Aspiring photographers usually wander the streets of the city or the paths of nature in search for a good photography subject. But sometimes, they have a spark of inspiration that makes them observe things which “blow people’s mind” after the photo is taken. Other photographers are creative in the studio, with still life objects, or human models. All of these ideas have one thing in common: no photo manipulation was involved. No, there is no trick here. Just a genius mind and a camera.

Creative photography usually makes people think about manipulation various photos into something they imagined, but, when you see an image that is simply taken with the photo camera and nothing more, you tend so say: “wow, what a great idea!” or even: “why didn’t I think of that?”.

After a while, some of these photos become viral over the internet (think about the ring placed in a book, with a heart shaped shadow), and other photographers replicate the idea with their own means. Another classic image example is the puddle reflection. Whoever thought of it first, was the one with the spark. Now it’s your turn to try it out next time you go out after the rain. Add some creative photos to your collection. This will improve the quality of your portfolio, even if you aren’t the inventor of those particular ideas. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to get inspired! There’s always an element of originality that we can add to these ideas, but this is up to you.

Category: Reflections

Idea No.1: Reflection in a puddle

Idea No.2: Reflections on metal surfaces, mirrors, windows, sunglasses, etc.

Idea No.3: Water droplet reflections

Category: Shadows

Idea No.1: Shadows of people who interact

Idea No.2: A real person interacting with a shadow

Category: Forced Perspective

Idea No.1: Hold a statue or tower in your hands

Idea No.2: Play with the Moon or the Sun, or even lights

Idea No.3: Catch the objects from the sky: plane, bird, balloon, clouds, etc.

Idea No.4: Make use of the distance between people

Idea No.5: Reverse horizontal to vertical (what do you say of road climbing?)

Category: Framing

Idea No.1: Put a frame in the scene

Idea No.2: Use the scene as a frame

Category: Food

This is practically an endless source of ideas. You can arrange food to resemble anything, or make the food as if it is alive by drawing on it.

For more creative photography examples visit http://www.pinterest.com/photoaxe/creative-photography/

What is a Photo Mosaic?

A photo mosaic is an image composed from other images, aligned into arrays with a specialized software. Let’s see how to obtain a terrific unique mosaic photo while making use of a collection of photographs. With the help of a mosaic, you can show-cast your photos from a shooting session through a single collage instead of browsing an entire website, for example. Here is what Ian Octoman says about his Photo Mosaic images: “When doing a photoshoot, I tend to take numerous shots (bad habit). But with those extra shots I am able to put together and create a collage mosaic.”

ian-octoman-photography-mosaic-catherine-hanbok-1 ian-octoman-photography-mosaic-catherine-hanbok-2

The main image must be rectangular, divided into equal sections, as small as you want it to be. The secondary images should be small enough to create a great visual effect, but not so small: someone who is looking at the finished project must be able to recognize the details from each used photo, when the main image is enlarged to 100% view.

When you look at the photos at a distance you see only the portrait. However, when you zoom into the mosaic picture you will notice that there are pictures of many different people within the image itself. These smaller secondary images may or may not be related to the main image. Like for example, you can compose a picture of an Asian lady from pictures of cars. Well, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

A photo mosaic can be used as:

  • A unique gift
  • A wedding collage
  • A memory of yourself
  • A memory of your baby/child
  • A collage of photos with your pet
  • A collage of your holiday

Trying to make a mosaic photo by hand is a very difficult task. That’s why, with today’s technology, there are plenty of programs that use mathematical algorithms to create the collage by color matching and block placement. If you want to see how tedious this task is bbehindthe scene, here’s a scientific paper on this subject. The thing to remember about mosaic photos is that the more photos you load to make them, the more spectacular the result.

4 Basic Steps for every Photo Mosaic creation

Step 1: First, save a copy of the photographs you want to use in a single location – folder – on your computer hard drive.

IMGP5680-Mosaic03--1600x1200-Step 2: Access a photo mosaic software. There are several free or low-cost photo mosaic software programs available to download from the Internet. In this tutorial, I will present some of them that is online (no need to download) and free to use. But, as a general idea, they all function in the same basic way, allowing you to build a complex image made up of small versions of the photos in your image collection.

