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In a world that's filled with photographers around every corner, there are a few that stand out through their ability to create vivid lines, striking colors, and distinct depth. In this new series, we're sitting down with a few of the world's most renowned photographers to hear their top 10 photography tips. Next up? Creator of striking landscapes and stunning tones, Alex Strohl.
Photography is no different than anything else — it takes practice and commitment to improve. Being told to push past low points and creative blocks by taking more photos was huge for me; nothing will help your practice more than continuing to simply do.
Look for the Seconds
All it takes is one moment — the combination of a beautiful subject and detail around the environment may never be exactly the same. Those handful of seconds catch my eye — whether it is the light, weather, or angle. Find the seconds that stand out to you and capture them.
Some of my favorite photos have happened by chance. Learning to see, hear, and feel more is something that we should all exercise, especially when looking for photographs to take. This begins with looking at a scene in a detailed way. For example, in the photo below — I went as high as I could to overlook the lake because the higher you are, the longer the reflection of the mountains will be. Also, I purposely made sure the kayaker was there. I had to be mindful of the placement so that the kayak didn’t blend in with the reflection of the mountain range. These seemingly small details add up to create an image that’s harmonious and leaves room for the viewer to feel.
Play With Color
Colors evoke feelings in us, even at a subconscious level, and chances are that you have a favorite color. Can people tell what it is when they look at your pictures? Personally, I feel drawn towards alpine lakes and snow capped mountains because I love the color blue. This preference is threaded through all my photos, but I was oblivious to it for a long time. It’s only upon looking back that I realized it. Maybe you love green, orange, or purple — whatever it is, bring it into your photos. You never know who will relate to it as well.
Getting outside with friends has many benefits, seen and unforeseen. For the photo below, I fell in love with the windy creek, and I wanted a way to show how it felt to be there. Because of this, I had my two friends walk to the other side of the creek towards the sun. I didn’t give them too strict of direction — I like leaving some aspects up to the subjects. (Some of my favorite photos happen when the subject is not even aware that I’m taking photos.)
The tiny details that compose an image make the picture stand out in a way that give it unique perspective. Even something as simple as sitting as sitting on the couch during a specific time of day can give the photo personality.
When a scene is set with a little bit of fog, the entire picture changes. If you're in an environment that has it creep up, grab your camera — you may never see that specific setting in that same light again.
To catch a different perspective, bring the camera down a little so that the focal point is below waist level. This allows the image to be captured from a different perspective than normal eye-level or birds-eye-view.
The best photographers are aware of the way they see the world and their perspectives on it. Reflect often about the kind of photos you want to take and the paths to take them. This awareness can only help you be better at what you do! Evolve, and evolve again.
Control the Color
To make color stand out in an image, focus it against a neutral background (in the photo here, this is the snow!). It will create a canvas for the color to pop, and the eye will be drawn to the small amount of color that's in the photo.