Fine Art Photography - Break the Rules and Start Creating

Valery Poshtarov, Photographer & Art Manager

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20 Lessons (1h 31m)
    • 1. About this class

    • 2. The Fine Art Photography Does Not Exist?

    • 3. The Power of Photography

    • 4. MYTH 1: The Perfectness of Camera and Equipment Is Very Important, Is This True?

    • 5. The (Out of) Focus as Vehicle for Expression

    • 6. Exposure & Contrast as a Vehicles for Expression

    • 7. MYTH 2: The Composition Is Just Putting Together Objects Within the Frame

    • 8. Composition Through Forms

    • 9. Composition Through Contrast

    • 10. Light In Photography Composition

    • 11. How Colour Can Make Your Composition

    • 12. Why Time Is Your Best Friend On The Way To That Remarkable Shot Composition?

    • 13. MYTH 3: The Fine Art Photography Is In Black & White, In Defense of Black and White Photography

    • 14. In Defense of Colors

    • 15. How Important Is Color In Photography?

    • 16. MYTH 4: Posing Is Preposterous, Will Steal the Performance, What Does Actually Posing Mean?

    • 17. The Grip of Sincerity. The Art of Artlessness.

    • 18. MYTH 5: Photography Is Just Mechanical Reproduction of Material Objects, The Deepest Art Secret Ever

    • 19. The Second Secret

    • 20. Envoi


Project Description

You might not be surprised if I tell you that I started my career of an artist with training in classical drawing and painting early in my childhood. One of my first teachers in classical drawing gave me a very important lesson I will never forget. At that time our training was mainly with drawing still life compositions. For a beginner this is a daunting task and may take hours of laboring with the pencil or crayon on the white sheet. After I had struggle a lot to render the forms of the still life in front of me to my drawing and was gaining some confidence in what was taking shape on my sheet, the teacher came to me and with a gum deleted all I had managed to draw. Everything! At first I was flabbergasted and speechless from anger. I could hardly breathe and keep my pent-up frustration to explode. Years later I realized that then I learned the most important lesson in my life.

In art nothing is definitive and perfection is the leading aim for the artist. That perfection must be sought after at any expense.

Exercise 1 / Know how to break the rules

Try to be creative and critical at the same time. You may remember that if your public avows your work with ignorance, it would be more painful for you to deal with this than if you destroy the work before the bitter reaction follows up. Do not forget that the best critic of your work should be you yourself. Take all the hardships with a pinch of salt. Those hardship are necessary for the perfection of your style.

If you have this attitude, you are ready to shoot. It’s all about perception, forget about pretension. Once you have won over your premonitions and fears, you are ready to start experimenting in search of that perfect shot.

Start shooting in manual focus mode and DO NOT aim precision. Take this exercise as a composition drill. Fill up the frame with your object and if the composition and the contrast are good enough, the focus will speak for itself.

Another good drill is to shoot at very low shutter speed to achieve motion blur. Remember Sanne Sannes who was taking pictures with shutter speed of 1/25 second. Try it yourself!

You can use overexposure on purpose but my advice is to do this in the post-production. Thus, you will have more control on the desired changes and you will not lose your shot because of unnecessary experiment.

Exercise 2 / Composition

Now that you know the power of composition, you can look at photography in a completely different way. Remember that the slightest change of point of view can transform the whole expression of the picture. Be brave and experiment with the various methods of composition.

Use objects’ forms and shapes for composition. When a form can be seen in more than one object, go for it. Contrast forms always make a good picture, too. Make sure you change your point of view towards one and the same story when you look at it in the viewfinder.

Contrast should be deliberately sought. It is a powerful method for composition and can work out well even if there is not enough light for the exposure. Try to figure out the objects in front of you in black and white and compose them by using contrast images. Light reflects in every object in a different way, use it as advantage for black and white alternation in your picture.

Light can masterfully change the message of your photograph composition! Use it as your tool! Shades can shape forms and bring up that desirable feeling for perspective. Search for cross points of light and shades, those are where beauty can reveal itself. Light should focus on your main story or light can be your story in the picture.

Colour is a difficult composition tool, but don’t be shy to try! Chose one main colour which can endorse your main figures in the composition and then arrange the rest of your composition in contrast or in harmony with the main colour.

Be patient and make time your ally. Use all the previously mentioned methods and then wait. Find out which part of the story in front of you, you want to be within the frame and be ready to pull the trigger. Learn how people react and this will give you the right idea when and where the decisive moment is in your favour.

Exercise 3 / The power of color in photography

When you already learn about the power of color in photography, you can start your next adventure in this amazing art form.

Look for the colours and stories will look for themselves! When skillfully applied and masterfully put into the photo’s composition, colours are impressive stories in their own right. Remember how often people believe in color symbolism? Make them see it from a new point of view! Break the clichés, go for that skirt in desperately bright yellow that flares up amongst the morning mist over the sleepy violet field of lavender.

Try to figure out which colour you want to be dominant and arrange your colour scheme about it. All the rest of the colours will serve as details and points of viewer’s attention. It is almost like foreground and background but with the means of colour and this should be practiced with a touch of modesty in the display.

Learn the triadic color scheme and use it to streamline your colour proficiency like an experienced and inspired painter.

More often than no, colours hide their true meaning and do not reveal their power at first sight. Do not be shy to study them. Looking at classical paintings may teach you a lot. Then you will be able to make out your own attitude towards colours. Search their hidden symbolism and show it in your own composition. Perhaps more conceptual and orchestrated approach to colours in photography will make you famous one day.

Exercise 4 / Posing & Portraiture

When you are familiar with the approaches to photography portrait, you should follow the simple steps and I am sure, you will find your own approach.

Here’s a secret for you. The model knows that you’re are shooting a portrait but they never know when exactly you pull the trigger of your camera. This is your advantage, use it and take that portrait the moment your model is relaxed or absent-minded, the moment he forgets about you are there. Be patient and wait the moment when the magic clicks.

Try to put some story in the portrait, use some personal details in the scene, remember that yellow Van Goghian quinces in the background of the lady’s portrait.

Communicate with your model before you shoot them. Learn about their background, about their habits. Know what their most specific mood is and what provokes it. Try to figure out which features speak best of their character. Sometimes the model’s profile is the most expressive portrait.

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