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Mastery DVDs Summer 2013 Limited Time Special Offer

To celebrate the publication of the new Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD, the 6th tutorial in the Mastery Workshops on DVD collection, we are offering a special offer to help you complete your collection.

Click here to see the contents new Advanced marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD

Click here to read the details of this special offer

Below are photographs of all 6 Mastery Workshops on DVD:


Personal Style Master Class
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Composition Mastery
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Introductory Marketing
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Printing Mastery
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Advanced Marketing
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Adjustment Layers Mastery
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Text and Photographs copyright © Alain Briot 2013
All rights reserved worldwide

Monument Valley Avant Garde: How it was done

June 15, 2013 Art, Technique, Workshops 3 Comments

Monument Valley Avant Garde

I make it my challenge to photograph well known locations – icons as some people call them – in a new way. This is one of the reasons behind the ‘avant garde’ part of the title.  While I also photograph little known locations, I find it inspirational to photograph locations that are well known.  The challenge of seeing a location photographed by many with fresh eyes is a challenge that gives me motivation to create images that have not been done before, images that fit within a tradition while at the same time challenging this tradition.  The rebellious spirit that motivates this approach is part of my work.  It is assotiated with a focus on form and color, both of which are modified at will to fit my vision.

We visit this location during our Navajoland Workshop.  Here is next year’s Workshop description:

http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-Navajoland-Spring-14.html
Best regards,

Alain Briot
Beautiful-landscape.com

 

Six Remarks on Composition

No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it,
and 
is sure of his method and composition.

Claude Monet

Introduction
Composition is an important aspect of good photographs. I have written about it at length in my books and my essays, and I continue to do so.  Here I want to offer some remarks about composition that I wrote recently.  These are not organized the way my essays or book chapters are.  Instead, they are simply numbered and they are not necessarily related to each other.  Read it as a loose list of items written as they crossed my mind and that I wanted to share.

1 – About Photographers
A great photographer has, above everything else, a great eye.  Camera gear is important but secondary. Great photographs are the result of acute seeing abilities.  If anything, the best gear is the one that frees the photographer from thinking about technique and lets him or her free to concentrate on seeing.

In landscape photography the photographer must be able to follow changes in the light, the weather, the clouds, the shadows, etc. as they happen.  This means being able to shoot continuously while exposing, focusing and completing other technical tasks accurately.  Only then can the photographer follow his inspiration and work his way through the multiple opportunities offered by the subject, the light and the weather.

Blue Mesa Cottonwoods
Horizontal composition

Sometimes trying both vertical and horizontal compositions of the same scene can lead fruitful results, as in this photograph of a row of cottonwood trees in fall colors set against a shaded mesa.  The horizontal composition allowed me to fit more trees in the foreground than I could in the vertical composition, resulting in an image that has more ‘breath’ and spaciousness than the vertical composition. The tree that is the ‘hero’ of the vertical composition is only one of the characters in the horizontal composition, further adding variety and interest to what is my favorite of these two images.


Blue Mesa Cottonwoods
Vertical composition

2 – About Upgrading Gear
It takes time to get used to new equipment, software and other tools.  Doing so is not automatic.  Even though there are many tutorials available, we need to practice in order to get used to new gear.  This can take weeks, months or even years.

If you constantly change your gear you never become fully familiar with it. You may also miss some new and important features.  You have to work with tools for a while before you become fully conversant with them. You have to ‘make friends’ with your tools before you can become intimately familiar with them.

This is what mastery is all about.  Mastery is not only knowing what to do or how to do it.  Mastery is also, and primarily, knowing why and when to do something.  Mastery is focusing on the why, on the motive, instead of the what, the technique.  When one seeks mastery one is no longer concerned with not knowing how to do something. Instead, one is concerned with knowing why something needs to be done. Mastery is using specific tools for specific reasons, not just using tools because they are ‘new’ or ‘better.’

Mastery is often counterintuitive.  It often goes against common sense or has an iconoclastic side to it. There is often a unique or unexpected aspect to the choices made by masterful practitioners.  However, a common characteristic of the masters is that they can explain clearly and convincingly why they made specific choices.  In other words their choices are not accidental. Rather, they are deliberate, thought-out decisions made for specific reasons.

In art, these specific reasons are  related to the desire to express a personal vision.  The goal is to make this vision visible to all instead of keeping it in our mind. The goal is to use gear and tools to make our vision a reality that everyone can see.  The goal is to make what is in our mind’s eye visible in our photographs.  The true artist falls in love with his vision.

