Make yourself a cuppa, sit back and read on.

This is a list of Topics undergoing fine tuning for publication, that explain how various subconscious thought patterns affect WHAT, WHY and HOW we see the world around us. Understanding those subconscious processes allows us to identify key aspects of the scene/subject that are important for a particular purpose, so we can use particular techniques that get to the heart and mind of the viewers. They will linger longer on your image, be suitably moved and they’ll throw rose petals at your feet in admiration and awe….. Well, at least to bring some depth to the craft of photography anyway. These days, even more so, dare to be different or get lost in the overwhelming number of the same photos.

These will be written in a simple to understand, fun way and when understood and applied, will make your photos irresistible. After a while, it will just be instinctive for you. And that’s feedback from those who’ve braved my talks over the years.

Here are a few topics being rewritten from my talks.

green means being written,
! means “Almost ready”,
red Hyperlinks mean ready to view.  We’ll get there eventually.

Make a comment underneath to list your priorities.

First, get this around your head. 

SMART Thinking.      An overview plus 5 easy to remember guidelines that help us assess a scene, and take the right shot the right way for the right reaction/response. It’s also useful for critiquing our and other’s images.

1. Subject – Story/Message/Appeal/Connection/Beauty – A picture should be worth a thousand words. What complements the idea? What detracts from the idea? If you had to give it an adjective, what would it be? A title should include an adjective not just be a noun.

2.  Mood – Emotion. How it affects the viewer. Elated, curious, sad, angry, pleasant etc.

3.  Artistic/Aesthetics –  Artistic. Composition, lighting, motion, point of view etc. Is there a certain style or panache?

4.  Rarity –  Difficulty/Wow factor/Curiosity – How often do you see this or in this way? Does it capture the essence of the subject? The difficulty factor. This is what makes photos impressive. T

5.  Technique –  the essential technical factors to bring out the above characteristics of the image to best effect. Appropriate: exposure, focus, depth of field, focal length, lighting.

and 6.  Story – You might think that not every image can tell a story, but when you think of the genres, they can all suggest time and motion, frozen and movement, expressions, cause and effect, dry, arid, cracked, frozen or movement, an Environmental Portrayal and Documentary (both coming).
It’s a lot easier with a series of course and that will be covered under Project development.

Then we’ll look at what, how and why the brain reacts to image elements.

It’s all in the mind!

Secret mind’s business.

  1. 5 types of photographs for different audiences.     “Wanna see my slide show of my holidays?” Arrrrgggghh. Puleeese! Yet, there they are, inescapable on social media. If you wanna be a master, show masterpieces. A controversial article to be sure.
  2. ! Who are you really?” Different personalities like different genres and different ways to creating images. We’ll try to find the real you so you can concentrate on making masterpieces easier and better to suit your style.
  3. ! Imagination. You’ve either got it or you haven’t? Really? Ways to jiggle the brain into creativity. Easy peasy really. A must read.
  4. Titles.      To be or not to be. You might be surprised.
  5. The Mind’s Eye.       Sorting out the confusion of a scene. How to train the mind to recognise what you really like about the scene/subject.
  6. The dark side.             Why dark areas and shadows grab our attention. Be afwaid.
  7. May the Light be with you.    Why large highlights dazzle us. A force to be reckoned with.
  8. High contrast.    Ooooh, the mind has so much to play with here. Good contrast is really a must otherwise the image is as flat as the viewer’s perception and attention span. Find out why?
  9. Image formats.    Size does matter, well, ratios anyway.
  10. The ins and outs of it.    How the mind gets easily distracted. What helps and what doesn’t.
  11. ! The Myth of Sharpness.      DOF and Sharpness – same but different. Get over it.
  12. Your point of view.    How do we feel when looking up or down on something and how we can use that. Inferior and superior.
  13. An essay on composition.      Our head and trying to sort it out.
  14. Semiotics.       Pointing the brain in the right direction. It’s a sign of the times.
  15. Nostalgia.       Why we go there. Various techniques discussed.
  16. Low key overall.    The emotions that go with it. A link to the dark side.
  17. High key.        The emotions that go with it. Linked to minimalism.
  18. Do I really need to repeat myself.      Repetition and why the brain can’t get enough of it.
  19. High Dynamic Range.        Enough is just right – why it can be terrific or disturbing.
  20. Colour and mono.       Attention spans and concentration.
  21. The devil’s not in the detail.       Info overload, our poor brain can’t do it.
  22. Pick a colour, any colour.     Spot the difference. Our grey matter loves it.
  23. Frozen moments.     Done right, it’s a new window to the world, not often seen like this.
  24. A good spanking, sorry, panning.     Same as above.
  25. Move it baby.      Blurry gets our mojo going, excites us, when it’s relevant.
  26. Colour me blue.      How colours affect our moods and why.
  27. The 3 IDS and how you can use them to grab viewer’s attention and keep them there.
  28. Hierarchy of Needs and how you can use them to grab viewer’s attention and keep them there.
  29. “Daddy, tell me a story.” Projects and why it pulls people in.
  30. ! Portraits – a biggy!     The most confused genre of all. Get to know the differences.
  31. Same, same, only different.      Make “pretty” images different or be ignored. Another bloody sunset or blurry waterfall! (sunrises are at the wrong part of the day for me much better if they’re later on)
  32. On the wall.     Think big, the brain loves it.
  33. Pretty is skin deep. Emotions run deep and engage viewers longer, more impact.
  34. Macro is no little thing.     Why most people are enthralled by it. We’re nit pickers after all.
  35. Projects of a theme.     People love stories. Once upon a time……
  36. Minimalism, it’s no big thing.     The mind is lazy and likes being lulled.
  37. Break the rules.     Rattle the brain if you want attention and reactions.

And to make it even easier to understand, have a look at Examples that show, explain and critique images in relation to our topics.

For some out of the box ideas, try the ShotList prompter.

The ShotList prompter

And finally – Technical bits – you know – shutter speed, apertures, cameras, ASA, sorry ISO now, lenses, cards, bags etc.

NONE. You can find all that everywhere else. In the old days, we focused manually, shot manually and saw the difference afterwards to learn. Now we see it straight away and learn. It’s not hard, only 4 things – and they affect our end result in all combinations. And yet, if we don’t understand the above topics, instinctively or by education, the photo won’t look its best anyway.

🙄 Yes, the brainy bits might take a while to get into your head and try out, but you do want to master your work and stand apart from the crowd, don’t you?

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Grab a cuppa, read, think about it, test the ideas and enjoy taking masterpieces.

Regards, Adrian

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