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Friday, November 30, 2007

Insider Secret #1 - Professional Fine Art Landscape Photography Revealed

Learn How to Take Your Photography to a Whole New Level by Learning What Professional Photographs Do that Most Photographers Do Not Do

About a year ago I had a professional photographer friend over for dinner. That night I showed him some of my photographs and asked him for his input. What he shared with me that night ended up taking my and to a whole new level, and I would now like to share that wisdom with you.

Key #1 – Learn how to properly and creatively “crop” your photographs.

For decades, the standard photograph sizes have been 3 x 5, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, 16 x 20, etc. In the old days, you would take your negatives to a shop and choose which sizes you wanted. You had the choice of various sizes, but you never really had the choice to change the dimensions and proportions of the sizes. In other words, if you had a nice wide landscape, you couldn’t crop out some of the top and bottom and get a print with an unconventional size such as 14 x 5. The point here is this: those old traditional sizes and proportions have been limiting your creativity of expression as an artist.

It’s time for you to start cropping your photographs differently and in such a way as to maximize your creative expression of the scenes in your photographs. For example, when my friend looked at one of my photos of a beautiful harbor in Maine, he suggested that I crop out a lot of the somewhat boring sky, as well as some of the uninteresting foreground. He taught me that these areas are often wasted space because they contain elements that are uninteresting and that do not add to the overall composition of the photograph. He was right!

That very night after my friend left, I jumped on my laptop and started immediately re-cropping a lot of my nature landscapes. I couldn’t believe what a shocking difference it made. What had been a good photograph suddenly became a great photograph because the dynamics of the composition had changed to be more artistic and creative. Now, a year later, I automatically crop all of my photographs in this more free and creative way, and I have never looked back at the traditional dimensions and proportions.

One challenge I have had to learn to overcome has to do with framing my newly cropped photographs. As you can imagine, the standard pre-made frames do not match the dimensions of my creative photographs. I have found two solutions to this problem. The first solution is to simply have custom mats and frames made to match the dimensions of my creatively cropped photographs. This is quite a bit more expensive than using the old standard sized pre-made frames, but it is worth it when you’ve got a great photograph. The second solution is to create an electronic mat in Adobe Photoshop that fits the standard dimensions. In other words, if your image is 12 x 6, then you can create a 14 x 11 mat by adding one inch to the top and bottom and 2.5 inches to the left and right sides.

I encourage you to start cropping your photographs from now on from an artistic creative perspective rather than staying confined to the limitations of the traditional dimensions. Start applying this professional photographer's to your photography.

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