No rules for good photography

We asked Keith Seidel for a copy of the quotes he used in his recent talk. He kindly sent the quotes as well as a synopsis of his talk which we are happy to present here for your reference and enjoyment.

Quotable Quotes

Fires of Hell © Keith Seidel

Fires of Hell © Keith Seidel

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs - Ansel Adams

Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it - Confucius

The so-called rules of photographic composition are, in my opinion, invalid, irrelevant and immaterial - Ansel Adams

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk - Edward Weston

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera … they are made with the eye, heart and head - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Confucius should have been a camera club judge! - Keith Seidel 2013

A synopsis of the main points

LIGHT: To badly paraphrase Bill Clinton – “Its the LIGHT Stupid!”

COMPOSITION: Given that there are no rules – does the photograph come together?

PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLES/ Preferences:  My default style, when all else fails, is to revert to pattern and detail.  It gets my photographic brain working again regardless of my mood. Understanding your default style or preference is an important self-understanding for any photographer, especially when travelling.

LANDSCAPE: This is one of the hardest challenges because the photographer cannot rearrange the elements in the landscape by composition.  Landscapes offer pure photography driven by light, composition and the form of the land.

There are no rules for a good photograph, but these tips may help

Baloon Flight © Keith Seidel

Baloon Flight © Keith Seidel

Visual Balance – does it look right to you?
—  Allow yourself to experiment in camera and in post processing
—  Cropping is important
—  Presentation is important

Avoid distractions – keep the viewers attention on the main subject(s)
—  Keep it as simple as you need, avoiding visual competition
—  Avoid highlights & amputations at edge of frame

Coming together
—  the picture must look like it holds together
—  link areas within the image
—  the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Complexity is allowable
—  complication and confusion is not

Go with your gut feel
—  please yourself before anyone else!

Do you really understand the elements of your photographic style?

Do you show photographs that:
—  you want to show and be known for?
—  might please the judges?
—  be provocative and break the “rules” or challenge the traditions / clichés of camera club photography?

Do you take photographs that you would never show in a club competition that you really like and would put on the wall?

One effective way to learn about photography is to hang out with other photographers, whether on club outings, photographic conventions, workshops or weekends away to:

—  Share ideas
—  Seek advice
—  Understand influences
—  Be open to new ideas, methods and challenges and,
—  It gets you away from the computer as the internet will confuse as much as help and cannot often answer your needs if you don’t know how to phrase the question in google-speak.

I take my photos to please myself!  Whilst I am an active exhibitor, my greatest satisfaction comes from producing photographs that I like and have achieved exactly what I had intended or hoped for.