Here at Cloth Paper Scissors, we give quite a bit of advice on how to incorporate your photos into your mixed-media art, including collage projects, digital manipulation, and other techniques. But what about taking the actual photos? Or, as Susan Tuttle likes to put it, making the photos? Susan is the author of Art of Everyday Photography, a helpful book that teaches you how to create amazing photos using a digital SLR camera, or even your mobile phone (bonus: many of the concepts apply to any type of camera device).
In this excerpt, Susan shares four simple ways to artistically look at the world around you to choose photography subjects that are accessible and personal. After all, your everyday life is unique, and life itself is beautiful. (Tweet this quote) Going through my own pictures from over the years, I often come across photos that would be meaningless to others: a leaf, a cloud, a tree . . . but when I see them, I remember who I was with, where we were, and how we felt. There’s gratitude in photography because each photo you create shows that you appreciate what you’re seeing. Perhaps that’s why you might feel flattered when someone wants to take your picture, for example. It’s often an expression of love, in many manifestations.
But back to the topic at hand, making photographs that you can be proud of. I hope you’re inspired by Susan’s prompts. Let us know what your next subject will be by commenting on the blog, sharing your work in the Cloth Paper Scissors online gallery, or posting your photos to our Facebook page, so we can share in your joys.
|This dreamlike photo by Sigrun Siguroardottir was a winner in Susan’s Instagram Wall of Fame, featured in Art of Everyday Photography.|
Your Amazing Everyday Life by Susan Tuttle
I believe that there is extraordinary to be found in the ordinary, and that we can elevate our everyday lives by embracing and honoring that which is simple. I invite you to capture the everyday in your photography. Look for the finer details. The following ideas explain how.
An Aspect of a Morning Ritual
Maybe you greet the day with a cup of tea or coffee, the newspaper, journal writing, blog surfing, or stirring a pot of your favorite Irish oatmeal. Use the soft, diffused natural morning light that comes through a window in your home to illuminate your subject. How do you want the light to hit your subject: as backlighting, at an angle, or as front lighting? If the light is coming from the front, make sure the subject is far enough away from the window so it doesn’t get washed out by harsh direct light.
Something You Want to Remember
My daughter has a favorite pair of socks that just barely fit her at this point. She often wore them with her favorite striped dress—an outfit that captures her free spirit. I took a photograph of her wearing these garments because I always want to be reminded of her free spirit when I look back on her childhood.
Your Road or Block
As time goes on, the landscape changes, often dramatically. If you live in the country, trees grow, old barns fall, people build. In the city, your favorite shops and eateries are often transient. I lived in Boston in my twenties and the amount of transformation my old neighborhood has seen since then is pretty remarkable. Make photos of the significant places you want to remember: your favorite bookstore, cafe, coffee shop, gallery, or tree-lined street.
Elevate Your Errands to Art
Some ideas: a photo of a shopping cart in the rain, the artfully displayed artisan bread at the bakery, fresh catches of the day on ice at the local fish market, jams and jellies on a shelf at the farmer’s market.