Outdoor Photography - Finding Your Style | Toma Bonciu | Skillshare

Outdoor Photography - Finding Your Style

Toma Bonciu, Landscape and Travel Photographer

Outdoor Photography - Finding Your Style

Toma Bonciu, Landscape and Travel Photographer

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7 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. 01 Intro

    • 2. 02 What am I photographing here

    • 3. 03 Examples

    • 4. 04 Visualization as a planning exercise

    • 5. 05 Esthetics of composition

    • 6. 06 Visualize concepts through journaling while photographing

    • 7. 07 Before you go

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About This Class

Every photographer, after learning the basics of photography should have the goal of finding his own style of expression. In this course I show you my method through which you can search for your own voice, your own style. I've worked with a lot of photographers since 2012 when I started to organize workshops and this method that I present here proved to be very successful with my participants. 

Hope you'll enjoy the course and find it useful to improve your skills as a photographer!

Meet Your Teacher

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Toma Bonciu

Landscape and Travel Photographer


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1. 01 Intro: Hello and welcome to this class here on skill share. My name is Tom A. I started landscape photography in 2000 and seven, and in 2000 and nine I became a full time landscape and travel photographer and I'm doing Onley that since then, So over time I've accumulated some experience in this field. You can also find me on YouTube. If you search photo tone, you'll find my channel on Instagram on my profile here on skill should have a link to my profile on Instagram. So, um, I think that the main goal of this course is to show you a few steps that you can make to develop your own voice and outdoor photography. Once you learn the basics, you know how to set the camera. The I saw the aperture exposure time You know how to work with try boards and lands ends. And you you have this basic understanding on outdoor photography. I think the most important aspect is to you find a way to do this in your own style because it's very easy. Teoh, look on the web and see lots of photos and you say Okay, this is successful and I'm going to do that. But next year, things change, another profile becomes successful, and now you start to adapt to that profile. So the best thing is to find their own way, Teoh. Deal with composition and editing and have your own vision in out of the time. And this is what this course is about is about your self development through photography is knowing, starting to know yourself through photography? What are the steps that you can do once you're out there in the field, photographing what you can do and how you can Lucas outdoor photography in a way that can make your photos look like your own? The only thing that you need is to sit back, relax, listen to what I have to say and why I'm saying it. Just think about it. Think about it and then go outside and apply this to your foot ashington to your photos. I can get into you 100%. I mean, I did this with all my participants to my warships, and I'm organizing workshops from 2000 and 12. Everybody was completely changed, was different After listening to what I'm going to say to you right now and after doing and applying the things that I'm gonna tell to you. So let's move to the next lesson, which is answering the question. What am I photographing here? 2. 02 What am I photographing here: the first topic that I think it's the most important one is to talk about this concept. What? My photograph in here. Well, let me tell you something. How often have you passed a beautiful landscape with your car? You see something so something that you really like. You stop the car you took a further you went back home and you look at the federal inside light room or photos, Hope or whatever and you set yourself where? Why? Why did I stopped there There? There's nothing interesting in my fertile and my answer to that. It's because you saw something and you didn't knew what you saw. Let me tell you something. The eyes are just receptors. They pick up lightly, pick up information and they send it to our brain. The brain is the one that decides what we noticed and what we don't. The clarity of the eye. If you stick to think two fingers like this in front of you and you concentrate on the details off only one finger, you'll notice that the entire world around you is blurry. So the brain creates these images inside your head and it decides what you notice and what you don't notice. So that is why it's very important to sit and look at the landscape and just ask yourself, why have I stopped? What is the main focus element that made me stop? Because when you are, for example, inside your apartment and take a look on the window and it's you're really beautiful sunset in the city and your brain is going to be focused on Lee on that sunset only on the beautiful clouds above the city. But if you take a federal, you're going to notice the cables, the guys, the people on the street and all the other destructing element. So the minute you ask yourself this question, why am I here? Why have I stopped? What? What is that thing that made me stop? That will be the beginning of a really beautiful journey. Trust me, if you're gonna ask yourself this question before taking every photo, what am I for a graphing here? What's the main focus? What's