. I love photographs, but I have no patience for the technical aspects of cameras, apertures, and F-stops. It feels way too much like math to me. However, over the years I’ve learned a few things about taking good photographs. Here are a couple of my favorite techniques for capturing subjects in a way that lends itself to creating beautiful imagery. I believe thinking about these ideas will not only help improve your photography, but they’ll improve the paintings you create from your photo references. Don’t get nervous now…These ideas are quick and easy to digest…no apertures or light meters, just simple suggestions for better imagery.
Secret #1 for getting a great shot when photographing on location…
The photos below are something I like to do when I see a place I want to paint: Find a place you are drawn to, and photograph it at different times of day with different compositions… The subject is the same in each photo below. Morning light vs afternoon light. Which do you prefer? Keep in mind that lighting is EVERYTHING!
Hint #2: Try framing the shot differently…up close vs. Far away. Here is the same location below at the same time of day, just framed a bit differently from the one above it. Which do you prefer?
As you can see, the photo above creates a change in the mood. Up close can feel more intimate. Further away creates a different feeling. Perspective changes what kind of story your picture will convey. The two photos below provide another example of this:
Look at how orientation of the same subjects below can change the story…
Keep these thoughts in mind as you photograph your favorite locations. What story do you want to tell? What perspective will support that story? What composition will best suit your needs? What time of day will illustrate the mood you want to create or support what you want to say about this place? If you keep these ideas in mind, I predict you’ll not only take better photos, but the artwork you create from those photo references will be dramatically better. And after all, that’s what I want to help you improve!
I’m headed for Tuscany and the beginning of my EAT PAINT COOK TOUR OF TUSCANY today! Can’t wait to get together with my group and begin to experience my favorite area of this beautiful country. The food, the wine, the scenery, the authenticity…all of it makes my heart so happy! Next year’s trip is scheduled for Sept 24-Oct 1, 2016. If you’re interested you can sign up and get ready for a very special week. In the meantime, you can travel along with us virtually by signing up for this blog. It is so fun to take all of you along with me…and I love hearing from you along the way. <3
Stay tuned and stay in touch!