Using Photos as Inspiration

Sarah Hawk

Today I have something a bit different for you. Rather than having to read yet another post from me, I have a guest blogger that actually has something interesting for you! You may remember from last month that I ran a competition for photographers over at the forums. It was named The Great Photography Challenge, and today we are lucky enough to have this guest post from the very talented winner, Simon Ramsay.

This is what Simon has to say:

Last month I was lucky enough to come across a competition that not only allowed me to participate in the great community that Sitepoint is, but also gave me the chance to discover a little more about one of my long standing loves – capturing time and space on film.

The Sitepoint Great Photography Challenge was held last month and ran for a week. Each day contestants were given a mission – a particular subject which we then had 48 hours to shoot and submit. There were five days and anyone that entered all five missions went to into the draw to win the new Sitepoint book Photography for the Web, the new Sitepoint T-shirt and the chance to write a guest blog… which is what brings me here.

Image by Simon RamsayI am an amateur when it comes to taking photos. I enjoy continually building a library that plays a large part in how I see the world. It greatly influences how my web projects come together. This is partly because I have a collection of images to inspire me, but also because the trial and error of taking 1000s of images has effected my overall perception of composition, balance and colour. Once I took a photo that inspired a whole site. I used it from the header image right through to the inspiration for the colour palette. This is definitely an extreme case but it still is true for much of the work that I do, so I am always out snapping photos – even more so since the competition. The idea of setting little personal missions or tasks to practice is one thing I took away from the challenge.

Image by Simon RamsayWith this rekindled desire to take photos (and a new book to load on my phone!) I had the perfect opportunity to go out and take photos. I was off on a road trip that was to take me 1000 km along the coast of Japan into the mountains, to one of the biggest rock concerts in the world. I didn’t really know what was ahead, but I knew that I would practice a new technique that I had read about: depth of field. It was something that I’d always meant to study again but just hadn’t gotten around to. The book spelled it out so clearly that now I fully understand it.

Image by Simon RamsayOnce you have a new technique to practice, make sure you do just that. Go take 1000 photos and then scope the next technique. It is only once you have control of your camera and the ability to set it up in flash that you will start to take some truly amazing photos. It is those images that appear from nowhere that are the ones that you will enjoy the most. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you will have all the time in the world to take a photo and you may have to wait to get the perfect light of pose, but in between just keep snapping.

As a final note I would recommend that you buy fairly decent camera. I have a Nikon D80. Shoot raw and always try to shoot the photograph so that not much post processing is needed. I rely on the camera’s built-in histograms to achieve this.

Here are some photos from the journey. I hope you enjoy them.

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  • rderego

    Great photos, Simon.