the subject? Trust me, your photos are going to be changed forever. Let me tell you why, when you give yourself on answer at first, maybe it's not gonna be the best answer. Okay. I'm gonna photograph I'm stopped. I'm stopping here because I want to photograph that element. The important thing is to choose only one element. That is the only thing that I will tell you to do. Other than that, you will decide. According to yourself, it depends on what type of person you are. What books are you reading? What kind of music you're listening. What kind of videos? Movies, TV shows are you watching? How is your sentimental life? How is your, um, mental health? It all depends on you. You decide what is the most important element in front of you when you're looking at a landscape, But the minute to give herself on answer. It's a journey of self discovery. That is the moment when you say to yourself, Okay, I'm gonna photograph that. And with this decision, will will come a lot of other decisions, some light. Okay, That is my main focus elements. So I need to expose it. Well, I need to put my focus point on that. I need to make sure that that element is sharp. I need to create the composition that will take the viewer toward that subject. and then come come other related questions. Is there other element in my fellow that could distract the viewer from looking at my subject? Are there any other areas off light that could interfere with the attention off the viewer ? Am I using the right lens for this? So you see the Minniti deciding what to photograph in the minute you ask this question, OK? What am I for roughing here? Your answer will be the starting point off a lot of other short answers to other questions that you may ask me asking because I know from my own experience people that come to my warships always ask, What land should we use here? What settings? What? And my My answer is heavy. Decide on what you want to photograph, and every person with decided will decide different. And that is why um, this this question is the beginning of you finding your own start because in time, answering these questions over and over again in time, you will start to know better. What you really like, what works for you? What is the best way in which you can capture something because you will think of composition off settings off lens and youth. You think of all this based on your own personal answer? What? In my photograph in here. And as I told you in the beginning, maybe your answer, it's not gonna be the best one. But over time, you start to know each other better, and your answers are gonna be better and better and better. And this is the starting point of you finding your own style. 3. 03 Examples: Now let me show you some examples of subject or better said point of interest. I noticed when I say subject, people tend to think of subject of something material, a mountain, trees or whatever. But the point of interest can be something much more. I don't know much more philosophical than this. So let's take a look at some examples and see what was the main subject. So here in this feather with the moon rising and Dolomites, of course, that the focus point is the moon rising and I've waited for the moon to rise right above those mountains. Teoh also create a relation between the mountain and the moan, and I also have a few other roads off the mountains in front of me. They are darker to suggest that here also in the dole minds and the subject is clear. It's stretchy, made elaborate. Are these beautiful three peaks over there? And I have this fog that comes from the valley and creates a really beautiful separation from the other elements and my subject here I am too skinny. I noticed two things here. This subject the main, the villa over there in the upper left quarter is in bright light, and it looks so good, but also noticed that in the lower right part there's an intersection of darker intersection off lines that place it's a counterpoint, and it serves as as a new equilibrium element to the entire photo. Now, here we are, photographing this beautiful lake with old the blue fog, and I'm waiting for the light to hit the pine trees because you need some light you need. You need light. Teoh. Emphasize this subject, and this way your attention is viewer. The viewer is drawn to that pine tree here. I don't have any light. The light is flat, but there is a lot of fog, and this beautiful large tree that is completely yellow is so beautifully separated from the rest of the other trees simply because it's a different color. So the subject may be separated through light or through color. Mary, this is a very good case off that another situation in Tuscany, and this is a perfect example of breaking little of thirds. I was looking and seen the the vast blue sky and just the tint off red in the horizon, and I was immediately drawn to this cross between the thirties, there are four actually for cypress trees, and I thought that this could be the main, the main piece. And because it's across, I decided to also frame the sky and have this like, almost like a religious experience. Over here, I used the road and use it as a leading line that will take the view or to the house in the background. It's, I don't know. When I when I looked at this image, I had a feeling off off a story that takes place in countryside and it's romantic and the road takes you there, and it's almost like an invitation off thinking about something over here, I used light again to shine my subject. I'm inside a church and through a window came a light exactly