3 – Processes and variety
Using a variety of processes is nice, but variety of vision is more important than variety of techniques.

So what if the techniques you use are always the same? As long as they serve the needs of your images well, what need is there for more? In the darkroom we used nearly always the same processes and techniques. Variations were introduced only when dealing with recalcitrant images. The process was otherwise standard.

What changed was our vision for each image,   The processing variations introduced as we went from one photograph to the next consisted of altering the process slightly for each image to make the images match our vision.  For example what changed was how long we exposed the paper, or how long we developed the image, or the timing of some other aspect of the process.  What did not change much at all was the process we used to go from vision to final print. That process, for all intended purposes, was pretty much standard.

Today there seems to be a focus, indeed an obsession at times, with using new techniques.  While refining the process and introducing changes is important, what we are talking about here is something quite different.

What we are talking about here is change for change’s sake, not change for vision’s sake.  The changes we see today do not necessarily make the process better. What they do essentially is make the process different.  More often than not they do not bring significant improvements.  In fact, occasionally they bring a degradation of image quality.

Using different techniques because of novelty alone is therefore something to watch out for. Just like new cameras do not necessarily mean better images, new digital techniques do not necessarily mean better master files or better prints.

As is often the case in art, the artist and the artist’s vision are what needs to be improved and worked on. The artist’s tools, for the most part, are rarely the issue.  Most artists have tools, or software, whose capabilities far exceeds their vision.  It is depth of vision that is most deserving of our attention.

4 – About printing
From a technical standpoint raw captures are characterized by being low contrast, low saturation and somewhat blurry.  Starting from a low contrast,  low saturation and blurry original file requires having a vision for the final image.  The original raw file alone cannot act as guide.  The  final image has to exist first in the mind of the artist, second in the final optimized file and third in the fine art print.

The ability to translate what one sees in his mind onto a piece of paper is directly related to the artistic and technical virtuosity of the photographer. Achieving a fine art print involves much more than moving sliders and adjusting “things” in LR3 or other software!


Zabriskie Point Sunrise #1

In this second example the difference between the two photographs is essentially the amount of sky present in each of them.  The photograph above has less sky than the one below.  However, it is my favorite of the two.   I spent a long time deciding why until I realized that including more sky took my attention away from looking at the badland formations in the foreground. By including a lot of sky, the photograph became primarily about the sky.  By including less sky, the photograph is both about the sky and the land.  The outcome is a more balanced photograph, one that is more pleasing to look at in my opinion.


Zabriskie Point Sunrise #2

5 – About field work –
When I get to a location that I want to photograph I do not unpack my camera gear right away.  Instead, I put my bag and tripod down and spend a good amount of time looking at the landscape, taking in it, studying the colors and considering different compositional possibilities.  Before taking photographs I first want to view the scene without a camera.

This is because I hardly ever find the strongest composition right away.  Instead, I find compositions that I like by walking the scene, by stopping to study the possibilities offered by different viewpoints and at times by stopping and letting the scene ‘soak in’ so to speak.  I do this until I see a specific angle that I find particularly inspiring.  Only then do I unpack my gear and set up my camera and tripod.  Because of experience and familiarity with my gear, doing so takes only a minute or so.  I can’t remember an instance in which I lost a shot because I waited to set up my gear.

I follow this process because I like to keep the possibility open that there may be an image here.  At the same time I also want to keep the possibility open that there may not be an image here. Therefore, to find out which of these two possibilities is true, I wait patiently until the image reveals itself to me, or not, as the case might be. There isn’t always a photograph in a location, not matter how promising it may be.

6 – Creating simple images is not simple
The most simple images are often the most effective images. However, creating simple images is not necessarily a simple process.  To be able to simplify a composition one must have acquired a variety of ‘visual reflexes.’  These ‘visual reflexes’ consist of things that one does automatically, without thinking, because these things have been practiced so many times that they have become intuitive.

Sometimes this means proceeding quickly through the construction of the image, and sometimes it means proceeding slowly and moving through each step carefully.  Sometimes it means using finesse, and sometimes it means moving forward intuitively.

It may also mean finding out what is the weak area of an image and looking for ways to strengthen it.  Or it may mean having the patience necessary to wait until everything comes together, until the light and the subject are balanced and become equally interesting.

Sometimes it means letting things be, for example letting objects fall where they may without worrying if they are in the right place or not.  On the other hand sometimes it means controlling the position of each element until everything looks right.

