LEARNING FROM PHOTOS:

Have you seen a photo that you liked and wondered how it was created? Well here we go:

Here are a few photos that are absolutely amazing, but, the description tells you how it was taken and the circumstances:

Interesting Photo of the Day: Sunkissed Eurasian Jay in Flight

When we say that lighting is key in photography, we mean it. The way you understand and play with your lighting can give a totally different look and add a unique vibe to your images. And this is true not just for photography genres like landscapes or glamour portraits. The same principle applies to all genres of photography including wildlife and bird photography as well. Take for instance the following image of a Eurasian Jay taken by photographer Mikael Persson. While the bird itself is the main subject, it’s the lighting that has totally transformed the image:

“A Sunkissed Eurasian Jay in Flight” by Mikael Persson (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Persson shot the image on a Sony A6000 with the Sony 70-350mm lens at f/10, with an exposure of 1/1000 seconds, and ISO 800. It may surprise you that he had to focus manually for this image – the reason being that the camera’s auto-focus was having some difficulty in the circumstance.

If you simply look at the bird, the image is not so striking – it’s mediocre at best. Looking at the stance of the bird, it looks like it’s ready to perch itself on a branch of a tree. It’s a nice moment, but the way the lighting in the scene is interacting with the bird is what takes the image to the next level. The highlights on its wings and hind limbs create a beautiful separation from the background and also give an ethereal look to the image. The warm glow on the background also does a great job in making the bird appear more majestic.

Hats off to the photographer for this fantastic work. It’s phenomenal how he was able to capture this amazing coupling of light and motion.

Interesting Photo of the Day: Sunset on Antelope Island

One of the best things about traveling is the random and interesting stuff that happens to you that makes for a good story later on. This is why they say that traveling makes you a storyteller. Photographer Hansi did happen to experience something thrilling that was worth sharing. He was hiking alone on Antelope Island (Utah) where he confronted some wildlife – a really scary moment to experience when hiking alone. Despite the nerve-racking moment, he was able to capture the following image which says otherwise:

“Mesmerizing Sunset at the Antelope Island, Utah” by Hansi (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

The image is a super-wide three-picture vertical panorama that Hansi took using a Sony A7RII camera and the Rokinon 18mm f/2 lens. He captured such a detailed image of a very vast landscape.

The combination of warm golden light from the low-hanging sun and the barren rocky landscape in the foreground gives quite an interesting effect. At a glance, it appears as if it’s a shot from some other planet. Then there are the snowy highlands in the midground that add to the beauty of this image. The way the light from the setting sun grazes these landscapes from the side has added a different dimension to the image. Then there’s the setting sun in the background along with its reflection on the Great Salt Lake. It’s the lighting from this setting sun that is the hero of this fantastic image.

The absolute contrast between the color temperature in the sky and the landscape is also worth to appreciating. While the landscape in the foreground gives a sensation of warmth, the clear sky beautifully complements it with its cool blue tones.

Would you dare to go on a hike all alone to witness such a beautiful landscape?

Interesting Photo of the Day: Ethereal Lake Matheson

Whenever one thinks of New Zealand, the stunning wide-angle scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy come to mind. But there is more to New Zealand than just that. This is exactly what photographer Humayun Qureshi proves with this breathtaking shot of Lake Matheson from the South Island:

Sunrise over Lake Matheson (Via DeviantART. Click to see full size.)

One of the things Lake Matheson is known for is its near-perfect reflections of two of New Zealand’s highest mountains, Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. If you are lucky enough, the mist will intertwine with the morning rays of the sun and create all sorts of crazy colors for you to make a breathtaking photograph like this one.

Just for the record, Qureshi used a Canon 5D Mark II paired with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM set at 13 seconds, f/16, 50mm, and ISO 100 to capture the above shot. It’s a stunner, isn’t it?

Interesting Photo of the Day: Uncoordinated Dress Code

Do all photos need to tell a complete story? What do you think? Actually, it can be really interesting if your image leaves the viewers wondering about what’s going on in the image. This plays an important role in keeping viewers engaged. Photographer Anna Ulman took the following beautiful image that draws us in. Can you guess why that is?

“Uncoordinated Dress Code” by Anna Ulman (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Ulman shot the image on a Sony A7III with the Canon 135mm f/2.0 lens at f/2.0, 1/500-second exposure, and ISO 1000 using just the natural light.

It’s great how she has managed to find the perfect spot to photograph this image. The lighting is quite ideal here with the model being evenly illuminated while the other elements are in shadow. This helps in directing all the attention to the model while getting rid of distractions.

Although her stance is pretty and graceful, her choice of clothing may leave many viewers wondering. To be honest, the mix of ballet shoes, thigh-highs, a sweater, and a floppy hat doesn’t really make sense. But maybe, that’s the point. Maybe there was some purpose for the selection of this wardrobe. The fact that it’s slightly odd makes the photo more in our opinion. Apart from that, the way the color palette blends so well with the surroundings is equally pleasant and gives this image a certain charm.

Interesting Photo of the Day: Lone Tree on a Winter Night

We’ve seen a lot of stunning long exposures of the night sky in all its glory. But this one is out of the ordinary:

ITAP of a lonely tree during a winter night. (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Kristoffer Ask Hansen is a photographer and a graphic designer. He captured this shot using a Sigma 18–35mm lens at f/1.8, ISO 800, and 30 seconds.

To create the final image, he took more than 60 frames and then merged them in Photoshop. He changed the blending mode of all the images above the bottom one to Lighten to create a long exposure effect with an array of relatively faster exposures.