on that. I don't know if it's a non alter or just a table or on ancient tomb or something. But the light shone there that beautiful and I also used, um, the rails off the benches as leading line that gives toward that here I'm inside a town, and whenever whenever I am photographing inside the town, I'm using darkness to lead the attention of the viewer towards something. So I'm for having from darkness towards light and we're light shines. That is where my subject is. Ah, here we have a really beautiful sunset in Tuscany and we have this, um this ray off light shines on this beautiful Tuscan villa that creates a really big contrast. Over here we are at sunrise and the valley. It's full of fog, but this villa, it's closer to us. It separates from the fog and that the background, it's only there to create a sense of place, a sense of perspective. Over here we are in the Dolomite, and I had a chance to have some snow owned mountains and also the Green Valley below. The main attention is such other mountains in the background over there, with the sunset light on them and the valley down below, which is called Valle de Funes. It's only there to create context again in the same small village, the same the same day. I have another small church, which creates a re beautiful contrast because it's white and forest. It's really dark, and you see the entire landscaping, how imposing the mountains are behind the church So once I decide OK, this is my main subject. I framed on Lee that I didn't include other elements. There's a fans, for example, around this church. How does include elements that could distract viewers? 4. 04 Visualization as a planning exercise: after you decided on the subject that you're going to photograph and you thought about composition and settings and whatever. I think it's the most important. Teoh. Stop for a moment and just visualize now. This is a concept that I picked up from Ansel Adams, and I had a kind like to say, my dear, but I was It was slightly different, and his words were were much better said so visualization. It's a way in which you try to think and to imagine the best possible outcome from this photo. It's an imagination exercise, and when you are there, okay, you've you've picked the subject and you've pick it to your own liking. And that point of interest, it's something that describes you. But now it's time to take it a step further because you're not going to present the view what you're actually seeing and what you're actually feeling, because that is particular to you. So you need on a personal way to express yourself. Now. What you can do is just to look at the federal right there, right there in in the landscape, and just try to imagine you can you can dream with your eyes open. You can close your eyes, but it's just about this is about finding something inside of you that will generate a visual image inside your brain. Now, these two exercises off asking yourself, What am I photographing here? And this world ization The first are going to take a little bit of time. But as you are doing this with each further that you're you're taking you, your brain starts to notice patterns and your brain will start to give you hence because you you are putting a lot of effort and thinking and realizing what you are thinking and why is this and what what you are feeling. And at a certain point, if you're doing this, um, photo after photo after photo, this thing exercise will starts to be automated. This is the way our brain works the minute we we do an action repeatedly and we repeated a lot and constantly the brain searches for mechanism to not think about that anymore. So a seven point it will become almost like an instinct. You will reach a place and you'll notice right from the start that that that and that is those are the points of interest because I know exactly what I like. And I know, and it will also kick in the visualization, and you will start to think about now. Imagining how the federal will look doesn't mean that that photo will look exactly like that when you're going to add it, because, uh, photography. It's an artistic process. And it's this this part where you take the photo and then you go home and you add it, are separated in time and that period of time. It's very important because when you get home and you start added your firm, you may be editing with same feeling or not. You maybe editing after a one year, for example, have feathers that I anything that I did for something that doesn't 15 when I was in the Dolomites, so that there's no way for me, Teoh, remember how I was feeling at that moment? I have to add it according to what I'm feeling today and what is my current state of mind and how how I'm actually feeling today and if I'm going to want, if I'm if I'm happier, I will add it with with lots more, with a lot more saturation in the further. If I'm having a bad day, I may be going a little bit de saturated in the image more with more contrast and with more blues in it. So finding this this way to express yourself, it's an exercise of time, and this visualization it's it's really something that you can also do it in front of your computer. You can take a look at the profile in. Just look at with look at it with your eyes, kind of like se me close and try to envision something Try to see what are the elements that you think they need to come out. What are the elements that need to be saturated and de saturate, where you need light and where you need darkness? Where do you need contrast and where you just need to see the details in the shadows. So