Sometimes it means taking one photo after another while fine tuning the composition, until the perfect image is found.  Sometimes it means working quickly, knowing that there will only be enough time to take one photograph, two at the most, because the light is changing very quickly and there is no time to waste.

Sometimes it mean finding ways of making the subject come alive.  Sometimes it means letting the subject speak for itself.

About Alain Briot
Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. Alain is the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available on as printed books Amazon.com and as eBooks on Alain’s website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to Alain’s Free Monthly Newsletter on his website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive information on downloading the table of contents, plus over 40 free essays by Alain, immediately after subscribing. Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays available. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Vistancia, Arizona
2013

http://www.beautiful-landscape.com

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Sunrise, Joshua Tree NP: How it was done

June 14, 2013 Art, Technique No Comments

Sunrise, Joshua Tree National Park, California

The photograph above was taken during our Joshua Tree workshop this May. It is a single capture. Because of the dynamic range of the Phase One back that I use, and because of my processing technique, I was able to get details both in the shadows and highlights.

I initially wanted to do this image as a silhouette, the way I did in my previous visit to Joshua tree, but when I started processing the image I realized that the feeling of dawn breaking over the horizon would best be expressed by having some details in the shadows. Not a lot, but some, enough to give the feeling that night is breaking away, that we are starting to see into the shadows and that light is slowly filling the landscape, pushing away the cover of darkness and revealing details that could not be seen previously. I also want to express the feeling of warmth and color that comes with a late spring sunrise, as well as the transition between day and night.

This is why I made the top of the image a deep blue, dark enough to give the feeling of night breaking away, but not so dark that we feel it isn’t dawn yet. That’s also why I gave the lower portion of the sky, the part over the horizon, a yellow/pink/orange glow, to both echo the color of the sun rays and to contrast with the deep blue of the sky above. Color is very important in my work, and control of color is one of the aspects of digital processing that I enjoy the most and that I have learned to master over the many years I have been practicing photography.

Alain Briot
Beautiful-landscape.com

Where can you read my books and essays ?

Where my work is published

 

Luminous-Landscape.com

Michael Reichmann has published my essays on his site since 1999.   My Monthly column on Luminous-Landscape.com is titled Briot’s View.

You can read all my Briot’s View essays — over 40 of them — at this link:
http://luminous-landscape.com/columns/briots_view.shtml

 

NPN – NaturePhotographers.net

I also have a monthly column on NPN, Nature Photographers.net.

My author’s page on NPN is at this link:

http://www.naturephotographers.net/staff/abriot.html

 

And here is my May 2013 essay:

http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0513/ab0513-1.html

 

LPM – LandscapePhotographyMagazine.com

I have a Monthly Essay Series on LandscapePhotographyMagazine.comHere is my Author’s Page on LPM :

http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/authors/

 

My April 2013 essay:

http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/2013/about-field-work/

 

And my May 2013 essay:

http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/2013/the-power-of-simplicity/

 

Foto4all.ro

I publish a Monthly column on Foto4All

The May 2013 issue features an interview of myself by Cristina Tinta:

http://www.foto4all.ro/issue/28/issue-22-23-may-june-2013.html

 

Here is the April 2013 Issue:

http://www.foto4all.ro/issue/26/issue-21-april-2013.html

 

The other issues are linked to from the magazine’s home page:

http://www.foto4all.ro/

 

Books

My books are available on Amazon and many other bookstores.

Here is my Author’s page on Amazon.com where all my books are listed:

http://www.amazon.com/Alain-Briot/e/B001JOXMFG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

eBooks

All my books and essay collections are available as eBooks.  The eBooks are only available on my website at:

http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

 

My Web Site

I publish essays regularly on my website.  Here is the Link to my essays page:

http://beautiful-landscape.com/Thoughts_list.html

 

This blog

And of course, you can write my writings regularly on this blog:

http://beautiful-landscape.com/Reflections

 

Thank you for your interest in my work.

Alain Briot

HDR in 2013

May 11, 2013 Art, Technique 1 Comment

HDR in 2013 by Ned Radan

 

Introduction
High Dynamic Range (HDR) images are very popular discussion in photographic books and magazines. It is also a very old procedure almost old as photography. Nowadays with availability of digital cameras and image editing software, this technique is very commonly used by photographers. For successful use of the procedure, a common sense is essential. Difficulty level is from very easy (dodging and burning in Photoshop) to hard (combining an image of the sky through branches on an image intended for large print photograph).

