Now that it’s finally spring, we’re all eager to get outdoors with our cameras but if we haven’t been photographing much over the winter, we may be rusty and need a little inspiration to get our creative juices flowing again.
Here are a few ideas to kick start your photographic vision this spring.
Seek out natural or man-made patterns and fill the frame with them. Find angles, shapes and lines in a continuous or repetitive pattern. It could be a long row of tree trunks, a patch of tulips, or interesting shapes and shadows from a nearby office building. Train your eye to isolate the distinct pattern from the rest of the scene. This is a great eye training and composition exercise. Once you find your subject, play with the angle of capture, get low, get up high, move to one side and then the other to show the pattern at its best.
2. Opposite colors
Framing opposites on the color wheel draws interest from the viewer and can make a powerful image or a fun and playful statement. Fame a red flower against a green field, get low under the yellow forsythias and frame them against the blue sky, position yourself so you can capture spring’s new green leaf growth against a blurred background of pink redbuds. Two colors work best... sometimes three. A jumble of colors can be fun as well but will not evoke the same response or make the same statement as a simple compostion with just two opposite colors.
3. Selectively focus
Control your focus points and mix it up by choosing different areas to render sharp. Focus on a subject at the front of the scene and blur the middle and back. Then focus in the middle blurring the front and back and then focus in the back making the front and middle blurred. The best way to make this work is to use a wide aperture such as f2.8, 3.5 or 4 and also get close to your nearest subject. If you can’t get close with your feet, use a long telephoto lens. All these things will increase the amount and the softness of the foreground and/or background blurring.
To move your focus points, you may need to look in your camera manual and look for Focus Area. By default, most cameras choose where to focus but you can change this and set the camera so YOU can choose where. It might be listed as AF-S or Single Point or Flexible Spot M, it could also be a touch screen item allowing you to tap where you want to focus, each camera is different. You’ll want to position the single focus point on the subject you want sharp.
Try giving yourself assignments or set some specific goals. We’ve got about 8 months of great weather for outdoor shooting in front of us so make some concrete plans on what you want accomplish starting with April. Better yet is if you can share those goals with another to keep yourself accountable and on target.
Get creative with these 3 ideas and come up with a few of your own to add to the list. Have fun as you head out for some spring photography.