Step 3: Select the parameters of your photo mosaic. Depending on your software, you can select how many times the image in your collection can be repeated, the size of each image, how many rows and columns of images will be in your final mosaic, and how much the program can alter each image in the collection to improve the final output. More advanced programs may have more options to discover and experiment with. But, other programs (like those free online tools), will only allow the use of their own gallery images. Either way, the final image will be a nice mosaic of your own main picture.

Step 4: When the completed mosaic is ready, you can still adjust the final product to your liking by changing the parameters in step 3. Make any desired changes to your image at this time. Then, save the file on your computer and broadcast it in the social networks. It will have a guaranteed success.

Makeing your Photo Mosaic with PicArtia

picartia-photo-mosaicPicArtia.com_Photo_Collage_qvs8qub0

PicArtia lets you create photo mosaic Online and Free! (Photo Collage Maker) Create photo mosaic Online and Free! A powerful photo collage maker in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Uploading Master Photo. My inconvenient: I could not upload a an original size image, I had to decrease the size.

Step 2: Select Gallery. My inconvenient: I could only select from their own pictures, I could not upload my own. So I used “dancers”.

Step 3: Final Settings. Here you can change the vertical and horizontal cut size, as well as the cell size.

After finishing the mosaic, I had to wait for a code to arrive in my email inbox in order to save the final image. My result using their algorithm and gallery is the one at the side. It has their logo stamped on it.

Makeing your Photo Mosaic with EasyMoza

easymoza-photo-mosaic mymosaic

EasyMoza is another free online tool that really does what it promises. You can use your own pictures, it is very user-friendly, no need to download a software, no registration required (like the code from PicArtia), no obligations, and has a social network share button. EasyMoza is also a lot cheaper than other suppliers.

Step 1: Uploading Master Photo. For comparison purpose, I used the same image.

Step 2: Select Gallery. Here I can choose to upload my own gallery or choose between the two presets. I uploaded about 248 flower images, at 30% of the original size, with no issues. Then, the processing took some time, but that’s not surprising given the large amount of data I used.

Step 3: Extra options. I am pleasantly surprised to see that I can convert the final image into a BW or Sepia toned photo. Plus, I can adjust the brightness, saturation, hue and contrast. Well, I’ll give it a bit of more contrast (+10 and probably would have been better even more).

For a printable version I have to pay. This big image has a resolution of 5400 x 7200 pixels. That’s a great size. And, if I want to buy the printable version, I only have to pay a small fee for this one image, not an entire (expensive) program that I will hardly ever use.

My free size is 900 x  1200 and there is no logo on it. Great too. Compared with PicArtia, the image quality is visibly better. There is also a share button there, and when I pressed it, the program created an animation of zooming into the smaller images. This is fantastic! Look at the zooming movie here: http://www.easymoza.com/index.php?p=31&t=10&m=fPvF6LEtd0#

Makeing your Photo Mosaic with ArtensoftPhotoMosaicWizard

artensoft-photo-mosaic

Artensoft Mosaic Photo Wizard is made not only for home users, but professional designers too. The program lets you create eye-catching advertising posters, flyers and business cards, or decorate the interior of a home or office. You can make these mosaic photos yourself, without special skills. Just follow the program’s step-by-step instructions. If you want to try out all of the program’s features, you can download a trial for free. They claim that “unlike other implementations, in Artensoft Photo Mosaic Wizard, the features and algorithms used by the program allow you to create some of the best photo mosaic work in the world.”

So, given these 3 tests, the last one – Artensoft Mosaic Photo Wizard is the one I recommend if you are serious about this. For personal use, however, EasyMoza does a decent job.

Some people claim that Photography isn’t really art. They say that since that photography is effortless compared to other art forms, and that you merely take pictures of something already created, it is not a form of art.

I’m going to show you, in 3 steps, with 3 solid arguments, why these people are wrong.

First, photography is not effortless.

trance_by_john77-d676aslPhotography is a medium, and it can be effortless, if all you wanted is to take snapshots, but if what you wanted to do is create art, well, it sure as hell ain’t effortless. Let’s look at the image to the side (copyright Ion Trifu). Do you think it was just a piece of cake point-and-shoot? I’m sure not. Photography is an art if you know the technical aspects of it, and know how to use a camera properly. It takes a lot of effort to know what shutter speed and aperture to use in order to capture the movement of the hair without obtaining a motion blur effect.