History
The first photographer to use this technique was Gustave Le Gray in his images shown in London in 1856. At the time negatives were more sensitive to blue light then to red and green. As a result, the sky would be rendered in white and subjects on earth in shades of grey. So he exposed one photograph for sky and the second one for subjects on the ground. When making prints two negatives were masked. One was used for sky and the other one for the ground.

Overview
Visible light, that’s what we see, can be rendered with camera with ability to capture Dynamic Range of 30 f stops. Nowadays, cameras can capture roughly 5-10 f stops in one image depending of the sophistication of a camera. As a result, a camera can capture only a window of the visible light in one single image. The intent of HDR technique is to widen this window. In simple words burned highlights and unexposed shadows in an image need to be revealed.

When to Use It
Use of HDR technique is to be avoided unless it is necessary. For example, at noon on a sunny day shadows are harsh. That means a part of rock facing the sun and part of the same rock in the shade will have different intensity of light. This difference can be several f stops. In order to photograph this subject one would need to adjust exposure for sunny side of the rock and the second exposure for the part in shade. In the office these two exposures would be combined using image editing software to create one image. The better option would be to come at the location early in the morning or late in the evening and photograph the same subject. This time only one exposure is needed because the light does not create harsh shadows.

To conclude, in some instances choosing appropriate lighting conditions gives better results than applying the HDR technique.

Application
HDR technique is a tool available to a photographer in creating a desired image. As mentioned earlier it is to the photographer‘s common sense to decide to use it or not. Some other procedures one can use instead or in combination with HDR technique:

  • Chose appropriate lighting condition. Come on the location at the dusk or down when shadows are soft.
  • Acquire an advanced camera which wider dynamic range.
  • Use artificial light (flash) or reflector to lighten the detail in the shade.

Depending on your subject and type of photography, the photographer chooses the appropriate approach.

Revealing Highlights
In some cases we can avoid HDR procedure by choosing appropriate lighting conditions, but in others this is the only way we can present a subject. For example, at sunset and sunrise sky gets spectrum of warm colors. In order to catch warm colored sky and the ground, it is necessary to use HDR technique. So take one shot for sky and the other for the ground and then combine them in an image editing software. The image (Figure 1) shows sunset, where I could not avoid HDR technique.


Illustration 1 neil radan
Figure 1: Zion Sunset

Revealing Shadows
When subject with lot of shadows is photographed, some shadows lose detail and become plain black. The best way to render such subject is to photograph it in optimal lighting condition. Sometimes we can’t camp on location, drive late in the evening or can’t afford camera with high dynamic range, so remedy is to use HDR procedure. In Figure 2 is shown example of such situation.

Illustration 2 neil radan
Figure 2: Sands of Time

How To
The simplest way to combine two images in photo editing software is to use eraser. Load up the image with most of the detail on the top layer. In the bottom layer load up an image adjusted for shadows or highlights, which ever you want to reveal on the top layer image. Make your top layer active and choose eraser soft brush with opacity 5-10%. Now go over area which you want revealed a few times. When you are happy with outcome flatten the image.

This is not the best way to combine images, but it will get you going in no time.

Summary
HDR procedure is a tool in the tool box of a photographer. At the end of the day is personal preference to use it or not and when to use it. The most important aspect is your imagination.

References:
Alain Briot, “Mastering Landscape Photography”
Beaumont NewHall, “The History of Photography”
Michael Freeman, “Pro Photographer’s D-SLR Handbook”

Neil Radan
May 2013
Brilliantlandscapes.com

 

About Adobe’s cloud-only software delivery policy

May 9, 2013 Art, Technique 2 Comments

About Adobe’s cloud-only software delivery policy

Adobe’s ‘creative cloud only’ announcement – the news that Adobe software will be available only as cloud-based subscription service instead of as traditional software packages one owns and installs on their computers-  came as a shock to most photographers who use Photoshop.

I received lots of questions about how the ‘cloud’ works and what one should do. Here are my thoughts and recommendations:

1 – Upgrade to CS6. It’s a very good upgrade and who knows it may be the last opportunity to buy Photoshop that you can keep on your computer! I have it and I’ll keep it!

2 – I have a feeling Adobe will be forced to offer an alternative to the cloud. There’s multiple reasons why, one of them being the requirement to have online access to process images in PS. What if you don’t have online access for whatever reason? No photoshop possible?