just doing, uh, a process off planning and oppresses off being conscious when you are taking the full when you are everything, why you are doing something things. I need to darken this element because I want to make the viewer thing. This is closer to the camera and the other element it's brighter because it's further away from the camera. These are mental thes are logical decisions that you are making. But you are making these decisions based on your imagination and your imaginations. It's gonna be always fueled by your feelings and by your own knowledge. If you're reading a lot, a lot of fantasy books, your landscapes are gonna go towards that direction, like my 44 Asarco. If you're eating lots of I don't know what out of books or if you're watching them some type off movies. You you'll see that you your way of visualizing the landscape. It's gonna be the way you are. It's gonna be a reflection of you, and the more you're gonna do that them or you're gonna find your style because the style of you it's going to change. It's just like him painters where you take a look at the federals they did in the beginning of their career and at the end of the career, and they look completely different. It's because the your own style it's not something that okay, this is my style. I'm gonna nail it, and this is what I do for the rest of my life. No, your style means that you are photographing according to you in that particular moment, that is the thing that you need to realize you're not subjected to any trend or any I don't know or any account on Instagram that its famous right now you're editing the way you feel that image needs of edited. And in time, you'll find the the audience for their own photos that will appreciate the way you're thinking and the style off, off, off, presenting a feather. It's not going to change overnight. It's going to change gradually, gradually, but it's going to change in time. It's gonna be different now. I think it's time to move to composition, into talk a little bit about Theo. Aesthetics of competence. I'm not gonna present rules of composition. This is not the goal of this course, but Teoh think about composition in a way that supports your own vision. 5. 05 Esthetics of composition: Now it's time to talk about the aesthetics of composition. And how do you think about it? In a way that composition will support your idea very shortly, said No matter how you think about composition, you should always analyze the final result of your federal like, um, on you should kind of like putting your federal on a stick. And this is this is your photo and you put it like this. And every side of the federal needs to be balanced. If I'm starting left with a dark element, I need something on the right to be a counterweight to that element. Don't leave areas of your photo not used. Basically, this is the This is another way off saying it. Now let me show you a few compositions. For example, in this photo, I was really drawn by the silhouette of these two rocks because the sun was setting behind them and I was just using the reflection in the snow and a really short line leading from the left and going up to the rocks are over here. This is a leading line that starts in the lower left part, and you can see this is a little bit darker and then comes on area off light. And then comes another area off darkness. This is a very a simple way to hold the viewers attention to one place, having the light frame by areas of darkness. Over here, the composition is again composed the upper part of the mountain that is the final journey . But there is also cloud, and there are some large trees over there to support and to take the attention up up the mountain. Here we have a really simple composition. The church is completely separated from the the landscape we have a lot of for. It's a really cold morning, and it's just a placement in using the rule of thirds. And just that it's It's like, um, using the landscape has the negative space around the church. Here we have a simple trail in the forest that takes you towards that area off bright fog. Over there, I was raising the drone, and I just saw this sea off clouds surrounding the beautiful mountain. It's it looks like an island. That was my my way off off thinking about it, and I tried to capture exactly that, that having the fog and cloud the low altitude clouds like a sea surrounding the mountain Over here again, I'm having, um, something leading lines created by the ridges and the pine trees over there are just like Spectators looking at this beautiful landscape. Over here we have this massive stone, and this stone is called the stone That weeps because from a certain angle, it looks like a man that weeps. But my composition start in the lower right part with that small rock. And then you move a little bit, um, vertical and slightly to the left. And in the end, you reach, um, the the rock over there now, Dirac from the upper part in the right side of the image. It's only there to push you in the right direction into look at my subject. Now I'm using Onley, light and clouds to draw attention to the top of that mountain. And I I was waiting until that small cloud was hovering above that plateau and that was one when I took the federal, because the contrast, I think, worked really great. Now I'm having this Tuscan villa, and I'm darkening the up the other part off the sky, the lower part of the federal. And I'm using the road as a leading line Teoh to take you to this villa for this photo. I sat really low and have only the silhouettes off the cypress trees and the villa. And when I was editing, I was I was trying to envision How can I make this to be on Li about the villain that from that came the decision to take away the color in the blue of the sky and the Joker color off the off the land over there. And I just add a little bit of darkness and a little off light some elements and just made this for about something and again the same The same thing I I did over here. So you're seeing what you're seeing in these compositions? Uh um, decisions made on on some Logical. There are thoughts, but this comes as a quantity of consequence off imagining or visualizing something 6. 