Interesting Photo of the Day: Golden Rocket Trail

With the successful launches of various SpaceX rockets, we’re super excited for mankind’s take on space exploration. In November of 2020, a SpaceX rocket was launched that carried four astronauts to dock with the International Space Station. The successful flight was yet another milestone as it highlighted the maturation of the commercial industry. Photographer Dieter Unrath got lucky as he was able to observe and photograph this important event from Cocoa Beach in Florida:

“Lining for the future.” by Dieter Unrath (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Unrath took the image with a Canon 6D and a 50mm f/1.4 lens. The image is a composite of three different images. Two of the images are for the rocket trail that he shot at 50mm, f/14, ISO 100, and a 30-second exposure. For the background, he exposed for the stars for 30 seconds at 50mm, f/3.2, and ISO 800.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of color grading to this and a bit of overlaying in Photoshop.”

Without a doubt, the hero of this image is the rocket trail. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to draw much inference from the image. And although it’s not overdone, it gives a sci-fi feel to the image. If you’re writing a sci-fi book, you could definitely consider this image for the book cover.

Besides the trail, the people on the beach and the stars in the background also convey an important message. With all these advancements taking place, we can now dream that very soon mankind will be ready to explore space more conveniently and hopefully find a new home. It’s almost like the people are waiting in line for their turn to go there.

It’s amazing how the photographer was able to get this meaningful photo during his first time witnessing a rocket launch. He did a fantastic job – we love that the composition isn’t just of a rocket, but of a whole scene. What do you think?

All photos and description courtesy of Picture/Correct.

One more amazing photo:

What are the elements of a great photograph?

As a photographer, it’s incredibly important to know what makes a great picture. Just having a nice camera and fancy tools isn’t enough to really make it in this industry anymore. Knowing what to look for and honing in on those specific things can help you capture truly unique, personal, and in the moment images that will hopefully help to set you apart from your peers. Here are just a few things that I look for during a session.

Captured by Richard Schneider, f/8, 1/200 second, 24mm, ISO 125

Composition

I had a little bit of trouble deciding what was the most important aspect of an image. But finally after much thought, I came to the conclusion that composition should be the first thing you consider when taking a picture. Composition can actually make or break an image. There are some images that seem boring and mundane until you recompose them. Sometimes all it takes is looking at your subject from a different angle. Try getting above them—like way above them and shooting down. Or maybe get below and shoot upwards. Sometimes changing up where the focus is in your image can make a difference, too. Like focusing on a ring in the foreground with the couple out of focus in the background.

Photo by Tormod Ulsberg; ISO 80 f/11, 1/50-second exposure.

Story Telling

This is a trait I personally find important, although not everyone does. I think the best pictures tell the story of the people in them. Now this may be some kind of artistic creation, which can be really cool, like creating a fairytale image with the people in costumes. But I’m usuallylooking for something more simple. Like a first time dad holding his son for the first time and that look of pure joy and elation on his face. Or the sweet little action of a little girl blowing flower petals out of her hands. Or maybe it’s a a close up of an elderly couple holding hands. Telling the story of the people in an image can add a whole new level to your picture’s overall depth and meaning.

Photo by Christophe LEUNG; ISO 640, f/2.8, 1/500-second exposure.

Emotion

We often take pictures of faces. Everyone’s face is totally unique, and so much emotion can be seen just in a person’s face. Many, many, many pictures are of faces. So capturing a picture that shows the pure joy between to friends laughing over an inside joke or the love on a woman’s face as her man literally sweeps her off her feet can create a much more dynamic image than just a photograph of their faces. Of course, happiness isn’t the only emotion you can convey. Sometimes sorrow, loneliness, thoughtfulness, calm, peace, or relief can create an interesting photo, too. It’s so rare to see images of people experiencing genuine emotion, and I find that people tend to crave this kind of imagery more because it’s rare.

Photo by Anwar Shamim; ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/160-second exposure.

Detail

I find detail images to be fascinating; they’re often my favorites. We focus on people’s faces so much that sometimes it’s fun to mix things up and throw in some pictures of other details to remind ourselves of the little things. Like a little baby’s feet held in his mother’s hands. Kids grow up so quickly; capturing these fleeting moments when they are so small can be some of the most cherished memories a parent could hope for. They often aren’t thinking about those kinds of images when they have you take pictures, but they almost always fall in love with these baby detail shots. These kinds of images are being more and more appreciated in all forms of photography, including engagement sessions. Many couples love pictures that don’t include their faces. It adds a whole new twist to traditional photography.

Photo by Mark Iocchelli; ISO 1600, f/10.0, 1/80-second exposure.

Lighting

Lighting is the last element—and probably one of the most important—because you need light just to create a picture or to set a mood. Silhouetted or backlit pictures are really popular these days, as they are different from standard portraiture. There’s a variety of different takes on the backlit pictures, and there are some pretty exciting and fun examples to look through. There’s also the fun dramatic, single light source lighting. This type of photography is fun for creating super moody dramatic shots with high contrast. You really need to know what you’re doing and what you want to achieve for this style of lighting to work well with your subject matter.

“Biker Portrait” captured by Zach Dischner

Well, there you have it. You now know the five elements that help in creating stunning imagery. Composition can help you take a standard pose and give it a new twist. Story telling can help you relay more about a person or couple in an image. Emotion is often one of the most important elements to a picture, especially when conveying joy or happiness. Detail shots can make for a great reminder of the little things we love in others. And, of course, lighting will always make or break a picture since light is what actually enables us to take a picture.

I hope you’ve found this at least a little insightful and perhaps have taken some things away from it that you may try in your next photo shoot!

About the Author:
Stephanie lives in Central, Illinois, is married to her best friend, Ryan, and enjoys the company of her rambunctious lab-beagle pup, Kit. She is the owner of Green Tree Media (greentreemediaonline.com) and is passionate about photography.

This article was originally published by Picture/Correct. Thanks to Picture Correct.

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