3 – What about opening photos that you created a long time ago? Impossible unless you are a cloud subscriber. This means you have to pay the monthly fee, even if you don’t need photoshop, just to open your photos? That’s not right.  Of course we can convert psd files to tiffs or other format, but when your photo library features several hundred thousand images, as mine does, that’s easier said than done!

4 –  Here is the ‘official information’ from Adobe:

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/faq.html

and also here:

http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2013/05/answering-your-questions-about-photoshop-cc.html

Please post your comments below.

Alain Briot
www.beautiful-landscape.com

White Sands Gallery

White Sands & Bosque del Apache Gallery

CF020070-600

 



About Alain Briot

Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. Alain is the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available on as printed books Amazon.com and as eBooks on Alain’s website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to Alain’s Free Monthly Newsletter on his website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive information on downloading the table of contents, plus over 40 free essays by Alain, immediately after subscribing. Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays available. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Vistancia, Arizona

2013

Sunrise Reflections, Bosque del Apache – How I created this photograph

Sunrise Reflections, Bosque del Apache – How I created this photograph

1 – How this photograph was created
Each time I visit Bosque del Apache I set it as a goal to take photographs without any birds. This was the first photograph I took that morning. When I created it I believed it would be the best image for that morning and it turned out to be so.

This photograph was taken during our just completed Bosque & White Sands Workshop. The sun was not up yet. I was so convinced that this was a strong image, a ‘keeper’ as they say, that I told the workshop participants that I had created my best image for that morning and that we could leave for breakfast now. Many participants joined me in capturing this scene.  Somehow I knew that this was a strong image, possibly the strongest image I was going to create that morning. How did I know? From experience taking tens of thousands of photographs over many years. In other words, because of practice.

I also don’t use a light meter on my manual camera, instead I set the f-stop and shutter speed based on my evaluation of the light level of the scene. After many years of doing so I have become quite good at it. Usually, I find the perfect exposure after 1 or 2 attempts. That morning I found it at my first attempt. In fact, the photograph above was the first exposure I took that morning. I saw it as a sign that this was a truly exceptional situation.

2 – Skill Enhancement Exercises
Practice finding out if you have a ‘keeper’, when you are working in the field, and when you first see the image on your LCD scren.
– Does doing this come naturally to you?
– Is it challenging?
– If yes, which aspect of this approach is the most challenging?

After returning to your studio, take a look back at the images you believed were ‘keepers.’
– Were you correct? Are these photograph as good as you thought they were once you convert and optimize them ?
– If you were not correct, why do you not like these images as much as you did in the field? What changed?
– If you were correct, what are the strong aspects of these images?
– What is it about them that makes them work visually?

 

 

Sunrise Reflections, Bosque del Apache

3 – About Alain Briot
Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. Alain is the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available on as printed books Amazon.com and as eBooks on Alain’s website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to Alain’s Free Monthly Newsletter on his website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive information on downloading the table of contents, plus over 40 free essays by Alain, immediately after subscribing. Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays available. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Vistancia, Arizona
2013

Creativity Top 12

February 19, 2013 Art, Composition, Success No Comments

Creativity Top 12
How to stand out from the crowd 

Introduction
Standing out among the ever-increasing number of photographers is becoming more and more difficult.  Gear and software are getting better and better.  Prices for photography hardware, software are consumables are getting more and more affordable.  Technical training is readily available. Information about locations that were once challenging to find is now just a google click away.

When everyone is photographing the same locations, knowing how to get to these locations is no longer an advantage.  When everyone has access to the same tools, and when these tools are both excellent and affordable, having these tools no longer gives us an advantage.  Mastering chemical photography involved owning gear that was expensive and  learning a process that was challenging. The large amount of time and money required to do this gave chemical photographers a significant advantage. Not so with digital.  While still expensive, digital photography gear is much more affordable than film-based gear.  Training, while still carrying a cost, is also much more affordable.  In addition, the number of teaching venues has literally exploded.

All this means that the advantage inherent in finding locations, owning equipment and knowing how to use it is no longer significant enough to create a noticeable difference between photographers.  As a result the gap between photographers is shriking and  it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among the crowd. Furthermore, the number of photographers and the quality of their photographs is not only increasing, it is literally exploding.

However, being different is still possible.  The question is, how do you do it?  How do you stand out?  The answer is two folds.  First, you have to reconsider what are your true advantages.  It may be your personal experience, your background, your upbringing, a specific aspect of your training that nobody else has, a focus on art and technique rather than on technique alone, your connections, a unique expertise in a non-photographic field.  It may also be simply your attitude.