It also takes knowledge and experience to know when to press to button in order to capture the exact moment of the movement – no sooner and no later (and believe me, it’s a matter of milliseconds). Moreover, it takes photographic knowledge to obtain the right white balance and colors, fit for this kind of shot, in a cloudy day.

Now let’s think of a different example. A studio photographer spends hours figuring out how to do the shoot, getting supplies, building the set, getting everything ready…all before even starting to set up the lights. Then there’s at least 30 mins of setting up lights, but sometimes he spends another couple of hours figuring out the best way to light it, all of that before actually pressing the button on the camera! Then there are a few more hours of work in Photoshop, and before you know it, the shoot that started at 10 am will end with the final result at 8 pm. Sometimes, photographers deal with projects that take up several days.

Basically, pressing the shutter requires no effort, but everything that happens before it does. Normally, the difficulty of an artwork does not define whether it is ‘art’. Art can take five minutes or five days – it’s about being creative and expressing yourself. However, it is true that pictures who took longer time to prepare (both as a concept, gear adjustments and post processing) are usually better.

Second, photography is not a perfect reflection of the reality as we see it.

surreal_seduction_by_john77-d3h0buhLet’s think about surrealistic and abstract photography. To create a photo like the one from the side (copyright Ion Trifu), a photographer typically visualizes how he wants the photo to look like (for eg. what distortions he wants to try), finds a subject that the works well with a certain effect, and then shoots for that effect.

Now, if you want to argue: “what about nature photography?” then let me remember you an old saying: “a picture is worth a 1000 words.” You can take, let’s say, 100 photographers in front of the same scene, and you will probably have 80 different views of the same natural environment. Only something called ‘art’ can produce such different results. More details here.

The Photographer (artist) observes and shows emotions which normal people wouldn’t look at. Let’s say you see a tall glass building reflecting the sky. A photographer will see a pattern in this, and his picture will express what he saw, not the exact replica of the building. He will cut out the sky around the building and will keep inside the frame only the windows. A point-and-shoot-er will only produce a city landscape, like a postcard you can buy in the store next to the building. My point here: there are two types of photographers: the artists and the commercial photographers. The existence of commercial photographers does not mean photography is not an art.

Apart from knowing the technicalities behind the process of shooting a picture (a thing that camera manufacturers made it simply year by year), arranging a scene that could be called breathtaking takes genuine insight. The first part – the technicalities – is the craft. The second part – the scene setting – is the art. So, from this point of view, photography is both craft and art.

Third, a photo follows all the rules of what “visual art” implies.

autumn_is_here_ii_by_john77-d5i2ujnIf you let aside all the subjective opinions (and my subjective opinion is that Photography IS an Art), and focus on what traits define the words “visual arts, you will see that all of them apply to Photography in the same manner they apply to other visual arts.

Let’s take painting for example. When you paint something, you need an appealing composition, a clear subject, a combination of colors based on “the color theory”, a perspective, a depth of image in which the background is clearly blurred and the front objects are more vivid, a depth of shadows to create a sense of dimension, and so on. All of these apply to photography as well. The only difference is: it takes longer to paint than it takes to shoot a picture. But even so, while you spend time stroke after stroke, you also take shot after shot until you obtain the final “almost perfect” image.

Photography literally means “drawing with light”. A photographer has to understand light and how it interacts with subjects, just like every other type of artist.

If you want to create something that you have imagined with a brush or a pencil, you just sit down and do it. If you want to do that with a camera, you first have to rack your brain for a few hours figuring out how the hell you are ever going to manage to create this fantasy thing that only exists in your head. There’s always a way, but it may very well break you to figure it out and do it. When shooting a picture in the outdoors, you might have to move some branches, hand of a cliff or dive your feet halfway through the water.

Of course, not all photos are “artistic”. Like not all paintings are “valuable”. We are bombarded with photography quite literally 24/7 so it’s easy to take it for granted. It is so accessible to everyone that they find it almost impossible to separate people taking snap shots and photographers.

We now come to the understanding of the difference between ART and ARTISTIC.

ART = the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

ARTISTIC = having or revealing natural creative skill;  showing imaginative skill in arrangement or execution<artistic photography>

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Disclaimer: the photos used as examples in this article belong to Ion Trifu.

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