Welcome to (The Occasional) Photo Tip of the Day! Please also visit my main site jeffwignall.com. Text and photographs Copyright 2016 Jeff Wignall.

“The best way out is always through.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look for Graphic Elements

Once again I've fallen behind a few days in postings because I'm trying to get a book finished (by this weekend!) so that it can get to the printing plant in China on time. The hardest part about writing books, for me at least, is that I have very little time to shoot new photos while I'm writing. A typical day for me includes at least 12-15 hours at the computer--and I spend every minute wishing I was off in some pretty place shooting.

While procrastinating a bit from writing yesterday I was looking through some old folders and came across this shot that I made in Galilee, Rhode Island--a beautiful little fishing port that is worth visiting with your cameras. When I go to Galilee though, I'm often so overwhelmed by how pretty the place is that I have a hard time focusing on one type of subject. One trick I've used though is to force myself to look for a specific graphic element--textures, lines, reflections, shapes, etc., instead of a specific object or subject. I find that I create much more creative pictures that way than by saying, for example, "today I'm going to photograph a fishing boat." The reason is that while you're busy looking for a great fishing boat to shoot you walk right past a lot of more creative and intereting shots.

On my most recent trip to Galilee I decided to look for colorful subjects with an interesting shape to photograph. I was only on the fishing docks for a few minutes when I spotted these floats hanging off the side of a huge commercial fishing boat. I spent about a half hour photographing them from various angles and with different lenses and I had a lot of fun--and I got several good images.

This doesn't mean, of course, that if I find a great tuna boat or an interesting fisherman to photograph that I won't shoot them, but zeroing in on one particular idea gives me a target, something specific to look for and I find the challenge is very helpful. So, if you're out shooting this weekend, try and give yourself a self-assignment to shoot a particular graphic element and see if it doesn't make you probe your subjects more deeply and on a more graphic level.

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