Creating a Numbers Series

Numbers are in constant demand for graphics, articles, blog posts, and even book covers. Take the time to start an interesting numbers series, and remain on the lookout as you shoot, for additions to the series. Interesting numbers shots will be amoungst the most popular of your stock images with writers, graphic designers, illustrators, and bloggers. Consider creating multiple series, depending on colors, or locations of numbers within your images. Include plenty of context, and let the designers crop as desired.

Number48-1

C. David Tobie

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Tide Pool Macros

Tidal pools are a wonderful source of material for shooting macro photos. They offer life, texture, color, and mystery. Such shots can occur above, or below, the waterline. Often it is possible to shoot underwater images without an underwater camera or housing in tide pools, since they are very shallow, with a smooth surface. In other cases, the distortions of the water movement can add interesting effects to the images. The first image below is all about detail and color, with the amazing pearl-strand-like details on the purple and orange starfish. The second image has a smoother, dreamier quality, created by the surface of the water, which is relatively flat above the anemone, but more distorted in other areas of the image.

CanonStars-1 TidePoolAnenome-1

C. David Tobie

Off-Axis Symmetry

Some objects, particularly architecture and flowers, are so powerfully symmetrical that their geometry shines through even without centering on it. Try shooting such images from an angle, or off center, to create a more dynamic balance.  Here, the angled view shows both the geometry of the flower, and the arc of the petals, while the offset location adjusts for that angle, at the same time creating a balanced image.

OffAxisSymmetry-1

C. David Tobie

Dark Floral Photography

Floral photography is typically about light and brilliant color. But thats not how it has to be. It makes for striking floral images to shoot in dimmer locations with lower key colors. Here all that was required was to stoop under an overhanging tree, and shoot in the deep shade to achieve a notably different type of floral image, pleasing, but with a very different key and palette.

DarkFloral-1C. David Tobie

Shallow Depth of Focus Macros

With tools such as focus stacking making deep focus images easier and easier to produce, its important to remember what shallow depth of focus can bring to a macro image. Not only does it tell the eye which portion of the shot we would like them to focus on, it also gives a heady sense of depth, by making things just millimeters apart show clearly as different focal planes.

Here the rules are broken even further, by focusing the viewer’s attention on the delicately pinked ends of the petals, while having the stamen at the center of the flowers extend beyond the focal plane.

ShallowDOFMacro-1C. David Tobie

Going For the Dynamic Image

The shot below is a workmanlike architectural image of a beautiful set of doors.  Distracting elements surrounding the doorway have been cropped out, the perspective has been corrected within reason, and the exposure and shadow detail set to tell the whole story as clearly as possible.

FullSizeRender-5

But is this the most interesting, and salable, image of this subject matter? Lets start with a decision to avoid the paper sign duct taped to the door. And to try to get a sense of the imposing scale of these doors, sized for a deity, not mere humans. Setting the exposure, color, and white balance to a moodier, less literal options could also add impact. And leaving the image as a part, not the whole, of the doorway creates a sense of mystery. The image below is based on these, and other, decisions. It is far more likely to sell, especially as stock, then the more straightforward image above. FullSizeRender-4C. David Tobie

Pleasing Decay in Architectural Detail Shots

It is easy to miss the photographic potential of pleasing decay. Until framed and displayed as art, it has the habit of just looking messy. Keeping an eye out for locations where a shot can depict aging, and perhaps the layers of paint, masonry, or stucco applied over time can be rewarding.

In the shot below, an arch top window long ago infilled with bricks and stones of differing sizes and colors, then plastered and painted over at various times provides an interesting story, once isolated and focused on. It would have been all to easy to pass by the alley where this deteriorating wall was located, in a town full of architectural beauty.FilledArchC. David Tobie