Three 30 Second Tips to Better Photos:

by Gavin Seim:

Ready in 60 Seconds: After you choose the subject but before before you release the shutter, try taking a full minute to think about your scene and how you’re about to capture it. Really. Don’t just look at it. SEE IT. Sometimes we feel pressured to click. But even with a portrait, learn to take a little time and you’re images WILL improve. With some scenes you can even spend longer. Check out the 111 Project.

Sparks: I stood outside well before the exit. Experimenting, considering the scene, trying to predict the light. The effort paid off with a great candid from a challenging scene.

Cut The Trash: I know, you’ve already taken 60 seconds, you have a plan. But look again. Maybe even take a test frame. Controlling tone, removing clutter and distracting elements is one of the most neglected elements in art making. If something is not adding to the image, it should not be in the frame. Either you move, move it, or it will move the quality of your final image down to LOW.

Midnight Seattle: This one got me into PPA Magazine last year. I really focused on careful process and reducing clutter in this very busy scene.

Take Time to Make it Shine: Presets, plugins, actions etc are great tools and can offer us a lot of flexibility. But a good image deserves refinement. Just like we gave it in the camera. I could talk all day on just this subject, but in brief, take the time to make it shine. Maybe this means a gradient, or some quality time with the burn and dodge tools. Maybe it means dialing in your crop just right. Only you can decide for sure. But once you think your done, step back and see if it really shines. The final refinement of what has separated the men form the boys for a long time.

That”s all for now. Share your quick tips in the comments. Lets keep Raising the Bar… Gav

Morgon's Song: Attention to post process, tonal values and detail helps make this a great final. It sold a 24inch canvas to the client and is one of my favorite environmental portraits.