The more I photograph the more I notice my surroundings in a very different way than I ever had before.  I am always on the look out for the next great photo opportunity.  (Makes for a bit of distraction while driving)  As I am scoping things out for photograph opportunities there are several key things that I particularly pay attention to because I feel they are important to great photos and improving my photography skills.

  1. Light and shadow in photographyLight and Shadows – I look at how the two work together.  Time of day plays a significant role in this because the two change constantly throughout the day.  A spot that may have great light and shadows at 8 am can be a whole different story at noon.  Morning and late afternoon/early evening light is often (but not always) best.
  2. Patterns – I find myself really stopping and looking at the details ofRepeating patterns in photography everyday things.  There is pattern everywhere; the grill of a car, a fence line, the branches of a tree.  Repeating lines, patterns and circles frequently make great photographs when composed right.  I will look at things close up and from a distance as well as check them out from different angles.  My goal is to see how they change depending on my position and view.
  3. Texture – Texture is more than just how something feels.  It ties into pattern and light and shadow as well.  This is another Texture in photographyone where I really try to pay attention to the details.  Most of us tend to overlook the texture of most of the things in our everyday lives.  I find myself looking at things like the bark of a tree and how the texture works with the light and shadows.  Or a brick wall.  Close up shots of things I may never have thought of before can often reveal a great photograph.  Taking the time to study the details of things and finding the best composition to lay the photograph out has helped me quite a bit.
  4. Lines – Lines are everywhere and I always took them for Repeating lines in photographygranted.  But they can often times make or break a photograph.  In photography you hear all kinds of terms like leading lines, converging lines and the like.  They are more than just buzz words.  One thing I have done is to make sure I am checking things out from multiple angles.  I get down low and when possible up high.  The lines change dramatically in some cases.  Look for lines from objects as well as their shadows.
  5. Colors – This one seems obvious.  But it is more than the pretty Use of color in photographyred flower.  I look at how the colors work together or sometimes don’t work together.  I have found amazing color in the least likely places or places I usually take for granted.  I am forcing myself to think beyond the obvious color and playing with color.  A hint of orange makes this a very different picture than it would be if it was not there for example.

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