Second, in order to stand out in the environment that I just described you have to do things that the other photographers are not doing.  You have to create photographs that are different from everyone else.  Not because you used different gear and software, but because you used a different approach to creativity.

Creativity is the foundation that will enable you to create photographs that are different.  In turn, and over time, creativity will allow you to develop a photographic style that will be uniquely yours.  The development of a personal style and the demonstration of a personal vision are the ultimate goals.  By achieving these goals you will set yourself apart from the competition in a final manner.

These are long term goals and I address them during my workshops and in my Mastery Workshops on DVD tutorials.  In this essay my goal is to teach you how to become more creative.  Because creativity is a vast subject, I decided to narrow it down by writing a ‘Creativity Top 12′, a list of what I consider to be  the 12 most important aspects of creativity.  Here it is:

1 – Be interesting
Creativity is necessary to generate the interest of our audience and customers.  We will not generate their interest if we are not creative because people have become blasé about old ideas.  There are so many photographers out there that unless our work stands out as being interesting, different and unique we will not get much attention.

2 – Think differently
Being creative is about creating new things out of old things.  Taking old ideas that have proven to be effective in the past and re-inventing them by presenting them under a new appearance is the key to doing this successfully.

3 – Bring in the new
Creativity is an input-output, import-export business.  You can’t lock yourself in a room and expect to be creative all by yourself.  You have to be in contact with other artists and with other ways of doing things in order to foster creativity.  Think of this as a ‘creative think tank’ . The ‘water’ in the tank is the new ideas you bring in.  These new ideas that you bring in push out and replace the ‘old water’ that was previously in the tank.  By doing this regularly you have a constant flow of new ‘water,’ of new ideas.

4 – Get help
Learn from people who have solved problems similar to the ones you face.  Do not reinvent the wheel.  Instead, learn to use the wheel (metaphorically speaking) by studying with people who know how this is done.  The problem at hand here is how to create photographs that are different from everyone else.

5 – Set yourself free
You can’t be creative with your hands tied behind your back, metaphorically speaking.  To unleash your creativity you must cut yourself some slack.  To do so you need to decide what you are willing to do and not do in your work. Don’t be overly conservative.  Instead, push the boundaries and decide to do things you have not tried before or have hesitated doing until now.

6 – Ignore criticism
Creativity is fostered by self confidence.  You can’t be creative while being concerned with potential criticism at the same time.  In order to bring your creative ideas to life, you have to ignore criticism during the creative phase.  Their will be time to consider criticism later on, if and when it comes your way.

Sand Waterfall, Antelope Canyon, Arizona

7 – Get what you need
You need specific resources to give birth to your ideas.  These include classes, tutorials, tools and supplies.

8 – Engage your audience
You can’t be successful in a vacuum.  While your ideas don’t need to be interesting to everyone, they need to be interesting to your specific audience.  Engage in a dialogue with your audience.  Social media, blogging, live presentations, shows and personal conversations work well for this.

9 – Think simple
Simple ideas are easier to implement than complicated ideas.  Doing ‘simple’ is more difficult than doing ‘complicated.’  This is why most people do things complicated way. Learning to simplify takes time, but in the end it will save you massive amounts of time.  Saving time is the goal because we can’t make more time.  Therefore we need to learn how to use our time in the most efficient manner possible.

10 – Try it
Trying creative ideas is the key to success.  This is because there is other effective way of finding out which ideas will work and which ideas will not work. Only by trying new ideas will we find out which ideas work and which ideas do not work.

11 – Do it
Creativity means creating something, not just thinking of creating something!  This means that eventually you have to step up to the plate and get things done.  Create photographs, make prints, show your work to other people, write essays explaining why and how you do what you do and more.

12 – Defy authority
There’s ‘gurus’ out there that have been around and have achieved more than you have.  Just keep in mind that when they started these ‘gurus’ were in the same position you are in.  They were intimidated by  their own, older, ‘gurus.’  They hesitated to do things that had not been proven yet.  However, they succeeded because they did not let those ‘gurus’ intimidate them.  They defied authority and decided to do things their way. Do the same.

About Alain Briot
Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. Alain is the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available on as printed books Amazon.com and as eBooks on Alain’s website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to Alain’s Free Monthly Newsletter on his website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive information on downloading the table of contents, plus over 40 free essays by Alain, immediately after subscribing. Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays available. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
February 2013

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