06 Visualize concepts through journaling while photographing: in this lesson, I will talk about the benefits of journaling while photographing. It may sound strange, perhaps, and we are living in a world where you need to be hips there. You need to be cold. You need to act fast. You need to photograph fast. You need to produce a lot of photos and post all the time. Well, I'm pretty sure that even if you're journaling when you're photographing, you're you're still going to be able to post a lot. Is just gonna be a lot better. Fed does. Why journaling? Because forcing yourself to express yourself in words. It's kind of like a way of pulling what's inside of you, what you're seeing, what you're feeling and you're pulling it out and you're you are starting to see it to visualize it better. I am not saying about journaling at home, and I'm not saying about expressing complex feelings or writing complex things. You need only a small notebook. I have something one like this, and I'm just sitting there waiting for the sunset. I'm always out there with many hours before sunset, for example, and I'm just enjoying nature and I'm finding my place and I'm just noticing some elements, and when you are generally you can write things that worked. You can say I noticed something, and when the light shone on that particular element, this looked really well. You can made different and notes about the location when you took that the moment of the year. What were the atmospheric conditions? Because when you're going to look again in time, this is an action that will will make its benefits invisible. Over time, you're going to notice different patterns because you will start to see that things go in a certain direction when certain things have are happening. So generally for a better knowledge of your own person. While you're photographing, I think brings a lot of benefits. You don't even have Teoh have a journal per se of physical journey. You can use, for example, notion or Evernote or whatever app you want to to just tasting notes. But it's very important to have those notes to have them categorized that on location on on time, period and on atmospheric conditions and just Teoh, take your words, take your thoughts out of your head and put it over there. You will see a tremendous change in the way you are looking at landscape for Dr Because landscape photography. It's if you're looking at it just in terms of settings. I have to go click, click, click and apply. It's, Ah, certain preset and I That's the fellow. I don't I think you're missing the point. I think I mean landscape photography. It's about enjoying nature. Outdoor fatality. It's about being there in nature and capturing it the way the weight makes you, the way it brings you joy. It's not about going to a place and photograph it the way another person did it before you just because that person went there and he got to know how many lives or how many views on a YouTube video. How door photography it's about you being there and photograph and captured the place. And this prices of general ing will help you find into MAWR with your own voice with your own style at that attack. That particular moment in time 7. 07 Before you go: the conclusion off this course, Uh, just to break it down in film isn't simple steps is to you. Always ask yourself, What am I photographing here? The moment here when you give herself in answer, try to act accordingly. Think about a composition that supports that particular element thing that it has to be in sharp. It has to be exposed. Okay, what type of lens should I use to capture that particular subject? And after that, it's time to visualize how this entire image will look. It's gonna be wide form. It's gonna be one by one. It's going to be four by five. It's gonna be four by 300. Ad it. What are the elements that need more light in editing? Others? More darkness? Where should I d saturate a little bit. Where should I saturate the image? Maybe I have to go black and wide. Maybe I have Teoh make some color shifting. So just think about Aled this and then act accordingly. Also, use a journal too. Keep notes on what? What do you think are the things that are working and not location weather on. Just just try Teoh, express yourself. Nobody will have to see that journal. It's gonna be on Lee for your eyes only, so you can write whatever you want there. But it's a way off. You taking your thought and make them conscious on paper. And all these actions in time will help. You know yourself better, will help you think, Ah, lot different. And this did. This is a very simple way for you getting in touch with the true self and know exactly what you're liking. Now I invite you to also explore other courses off mine on skilled share and also look at other creators a lot off really beautiful courses here on skill share and thank you for watching. And until next time, keep off for roughing. It's the only way to get there.