Ever had a conversation with somebody for the first time and walked away feeling like you've known them your entire life? Today's guest post with David Akoubian is part of a "daily double". His podcast on Building Your Network is airing at the same time. Prior to his podcast we might have had a minute to talk about the topics, but we didn't need any more time and just let it flow, just like his topic in today's post.
I've always said the best thing about the photographic industry are the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Well, meet a new buddy, David Akoubian!
You'll find a wide variety of stunning images in his galleries along with his workshop schedule. One of my favorite programs that David is involved with is Tamron's State Park Workshop Series. Follow the schedule and check out the program when there's one near you. In the mean time, enjoy David's guest post and his comments on the new podcast. Skip Cohen
Art is very individual and extremely subjective. All forms of art, while related, are very different for that matter. For instance a musician and a photographer are similar in the sense that they try to create something that keeps and controls the viewer’s attention, while at the same time trying to appeal to that viewer emotionally.
A photographer uses objects within the composition to welcome the viewer into the frame and then using other elements will try and lead them to the final point in the frame, the subject. A musician uses notes to form a melody which leads the listener to the eventual end of the musical piece. They differ simply in the median that they have chosen.
Do all photographers make good musicians or vice versa? I struggle to play a CD much less any instrument. I like to believe I compose music visually though. My goal when I start to create an image is to identify first a subject and then objects around the subject that allow me to lead the viewer through my frame. The only way that one can succeed in doing this though is to have a good “flow” to the composition.
When I use the word “flow”, I want to make the transition through the frame an easy one, not something that my viewer struggles with as they make the journey. I feel as a nature photographer that can be a challenge simply because you aren’t arranging notes, you are using a lens to either include or exclude objects within the frame. Zooming in or out, moving left or right, up and down to find the most pleasing view, watching for merging lines or objects, making sure there is no interruption in the “flow” of the scene.
Photographing rivers is my favorite place to practice my “flow” or composition in images. You really can’t go out and arrange rocks to alter the river; increase or decrease the volume of water to join lines within the frame. Creating the perfect amount of contrast and saturation is just as important to bond with the viewer emotionally as well. I do this in two ways; I photograph in the right light, typically overcast or drizzling, and I always use a circular polarizer to reduce glare and increase saturation.
I prefer using a slower shutter speed to make the water silky smooth and make the lines more smooth. Typically with an ISO of 100, I will have a shutter speed of about 2 seconds at f16. If I need a longer shutter speed, I will use a Variable Neutral Density Filter. A good sturdy tripod is an essential when doing slow exposures as well. Make sure you turn off your Vibration Compensation or Image Stabilization otherwise the image will look “shaky”. Also to minimize movement and vibration use a shutter release the self-timer.
Get down to the river, look and study the subject for flow, then create your next masterpiece!
All images copyright David Akoubian. All rights reserved.