5 Tips to Composing

Composing photographs is different for every photographer. In this post I will go over 5 tips to composing a landscape scene.

1) The first thing I look for when composing is good light. I will usually compose a photograph with side lighting or back lighting. Front light in a landscape scene in my experience comes across flat and boring, but it can be done!

2) I like to find an interesting foreground object that will give the scene depth and scale.

3) Along with my foreground I also like to add a middle ground, background, and a sky. I think it creates scale and depth having these elements to compliment my foreground.

4) I try to find lines, patterns, light, color, and shapes that will lead your eye through the photograph.

5) 95% of the time I will leave the horizon either at the top third of the frame or the bottom third. I rarely leave the horizon in the middle of the frame.

These are just some basic quick tips for composing a landscape photograph.

Try em out let me know how it works out!

My Top 5 iPhone Photography Apps

If you look through the app store on Itunes there are hundreds if not thousands of apps for photography. In this post I will go over My Top 5 iPhone Photography Apps. Sorry to the droid users out there nothing against the droid but I am an iPhone user, but I am sure droid has similar apps if not the same ones. 5) Pano- This app is a great app if you like panoramas. It's simple to use and easy to make beautiful panoramas. It will allow you to stitch together up to 16 photographs taken from your iPhone. It has a transparent layer to help you line up your pano. I Love this app for it's simplicity and interface.  Currently it's on sale for $1.99 Pano - Debacle Software

4) Pro HDR- HDR photography has been picking up a lot of steam lately in the digital world. Well did you know your iPhone can do HDR photography as well? There are several HDR apps out there but this one is my fav. My friend Ken Snyder the "HDR Guy" has written a post about it here. Take a look to learn more about HDR iPhone Photography. You can pick this app up for $1.99 Pro HDR - eyeApps LLC

3) Photoshop Express- Every photographer wants to put their best image out there even if it's an iPhone photograph. Photoshop and photography goes hand in hand, so why not have photoshop on your iPhone? Photoshop Express, lets you crop, convert to black and white, adjust exposure, do some sharpening and even add some special effects. It's a great tool to add to your arsenal. Best part about this app is that it's free! Adobe Photoshop Express - Adobe Systems Incorporated

2) Contract Maker Pro- If you are working photographer you know about contracts. Model releases, second shooter, bill of sale, copyright release, service agreement etc. Why not have all that on your iPhone? Well you can! Contract Maker Pro allows you to customize the contract of your choice. All you have to do is input the names and numbers, have the person sign via the touch screen on your iPhone, then Contractor Pro will email the contract to you and your client. No more paper, pens, briefcases, filing cabinets, you get the idea. It's a great tool for the mobile photographer. This app is currently priced at $4.99 Contract Maker Pro - MIchael The Maven

1) The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE)- Being a nature and landscape photographer, this app is my go to app. It tells me where and when the moon or sun is rising and setting. It tells me that the distant foothill will cause the sunlight to falloff a bit earlier based on my current elevation. It will tell me what time the sun will strike the face of El Capitan. It's a valuable tool to have for that outdoor photographer. Here are the main features of this app. - Time and direction of sunrise and sunset - Time and direction of moonrise and moonset - Phase of the moon and % illumination - Times of civil, nautical and astronomical twilight - Save any location you want - no fixed lists - Automatic time zone detection for any location on earth - Determines elevation above sea level - View azimuth and altitude of sun/moon for any time of day/night - Distance, bearing and elevation angle between any two points - Find when the sun/moon will appear from behind a hill - Compensation for atmospheric refraction - Compensation for elevation above the horizon

This is the most expensive app on my list at $8.99 but well worth it to the landscape photographer.

The Photographer's Ephemeris - Crookneck Consulting LLC

What's Your Shooting Percentage?

I was talking with a beginner photographer the other day and I was asking about her recent trip. She said it was good but she took twenty or so photographs and only one was "good enough". She seemed upset or down on herself for only getting one keeper after twenty or so photographs. I told her that was an excellent "shooting percentage". On a typical day for me I might take 200 photographs of a sunset. If I get 2 or 3 out of those 200 that meet my standards I am pretty happy with that! Sometimes I will even go out on a shoot and not even get one photograph that meet my standards. Just wasn't my day. We all have those days! Don't be hard on yourself, it happens, it's part of the craft.

With time and practice your shooting percentage may improve, but the great thing about the digital age is that we don't have to buy film. Shoot away! People don't know that the one photograph I display took me 200 tries to perfect, nor do they really care. All they know is that they like the photograph. I have never had anyone ask me how many tries did it take to get that photo.